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This Day We Fight
Welcome to the Thunderdome (My Newsletter)
Hello! Welcome to the Sword and the Sandwich, a new venture in which I, Talia Lavin, am teaming up with my former editor from the Village Voice, David Swanson, to bring you a sometimes barbed and sometimes delicious and sometimes downright weird collection of stories that will frighten, titillate, tempt and disturb you.
Like my work (and bizarro brain), this newsletter will bounce between different topics, and cover vast tracts of intellectual ground. I’ll be concentrating a lot of my writing on the burgeoning US far-right, with an initial focus on the anti-vaccine movement — these features will be published on Mondays (“The Sword”). I’m also planning to go through every sandwich on Wikipedia’s List of Notable Sandwiches, from American Sub to Zapiekanka, offering an essay, recipe, interview or history on each (“The Sandwich”). Wednesdays will be jammed with miscellany: political hot takes, and cold but thoughtful takes on classic literature, video games, mental health, and anything else under the bruised moon (“And”). I’m thrilled to be writing three times a week, sharing with a new community, and joining you on this strange journey we’re going to take together.
Upcoming articles include a reported feature on how anti-vaxxers target pregnant women, with tragic consequences; some notes on cyclical panics over the mystical Christian prophecy called “the Mark of the Beast”; essays about jogging and gaming; and so, so many sandwiches. The tone will vacillate wildly between grave and lighthearted, but the content, like a newly-pressed panini, will always be fresh. After years of bouncing around between publications (GQ, The Nation, MSNBC Daily, The New Republic, Business Insider, and more) as well as writing a critically acclaimed book and starting on a second, I’m thrilled to have a stable home for my work without having to endure arduous cycles of pitching and hounding publications for late and stingy pay. I hope you’ll consider a paid subscription so that this can become a sustainable venture, but I’m also excited to serve up my words to everyone along for the ride.
Substack is home to its share of reactionaries, and particularly to those who indulge in relentless bigotry against Muslims and trans people. The same is, however, true of Twitter (where you likely encountered this) and in general I think it is a mistake to cede platforms to the loudest and cruellest, though they have found a lucrative niche in intellectual kayfabe and performative callousness. I hope to make this publication a space free of those scourges, except to critique them.
Ultimately, this is gonna be a nerdy, delicious tourney ground for a restless intellect, ever at war with the far right, and I want to throw roses to everyone in the stands.
To paraphrase the words of my first teenage love, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, heir to the throne of Gondor, aka Elessar, Strider, and a whole bunch of other aliases seriously that man has more usernames than a Twitter ban evader:
“A day may come when the content of Men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of subscription, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Hot Takes comes crashing down, but it is not this day!
This day we fight!”
Let’s go forth together, glittering blades in our hands!