The Internet Is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 11/1

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Art AND: McKinley Wallace III

Most of the internet was, surprisingly, pretty good this week. The real world, however, had sorrow, unnecessary violence, and police brutality. Say his name: Walter Wallace Jr. Highlights: Keke Palmer, Mariah Carey week, Sable Elyse Smith, Angela Davis, the indelibility of AOC, we need new arts institutions, Amy Coney Barrett gets confirmed, Miles Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg, and contemplating fun.


1. Fault: A Journey Through Black History With Keke Palmer

OH. MY. GOODNESS. Absolutely stunning pictures of Keke Palmer. Photographed by Mark Elzey and styled by Sebastien Prudent for an interview with Miles Holder for Fault magazine, these photographs are sublime! Yes, it was interesting learning about how Palmer chooses projects and reflects on her career, but THESE PHOTOS! … Let’s just say I spent a lot of time looking at these images this week. 


2. 68to05: Mariah Carey Week, Pt. 1

I adore reading anything about Mariah Carey. This week (and next) is Mariah Carey week on 68to05, “a playlist project” edited and curated by Hanif Abdurraqib. Four essays were published this week: one by Jaelani Turner-Williams on Butterfly, Nick Melloan-Ruiz on Daydream, Charia Rose on Glitter, and Kortney Morrow on Rainbow. I enjoyed all of these essays and am VERY excited for the rest! 


3. Swiss Institute: FEAR TOUCH POLICE

In conjunction with the Swiss Institute, FEAR TOUCH POLICE is a multimedia project by artist Sable Elyse Smith that “takes the form of a digital magazine that will unfold across three issues over the next year, culminating in a vinyl mixtape.” This first issue, FEAR, includes writing by Jessica Lynne and Jason Moran, video works by Paul Pfeiffer and Johan Grimonpres, and poetry by Jibade-Khalil Huffman.

I’ve spent a couple of hours exploring the website and it is rich and complex. The work immediately grabs my attention but also has a long sustain. Some spaces on the site provide a sense of comfort while others make my body tense. And every time I return, the site and the work on it have something new to offer. 


4. New York Times Magazine: Angela Davis Still Believes America Can Change

There are people in this world whose intellectual and political projects are widely known, praised, and critically considered, but who I don’t believe will ever be fully understood for all of their greatness and insights. Toni Morrison is one. A younger example is Solange, perhaps—time will tell. For me, Angela Davis is also one of these people. In the 1960s and ‘70s Davis’s iconographic ascent “complicated the white and Black male gaze of what Black women could be, writes Nelson George. “The impact of this representation has lingered in the culture. Consider this: For 50 years, Davis has existed as a pop-cultural reference point as well as a serious academic, one whose ideas were once thought of as extreme but are now part of the popular discourse.” 

I don’t think we—I don’t think I—will stop learning from Davis or her intellectual rigor and imagination any time soon. 


5. Vanity Fair: AOC’s Next Four Years

I honestly loved this profile on Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. When reading, I was constantly laughing or making audible remarks about all of the things AOC and her family endure. Writer Michelle Ruiz captures AOC’s fun, humor, criticality, and seriousness when telling the story of AOC, “a millennial Puerto Rican Democratic Socialist who produced a seminal political moment.” Whether you like AOC and her politics or not, there is no denying her influence. 


6. Hyperallergic: We Need New Institutions, Not New Art

Coco Fusco is amazing! In four concise and precise paragraphs, Fusco articulates the falsity of claiming that we need “new” art that takes as its subject(s) “injustice, racism, classism, sexism, authoritarianism, cultural genocide, and environmental degradation”—because we’ve had that art for centuries. The arts professionals that have been protesting in the streets and sending out declarations on social media are calling for institutional changes, not new aesthetic movements… They want to stop allowing ‘awareness’ of diversity or sensitivity to racism to substitute for the implementation of policies that chip away privileges of the one percent. Equity won’t be achieved by a new biennial, another emerging artist of color survey, or a record auction sale by a Black artist.”


7. CNN: Amy Coney Barrett joins the Supreme Court in unprecedented times

Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court one week before the presidential election. Her confirmation was pushed through in less than a month. At only 48 years old, “her sheer presence on a new 6-3, conservative-liberal bench could transform the law in America for a generation, affecting abortion and religious rights, LGBTQ protections, and the scope of federal regulatory control over the environment, workplace safety and consumer protection.”

That her confirmation went through—and so quickly—isn’t a surprise, but it is frightening. What she can, and most likely will do to erode the protections of people in this country is terrifying.

Though Barrett has already been confirmed, make sure to vote on Tuesday (if you haven’t already) in order to preserve whatever democracy we have left. 


8. The New Republic: Don’t Let Miles Taylor Get Away With Being a Fraud

The anonymous writer “of the briefly explosive but historically flaccid” NYT op-ed “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” (and A Warning, the book-length version of it) revealed himself last week as Miles Taylor, “a longtime Republican staffer who served as chief of staff to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.” As Alex Shephard writes here, the main issue with both that op-ed and this book “is that they had so little new insight. Taylor always privileged preserving his own anonymity over providing the public with relevant information. Taking every precaution not to be found out meant that he couldn’t actually write much that was interesting or informative. After all, if he were to take us inside the Department of Homeland Security, where he worked, then we would know that he worked at the Department of Homeland Security!”

One of the most problematic and dangerous things Taylor is doing by revealing his identity is absolving himself of all of his wrongdoings, including his role in the policy separating children from their parents at the border. Revealing his identity earlier “would have jeopardized his growing status as a hero of the hashtag resistance, since he was actually complicit in the president’s horrific agenda.” While Taylor’s “insights” haven’t provided much new information on the Trump administration, and “even if he didn’t benefit financially—he didn’t accept an advance and said he would donate his royalties to nonprofits—he has arguably gained something more valuable. His anti-Trump efforts have rebuilt his reputation.” The tragedy is his ability “to spend the rest of his life pretending that he was actually a hero of the resistance” when we know that just isn’t the case. 


9. Vulture: In Conversation: Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg is a fascinating person. As I am relatively young, Goldberg came into my awareness as the queen in the best princess movie ever made, Disney’s 1997 Cinderella featuring Brandy and Whitney Houston. I watched this movie obsessively as a kid, and it wasn’t until at least high school that I began to understand that not everyone’s first encounter with Goldberg was in a fantastical TV movie musical. 

In this conversation with E. Alex Jung on the occasion of her receiving “Vulture’s very official honorary degree,” Goldberg reflects on her career, being Black in entertainment, letting go of beef as you age, politics, and much, much more. 


10. Vox: What Was Fun?

I honestly don’t know the last time I thought about fun, or if I was having fun. I have said that I miss “doing things” and maybe that is my way of saying “I miss fun,” but I think when I say that I miss “doing things” I really mean “I miss doing things without having to think about doing them.”

It turns out that fun is somewhat of a complicated thing to define, and since its constitution is unique to each individual, it is hard to study. Nonetheless, writer Rachel Sugar found herself contemplating fun, and what she finds (or found) fun. While baking and canning were fun during the beginning of the pandemic, “the problem I am having in my own kitchen is that cottagecore diversions start feeling remarkably like labor very fast. I liked domestic hobbies better when they were my personal quirk, and not the only option.” While this is a dreary realization, “if there is anything to take from history, it is reassurance: There will be fun again because there has always been fun before.”


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