The Chatner1 is a twice-weekly newsletter about literature, humor, folklore, religion, resentment, doing the dishes, the magical heist Now You See Me franchise, being misunderstood, and maladaptive transmasculine coping strategies by Daniel M. Lavery.2

Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Family estrangement

  • Frost festivals

  • Transitioning unobtrusively, like trying to open a candy-bar wrapper in a crowded movie theater

  • Occasional short fiction

  • Signs a fantasy novel you’ve just picked up is going to be good, aside from “having a map in the front”

  • The weirdly transmasculine history of the Old West

  • Classical music riots

  • Things my elderly Italian neighbors have said to my little dogs

  • Interviews with former Medieval Times employees

  • Dives into small presses like The Furrowed Middlebrow and Greyladies Books

  • The best old movies where a wicked little man gets a straight-razor shave from a barber paying a house call to his hotel room

  • Some light (nothing strenuous) biblical exegesis


Formerly the Shatner Chatner; William Shatner is litigious. But you can still read the complete archives here.


Probably best described as a longstanding blogger, at this point. I co-founded The Toast, a daily literary humor site that operated from 2013 to 2016, with Nicole Cliffe. It was mostly read by gay archivists and the kind of people who buy sci-fi paperbacks that feature two or three moons on the cover, and maybe a beautiful woman in a long white robe. Also served as Dear Prudence advice columnist at Slate from 2016-2021, and authored the New York Times bestseller Texts From Jane Eyre, as well as The Merry Spinster and Something That May Shock and Discredit You. The Dear Prudence book will be published by HarperCollins on April 4th, 2023, and you can pre-order it here.

Subscribe to The Chatner

A newsletter about rejiggered classics, transmasculine underpinnings of the plucky heroine, and the failure-limits of graciousness, from table manners to family estrangement.