I really liked the internet this week, there was some informative shit on it. Highlights: Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committed suicide, Second Life is dying, body positivity is a lie, there is always more to learn from Mr. Rogers, Trump continues to take on professional sports, Kim K might actually be good at politics, we love grifters, gator butchering is a thing, the C-word should be reconsidered, and faith-based films are making a comeback.
1. The New Yorker: Preventable Tragedies
This week designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. The internet has been filled will articles on Spade and Bourdain and links to suicide hotlines are constantly being shared. Both of their deaths are tragic, and they are bringing about a larger discourse on how America understands suicide.
I chose this article because it mentions both Spade and Bourdain by name, but does not focus on them specifically, rather it addresses the worrying trend that “Suicide is on the rise nationwide… It has gone up twenty-five per cent in the past two decades, with increases in almost every state.”
2. Digg: Exploring The Digital Ruins Of ‘Second Life’
Over the past few months an interest in Second Life, an online “3D massively-multiplayer open-world game,” has reserged. People seem to want to reminisce about how the internet used to be, and how Second Life offered an escape from reality. I have never played Second Life and scarcely remember an internet before corporatization.
I am a very nostalgic and sentimental person, but this whole article reads like virtual ruin porn. The only interesting parts of it come when Joe Viex, the author, brings up that “many [websites] that were popular in the ’90s and early ’00s are now vaporware. The companies went bankrupt or were purchased and mismanaged to death. Users fled. Communities were destroyed. Data was liquidated.”
Perhaps my disinterest in the ruin porn aspect of this article is because the internet I grew up with has yet to disappear, although it seems to be on the brink. Maybe I should be more empathetic. Since I can remember, I have always been taught whatever I put online will be there forever, but as capitalism takes over and virtual spaces disappear, that might not be true.
3. Racked: Body Positivity Is a Scam
One of my interests in self-design is looking at how people deal with systems that are imposed on their bodies. The beauty industry has unrealistic standards for how people, specifically women, should look. It also has standards for how people noncompliant body should feel about themselves. When Dove launched its Real Beauty campaign in 2004 it posited that, posited that “women often feel bad about themselves and their appearance, and it’s bad that women feel that way.”
The campaign contorted body positivity which “started out radical and fringe, as a tenet of the fat acceptance movement of the 1960s” into a neat packable product. In the course of its life, Dove and Real Beauty “conflated identifying a problem with solving it” and aestheticised what it means to feel good about yourself.
The first thing I did when I saw the trailer for Won’t You Be My Neighbour, the recently released documentary on Fred Rogers, was send it to my childhood best friend. We have known each other since we were a few months old. I don’t have as many memories of the early years of our childhood as my friend, and each time we see each other he always tells me stories I have a vague recollection of at most.
I don’t remember ever constantly watching Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood, but I remember watching it. I liked seeing the fish. And I always paid particular attention to how he tied his shoes, buttoned his buttons, and zipped his jackets. I went to a Montessori school where using fasteners and pour water between glasses was part of my daily class life. The care and precision with which Mr. Rogers dressed himself seemed magical. When I got frustrated, I would think about how calm Mr. Rogers would stay while tying his shoes, and it would help me relax and accomplish my goal.
Mr. Rogers was exact and thoughtful with everything he did and said, teaching others to do the same.
5. BuzzFeed: We Had To Choose Between Trump And The Philadelphia Eagles. We Chose The Eagles.
Trump continues to try to take on professional sports and it is kind of confusing. After a long back and forth, mostly with himself, Trump decided to disinvite this year’s Super Bowl winner, the Philadelphia Eagles, to the White House. Majority of the team never planned on attending.
It will be interesting to see what the Golden State Warriors will do in light of Trump stating that they are not invited. They probably don’t care, and the whole tradition of professional and college sports teams visiting the White House seems weird anyway.
6. YouTube: Kim Kardashian: I told Johnson she’d be freed
Last week Kim met with Donald Trump to discuss prison reform and granting clemency to Alice Johnson, a non-violent drug offender. This week Trump granted Johnson clemency. Kim’s advocacy has been controversial, but she did something most people have not been able to do, meet with Trump and get her way. Honestly, this BuzzFeed article pretty aptly sums up how I feel about the whole thing.
ALSO, I love the shade the Kim constantly throws in this interview about being starstruck by the oval office but never by speaking with Trump as the president! LOL!!!!
7. Observer: Why Do We Love Grifters? Because We’re Secretly Jealous of Them.
Last week New York magazine published a piece about “Anna Delvey,” a young grifter in New York that convinced the world’s most elite that she was one of them. The article was all over the internet but I didn’t pick it partially because I learned about it late, and partially because it was not that interesting. Yes, Delvey’s persona was interesting but the fact she had it was not. She was not the first, and she most certainly will not be the last. “But at the heart of these scammer phenomenons is the undeniable rush of crowing superiority one feels when reading about the ease with which wealthy individuals and intimidating institutions were duped.”
8. Electric Lit: Gator Butchering For Beginners
I have read this story a lot this week, and every time I find something new. It might be my favorite thing I have read in the past few months. Kristen Arnett’s new short story isn’t anymore about butchering alligator than it is about you, the reader, and who, or what, your alligator might be. If you want to kill a gator, “it’ll hurt, but you can get at what you crave if you want it badly enough.”
9. The New Republic: What’s So Bad About the C-Word?
I was recently in France and had an interesting conversation about the word cunt. A few French people, myself, and two other Americans were talking about profanity in our respective languages. One of the French guys asked what the worst word was, and the only one we could think of — and the only one I don’t really use — was cunt. When asked why none of us Americans had an answer, we just said it was perceived as very vulgar and highly offensive.
Interestingly, “the history of ‘cunt’ shows us the word itself holds no real power.” Taking this into consideration Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt” has a different subversive meaning, and “to suggest that ‘cunt’ be removed from every English-speaking person’s lexicon would be tyrannical.”
10. The Muse: A Journey Into the Righteous, Risk-Averse World of Faith-Based Films
Since the 2004 release of The Passion of the Christ, christian films have seen a resurgence. With the ever onslaught of superhero films, particularly in the DC universe, I always found Christianity alive and well in American cinema. Afterall, Christianity —wether you are religious or not — is intricately woven into American culture and politics, but “millions of religious Americans in flyover states… feel like mainstream Hollywood has left them behind.” “At the end of the day, Hollywood is a business,” and a genre has been created just to get the money of Christian Americans who feel ” increasingly marginalized by a secular popular culture.”
I am not a religious person, but this article is fascinating.
*All images taken from reference articles* Have a suggestion for next week? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “The Internet is Exploding.”