Intro April 19, 2016

Some folks have been asking me to post my Lenny intros here, so here you go. This is from Lenny No. 30.

​Hi Lennys,

It’s me! My name is Mikki Halpin, and I’m Lenny’s new editor at large. And for my first newsletter introduction, I want to tell you about Neko Atsume. It is a daily source of joy for me, and a philosophical framework that reinforces some of my deeply held values. It is also a game about cats that I play on my phone. Laugh if you want. I am at peace.

Here is what happens in the game: You have a yard, where adorable cats come to visit. You feed the adorable cats, and in gratitude they leave you fish. You use the fish to buy more food and toys. The cats are delighted, and other cats join them. They leave you more fish. You buy them more toys and watch them play. It is an endless circle of gifts and toys and love and fish. No matter where you are or how stressed you may be, you can grab your phone, open the app, and see happy little cats playing in the sun and smiling at you. I don’t meditate or anything, but I think Neko Atsume is really fucking Zen.

Ultimately Neko Atsume is about kindness. You give, and you get in return, and it’s always beautiful. I try to bring the generosity and wonder of Neko Atsume into my daily life, but I wish Neko Atsume really were my daily life. I love this fantasy, and I believe fantasies are important, even if they can’t come true. They are a map for changing the world you actually live in.

Speaking of worlds, I’m enchanted by the one where Lena’s fantasy feminist band B.I.T.C.H. rocks Coachella. Let’s make Dwörkin rock a real thing. We also have Jenn Romolini’s clear-eyed account of her daughter C’s struggles in school. The gendered ways that teachers and administrators responded to C’s unconventional behavior are sharp examples of how early in life we are pressured to conform — but, told by a loving mother, this story offers a lesson on how to stay weird.

The vibrator industry still hasn’t fully embraced its queer customers, reports Larissa Pham in her piece about the folks who design our buzzy little friends. C’mon, people, get it together! On a more serious note, Lenny deputy editor Laia Garcia spoke with an epidemiologist in Puerto Rico about Zika and discovered just how little we know about the virus — although we do know some good ways to keep yourself safe. Every woman needs to read this.

Singer Betty Davis’s “He Was a Big Freak” has been one of my mixtape secret weapons for a long time, so it was a thrill to read Jess Rotter’s account of Betty’s life as the latest installment of Songbird Stories. “Freak” is off her second album, which Betty wrote and produced herself before retiring from the music scene.

I hope you enjoy the different worlds this issue has to offer, and that you honor your fantasies about what our world could and should be like. Probably it needs more cats.

Xo,

Mikki

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