The time U.S. soldiers put on a drag show

Deficit Zercher landmine curtsy squats with knee lift; the Finnish secret to happiness; why we love to spin til we fall down. This is Link Letter 80!

The time U.S. soldiers put on a drag show
The 1942 drag show at Fort Slocum, NY

In a move that laid me flat on the floor, the Supreme Court yesterday denied the state of West Virginia’s request to lift an injunction against a law the state passed in 2021 that “designates sports teams at public schools including universities according to ‘biological sex.’” These are unprecedented levels of "the Supreme Court didn't not say the trans athlete couldn't not not participate on the women's sports team." But the short version is: The Supreme Court said "no, you can't ban this trans woman from doing sports with other women, yet (?)."

I am no constitutional scholar. But I can say as a woman of a people that this, however briefly, rules. It especially rules as it comes on the heels of several instances of the personal-freedoms-and-liberties party being at it again: awarding itself the opportunity to look inside children’s underwear in the patriotic name of [checks notes] recreational sports; restricted more drag performances; and popped both eyes out of their sockets over Bud Light partnering with Dylan Mulvaney of TikTok. Kid Rock’s brain melted out his ears. This also comes on the heels of last month's ruling in Minnesota that the USAPL, the largest powerlifting federation in the U.S., discriminated against Jaycee Cooper when it would not allow her to compete as a woman.

It may not seem like it, but a central, if sometimes subtextual, concern of this newsletter is questioning the lines drawn around gender performance. As long as there are people posting that women who lift weights or have muscles “aren’t feminine”, this will remain the case. Another central concern is fitness, which, it pains me to say, is a national preoccupation that does actually stem from our fixation on having a standing mega-army ready at all times to flatten any other country into submission.

For these reasons, the following is not off-topic: Please enjoy the video below of a bunch of U.S. soldiers that I found scrolling the Internet at 4 A.M. In this video, our boys in strategic shades of brown smile with pure joy as they put on their drag getups, do their high kicks, and sing "Swing Fever," to the delight of their fellow soldiers. They are each of them serving, each of them one death drop away from star turns on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Yes: arguably the bravest and greatest generation of soldiers our nation has ever seen, doing a drag performance, at a military base's military event, for their military brethren, where a good time was had by all. You can read a little more about the video here.

Truly, we used to be a country.

Soldiers Stage ‘Girlie’ Show, 1942/02/04 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
Fort Slocum, NY: Modern ‘Doughboys’ doff their usual khaki and don, of all things, wome’s clothes to star in their own version of ‘Swing Fever.’ Singing and…
The “obligation” of “health”
Can the working-on-yourself snake eat its tail?


~Discord Pick of the Week:  “muscle (n.) ‘contractible animal tissue consisting of bundles of fibers,’ late 14c., ‘a muscle of the body,’ from Latin musculus ‘a muscle,’ literally ‘a little mouse,’ diminutive of mus ‘mouse’ (see mouse (n.)).

So called because the shape and movement of some muscles (notably biceps) were thought to resemble mice.” 😭😭😭~

An interview with Peter Attia, who had the good word on Ozempic x muscle loss, which, as we know, can yield an endless yo-yoing diet cycle. I personally am not team “trying to live forever,” but everyone needs to do something with their time, and if they spend it all on “making even more time,” who am I to judge that?

Peter Attia doing a deficit Zercher landmine curtsy squat
Via @peterattiamd

Also related: The Liftcord noticed someone in the background of a member’s training video doing the move above, a [deep breath] deficit Zercher landmine curtsy squat with knee lift[^1]. Peter Attia posted about doing this move the very next day, citing some chiropractor with 5,000 followers (if he posted about it, I can’t find it, but I don’t have all day to be looking through a chiropractor’s posts). I would not normally ask “What’s going on with this trendy accessory movement?” except that this one is so specific, so many layers of modification, that it strains my ability to identify a purpose. My best guess is actually that it’s so the opposite of most of the directions we typically move that it’s good cross-training. In other words: it’s just crazy enough to work.

If you know any more info about the origin story of this move, please reach out by replying to this email or sending your own to

The Finnish secret to happiness seems to be not actually being objectively way happier than everyone else, but “having a very low-stakes definition of happiness.”

Typically this newsletter focuses on otherwise normal-seeming people admitting to doing strength training, but today I bring you: a strong athlete guy admitting to reading romance novels.

Introducing noted powerlifter Lana Del Rey
Don’t worry, we still know almost nothing about her. Plus: a subscription sale!!, here comes LIFTOFF!!! Peloton ~did not~ do that thing, and more. This is Links #14.

Why we love to spin until we fall down.

Resistance training improves mitochondrial function. What I know is the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, so this has to be a good thing.


The era of the tween icon is over. Don’t think too long about the implications of how, for most of my demographic’s formative years, the biggest celebrities were not only young girls, but ones who the media systematically tore apart.

POV: You’re an actor in 2023 receiving your “workout regimen” for your next action movie.

Gen Z loves hot room temperature ham nut/cereal grain water.


Just a great, thorough, atmospherically moody interview with Kieran Culkin/an homage to the end of Succession. I feel kindred with him because we both have older brothers named “Mac(k).”

AI has risks; those risks just have nothing to do with “computers becoming too powerful and outsmarting us.” (A general shoutout to friend of the blog Max Read, who writes Read Max and is keeping me the right amount of informed about Twitter, AI, and other tawdry tech situations of the day, and to friend of the blog Casey Newton's Platformer team for their incredible ongoing reporting.)

I really badly want one of these phone cases. If you know of a craft studio like Cutes House (like one of those paint-your-own-pottery studios, but for sticking charms into the soft decorate-able putty squeezed onto an iPhone case), do NOT keep that info to yourself.

That’s all for this week! I love you for reading, thank you, let’s go—

[F1] Did you know adjectives have an order? I never thought about this till someone pointed it out to me a few years ago, and now I never stop thinking about it.