Now my formative years are turning 20, which I’m both glad to see celebrated and also totally not ready to admit. It’s all worth it, though, to see the Atlantic extol the glories of one of my unironic favorite movies of all time.
I turned 13 in 1997, which, among other things, marked my passage into adulthood as a member of the Jewish people. My bat mitzvah was also the first time I met most of my older cousins for the first time I could remember, and holy moly, suddenly I had a bunch of cool music and culture recommendations to break me out of my Celine Dion/movie soundtracks/exclusively the Beatles bubbles. I joined both the Columbia House and BMG mail-away music clubs, ripping out thick folded sheets of CD-cover stamps from my issues of Seventeen and YM. Suddenly my world was Beck’s Odelay, Fiona Apple’s Tidal, Radiohead’s OK Computer and of course, as much Björk as I could get my hands on.
Now my formative years are turning 20, which I’m both glad to see celebrated and also totally not ready to admit. It’s all worth it, though, to see the Atlantic extol the glories of one of my unironic favorite movies of all time: Face/Off.
- Speaking of youth culture, my favorite Beatle, Paul McCartney, turned 75 this past weekend. Esquire has a nice little read from 2014 about how the Fab Four wrested pop culture away from the hands of ad-men and grown-ups.
- This weekend was also Father’s Day, and I’ll be real, I am a sucker for simple features like the AP’s side-by-side comparisons of famous fathers and their uncanny sons through the years.
- In less fun features, this week Amazon bought Whole Foods, and everyone is freaking out. I’ve written before about why Amazon is bad news for all of us, but let FastCompany make the case for breaking up the megacorp as an antitrust violation.
- Speaking of large tech companies who don’t get it, Wired has an excellent bit of architectural criticism — yes, I know — on Apple’s new doughnut-shape headquarters and why it’s not forward-thinking at all.
- The face of America’s veterans is changing drastically, but the systems and attitudes toward all the groups and genders that serve have not. Angry Staff Officer has proposed an eminently sensible way to make these veterans visible: a new universal veteran symbol, like one we employed after World War II.
Stay brave, friends.
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.
I don’t consider myself a politics writer, even though I’m immensely concerned with politics (I tend to find them in everything else I write and think about). Sometimes lately I ask myself whether I really need to focus so hard on sharing links about Trump; Things I’m Verbing was always supposed to be more wide-ranging than that, or if it did narrow focus, it would be because I had a better idea of how to define my professional interests. (Spoiler alert: still a copy editor at heart, still interested in absolutely everything.) So, do I need to share that spreadsheet of signs of fascism? That write-up of narcissistic personality disorder and what it means for covering this impending White House? That (I believe) misguided, if well-meaning, announcement that a Hillary-voting journalist is now voluntarily writing for Breitbart?
Ultimately, for now, I can’t do anything else. It’s all I can think about, and it’s all I seek out. So, for now:
- Thank goodness for Masha Gessen. Her newest essay for the New York Review of Books, on Trump and moral realism, is essential.
- The Guardian has two great, interlinked pieces on the systems that elevated Trump. Shot: “Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy“; chaser: “What Gamergate should have taught us about the ‘alt-right.’“
- The Atlantic, which has a wonderful science section, put out an interesting article yesterday, about how we should actually consider Trump’s relationship to science. I’m generally skeptical of “no really, it won’t be that bad!” articles, but this is a nuanced analysis of something a lot of people are very frightened about.
- Here’s a headline I never thought I’d click on, much less truly enjoy: from the Los Angeles Review of Books, “Doctor Strange and the Trump Presidency.” I’ve given this Marvel film a miss thus far, but you don’t need to know much of anything about it; the essay explains the national mood among a certain set very well.
- Sidling over to some further film criticism, I actually agree with Slate on this one: “J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts Flirts With Gay Allegory. Its Sequels Should Go All the Way.” Contains spoilers, but hey, I think you should see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — I went in with no expectations and knowing it would have problems (oh boy, it did), and yet I came out absolutely loving it.
I posted my first story for Hello Giggles today, and it’s one that’s close to my heart in a lot of ways. Agent Carter is a TV show about a woman kicking ass in the 1940s, but it’s also, in its first season, a show about confronting grief. “What Agent Carter Gets Right About Grief” is a personal essay about television that finally presents something I’ve lived with for many years in a realistic way — and makes it the protagonist’s greatest journey.
The second season just premiered last night, but you can stream the first season right now. It’s only eight episodes, and even if you’re not familiar with Captain America, it stands well enough on its own that I can’t recommend it enough.
- Given the seeming avalanche of beloved celebrity deaths over the past week or so, everyone has been trying to understand both public and personal grief. Three very useful links:
- Despite the above, Agent Carter is also a fantastic, heart-clutchingly wonderful technicolor spy noir, with more than a little excellent comedy thrown in. It’s not the only genre show I’m keeping an eye on; thank goodness for io9‘s exhaustive list of what’s to come across the networks.
- If you’re looking for another exhaustive list of excellence, the 2016 National Magazine Award finalists were just announced, and there are links.
- This week saw a conversation in the publishing industry about the value or gatekeeping effects of workshops such as the prestigious six-week Clarion program for sci-fi and fantasy writers. It led to some good conversations about what “makes” a writer, but disability activists have also spoken out forcefully about the privilege baked into the structure of such events. Applicable throughout society, not just the SFF world.
- I loved this Huffington Post video about using shipping crates as portable, sustainable gardens, especially since I also just listened to 99% Invisible‘s “Reefer Madness” episode (it makes sense once you dive in, but trust me, Roman Mars is giggling too).