Things I’m Verbing: Hovercraft parents, salty outerwear and the unexplored interior

This week, my cousin asked what “verbing” actually means. I have two answers. One is that I wanted something vague-yet-interesting enough to cover the wide range of feelings I have about the news on any given day. “Things I’m Loving” isn’t always accurate, and “Things I’m Reading” is just boring. The follow-up answer is that Calvin & Hobbes is one of my foundational texts.

verbingcalvinhobbes

Hashtag Things ’90s Kids Understand.

And now, onto the news. Steve Bannon, Trump’s new campaign CEO, sure is worrisome. Vox has a whole genealogy of Breitbart and the alt-right that’s very worth reading. This must mean the Democrats’ foes are formidable, clever and dastardly, right? Able to get away with it all and nothing sticks, because their followers eat it up?

  • Oops. Not just that, but it looks like Bannon is actually… committing voter fraud himself, in that he’s registered to vote at a vacant property in Florida that’s set to be torn down soon. Oops.
  • Up until Clinton’s speech yesterday explicitly tying the Trump campaign to the racist alt-right, it seemed she was keeping pretty quiet and letting her opponent simply get in his own way. But she’s been facing controversies of her own about the Clinton Foundation, most notably in a misleading AP tweet about her activities related to the foundation while she was secretary of state. John Aravosis refutes the case for wrongdoing in a sensible, astute Twitter thread; my favorite part it this: “[Muhammad] Yunus won the Nobel peace prize for founding the Grameen bank and pioneering concept of microlending to women in LDCs. no shit the Secretary of State met with Yunus. He’s global poverty’s Mother Teresa. That’s AP’s big smoking gun.”
  • St. Louis-based Sarah Kendzior, always essential reading, has a new piece in Quartz castigating the media (and its national audience) for only caring about stories outside their coastal bubble when they’re extreme (Ferguson, Katrina, Milwaukee, Baton Rouge), and ignoring or dismissing the vast majority of the country otherwise, during the unsexy everyday brutality girding these issues.
  • Ever since Hanna Rosin’s eye-opening “The Overprotected Kid,” I’ve been staggered at how much less freedom many children have simply to wander a neighborhood or do things without a parent chaperoning. This week, NPR published a fascinating interview with a psychologist whose recently published research, in collaboration with a philosopher, looks at the moral judgments bystanders make about the parents of children left alone. The way they devised their study is really interesting.
    • Because I will never pass up an opportunity to shout Lynda Barry’s praises to the skies, you should read this interview she gave in 2010 about my favorite book of hers, Picture This, which is about where imagination comes from, why we draw and how it’s possible to draw like we did when we were kids again.
  • I want to end on a magical note, also about art. Sigalit Landau left a dress in the Dead Sea for two months. Not to get all clickbaity, but the end result is staggering.

Things I’m Verbing: Slack channels, bear-punching and sweet home Chicago

Even if you’re not from or familiar with Chicago, I really want to make sure everyone reads Dan Sinker’s look back at the legacy of @MayorEmanuel. This was a fictional but real-time Twitter account of a much better version of Rahm Emanuel in his quest for the mayorship in 2010–2011. It was foul-mouthed, aggressive, surreal and intensely in love with the City of Big Shoulders. To be living there as it unwound was an incredibly special experience, and like virtually all of his followers, I was heartbroken when @MayorEmanuel vanished into a time vortex during a clap of thundersnow five years ago this week.

Sinker, who has maintained the tweets on Quaxelrod.com (trust me, it makes sense) and released an excellent annotated book version, also seemingly flirted with bringing @MayorEmanuel back. But in his Medium post, he explains why that could never be. It’s a sober, elegiac look at what both Twitter and Chicago have lost in the half-decade since, and it’s an entirely grown-up reflection on what fiction can’t and can offer us. Sinker also reveals how the story really continues, and it’s magnificent in a way only the world’s &($%(#%*ing greatest cup of coffee can be. You really should read it.

I’m also heading back to Chicago next week for the first time since I moved away, a week before Halloween in 2014. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from the city in my adult life, and I can’t wait to go back. In the meantime… well, I can’t say this is the fluffiest set of links I’ve ever shared, but: