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: Vichy Democrats, Jewish allyship and some cute, smart dogs

Hey, some week! Right? Right?

Oof, ain’t that the truth.

You can track the votes of your representatives in Congress here, by the way. (I’m with Tom Tomorrow — we need to implement the phrase “Vichy Democrats.”) Gizmodo has published a guide to unearthing the embarrassing tweets of your enemies. You can also read sudden bestseller 1984 for free at Project Gutenberg, a superb resource all around. Something to think about as at least six journalists have been charged with felonies for reporting on Trump’s inauguration; the D.C. police chief won’t comment.

  • Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. It’s a day for reflection on current political climates both inside the Jewish community and, in a very big way, outside it. Benjamin Gladstone, writing for Tablet, exhorts Jews not to excuse away antisemitism from their political allies anymore — from the right and from the left. (For more on that, here’s the briefest possible explanation of why it’s antisemitic to bring up Israel/Palestine when discussing issues of Jewish safety — or the presence and existence of Jews at all.) Meanwhile, as Trump moves to close borders and institute immigration quotas based on religion, a bit of cruelty: Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser (because that’s not worrisome enough) is only alive because of chance. His grandmother survived the Holocaust, but couldn’t avoid it entirely, because borders had been closed to her and millions of other Jews who tried to flee Europe.
  • You’ve seen all those “rogue national park service accounts” on Twitter, right? They’re really amusing and encouraging. However, as Motherboard rightly argues, if these really are national park employees who need to be protected (and not a ploy to get federally employed scientists to leak to them and reveal themselves), these accounts should verify themselves somehow. It can be done without compromising their identities.
  • The podcast Reply All found some precedent for a master media manipulator like Trump who nearly rose to seize real power: Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, a man who literally became famous for inserting goat testicles into men with impotence starting in the late 1910s. This guy gave noted American fascist Father Coughlin his start on the radio, and at least for this instance, the story has a happy-for-us ending.
  • Many argue that the real evil we need to keep our eyes on is Mike Pence. Autostraddle has a terrifying piece by a former member of the extreme Christian rightist Quiverfull movement explaining that millions of evangelical conservatives have been waiting for a high government official just like him.
  • It’s all a lot, right? Yeah. You need “How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind.” Pair with “The Democratic Base Is Marching Right Past Its Leaders.”

For more on that (and current Captain America writer Nick Spencer‘s latest bit of high-minded grossness).

If you’re still here, I have a completely unrelated personal essay up at Screwball Heroine, for the interested. “You’ll Never Know” takes on how the language of art-making can become gatekeeping all too easily.

Stay brave, friends.

Things I’m Verbing: Lilohan, Macedon and Diana of Themyscira

It’s the Friday before Election Day! We’re almost there, if we don’t all expire of wrath and exhaustion first. Things are getting weirder and weirder by the minute, apparently. In addition the FBI seemingly openly working to elect one candidate, we’ve also got a starring role for Macedonian teenagers making money off Facebook ads by generating wildly false Trump-supporting content-mill articles. However, it’s not all terrible. Even as someone who lived in and adored Chicago for 12 years and thus is reluctant to give New York credit for much of anything, the New York Times wrote a simply beautiful lede commemorating the Cubs’ World Series win.

In other news, I have a new piece out in Refinery29! Lindsay Lohan baffled the world this week with a meandering new accent; fulfilling my duty as a nerd (and the daughter of an English and linguistics professor), I wrote about sociolinguistics and why we all pick up and drop accents. Hope you enjoy it! For those at home, my source wrote in after listening to the clip and thought LiLo sounded vaguely French, in a very Canadian way.

  • Hillary Clinton answered reader questions at Rookie and it’s great. However, pair with Sudanese-American comics artist Moaz Elemam’s “Distant Fires,” lest we think politics are easy and comfortable at heart.
  • The Hollywood Reporter has a fascinating profile up of “the Oprah of China” — a trans woman who was once a high-profile ballet star. There’s so much left unsaid or elided, which is just as intriguing.
  • Twitter ditching @replies isn’t just an aesthetic misstep. It also makes users even more unsafe, writes sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom.
  • Peace Now, the Israeli peace activist organization, has a new leader, a gay Mizrahi man named Avi Buskila. Outside of Israel, domestic politics tend to get flattened. Buskila’s interview with Ynetnews is a good window into why that’s a mistake.
  • There have been many eulogies written for Vine, the six-second video network. Many of them have noted that shutting down the service means shutting down one of the richest cultural outlets for black youth in America.

To reclaim some joy in your lives (or at least my life), holy cats, you’ve got to watch the new Wonder Woman trailer. It looks amazing, on a bunch of levels. I have a lot of feelings about why we’re long overdue for action and fantasy movies focusing on WWI, as well as Gal Gadot’s Jewishness, but for now, ugh, this just looks great. Happy Friday!

Image Credit: 1derwoman/Flickr

Things I’m Verbing: Slack channels, bear-punching and sweet home Chicago

Even if you’re not from or familiar with Chicago, I really want to make sure everyone reads Dan Sinker’s look back at the legacy of @MayorEmanuel. This was a fictional but real-time Twitter account of a much better version of Rahm Emanuel in his quest for the mayorship in 2010–2011. It was foul-mouthed, aggressive, surreal and intensely in love with the City of Big Shoulders. To be living there as it unwound was an incredibly special experience, and like virtually all of his followers, I was heartbroken when @MayorEmanuel vanished into a time vortex during a clap of thundersnow five years ago this week.

Sinker, who has maintained the tweets on Quaxelrod.com (trust me, it makes sense) and released an excellent annotated book version, also seemingly flirted with bringing @MayorEmanuel back. But in his Medium post, he explains why that could never be. It’s a sober, elegiac look at what both Twitter and Chicago have lost in the half-decade since, and it’s an entirely grown-up reflection on what fiction can’t and can offer us. Sinker also reveals how the story really continues, and it’s magnificent in a way only the world’s &($%(#%*ing greatest cup of coffee can be. You really should read it.

I’m also heading back to Chicago next week for the first time since I moved away, a week before Halloween in 2014. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from the city in my adult life, and I can’t wait to go back. In the meantime… well, I can’t say this is the fluffiest set of links I’ve ever shared, but: