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Humpday recommendations 8/1/2023

Watch: Pee Wee Herman tames a biker gang. To understand why Pee Wee Herman was the most original comic creation of the past 600 years, check out the line reading of “I’m trying to use the phone” followed by an interpretive dance with life-and-death stakes. Rest in Peace, Paul Reubens. – Willis

Watch: Hobby Horsing. It’s not your typical horse set event. Gathering participants from more than 17 countries, the Finnish Hobby Horse Championship, which took place last month, is both fun and fiercely competitive. It features show jumping and dressage, with unique horses for both events. Technique, speed, and poise all contribute to the scoring. Watch here to learn more. It’s far more than make-believe. – Tracy Quitasol, GZERO Media’s head of Audience Growth and Development

Read: “The Trouble With Happiness,” by Tove Ditlevsen. This collection of short stories about women who endure and strive – and resign themselves to the numbness of domesticity – was written in the 1950s and 1960s. But its perceptions are so sharp and its commentary so penetrating that it could have been formulated today. The intrepid writer Tove Ditlevsen, who died in 1976, was Denmark’s answer to Joan Didion and Annie Ernaux, and her writing is sublime. – Gabrielle

Happen: With Annie. In early 1963, Annie Ernaux, an unmarried university student from a working class French family, got pregnant. “Happening” is the Nobel-prize winning author’s memoir of her quest to get an abortion, which was illegal in France until 1975. The starkly written book is at once a wrenching memoir of Ernaux’s “extreme human experience,” a searing commentary on sexism and class divides in 1960s France, and an almost clinical meditation on the relationship between writing and memory. Thanks to Gabrielle for recommending it to me! – Alex


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