Dingus of the Week: Every Man with an Opinion on Simone Biles


Hi! Welcome to the Weekly Dingus, my Friday newsletter, where I round up my internet reads, share a drink, and yell about a dingus. Is that dingus a politicianA boat in a canalMy dog? Or maybe it’s just pants. You can read about past weekly dinguses in the archives.

This week, a bunch of men who look like they were carved out of low-fat cream cheese decided they’d log on and tell Simone Biles, one of the world’s greatest athletes, what they thought of her choices.

Simone Biles dropped out of Olympic competition this week to prioritize her mental health. Biles is not only one of the world’s greatest athletes but is a woman who survived sexual assault by team doctor Larry Nassar. A woman who stayed on the team after the assault because she wanted accountability. A woman who won the national championships with broken toes and the world championships with a kidney stone. A woman who is so good at her sport that the Olympics literally told her they would not score her fairly because it would cause too much of a points gap between her and her competitors. 

And of course a Black woman in America can’t breathe without a lot of men who are professional dingii having opinions about what her breathing says about the state of things. And I have to tell you, I do not care for it.

I did not know that the list of things I don’t wish to hear men speak on could grow longer, but here we are.

I am not linking to many of the bad takes. So, you might think I’m creating strawmen. Well, they are pale and without hearts, but trust me, these opinions exist. Here are some of the failed yeast experiments that have these opinions, Charlie Kirk, Piers Morgan, the Attorney General of Texas, and your brother in law. But I am not linking to them because many of these men are just parasites on the outrage cycle. They live off the rage they create and thus must continue to create rage. Every click fuels the cycle. Every RT amplifies it.

Literally, Matt Walsh just exists so people can yell at him. That’s it. He’s just a cadaver animated by the electricity of your rage tweets.

But the reason this rises to the level of dingusry is that there were so many of them. They were legion this week. It was like Jesus had exorcised a man and tossed the demons in the pigs and the pigs were just all the bad takes jumping off the internet cliff. (Sorry, was that metaphor too Biblical? Well, that’s how things get over here. Righteous.)

I could not turn on the radio or log onto the internet without being bombarded by men who are the spiritual equivalent to failed sourdough starter, men with the athletic prowess of sour cream, all furiously typing their important takes on what a Black woman should do with her body. And wow, just typing it out like that really says a thing, doesn’t it?

Look at the outrage over Naomi Osaka or Serena Williams who seemed to know the Olympics was going to be a cursed endeavor and peaced out on it. Look at the outrage over Nikole Hannah-Jones saying “Thank you, no” to a job offer at UNC-Chapel Hill after she basically had to force them to give her tenure. This moment really crystallizes that men in America believe a woman’s body, particularly a woman of color’s body, belongs to them. And wow, do they get mad when she says, “No, thank you.”

There are maybe three people in the world who understand what Simone Biles is going through, and two of them are Simone Biles herself. And until they speak, if your idea of a competitive sport is responding to Taylor Lorenz or Maggie Haberman’s tweets, log off.

If you must have an opinion, here is a handy chart to help guide you.

What I Am Reading:

I just want to be honest, I didn’t read much this week. The brutal body politics of the Olympics are exhausting. 

And the January 6 commission is a worthy attempt to hold the unaccountable completely accountable. Also the media isn’t even trying.

My state continues to be exhausting.

I did enjoy this Jason Diamond interview with Lorraine Bracco at MobMovieCon. And as a society, we definitely need to grapple with how we treat women in the public eye, and so I appreciated this story about Amy Winehouse.

And the gay song writers of country music! THE GAY SONG WRITERS OF COUNTRY MUSIC!

And that’s it. I enjoyed NOTHING ELSE!

If you can’t tell, it’s the week before I leave on vacation and I have given up. My AC is broken and will be replaced today. My dishwasher is broken and I am determined to wash dishes by hand until there is a good Labor Day sale because I am a Midwesterner now, goddammit.. And my dryer was broken, but I fixed it, because I am the dad I wish to see in the world. And I’m just over it. What is the “it” I am over you ask? EVERYTHING.

I have some amazing newsletters lined up from guest writers. They are so good, you’ll never want me to return. (And I can pay my contributors handsomely because of the subscribers! So they will be quality! Thank you!)

Right now, I am reading bell hooks’ All About Love and The Veil and Vow and am deep, deep in book writing, which causes my brain to float above my body. But I turned in many, many chapters last week, and my editor was impressed, even though I am pretty sure I need to burn one entire chapter to the ground.

In lieu of sharing articles from around the internet, I wanted to share some of my favorite newsletters. I love Virginia Sole-Smith’s Burnt Toast, which is causing me to rethink and re-examine my relationship with food and my body.

If you’ve read this newsletter even once before, you know that I love Tressie McMillan Cottom’s Essaying.

And I am a big fan of the one-two punch of Anne Helen Petersen’s Culture Study and Charlie Warzel’s Galaxy Brain. Made in the same house in Montana. What a literal powerhouse. I’m sorry for that joke.

Also, I adore Evil Witches ,and I always read my trusty Tabs.

And this week, I interviewed NPR gender reporter Danielle Kurtzleben about men in politics and what the hell is wrong with them. I loved that interview. But in hindsight, I wish I had asked questions less grounded in the gender binary. I wish I had queered it up. And for that, I am sorry. Maybe we can have her back? Maybe I can have someone else interview her? Are there follow ups? Criticisms? Drop them below.

And for the Riveter newsletter, I wrote about how women don’t need to be praised, we just need some equality.

Oh and last year, I read some tweets by a man named Cole Grolmus about how the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium should be renamed. I contacted Cole and helped him write an op-ed for the paper. That op-ed was one of the top five most trafficked articles of the year for the paper, and it helped kick off a movement to rename the stadium.

I realize we also need systemic change and Kirk Ferentz and Gary Barta need to be held accountable for the incredible racism in the world of Hawkeye football. But until then, please know, I was part of an effort to piss off Hawkeye fans. And honestly, I’m really proud of myself.

What I Am Drinking:

I knew this day would come. The day when I had to admit to you that, basically, I just had a little wine on Wednesday and that’s it. Okay, that’s not ENTIRELY it. On Sunday I drank too much whiskey on a friend’s porch. What kind? Jim Beam on ice. I specifically told her to give me the shitty stuff. And I loved it. It’s my basic go-to when everything else fails or the only thing on tap is Bud Light. 

But this is probably indicative of the levels of “given up” I am at.

If you, unlike me, have not yet given up, then may I recommend taking some of that Jim, pouring it into iced tea, adding a bit of maple syrup, and enjoying it. 

Goodbye! I have taken to the sea. Next week, I fight against the dying light of summer by galavanting around a beach like the loud, middle-class divorcée I am. I hope you enjoy the newsletters I have lined up!

This is my vibe right now.

Men Yell at Me is a newsletter about the places where our bodies and politics collide and yes, the occasional yelling man. Learn more about it and me (Lyz) here. You can sign up to receive the free weekly email, which includes interviews, essays, and original reporting. The Friday email is a weekly round-up of dinguses, drinks, and links. On Monday I have a subscribers-only open thread where we discuss politics and our bodies and more.