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: 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:

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"JUSTICE! NOW!" #bodegastrike

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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.

Things I’m Verbing: Fake falcons, beetle dresses and freely assembled ghosts

No Oscars thinkpieces, I promise. (Although for Super Tuesday, yes, you need to watch John Oliver’s “Make Donald Drumpf Again” segment, it is worth your 20 minutes.) However, I do have some pretty nifty entertainment stories on call.

  • This Vanity Fair piece probably shouldn’t be as long as it is, but the search for the real Maltese Falcon does go some deeply surprising places by the end.
  • Ellen Terry is by some accounts the greatest Lady Macbeth to ever grace the stage. Her famous 1888 performance featured a green dress decorated with real beetles’ wings. Though it’s an old link, this look at how costume conservators restored the dress is fascinating. Museum people are just great.
  • Less entertaining: One country has seen a world leader like Donald Trump before. Remember Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi? You should.
  • However, art and politics can mingle in some really stunning ways. Last week, a protest occurred in Seoul unlike any I’d heard of. The protesters were holograms. The method began in Spain, and both stemmed from very real free speech and assembly concerns.
  • If you’re feeling out of the loop news-wise in general, don’t worry — McSweeney’s has got you covered.