Things I’m Verbing: Free speech, werewolf handbooks and the 3.5 percent

I had jury duty on Thursday; happily (sorry, civic duty), I wasn’t selected from the pool, but actually happily, that meant I walked out of the Brooklyn courthouse right into the Yemeni-American Bodega Strike. It was stunning and beautiful. I’ll let this video speak for itself:

"JUSTICE! NOW!" #bodegastrike

A post shared by Esther (@screwballheroine) on

It’s a wonderful antidote to all those “protesting just distracts you from the REAL problem, which you can’t fight!” thinkpieces. For more on that, see Huck magazine’s “There is no secret motive: Trump is as shambolic and as racist as he seems” and Ijeoma Oluo’s “Fuck This White Dude Game Theory.”

  • A really interesting statistic made the rounds this week, as Guardian headline announced that only 3.5% of a nation’s population can peacefully overthrow a regime. Thank research by University of Denver professor Erica Chenoweth, who also sums it up briefly and wonderfully in a TEDxBoulder talk from 2013 (link includes transcript).
  • Journalism loves navel-gazing, and one of its favorite conversations is about objectivity and evenhandedness. Who decides what neutrality is, however, is not neutral at all, as Lewis Wallace discovered this week when he was fired from Marketplace for a blog post musing on institutional power and the responsibilities of reporters to acknowledge bias and imbalance.
  • Sometimes with the news you just want to love somebody, and for me this week, it’s queer Black breast cancer survivor and activist Ericka Hart, whose “Mastectomy Story” video over at Allure is just so human and honest and fabulous.
  • Hey, meanwhile, Marvel needs to stop trying to make us feel conflicted somehow about Nazis. If you want a really good comic that will make your heart swell with joy, may I recommend How to Be a Werewolf? Queer characters, immigrant characters, multiracial characters, birth families, found families, a coffee shop, a mysterious old house on the edge of town, social anxiety… it’s so perfect. You will love it. Just go — it won’t take you that long.
  • Finally, this XKCD comic about free speech and what it really means is always handy and will never go out of style. Actual threats to free speech as enshrined in the Constitution come from the government.

It’s the weekend, friends. Stay brave.

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