Today is one of those days where I want to opt out of the news cycle entirely. Any partisan take on shooting up a congressional GOP baseball team’s early morning practice is awful by default, yet I can’t help feeling that it will be become a bludgeon by the end of the day, not least from the president, despite his hopes and prayers.
Today is one of those days where I want to opt out of the news cycle entirely. Any partisan take on shooting up a congressional GOP baseball team’s early morning practice is awful by default, yet I can’t help feeling it will be become a bludgeon by the end of the day, not least from the president, despite his hopes and prayers. Meanwhile, in high Triangle Shirtwaist fashion, a massive fire at a London housing complex has horrifyingly illuminated the low esteem in which society (including landlord MPs) holds working-class life. Remember last night, when we were all simply angry about AG Jeff Sessions’ non-testimony on Russian interference with our election?
- I clicked on Molly Ball’s profile of a freshman GOP congressman because of a tweet from Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg: “Embedded in this elegant @mollyesque profile of an Indiana congressman is a non-benign Trump dis of Mike Pence.” Yikes, non-benign is right.
- Writing for Slate, Donna Minkowitz has scared me where I didn’t need to be scared with “How the Alt-Right Is Using Sex and Camp to Attract Gay Men to Fascism.”
- You should follow Ironed Curtains, a blog collective featuring essays from Americans with Soviet roots. Their most impressive work to date is “Brilliant Blue Sky: Eyewitness Stories From Chernobyl,” sharing accounts from more than 100 people on the disaster’s 31st anniversary.
- June 12 marked the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre. In honor of the 49 murdered and those who rushed to help, Dear World assembled portraits and interviews with survivors, first responders and loved ones. I wept reading through these, in large part because of the genuine love for the victims that restores their individuality.
- We’ve talked a lot about how important Wonder Woman is for its representation of women, including Jewish women. One area where the film fell down, however, is representation of disability. Erin, the blogger behind The Geeky Gimp, presents the clearest argument yet for why the entertainment industry needs to change the conversation on disability, and facial difference in particular, as a signifier of evil.
Grim as the news has been, there have still been some light (or at least darkly humorous) takes to be had. It’s okay to enjoy them.
Stay brave, friends.
Image credit: King Lear, Great Lakes Theater, Cleveland, 2015
I usually don’t share — can we call them incremental stories in the Trump-Russia thing, even when they’re massive, massive revelations? The thing is, it all tends to move so fast, and it’s easy to tune out because it gets overwhelming. But I can’t ignore the Washington Post’s “Blackwater founder held secret Seychelles meeting to establish Trump-Putin back channel.” This is literally the stuff of a Tom Clancy novel. I will be interested to see how Trump and GOP supporters continue to justify their support for this administration, whether it’s simply calling this reporting fake news, “just some left-wing blog” or shrugworthy, as Rep. Jason “I don’t think that he ran for this office to line his pockets even more” Chaffetz professes.
Are you ready for more?
- Let’s start off light with Colin Dickey’s “Building in the Shadow of Our Own Destruction.” If that and the fact that it’s architecture criticism don’t put you off, you’re in for a thoughtful and unsettling look at how great buildings must be designed while already imagining them in ruins. There’s also a story about a man who died because of accumulated pigeon guano, so really, don’t miss it.
- Further light reading: Noah Berlatsky, for BuzzFeed, “The Zookeeper’s Wife Is Yet Another Gentile Savior Story.” Even though all the trailers tell me otherwise, I was somehow hoping this wouldn’t be the same self-congratulatory grossness that Schindler’s List epitomizes. Easter and Passover are sensitive times for Jews, not least because Easter has traditionally been a period of heightened violence against them. Not all violence has to be a pogrom; appropriative “Christian seders” and playacting Jewish culture are pretty upsetting too. Anyway, Berlatsky makes the point that centering the heroic bystander experience in mass storytelling, rather than that of the oppressed, ultimately dehumanizes the oppressed. All of these are worth reading.
- Segueing into another aspect of Hollywood, Anne Helen Petersen asks a worthwhile question: “How Many Times Does Nicole Kidman Have to Prove Herself?” Ain’t sexism grand?
- Meanwhile, from the Establishment, “Why Don’t We Think Fat People Are Worth Fighting For?” challenges thin people, particularly thin women, to turn body positivity into real solidarity.
- Finally, Elle has a marvelous and poignant longread that I missed in November. “The 20-Week Abortion Ban Bind” sits with the women who need to terminate pregnancies after the “acceptable” cutoff date, and the heartbreak of losing a wanted child that could not survive outside the womb.
Stay brave, friends.
I… look, I’m just as overwhelmed and wild-eyed as anyone, gang. Thank goodness for What the Fuck Just Happened Today?, at least, because as one might expect from a DDoS on American democracy, there is just A Lot.
- First things first, here is a thing that will just make you feel better. I haven’t seen Stranger Things yet, but I absolutely loved cast member David K. Harbour’s impassioned speech at this weekend’s SAG awards. It will make you feel good about art and resistance, which goodness knows we all need.
- For the Huffington Post, Thenmozhi Soundararajan writes about why international intersectionality matters in “I’m a Proud Dalit-American and This Is Why I Marched.”
- Spend some time with PEN America’s “Surviving Autocracy: Lessons From Russian Writers.” See also, from the Washington Post, “In Venezuela, we couldn’t stop Chávez. Don’t make the same mistakes we did.”
- Some good, if not terribly reassuring, Twitter threads:
- Duke professor Gabriel Rosenberg on the emotional motivations of Trump supporters. “They see Trump as instrument of punishment, less against refugees, but against the left.”
- Author Alexandra Erin on what’s needed to tip things into impeachment territory. “The CIA hasn’t had to *live* anywhere they staged a coup before.”
- The popular Twitter account @RoguePotusStaff is mostly likely fake, based on linguistic tics that seem to indicate Russian-speaking authors (“vakay,” “-esk,” “muzzie Canucks”).
- From David Frum at the Atlantic (whose new terrifying cover story I’ve only just begun to read), “Advice for Those Weighing Jobs in the Trump Administration” has the most killer knockout final punch you could ask for. Further proof of this, from the New York Times: shot, “Bannon Is Given Security Role Usually Held for Generals“; chaser, “President Bannon.”
Stay brave, friends.
Statue of Liberty cartoon originally found at Desert Island Comics; I had no luck with reverse image searches, but if anyone can identify the original artist (Mary?), please let me know so I can properly credit. Read “The New Colossus” and the story behind the Emma Lazarus poem here.
Here we are! Here… we are…!
- A secret GOP vote to demolish an independent ethics committee with congressional oversight doesn’t sound fishy and self-serving, right?
- Look, I know there’s a lot of Judean People’s Front vs. People’s Front of Judea infighting going around on the left, but let’s maybe take this opportunity to advise people to unite and speak out without trying to reclaim the phrase “good German”?
- I don’t know who Rebecca Ferguson is, really, but I appreciate that she’ll sing at Trump’s inauguration on the condition that she sing Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.”
- Do you understand bullet journals? Every time someone tries to explain them to me, my brain turns into an animated cartoon scribble and collapses with a crashing sound effect. PopSci gave it a pretty good try, though.
- I’ve got a Netflix rec, of all things. I’ve become very interested in World War I, and I just discovered David Reynolds, a Cambridge historian who’s written many books and hosted many BBC documentaries about the 20th century. One is Long Shadow, a three-part series not only hashing out how much more nuanced and complicated the players of the Great War were, but detailing how the decisions of a century ago are still driving politics and national identities today. It rhymes so much with Brexit and Trump themes, which isn’t too comforting, but most of all, it uses incredibly vivid period footage that I’ve never seen before, and which is incredibly affecting. I highly recommend the documentary, and I’m looking forward to reading his book as well. April 6 marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. joining the fight, so I hope we’ll all be talking about this a lot more.
Well, there it is, friends. Stay brave.
I don’t have any links to share about Aleppo, and I feel terrible about that. “Massacre” seems too light a word to describe what’s happening there. Learn more about the White Helmets, the ordinary Syrians who are helping rescue people from bombed-out rubble; donate if you can. When we say never again, we should mean it.
President Obama will give some sort of press conference this afternoon; there’s a lot of speculation about what he could say, but even though he leaves for a trip to Hawaii right after, many expect it’ll be something big.
You should also be paying attention to GOP efforts in North Carolina to straight-up strip Democrats of power after they won the governorship fair and square. As Matthew Chapman says in that Twitter thread, “Frankly, this should be covered in the media as nothing less than Republicans refusing to accept peaceful transition of power.”
- Thank goodness for the Atlantic. This month’s cover story is a piece by the towering Ta-Nehisi Coates; “My President Was Black” is long and it is worth it. Just as worth it is Tressie McMillan Cottom’s response, the first in a series the Atlantic will be posting: “The Problem With Obama’s Faith in White America.” Keep an eye on this conversation.
- Yesterday, Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter at Vanity Fair, which confused me for a bit — I couldn’t find any context for the outburst, until someone finally linked the culprit: Tina Nguyen’s blistering critique of the restaurant in Trump Tower, which is more than that summary makes it out to be.
- Trust women, Part ∞: from Vice’s Sarah Jeong for the Washington Post, “If we took ‘Gamergate’ harassment seriously, ‘Pizzagate’ might never have happened.”
- Every year, NiemanLab publishes its predictions for the year to come in journalism. We’re still deep in the throes of navel-gazing and self-flagellation, as an industry, but non-journalists especially might be interested in what a broad collection of professionals think will change and be important come 2017.
- I am a freelancer who very much would like steady, full-time work. (Hi, potential employers!) That said, you ought to read Rutgers history professor James Livingston on whether work is not a solution, but a problem.
Stay brave, friends. Stay compassionate too (yourself included).