GOP Congressman Targets Activist in Letter to Her Employer

Recently, one of the most powerful congressmen in America, and certainly the most powerful in New Jersey, wrote a fundraising letter designed to implore people to donate so that the Republicans could maintain power that’s threatened by what he calls ‘organized forces — both national and local — who are already hard at work to put a stop to an agenda of limited government, economic growth, stronger national security’. 

One of these letters, was sent to the local bank in New Jersey. However, this copy of the letter had an added addition at the bottom of the page. This letter, had ‘P.S. One of the ring leaders works in your bank!’ scrawled across the bottom. 

Said ‘ring leader’ is Saily Avelenda, who was a senior vice president and assistant general counsel at the bank before she had to resign. In a statement, she said ‘Needless to say, that did cause some issues at work that were difficult to overcome’. The employee was also asked to write a statement explaining her involvement to the CEO of the bank, a move that is completely unprecedented at her level of employment. 

This is a story that highlights such a large plethora of issues and privilege is almost impossible to discuss them all now. As Avelenda explained, “my Congressman put them in a situation, and put me in a really bad situation as the constituent, and used his name, used his position and used his stationery to try to punish me”. Congressmen Frelinghuysen knew what he was doing when he wrote that letter. He was using his privilege as a man in power to silence those he did not agree with. Playing with peoples livelihoods is a new low for the Republican party. 

The bank has recently published this statement.

"We recently received communications from members of our communities and customers concerning a news report involving an individual who identified herself as a former employee and noted her outside civic involvements. Lakeland Bank does not comment publicly on the status of our current or former employees.
However, as for civic and political engagement of our employees, Lakeland Bank’s Code of Ethics specifically provides that it is philosophy of Lakeland Bank to promote our employees’ full awareness and interest in civic and political responsibility such that each employee has the opportunity to support community activities or the political process in the manner that she or he desires."



Book Of The Month - How To Murder Your Life

Cat Marnell’s ‘How To Murder Your Life’ is the first book I feel like I’ve properly devoured since The Girls. The memoir sees Cat recount every grotty, grotesque and gruesome detail of her life in brutal honesty, and despite what you may think of some of the content, for this she must be applauded. I mean really, if you were asked to list your biggest shortcomings in a book for the world to read, would you do it? I don’t think I could.

Despite the inevitable moorish nature of the book, there were a few aspects that grated on me. Left me with a slightly depressive feeling in my chest,  and more than anything a rather substantial desire to run Cat a hot bath and make her watch Rupaul (my bad day remedy, fyi).

Being an addict must be shit. No longer are addicts confined the back allies of Soho, but now you can go out with normal people who have normal jobs and normal families, and still want to get fucked up too. Yay! No longer are they alone and ostracised, they’re applauded and told they’re great fun on a night out. Always up for one more. Cat’s memoir opens the door to what always being the last one standing really means. 

Another aspect of ‘How To Murder Your Life’ that is more than worth talking are the sexual assaults and rape that occur throughout her life. Cat includes these stories with the accuracy and attention I assume they happened to her in, and they’re given a space proportional to how large the events feel to her in the grand scheme of things. I truly believe that this is incredibly important for many reasons. Cat’s accounts of rape are not the type of stories the media like to feed on. They’re not stories of an innocent ‘adequately dressed' young woman walking down the street attacked by a complete stranger. They’re stories that a vast number of women will relate to. Stories that included a woman who was intoxicated (with god knows what) and being taken advantage of by someone she thought was a friend. Sometimes, someone she had had sex with before. 

Cat also manages to bring a strange sense of humour to this overall depressing tale. She’s a fantastic writer, and even though she isn’t clean at the end, I am so willing with all my heart for her to get better.

Here are some other things I learnt from Cat’s book; 

  1. Nev from Catfish is a dick. Like really, the girl has a problem, try and help?!
  2. The Fat Jew comes from such a weird and wacky group of friends, that I now kind of understand that his excessive drug uses must have addled his brain into thinking his memes are funny. 
  3. The American health care system is SHIT.
  4. Boarding school is exactly how I imagined it. 

The History Of Women & Their Feline Friends

The cat woman is a classic trope that’s been around as long as movies themselves. Some of our favourite films with female protagonists, from Breakfast at Tiffany’s to La Dolce Vitta to Alien, feature women and cats. But why? What does the inclusion of this particular type of furry friend add to the discourse of our fave films, and what does it say about the women they sit alongside. 

It’s easily argued that women who feature along side cats are seen as wild and unattainable. Cat’s are seen as aloof and stuck up creatures; animals who make you crave their attention and distribute it to you sparsely. They’re independent, and it’s rare that women in film who are presented as owning a cat begin the discourse of the film with a romantic partner. In fact, I can’t think of a single example, but feel free to correct me.

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's

The earliest iteration of cat ladies comes in the form of women who lived alone who during the Middle Ages. On the rare occasions that women supported and lived by themselves, they would often have cats simply because they were useful to have around. Keeping out the rodents and ensuring the safety of their supply of food was a huge task and a helpful attribute that meant cats were ensured a warm place to sleep. However, the general domestication of cats began even before the middle ages, back in the time of Ancient Egypt, where they were again used to kill mice and save crops. Cats were, evidently, so highly regarded that early Goddesses from both Ancient Egyptian and Greek mythology are often described as having feline attributes.

Cat Ladies first became a symbol of the peculiar in Medieval Europe, when they were regarded as soulless beasts. Now I could go into a bit more info on this, but if you’ve read this far I am assuming you love cats, and so I don’t want to put you through the weeping that I endured researching this article. Let's just say, just like single females during the period who were persecuted as witches, cats basically fared the same fate. I like to think this is what makes out bond so strong, we both know we’re outsiders.

In more recent history, cats seem to hold a special place in the hearts of literary women. This is probably because women who write are largely stuck at home all day so liked the company, but authors such as Harrier Beecher Stowe, Emily Bronte and Patricia Highsmith have all shared a special affinity for cats.

Edie Beale from Grey Gardens

Edie Beale from Grey Gardens

In film and TV today, cats can mean two things for the women they’re paired with. Women who own cats are seen as responsible and loving, as they selflessly care for a creature who supposedly does not love them back. Notably, this is the opposite to their male counterparts, because when men are presented as owning cats it’s seen as surprising, as men could not possibly love something that does not love them back. Equally, women who look after stray or wild cats in film are regarded in a different way. Cats who roam free and refuse to stay in one place are seen as representative of their companions, such as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Edie Beale in Grey Gardens.  These women are seen as wild and unattainable. I think I like those cats best.