Newsletter 1

I Read the Natalie Portman and Jonathan Safran Foer Emails and I Have Questions

Maddie Rodriguez

Staff Writer

Maddie Rodriguez is a freelance writer and communications specialist who earned her MA in English Literature from the University of Victoria by writing about The Age of Innocence and Gossip Girl (yes, really). When not writing, Maddie can be found reading or watching television; she has Too Many Feelings about both activities, and expresses them via expansive hand gestures or ALL CAPS (depending on how far away the conversation's other party is). Maddie and her fellow reader/writer partner live in Ottawa. They share their apartment with an ever-encroaching tower of books and two calamity-prone cats. Life is never dull. Twitter: @MaddieMuses

If you are the right combination of literary and nosy (I am), the Natalie Portman and Jonathan Safran Foer emails of yesterday need no introduction. Like you, I have read The Emails. Probably also like you, I have Some Questions. Let’s jump right in:

  1. Why is this feature accompanied by a series of photographs of just Natalie Portman in her underwear? (This is a rhetorical question, we all know why.)
  2. I have this theory that the popular “underwear + cozy socks” photo aesthetic is designed to appeal to the kind of man who wants to objectify a woman, but also does not want to think of himself as the kind of man who objectifies women. The socks (or oversized cardigan) in this scenario provide a simulation of domesticity and intimacy that allows the viewer to ogle in relative comfort. Call it a “Maxim distancer.” Am I correct? Bonus question: is this also likely the kind of man who identifies as a “sapiosexual”?
  3. Isn’t it awkward as hell to continue to carry on a years-long friendship with someone who rather famously left his wife for you without, in fact, checking to see if you reciprocated his feelings?
  4. How does Michelle Williams feel about this? (Note: I am not Harry Burns; I don’t think that it’s impossible for men and women to be just friends or that their partners should be jealous. But were I JSF’s partner, I personally would have some, shall we say, reservations about both the friendship and this feature.)
  5. Who is the ex-boyfriend who called Natalie “Moscow”?
  6. What are the chances Gina Rodriguez texted the link to this article to Tessa Thompson with only the eyes emoji as a caption?
  7. Is … this … what emails are?
  8. No seriously, do these in any way resemble emails you send your friends? There are several friends with whom I carry on a rich correspondence; we too, discuss our ambitions, passions, and frustrations, but we also debate at length the peak of Chris Evans’ MCU abs.
  9. Has literal garbage ever been imbued with more significance?
  10. On a scale of 1-10, how offended should we be that a celebrated literary novelist, a high-brow Harvard-grad actress, and the paper of record did not think their audience would recognize carefully-constructed, self-aggrandizing intellectual performance when we saw it?
  11. There is not a person alive who doesn’t recognize the mysterious “loss” of the previous years of emails as a convenient (albeit not particularly convincing) fiction, right?
  12. What does Natalie think about Hiddleswift?

Please feel free to answer these questions and/or pose your own in the comments.