Things I’m Verbing: Insurance conspiracies, gatekeeping whiteness and how linguistics could save the republic

I love getting to kick off with an announcement of new work, and I’ve been especially excited about this piece for a while. Earlier this year, while I was trying to find a psychiatrist who actually took my insurance, one doctor sighed and said that I didn’t hear it from her, but insurance companies definitely pad their online networks to make it look like they provide exponentially more coverage than they really offer. I got curious, especially because my insurance is very, very low-income, and I wondered if this was a feature of low-income versus high-income plans.

Turns out it was something else entirely, much less sinister but immensely more frustrating. And that story found a home at Vice’s new health section, Tonic, which — I can’t state enough how good the work has been there. I’m so looking forward to seeing how it grows. For now: Why It’s Such a Struggle to Find an In-Network Therapist.” Please feel free to share far and wide, obviously, and I’d love to hear what you think.

And if any outlets out there want to hire me and give me better insurance, by all means, let’s please chat.

  • Yesterday I finally had the experience of being not at all bothered by a story that was sending my Twitter feed up in arms. However, if you understand that antisemitism is racial hatred and that the Holocaust was about racial purity, it will not shock you very much that “Are Jews White?” is a real question the Atlantic is asking. It’s an excellent piece by Emma Green, and it’s a question many Jews online have been discussing for some time. Green addresses concerns from the left and the right in a follow-up post with poise and precision; this article is not what you think it is going in, and I applaud it.
  • On a related note, the Guardian’s “Google, Democracy and the Truth About Internet Search” starts off with a simple question: Are Jews evil? It autofilled in the search field, after all. And so Carole Cadwalladr takes us down a rabbit hole about who owns and controls information, as well as the literally viral nature of the right-wing web. An absolutely phenomenal piece, which has already — well, had some real-life effects.
  • Meanwhile, you’ve got to read BuzzFeed’s wonderful Charlie Warzel on where Donald Trump gets his news. This is a visual, data-driven effort that just…. well, it proves a point about wide-ranging media diets, while also pairing with the above piece on the right-wing web rather well.
  • There will never not be a place for post-election processing. I refuse to believe “we’re all moving past that now” and that people are sick of it. Exhibit A: Aliza Layne’s comic about queer artists and the forces that want to shout down their art, their self-expression and their very being. Exhibit B: author Chuck Wendig’s explanation of the “white working class” psyche, as exemplified by his father. Exhibit C: my photo up top; people haven’t stopped leaving encouraging post-its all over subway stations along 14th Street in New York. I do hope this continues.
  • On the Media spoke to a cognitive linguist this week about how the very act of talking about Trump normalizes him. It sounds horrible, but it’s fascinating, and more than that — there’s something actionable within it that journalists and citizens can do to fight.

Good luck out there, friends.

Things I’m Verbing: Still Verbing: The Verbening

Hello, friends! Are we still talking about Trump? Are we still talking about the Olympics? Or Twitter’s terrible double standard on abuse and “copyright infringement”? Good grief, let’s do some other stuff.

  • You want to listen to something really magical? On the Media got in touch with The Daily Caller editor Scott Greer and asked him to justify the outlet’s frankly horrible journalistic standards in its coverage of the Khan family. (Yes, sorry, this is a little bit about Trump. He gets everywhere, yeesh.) Greer’s indignant meltdown over defending the indefensible is gold. By which I mean it’s staggeringly disingenuous, and not so much a dog whistle as a bullhorn.
  • The idea that antisemitism is not just a right-wing phenomenon is starting to pick up steam. You may have read Jewish anti-occupation activist Yotam Marom’s “Toward the Next Jewish Rebellion: Facing Anti-Semitism and Assimilation in the Movement,” which is worth your time no matter what your politics. I’d also encourage clicking through most of the threads in Navah Wolfe’s Twitter conversation about the pain of silence as a coping mechanism, as well as this post on the hypocrisy of Olympic athletes’ hostility toward the Israeli team. This blogger is a Bengali Jew, and has insisted before that people across the board take a hard look at their own countries’ history when criticizing another.
  • Rural America confronts a new class divide,” about subsistence farms versus megafarms, and “The Original Underclass,” a comparison between two books about whiteness in rural America, make for an interesting look at poverty, class and politics going back hundreds of years that continue today.
  • Catapult is a new outlet to me, but Jessica Miller’s wonderful “Hair in War,” an examination of World War II through women’s hairstyles (not nearly as frivolous as you might think), recommends it highly.
  • Related to that, I can’t stop thinking about Atlas Obscura’s article “The Perfectly Preserved World War I Trench.”

Up top: And now for something completely different. I’m not entirely sure why this nicely adorned jalopy lives on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, but I’m glad it does.