The Internet is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week

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Entropy and the Old Monuments

I didn’t really notice the internet this week. The Trump administration is trying to erase Trans people, pipe bombs were sent to Democrats, and there was a shooting at a synagogue. Highlights: The US doesn’t really have laws to protect pregnant women at work, some murders are never solved, Darius Miles shared his life story, John Legend isn’t interesting, the creator of the green-bean casserole died, we should eat more herbs, The Good Place loves ethics, not all things have to be good to be meaningful, Cardi B loves ASMR, and punctuation is GOAT.

1. New York Times: Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination This article has been everywhere on the internet this week! The physical toll of working in a warehouse, or other labor-intensive fields, can be exhausting. In a warehouse outside of Memphis, workers “lift and drag boxes weighing up to 45 pounds, filled with iPhones and other gadgets. There is no air-conditioning on the floor of the warehouse…temperatures there can rise past 100 degrees.”

These effects of working in a warehouse can be compounded if you are pregnant. But, “under federal law, companies don’t necessarily have to adjust pregnant women’s jobs, even when lighter work is available and their doctors send letters urging a reprieve. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is the only federal law aimed at protecting expecting mothers at work. It is four paragraphs long and 40 years old. It says that a company has to accommodate pregnant workers’ requests only if it is already doing so for other employees who are ‘similar in their ability or inability to work.’ That means that companies that do not give anyone a break have no obligation to do so for pregnant women.” This articles is sad, but not surprising in the least.

2. Bloomberg Businessweek: The Unsolved Murder of an Unusual Billionaire I remember when this happened. I almost included it in one of these lists, but didn’t because nothing seemed to come of the murders. Perhaps that is why I should have included it. Last December, the bodies of Barry Sherman, a Canadian pharmaceutical executive, and his wife Honey were found by a real-estate agent leading a tour of prospective buyers in their house. They were part of Canada’s high society, two of the countries biggest philanthropists, and seemed to be liked by everyone.

“To the investigators who’ve been on the case for the past 10 months—the police and a team of private detectives hired by the couple’s four adult children—the crime presents a series of contradictions. Police found no evidence of a break-in, and the manner in which the Shermans were killed was personal, even intimate. The official cause of death for both was ‘ligature neck compression,’ meaning strangulation by a cord or belt—painful, terrifying, and indicating a passionate desire to see them suffer… With little concrete information available, friends and colleagues have projected a tangle of theories into the void, speculating variously about the culpability of rival drugmakers, disgruntled ex-employees, and Russian-Israeli gangsters.” We will probably never know what happened.

3. The Players’ Tribune: What the Hell Happened to Darius Miles? Reading this was an experience. I always find reading about the late 90s and early 00s fascinating because it was a time that I lived through but never learned.  I have intermittently seen people tap their heads twice, but never knew where it came from or thought to find out. Darius Miles, a former NBA star —popularizer of the double tap— tells his story for the first time since his apparent downfall. “When you’re in the NBA, people think you’re a superhero. Maybe you think you’re a superhero, too. But there’s all kinds of stuff going on under the surface that nobody has any idea about.”  

4. BuzzFeed: Will John Legend Ever Make Interesting Music Again? Personally, I don’t really like John Legend. I find is music rather boring and his voice seems to constantly verge on being flat. That being said, the man is accomplished, and I respect that. Legend is “a guarded, old-fashioned R&B artist in a genre in which specific, confessional lyrics and vulnerability are prized; an affable celebrity with outspoken, politically progressive views; a man whose quiet arrogance doesn’t activate obvious asshole alarms.”

Everything he does seems to be enough to take a stance on pressing issues, but not enough to cause any controversy. And while his wife lives on a meat farm, Legend always seems largely avoid celebrity beef.  Legend’s newest album is a Christmas album. I have not listened to it, but I assume it is exactly what I would expect it to sound like: Good, “but it’s not risky. You will comfortably hear this at Starbucks across America… there is nothing wrong with that. But given his talent, his point of view, it still feels like there’s some untapped artistic potential, new heights he could reach if that’s what he wanted.”

5. New York Times: Dorcas Reilly, Creator of the Classic American Green-Bean Casserole, Dies at 92 Whenever I have to say a fun fact, my fact is always the same: My favorite section of the New York Times is the obituary section. Whenever I read the obituaries, I always learn about people who had huge impact on culture that I never knew of. I, like many Americans and most true Midwesterners, enjoy a good green bean casserole. Dorcas Reilly created the classic dish in 1955 when she worked in the Campbell’s test kitchen. “The company says that more than 20 million American homes will serve the dish this Thanksgiving.”

6. The New Yorker: A Case for Eating Herbs as if They Were Vegetables Cooking with fresh herbs is my favorite way to cook. The flavors of fresh basil, mint, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and the list could continue forever, are irreplaceable. But I have never thought about eating them on their own. In Caucasus region, aromatics are integral to the cuisine, and “at each meal, a huge platter stood proud in the middle of the table, piled with bunches of greenery: raikhan (purple basil), mint, dill, tarragon, land cress, cilantro, and spring onions. They were long and robust, nothing like those sad, weedy clumps we now buy in supermarkets, and were meant to be eaten by the stalkful, as if they were vegetables.” Perhaps next summer will the summer of herbs.

7. The Atlantic: How to Break Up Ethically, According to The Good Place The Good Place might be my favorite show currently airing. I don’t often talk about it, but I look forward to watching it each week. The show strikes a perfect balance between being entertaining and thoughtful. It makes you think without realizing it. Ethics is always at the forefront of the show, as one of the main characters is a moral philosophy professor.

“The show’s first two seasons saw the four main humans of the cast—the dithering professor Chidi, the sassy lowlife Eleanor, the superficial one-percenter Tahani, and the chronically confused criminal Jason—exploring a (twee, hilarious, frozen-yogurt-filled) afterlife. But for Season 3, they’ve had their minds wiped and have been sent back to Earth as part of an experiment by the divine beings above. Which means the hugely abstract questions the show has toyed with (see: the trolley problem) are going to be dealt with in more concrete, banal, real-life scenarios.” 

After learning the truth about the afterlife, Chidi must break up with his girlfriend, without lying to her, or telling that it is due to his new knowledge, which if she also learned about, would condemn her for eternity. After going through a series of scenarios with the robot-helper Janet, Chidi learns that the basics of an ethical breakup are “Don’t ghost, don’t lie, but also don’t tell so much of the truth that it ends up feeling like an attack on the person being broken up with.” There is no “no-fault, no-hurt farewell” but, sometimes a little comfort can be found in the “plainspokenness and care can keep the situation from being hell.”

    8. Virginia Quarterly Review: Arch of Hysteria This is not my favorite poem. But I have been thinking a lot about what my history smells like recently.

I went to an exhibition of performative drawings by Kara Rooney in a small art space in Brooklyn last year. I met the artist when I was in high school, and have loosely kept in contact with her ever since. The white room had large graphite drawings on paper covering the walls, and few buckets filled with chunks of plaster sitting on the floor. About thirty minutes after I got to the opening, the performance started. Rooney emptied the buckets of plaster onto the floor and began pushing their contents around with a broom. She would intermittently stop and read passages from her journal.

During one of her readings, Rooney asked: “What does your history smell like?” I don’t remember if she answered the question, or the rest of the performance, because I was so captivated by it. After she finished, Rooney invited people to add to the drawings on the walls. I wrote, “My history smells like Light Blue”— the color, but also Dolce and Gabbana. Earlier this week, my history didn’t smell like Light Blue for the first time since I was asked that question. Rather, the smell of Light Blue produced the feeling of my history. I read this poem and the lines “It is whatever/ you think can carry you from your childhood/ without breaking your heart” have stuck with me. It is a perfect response to a question the poem never asked.  

YouTube: ASMR with Cardi B

LMFAO…what is this?!?!?!?! I mean I know what it is, but this is sooo funny! Cardi B gave an interview while doing an ASMR session and she is surprisingly good at it. Apparently she watches it a lot and said “my husband thinks it’s very strange and weird that I watch ASMR every single day to go to bed. But it gives me a very tingly, tingly, tingly, tingly, tingly, tingly sensation.”

For the best experience listen to this with headphones. The sound will be closer to your ears, and the audio will be more spatial as Cardi switches from using the left microphone to the right one.

10 Twitter: I made a meme about punctuation

Everyone has a favorite punctuation mark. Personally, I think em dashes are sexy as fuck. I would use them everywhere if I could. This feels like a personal attack.

*All images taken from reference articles* Have a suggestion for next week? Email with the subject line “The Internet is Exploding.”

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