Yeah… I wasn’t into the internet this week. Highlights: Mariah Carey needs you to get the fuck out of her house, black women are owed many apologies, LeBron James should be a DJ, Zoë Kravitz likes wolves, not everyone remembers 9/11, Facebook manipulates people into voting, Tangier Island might be home to the country’s first climate change casualties, making lists and writing lists are two different things, plagiarism in art is complicated, and Planned Parenthood welcomes new president Leana Wen.
Anyone that has talked to me since mid-August knows about my new obsession with Mariah Carey, specifically Carey circa 1993. Shortly after my obsession started, it was announced that Mariah Carey would release a new album this fall—naturally, I was excited. GTFO is the first single from the album and Mimi is her unadulterated self. As R. Eric Thomas writes for Elle, “if Mariah Carey were a Victorian heroine, she’d be the person writing 10-page letters about all your personal failings, shortcomings, and deficiencies in elaborate cursive. With a peacock quill.”
The whole song is Mimi telling an ex-lover to “Get the fuck out / take your things and be on your merry way / Fly off with a wink, bye bye baby” all in the light, sultry, and seductive voice she is known for. Do I like the song? Honestly, I would probably say it as fun, make brilliant memes, and the most interesting thing she had done since the Emancipation of Mimi. But in all fairness, I am partial to ballads.
2. Independent: The furore over Serena Williams exposes the double standards and invisible structures of our society
The internet dedicated itself to Serena Williams, and the US Open final generally, for the first half of the week. This entire week could have easily been dedicated to articles about the match. Most people are saying the same thing: Serena was right to demand an apology, Osaka was also shorted in the controversy, and the umpire was wrong. And let’s not even get started on that cartoon.
3. Apple: The Strongest by LeBron James
This playlist is super dope! “The strongest people in LeBron’s eyes are women. Their resilience, courage, dignity, and loyalty are all traits that inspire him to be the person he is everyday. Get inspired with this playlist hand-selected by LeBron.”
4. Harper’s Bazaar: Zoë Kravitz Poses Unretouched and Opens Up About Defying Stereotypes
I don’t know why I find this so funny but it is hilarious. It is probably because of all of the wolves and fake running.
Anyway, Reese Witherspoon interviewed Zoë Kravitz about life and being racially stereotyped in Hollywood. Kravitz gave the answers you would expect her to give. It is just as you would expect it to be, including the pictures, which kinda make the whole thing worth it.
5. BuzzFeed: The Kids Who Come After 9/11
I think about 9/11 a lot. I was 5, almost 6, when it happened. I don’t remember much about before 9/11, but I remember a lot changing after. During my senior year in college, I took a class on 9/11 and that is the first time I truly understood the scope of the attack and learned any history about the events that lead up to it.
I am on the cusp of people who remember that day. It is impossible to speak about “the politics and culture of 2018 without each preceding event, beginning with 9/11,” and starting next fall, “there will be voters who were born after that day.” Will this change politics? No one knows for certain, but “if you have one, can you imagine existing without it? Doesn’t it seem like some floor on which the past two decades rests?” For me, it was always in the backdrop of my childhood, exisiting somewhere between a memory of my own, and a story I have been told so many times that I began to embody it.
6. The New Yorker: Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?
I never spent much time on the internet before Facebook. The company was founded in 2004, and I didn’t have much use for the internet until middle school, and didn’t consistently use it until high school. I still remember the dial-up tone. I’m currently active on Facebook, mostly to find articles for this series, post in on my account, and to use Messenger.
Facebook is no longer a social media platform, and it hadn’t really been for a while before the 2016 election. Starting in 2010 “Facebook was able to prod users to vote simply by feeding them pictures of friends who had already voted, and by giving them the option to click on an ‘I Voted’ button. The technique boosted turnout by three hundred and forty thousand people—more than four times the number of votes separating Trump and Clinton in key states in the 2016 race. It became a running joke among employees that Facebook could tilt an election just by choosing where to deploy its ‘I Voted’ button.'” Now, Facebook is a political giant and arbiter of fake news. If the website where a country “it would have the largest population on earth. More than 2.2 billion people, about a third of humanity, log in at least once a month.”
This profile is fascinating, but is also an attempt to humanize a website via Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of Facebook. And, in fact, the two are so closely related that a profile on Zuckerberg is also one of Facebook.
7. Pacific Standard: The Country’s First Climate Change Casualties?
Tangier, a small island off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland, has land, which lies “an average of fewer than four feet above sea level.” It is sinking and sea levels are rising at “a rate of nearly five millimeters a year, and accelerating” while “the global rate of sea-level rise is about three millimeters a year.” Since 185o, “the island has lost around two-thirds of its landmass.”The residents of the Tangier, many of whom have been there for generations, might become the first casualties of climate change in the country, but many don’t think climate change is real.
Tangier became politicized “last June, when Donald Trump came calling, that Tangier’s plight crept into popular consciousness. After his advisers showed him a CNN report about the disappearing island and its pro-Trump inhabitants, the president phoned Eskridge and personally urged him to drop any concerns about sea-level rise. And suddenly everyone, it seemed, had an opinion on what was happening on this previously obscure island, rendering Tangier a poster child for both sides in the national conversation on climate change.”
8. Literary Hub: Why Literature Loves Lists
My favorite list in a piece of writing is Sol LeWitt’s list of everything Eva Hesse must stop doing in a letter he wrote to her. LeWitt professed to his friend that she “just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!”
LeWitt probably didn’t mean for his letter to be read as literature, but that is how I read it. Nor did he presumably mean for it to be a monologue, yet it has been performed as one. I often come back to LeWitt’s letter for this list because a “list, if it’s doing its job, always leaves something to be invented or recalled, something forgotten in the moment of its making.” I have always been able to picture him when he is writing it, but never Hesse reading it.
9. Artnet: Artist Hank Willis Thomas Pulls Work From a South African Art Fair After a Photographer Levels Plagiarism Charges
I love debating plagiarism in art. It is one of my favorite things to talk about. It is complex and almost always leads to a debate on authorial intent, which is perhaps why I like it so much.
Artist Hank Willis Thomas has been accused of plagiarizing a photograph by Graeme Williams. The work was in the Johannesburg art fair, and Willis Thomas made the decision the remove the work after he heard news of the accusation. Willis Thomas still maintains that the work was not plagiarized. According to a spokesperson for Goodman Gallary, who represents Willis Thomas, “only one edition has been produced of the work. At the moment, there is a conversation between Thomas and Williams regarding what will happen to the work.”
As for what will happen to the work? “Willis Thomas wants to leave that decision to Williams. ‘I said, ‘Well you could destroy it, you could sell it, I can send it your other gallery,” he told artnet News. ‘It’s not about the commercial side of it…. [It is the] conversation that I actually care about…. Who has the right to represent the historic document of a public event and in what way?’”
10. NPR: Planned Parenthood Names Dr. Leana Wen As Its New President
Dr. Leana Wen is Planned Parenthood’s new President, replacing Cecile Richards. Wen is only the second doctor to hold the position. She is leaving her post as Health Commissioner of Baltimore City. We will miss you, Leana.
*All images taken from reference articles*
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