Things I’m Verbing: Bad conspiracies, bad monopolies and good sleep

Well, this week sure is continuing (and this story continues to develop even as I type up this post). At least we’ve got Andy Serkis on our side.

Well, this week sure is continuing (and this story continues to develop even as I type up this post). At least we’ve got Andy Serkis on our side:

  • Instead of more of all that, dig into this New York Times piece on musicologist Alan Lomax, who dedicated his career to preserving and elevating American folk traditions. It’s not just about the newly opened free archive of his recordings — we also need to ask ourselves about the difference between honoring culture and mummifying it.
  • I already have many beefs with Amazon, Jeff Bezos’ rescue of the Washington Post aside. At the New Republic, Matthew Stoller implores Democrats to remember their trust-busting roots as Amazon ascends to true monopoly. For the Nation, David Dayen considers how Amazon is not just bad for the economy, but for the entrepreneurial spirit itself.
  • Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse is one of those Republicans liberal Twitter can get behind. But like Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins and Arizona’s Sen. John McCain, his voting record is at odds with his reputation. Writing for Slate, Ben Mathis-Lilley digs into the dangers of performative decency with “The Wasted Mind of Ben Sasse.”
  • Kids and teens rejoice: Per Maggie Koerthe-Baker at FiveThirtyEight, sleep “problems” are societal.
  • If you’ve muted “thread” on Twitter, developer Darius Kazemi might have an amazing new app for you. Spooler turns long Twitter threads into blog posts, so they can be read as they were freaking meant to be read. Have at.

Stay brave, friends.

Things I’m Verbing: Direct action, dirty hands and Asian-Americanness

Throughout my life, I have frequently had to yell at New Yorkers to stop writing, talking and behaving like 1) New York is the only real place on earth and 2) everyone knows and 3) cares about every little New York thing that’s happening in New York at any given second. But I have to indulge in this amazing story that will fill your heart with joy if you are in the know: We can now get Big Gay Ice Cream in grocery stores and indulge in the comforts of our own homes.

And hey, this isn’t entirely New York-centric — the pints are also coming to Philadelphia!

Okay, on to the real stuff.

  • A trio of incredible reporting and writing on Asian-American experiences.
    • First, 99 Percent Invisible did an episode about Manzanar, the World War II internment camp where American citizens of Japanese descent were rounded up and imprisoned in the name of national security. Honestly, I wept listening to this. The text and photographs that accompany the podcast are worth seeing on their own, but there’s always something so haunting about actually hearing oral histories.
    • For Catapult, Vanessa Hua reflects on her feelings of being “out-Asianed” at a San Francisco spa.
    • At the Nib, Malaysian-American cartoonist Shing Yin Khor asks, “What Would Yellow Ranger Do?” There is a straight line between Manzanar and the “innocent” racism she describes in this comic.
  • Meanwhile, the Atlantic‘s Adrienne LaFrance tells us how not to write about Hawaii.
  • From the Chicago Reader, KT Hawbaker-Krohn writes about protest as self-care, and why direct action feels better than consumerism. Pair her exploration of toxic masculinity and rape culture at the University of Iowa with Jess Zimmerman’s “Why Is Male Anger So Threatening?” for Dame.
  • I’m reconnecting with my love of stories about sustainability, which has, inevitably, brought me to the great Civil Eats. This article examines Letters to a Young Farmer, and what farming (speaking of direct action) means both timelessly and in the present.
  • Writing for American Anthropologist, Jonah Rubin deconstructs a viral image about media bias and news literacy, and what extreme political views actually mean about those who hold them. Follow up with famed/respected media critic David Carr’s syllabus for his “Press Play” master class on understanding the news.

Stay brave, friends.

Things I’m Verbing: Bitter pills, thundersnow and big questions for feminism

How you holding up, East Coast? Or the entire northern Midwest, for that matter? For my part, I discovered this morning that thundersnow exists outside of Chicago. Living on an island, for someone who grew up in a river valley and lived for 12 years next to a lake, is a real trip.

I want my news today to be virtually all un-Trump, because screw that guy and his tweets, but I can’t resist sharing these entirely too-apt tweets from earlier this month:

  • Masha Gessen warns us about making Russia a conspiracy theory in itself, more rhetorical weapon and distraction from immediate domestic issues.
  • So, about that new Muslim travel ban: Vox reports on how it’s going to harm health care in the reddest parts of the country. See also the latest empathic-but-scolding “rural voters who supported Trump have the most to lose from losing Obamacare” piece making the rounds.
    • A blast from the past, well worth reading if you never have: Steven Brill’s massive Time story “Bitter Pill,” on why patients pay thousands of dollars for a cotton swab when they go to the hospital.
  • You’ve got to lose yourself in the New York Times Magazine’s interactive feature on the 25 songs that show us where music is going. Pair it with All Songs Considered’s audio piece on Resistance Radio, how musicians and producers reimagined the music of the ’60s for the Nazis-won-WWII show The Man in the High Castle.
  • If you have strong pre-existing opinions on either Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour or Zionism, don’t get mad at this link; read it. In response to a piece from the Nation, Berkeley law professor David Schraub addresses the intersectional movement’s argument du jour: “Can You Be a Zionist Feminist? Who Knows!
  • I’m looking for a full-time journalism job (hello!), and naturally I’m concerned, to a major extent, with my online presentation. Writing for Quartz, Noah Berlatsky has some thoughts about what the obsession with personal branding implies for the future of work. In that same vein, I recommend “cyborg rights activist” Aral Balkan’s “Encouraging individual sovereignty and a healthy commons,” not least for its distrust of Facebook’s stated goal of “bringing people together.”

On one final lighter note:

Stay brave, friends.

Things I’m Verbing: Hidden tracks, open theft and the world’s greatest elephant seal

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This is one view from my apartment. The light was doing great things yesterday afternoon. Maybe this picture should be more exciting, but YOLO, I like it — not to mention I definitely own the rights.

While the curiosity gap is certainly still a thing, sometimes the headline that just lays it all out for you is my favorite. One recent winner from Jewniverse was “Trotsky’s Yogurt Is Alive and Well in NYC, And You Can Eat It.” I have to credit the Cheezburger network, though: “A Sassy Elephant Seal Enjoys Her Day in the Sun, While Destroying Everything in Her Path” is maybe the most inspirational thing I’ve read this week. Live your best life, Molly. We will follow.

  • Do you have 17 minutes? You have 17 minutes for this staggering Radio Diaries episode, “A Guitar, A Cello and The Day That Changed Music.” Some days I find things that make me remember how much music moves me, and how amazing music journalism is (and could be to do). This is about history’s greatest blues guitarist and greatest cellist jamming together on the same day in 1936. It made me feel so many things.
  • In that vein, Atlas Obscura has taken a look at the vanishing hidden track. (The formative one for me was Alanis Morissette’s “Your House,” a song that seemed to me, at 11, to upend all of Jagged Little Pill in a way I didn’t know you could do.)
  • “All You Americans Are Fired.” BuzzFeed did a long investigation of discriminatory hiring and firing in seasonal agricultural work. I was ready to get angry at this for playing into some “Foreigners are here for our jobs!” argument, and instead I got angrier about something much worse. (Sorry not sorry about that curiosity gap.)
  • The Fader takes corporations to task for stealing culture from the people who are making it: black teens on social media.
  • My first political cause was Free Tibet. For a time, I read everything I could and got angrier and angrier about a thing no one seemed able to make China fix. The New York Times Magazine has a long profile of the Dalai Lama, now 80, who some argue has ultimately not been good for Tibet. Now the Dalai Lama poses his own question: Should he be the last one?