Small update from my story on Whine About It‘s Matt Bellassai: He did, in fact, win the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Social Media Star. Hooray! Alas, someone in the control room sent the camera to the wrong person. Uh-oh. Either way, congrats to Matt — we both had pretty good Wednesdays!
- “Girls Explain Star Wars to You” is, to succumb to an irresistible cliche, the essay on Rey and feminism in viewership you are looking for.
- “Racism and Religious Hypocrisy on My Birthright Trip to Israel” is no How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, by which I mean it’s wrestling with different questions. Rather than examining Israel’s nationhood, it’s about the experience of a biracial Jewish woman in a very homogenous group of American Jews, and the feeling of being told one should belong when every experience or encounter shows the narrator that she doesn’t.
- Speaking of Jewish stuff, I’m still scratching my head over the complete failure of Vox to “explain the news” re: that blatantly antisemitic hero image from this week’s Saudi Arabia-Iran explainer, which does not once mention Israel, Zionism or the conspiracy theory the image references. Come on, Vox.
- “The South Stole Americana” is dense, but it’s a worthy look at music history and the creation of folk traditions.
- A few years ago, I read Studs Terkel’s Hard Times, an oral history of the Great Depression. I was shocked by how familiar the 1930s felt in the midst of the Great Recession, but the Atlantic argues it’s not the ’30s we’re seeing again, it’s the ’20s.