November 15, 2019

Hi! We made it this far, guys. Stay hydrated, moisturize, and wear gloves. Let’s be good to each other as it gets cold and dark and twinkle-lit.

  1. How to Support Your Fat Friends, as a Straight Size Person, Medium. (CW: calorie mention, though critically.) “When a thin person does something — anythingto defend or support a fat person, it’s a thunderclap, a cathartic climax in an otherwise desolate movie. I long for those moments. I imagine a thin friend talking about their fat politics, unprompted, with other thin people. I imagine them proactively bringing up fat activism, inviting other thin people into a conversation about solidarity and matching their actions to their values.” And I really liked this part too: “These friends are the bright and beautiful exceptions to the world around me. They know that they have internalized anti-fatness, and know that their good hearts and best intentions aren’t enough on their own to end anti-fat bias. They recognize that compassion and commiseration are meaningless without sustained action. […] The friends I have kept understand that their support doesn’t hinge on how they feel, but on how they show up and what actions they take.
  2. The Worship of Billionaires Has Become Our Shittiest Religion, The Outline. “If you have in your possession one billion dollars, then almost literally anything you desire — anything anyone might possibly conceive of desiring — can be yours, just as soon as you happen to desire it. But with no real friction between desire and reality, how does wanting even function? Can someone who lives like this even be said to know desire, anymore, at all?” In my opinion, no one should be able to hoard that much wealth and pass it into other generations. When the author says they’re not people, it seems to me to mean that they are removed from ordinary human experience (at the expense of other human beings’ labor, time, and health). What does a billionaire know about the hard choices an immigrant family has to make? “Becoming a billionaire is a matter of extreme luck, often experienced not by any one individual but rather spread out, over generations… And what is more: your good luck, in becoming a billionaire, must simultaneously be felt — often directly, and perhaps very violently — as the bad luck, of possibly hundreds of millions of others, whom your wealth exists as theft from.” This is a pretty philosophical and fascinating read.
  3. “The Role of the Artist in the Age of Trump,” The Atlantic. “What artists can do is bring stories to the table that are unshakably true—the sort of stories that, once you’ve heard them, won’t let you return to what you thought before. […] I believe great art is like bypass surgery. It allows us to go around all of the psychological distancing mechanisms that turn people cold to the most vulnerable among us.” Gorgeous writing by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
  4. Stammer Time, The Baffler. “Some of us, though, have been trying to flip the paradigm, to reframe stuttering as a trait that confers transformative powers. We wear our vulnerability on the outside, and that invites emotional intimacy with others. We slow down conversations, fostering patience. We give texture to language. We gauge character by our listeners’ reactions. We are good listeners ourselves. This impulse is hardly original to stutterers. We’ve drawn ideas from other minorities: autistic people, whose “neurodiversity” model declares that a society is richer when it embraces a wider range of thoughts and behaviors; gays and lesbians, who in 1973 convinced the American Psychiatric Association to depathologize homosexuality; and deaf people, whose well-developed language and culture have led some members to talk about “Deaf Gain” rather than “hearing loss.” Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything from this lens before but I learned a lot. These lines struck me too: “Can we stop believing that the problem lives inside our bodies? Might the real problem lie in a society that, in its quest for order and efficiency, makes no accommodation for people who speak (or walk or think) differently? Might the solutions lie there too?”
  5. Why the US National Anthem is Terrible — And Perfect, Vox. This video is a little old but new to me. I really liked how it broke down what is wild and impossible about our national anthem (its highest and lowest notes are 12 steps apart!). It also shows how national anthem performances are really good when they’re good, and really bad when they’re not so good. Neat lil video!

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