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: Abortion, smugness and testimony

Oh my god, what has happened since Tuesday? I mean, there’s the Heartbeat Bill in my native Ohio, which criminalizes abortion at a point before most women even know they’re pregnant. There’s Trump getting the National Park Service to deny permits for weeks around the Lincoln Memorial to prevent the Million Woman March next month. Apparently Trump also just said that internment wasn’t bad because FDR?

Stay brave, 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.

Things I’m Verbing: Owning memory, wrecking public parks and vindicating the Nick Fury approach

Who’s strong and brave, here to save the American way? Captain America, who’s a Nazi now, apparently! I’m excited to see how Marvel spins this one — it takes a special kind of willful dismissal to insist that “people who seem good can really be bad!” is a meaningful storyline when the character himself was created by two Jews to shame the United States into staving off the genocide of a minority group.

Come on, Marvel. Let us have nice things for once.

Ugh. Moving on.

  • This is actually perhaps the perfect time to link On the Media’s excellent new episode on the politics of memory, specifically but not solely regarding World War II.
  • Why don’t campus health centers provide access to abortion? Good question.
  • Slate has a long, interesting look at liberal Christianity in the United States, and how it could mobilize as a political force to challenge that of the right. Lots of interesting numbers.
  • Summer in Chicago is all about street fests and music fests. Unfortunately, they’re rarely about actually helping neighborhoods anymore. The Chicago Reader highlights efforts by community organizations to keep major events like RiotFest and the Pitchfork Music Festival out of their parks — because these events are wrecking everything.
  • A lot of these links are about questions of ownership. Who owns Captain America? Who owns the Christian vote? Who owns the places they live? Aeon takes that question deep into antiquity with a really neat examination of artifacts and ancient Iraq. The twist? They’re Jewish incantation bowls. So who gets them — Iraq or the Jews who fled Iraq?

Oh, and if you’re confused by the title of this post, I present one of the few things Joss Whedon added to the MCU that I like:

Things I’m Verbing: Wine, whining and the will of the people

Could I be more excited, even if I’m posting here a day later than intended? I’d love to find out. My story, “Matt Bellassai’s guide to drinking (and whining) your way to the top,” made the cover of the Chicago RedEye today. As someone who lived in Chicago for 12 years and who read that paper (and yelled about the crossword puzzle) nearly every day, this is just amazing. Even Bellassai is excited, and he’s in Los Angeles tonight as a nominee for a People’s Choice Award for Best Social Media Star. You can read more about him at the article (plus the fun sidebar where we cast his inevitable biopic), and see some behind-the-scenes exclusives that didn’t make it in over at my blog.

Some other links I’m loving lately:

  • The New Yorker visited El Alto, Bolivia, the world’s highest city, where architects are creating the most amazing Art Nouveau indigenous sci-fi.
  • I keep reading ISIS thinkpieces, and Aeon’sISIS Is a Revolution” has stayed with me a long time. Pair with the New York Times Magazine‘s long look at secular Kurds fighting to build their own kind of utopia.
  • Over the holidays, I fell deep into the world of cooking and baking shows and documentaries, particularly The Great British Bake Off. That led to some poking through Netflix, which led to Jiro Dreams of Sushi (many years late), which led to find this amazing article from Bon Appetit: Are All the Top French Chefs Freemasons?
  • My j-school profs spent December singing the praises of Spotlight, and I have to agree with their assessment. The New York Times wrote an interesting piece on what makes journalism movies good, both artistically and in portraying journalism, and how those don’t always match up.
  • World War II is what got me into journalism (thanks, Studs Terkel), so any oral histories that shed light on that period in the period’s own voices is 100% my jam. I finally listened to the Radio Diaries episode “Fly Girls,” about female pilots in the WASP program. If you spotted me on the subway crying with my headphones on, this is why.