The Internet Is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 6/6

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I enjoyed the internet this week. Highlights: Fauci’s emails, Indian Residential Schools, Queen and J., Moya Bailey on misogynoir, Venus Williams’ mic drop, backstage, the International Swimming League, and coping mechanisms. 



1. BuzzFeed: Anthony Fauci’s Emails Reveal The Pressure That Fell On One Man

On Tuesday, BuzzFeed published more than 3,000 pages of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails. As much frenzy as there has been around these emails, they are (un)surprisingly not controversial, and demonstrate Fauci’s “ambivalence toward his newfound celebrity status but also his embrace of a documentary crew who would tell his story. Although redacted at times, “the emails hint at the personal toll this past year has taken on him.” The emails highlighted in this article (they are attached in full at the bottom) “give a sense of the type of communicator Fauci is: courteous, low-key, and empathetic. He politely interacts with the office assistants who help him with his correspondence, and he sweats over the proper way to let people down.”

This was fun to read, but my main takeaway was that Fauci is who I thought he was.



2. Vancouver Sun: Why so many children died at Indian residential schools

This week it was announced that the bodies of 215 children were found at Kamloops Indian Residential School in Canada. The graves were unmarked and forgotten. A seven-year Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada has found that “at least 3,200 children died while a student at a Residential School; one in every 50 students enrolled during the program’s nearly 120-year existence. That’s a death rate comparable to the number of Canadian POWs who died in the custody of Nazi Germany during the Second World War.” 

While this estimate seems closer to the truth than how many deaths were accounted for at the time, “a true figure will never be known for the simple fact that death records – if they were kept at all – were often lacking even basic personal information.” Children that died due to “the absence of even the most rudimentary medical care,” or trying to run away, were frequently recorded without a name or given a fake name. “Among the 2,800 names on the official memorial register are children known to recorded history only as ‘Alice,’ ‘Mckay’ or ‘Elsie.’” And their gender was not noted. 

This finding is absolutely tragic. And let’s not kid ourselves and think that the US was any better. 



3. Tea with Queen and J. on SoundCloud: #294 This Is A Part Of The Job!

I don’t like a lot of podcasts, but I love Tea with Queen and J. My favorite part of the podcast is probably the introduction, which can often be longer than the “main” part of the episode. (The main part of this episode, which runs over an hour and a half in total, starts around 51 minutes into the podcast.) After a lavish and joyful introduction that wades through the history of Black hair, hosts Queen and J. break down the controversy over Naomi Osaka’s decision to withdraw from the French Open after she was fined $15,000 for not attending a press conference due to her mental health, and they contextualize that with how Black women across sports have been treated over the years. 



4. A Public Affair: Moya Bailey On Misogynoir

The scholar Moya Bailey is most famous for coining the term “misogynoir” to describe the specific experience of racism and misogyny facing Black women and gender-variant people. Bailey’s research practice focuses on “how anti-Black misogyny functions in visual culture and digital spaces.” In this radio program, host Ali Muldrow discusses misogynoir with Bailey and talks about her latest book, Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women’s Digital Resistance.

I love Bailey’s work, but what I particularly enjoyed about this conversation is how both Bailey and Muldrow applied it to Naomi Osaka’s decision to withdraw from the French Open.



5. Twitter: Venus Williams on Press Conferences

When asked about how she deals with press conferences—and in relation to Naomi Osaka dropping out of the French Open—Venus Williams nonchalantly said “For me personally, how I deal with it was that I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can. And never will… So, that’s how I deal with it.” 

The internet (or at least my internet) has been loving the answer. However, some critics are calling Williams’ answer arrogant. Venus Williams has seven grand slam championships. Her answer was factual and very simply answered the question that was asked of her. 

The one thing I will say that bothers me about this post is the “t” on the end of “PERIODT.” It feels performative to me—whoever is running this account is trying too hard. 



6. The New Yorker: The Women Who Preserved the Story of the Tulsa Race Massacre

There have been a lot of pieces on the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, and I’ve seen the names of Mary E. Jones Parrish and Eddie Faye Gates in a few of them, but this is the first piece I’ve read that specifically centers the “two pioneering Black writers have not received the recognition they deserve for chronicling one of the country’s gravest crimes,” writes Victor Luckerson. Parrish is known for her 1923 book, Events of the Tulsa Disaster, “the first and most visceral long-form account of how Greenwood residents experienced the massacre,” but, as with the attack itself, the book faded in the following decades. “Since the nineteen-seventies, as the event slowly gained national attention, Parrish’s work became a vital primary source for other people’s writings. Yet her life remained unknown, even as the facts that she had gathered—such as several firsthand accounts of airplanes being used to surveil or attack Greenwood—became foundational to the nation’s understanding of the massacre.” 

Eddie Faye Gates expanded on Parrish’s legacy in the 1990s, and “was appointed to the Tulsa Race Riot Commission, a state-sanctioned task force charged with investigating the 1921 massacre.” Traveling the country, Gates interviewed and recorded conversations with as many survivors of the Massacre she could find. Together, Parrish and Gates’ work has formed the foundation of our understanding of one of the most violent massacres in US history. 



7. 68to05: 1977: Bob Marley, Exodus

This article and the one below were my two favorite reads this week. 68to05, founded and edited by Hanif Abdurraqib, explores music released between 1968 and 2005 through essays and playlists. This personal and expansive essay by Prince Shakur explores Bob Marley’s 1977 album Exodus, the death of his father when he was an infant, and how “some people have to die, so that others can live.”

Of this notion, Shakur writes: “In this logic, death is not an event, but rather a transaction. Similar to a sentiment made by poet Harmony Holiday in a 2007 Bomb Magazine interview, ‘In translation, the living embody and reconcile the so-called dead. Who we are explains who they are.’”

Shakur continues, “If I apply this logic to myself, I existed before my mother and father were even born and they, the same for their parents. In this logic, my mind becomes a spiral of if I have the strength to face being the queer aftermath of a frenzied first-love turned to death march to Bogue Cemetery. For Bob Marley, it was how to face an island and a people that had tried to kill him. For all of us, it is how our exoduses can change us.”



8. The Believer: The Last Black Stage

I stumbled upon this piece shortly after reading Prince Shakur’s essay and was heartened when I saw it was written by Harmony Holiday, who Shakur quotes in that essay.

I had to read this piece twice, once silently in my head, and once aloud to hear the words in my own voice. Backstage is the last Black stage where “the white gaze does not know how to look here, except as reportage, so there are neglected codes and secret experiences that appear on the outskirts of intentional performance—listless or intense asides that become their own language of retreat and advance, their own music.” Holiday meditates on this writing about performers such as Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and MF Doom and their lives backstage, where “the unedited personality slips the persona’s grip” and where “Black music becomes ours again when we ritualize these departures from our known identities into our walking blues.”



9. Outside: The Plot to Kill the Olympics

I’m a massive fan of the Olympics. It isn’t uncommon for me to clear my schedule for the finals of my favorite sports (swimming, gymnastics, track, and water polo), and spend days glued to a screen. However, I am also aware of critiques of the games, including their costs, displacement of host city residents, and treatment of athletes. 

While the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed until this year, the International Swimming League quietly became the largest sporting event in the world last year. The ISL is the vision of  Konstantin Grigorishin, who imagined a league that “would be structured as an annual season in which swimmers faced off in weekly meets. To ensure that it was free of doping, any violation would mean a lifetime ban. Unlike the Olympics, the league would pay its athletes.” 

As someone who grew up going to swim meets where one event could take hours for participants to complete, I was skeptical of the ISL at first, as I imagined it would run like those put on by the International Swimming Federation, FINA. However, Grigorishin’s meets are more akin to high school or college meets, just with the best swimmers in the world. “Meets would pit four teams against one another, with two swimmers from each team spread across a total of eight lanes. Points awarded for finishes would go toward a cumulative score. The action would peak at the end of the first day of racing with relays, and at the end of the second with a skins competition—an edge-of-your-seat knockout contest in which eight swimmers race, then the fastest four, then the final two. Points for meet results would go toward a season total to determine which teams progress to the semis and the final. Without prelims, every race would be like an Olympic final.”

The ISL could upend the Olympics and fundamentally change the sport of swimming, and that is perhaps a good thing. One of the sport’s biggest names, Adam Peaty, thinks “The International Swimming League [is] exactly what the sport needs. The whole sport needs to change.”



10. YouTube: Tayla Parx – Coping Mechanisms [The Music Film]

It feels like it has been forever since I posted something like this. Something that is fun, upbeat, and colorful. Something that is pop with a critical edge. Something that I enjoy simply because I enjoy it, but that also forces me to think. 

The film companion to Tayla Parx’s sophomore album, Coping Mechanisms, this video explores the ever-enduring theme of love, its effects on Parx’s mental health, and her coping mechanisms. Generally, the music is uptempo and accompanied by bright campy visuals, at times intentionally shrouding the themes of manipulation, depression, and revenge, amongst others, addressed in the lyrics. 



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