The Internet Is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 9/5

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The internet was not the most enjoyable this week. Hurricane Ida made landfall. IDK what was going on in Jazmine Sullivan’s Instagram story or at Bishop Sycamore High School. Highlights: SB 8 and the end of Roe v. Wade, Elijah McClain, grieving pets, “A Navajo’s Creation Story,” the oldest trees, Naomi Campbell, Little Simz, Kanye West, and Margaritaville.  



1. Rewire News Group: Boom! Lawyered: The Supreme Court Ghosts Roe v. Wade

This week, under the cloak of darkness, the Supreme Court “let a blatantly unconstitutional abortion ban take effect in Texas. They made this unprecedented and radical move on the ‘shadow docket,’ which is a fancy way of saying they avoided any hearings or scrutiny of any kind.” One of the most troublesome parts of the law, SB 8, is basically that “any person in the country who has beef with abortion can go find someone in Texas who is either providing abortion or aiding and abetting an abortion, and then sue them civilly. And if they sue them and they win, they get $10,000 for their trouble.” Essentially, SB 8 allows anyone to be an abortion vigilante. 

In this episode of Book! Lawyered, Imani Gandy and Jessica Mason Pieklo explain some of the legal details of SB 8 and how “at best, this is a major warning shot at Roe v. Wade. At worst, it’s a complete dismantlement of 50 years of abortion rights precedent via casual inaction. Either way, you can bet more bans like this are coming to a state near you.”



2. Vice: The Last Summer of Roe v. Wade

The Rewire piece above explains SB 8, the new Texas law that effectively bans abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy, primarily from a legal perspective, but this Vice story is more of a personal interest piece. For many young people who can get pregnant, including myself, abortion has always been legal. “This was supposed to be Slutty Summer, Hot Vax Summer, the second coming of the Summer of Love,” writes Carter Sherman. “People were horny and hoping for sex, the lore went, after spending more than a year trapped indoors. But it was also, perhaps, the last summer of Roe v. Wade. Regardless of how the battle in Texas turns out, the Supreme Court has agreed to rule on the legality of a Mississippi abortion ban. That case could deeply wound, if not kill, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.” 

There has been nationwide outrage this week over the Texas case, “but many Americans, it seems, have failed to grasp the severity of what’s coming: More than a dozen sex therapists and educators, scattered across the country, in states that fully recognize abortion rights and in states that definitely do not, told VICE that most of their clients are pretty unconcerned about the threat to the availability of the procedure.”



3. 5280: The Enduring Legacy of Elijah McClain’s Tragic Death

Elijah McClain was killed by police in Aurora, Colorado, in 2019. A “large dose of ketamine [was] injected into his body and ultimately induced a series of heart attacks that ended his life a week later.” During last summer’s protests against racism and police brutality, McClain’s murder gained national attention—prompting over 4,400 people from across the country to write letters to Colorado Governor Jared Polis. Robert Sanchez read each of those letters, and “after spending three weeks with the letters, it’s clear very few out-of-state letters were ever read by the governor’s office. From the thousands of letters I opened at History Colorado, perhaps only a couple of hundred had been marked with the initials ‘EM’ in black ink. Only a few of the more than 4,000 envelopes were marked ‘EM out of state.’” The writers interviewed for this piece didn’t expect their letters to be read, but they wrote them anyway. 

On Wednesday, “Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced that a statewide grand jury indicted two Aurora Police officers, one former officer, and two Aurora Fire Department paramedics in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain. Each of the defendants involved in McClain’s death will face one charge of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, plus multiple assault charges.”

Of the letters, Sheneen McClain, Elijah’s mother, said, “Sometimes, I wondered if anyone really cared . . . Then I saw this.”



4. Outside: How to Grieve for a Very Good Dog

I am completely in love with my parents’ dog. The first time one of my friends met the dog, almost immediately, she said, “I’m worried about when she dies. You aren’t good with grief. I’m worried about how you will grieve for her.” I was taken aback by the remark. Every few years I read an article like this one that discusses how “losing a pet is often one of the hardest yet least acknowledged traumas we’ll ever face,” and it was this sentiment that startled me about what my friend said. I was surprised because that was the first time I’d ever heard someone address so openly the grief of losing a pet. 

Our culture has very few death rituals around the loss of a pet, unlike with humans, and people can be left without a public space to grieve. When Annette McGivney had to put down her 15-year-old lab last spring, she “lost a soul mate—an irreplaceable relationship—not a piece of property.” And “one of the great ironies of pet loss is that we’re grieving the absence of the very companion who could have made such a significant loss more bearable.”

After my friend said her initial remark, she asked about the life expectancy of the breed. I found this rather grim, as my parents’ dog was only three months old at the time. But, knowing my friend, she asked these questions as a way to cultivate space to grieve a very good dog. 



5. Natives Outdoors: A Navajo’s Creation Story

Using the metaphor of the Navajo creation story, Aaron Mike writes of his creation story and his relationship with the land. Diné Bahane’, the creation story, “tells of the journey through three worlds to the fourth world, where the Navajo people now reside. The story details chaos and drama as the Diné, or ‘Holy people,’ moved through Black World, which contained no light; Blue World, which contained light; and Yellow World, which contained great rivers. Eventually, in the 4th world, White World, the Diné would assume human form after gaining greater intelligence and awareness.”

Like that of his people, Mike “[has] gone through many different worlds to walk the path that I am on today.” After losing his childhood connection to the land, “I found a vehicle that would take me into my fourth world, rock climbing . . . Rock climbing became my missing identity puzzle piece; a reincarnation of my first world.” 

Mike only found his fourth world “after I resolved that I am committed to the path I am on and that I do not want my story to be unique. It is my goal to provide the same access that was gifted to me to Indigenous youth as a means of connection to their land and to their heritage.” While conversations about Indigeneity and land are becoming more widespread, “Simply acknowledging Indigenous heritage and history as a part of the land is not the only answer. It is a step in our First World, eventually leading to our Fourth World of evolution. Accountability is not only assumed with the people and organizations in the industry that are trying to make a sustainable difference.”



6. E&E: When the toughest trees met the hottest fire

It is obvious to anyone who isn’t in denial that climate change is here. In 2020, a lightning storm in the San Francisco Bay Area “had immediate consequences, burning down almost 1,500 buildings, forcing the evacuation of 77,000 people . . . One citizen of the forest will feel the effects for ages. The fire delivered a scorching blow to a shaggy and mysterious tree called the coast redwood. The world’s tallest living thing — and one of the biggest — the coast redwood is also spectacularly old, with many specimens born before Jesus Christ.” The fire caused by the storm raged across northern California, burning more of these colossal trees than ever. “How this tragedy came to be is a tale of how heat, mismanagement and climate change are transforming the West. On a swiftly changing planet, it raises questions about whether the oldest and toughest things can survive.”



7. The Cut: Model, Mogul, Mother

I LOVED reading this. Usually I just skim profiles and spend most of my time looking at the pictures—but this time I did the exact opposite. In fact, I didn’t even look at the pictures until my second time through the rapturous profile of Naomi Campbell by Michaela Angela Davis. Unsurprisingly, the photographs of Campbell by Campbell Addy are stunning, and they are as undeniable as the model’s walk, which “is fire. Naomi walks warrior, not waif. When her foot touches the floor, muscles tremble and release in rage only to snatch back in complete command like royalty. Gorgeous and riotous, her signature strut is signifying. Her stomp is an awakening of the Holy Ghost, a drumbeat for battle. However, she, not Mother Nature, started it.” 

The tone and structure of the profile render Campbell with precision and care, capturing both her strength and sensitivity. 



8. Spotify: Sometimes I Might Be Introvert by Little Simz

Rapper Little Simz released her fourth studio album on Friday, amidst a busy week for the genre with Kanye West and Drake also releasing new music. This is the only album I’ve listened to of the three biggest rap albums to be released this week, but some critics are saying it is the best of the three

Simz’s lyrics are always introspective, and this is no different, addressing womanhood and her relationship with her father, amongst other things. The album is intimate, and as she said when introducing the song “I Love YOu, I Hate You” during her Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, it is “deep and personal.”



9. The Ringer: Let’s Not Pretend Kanye Didn’t Always Show Us Exactly Who He Was

I have not listened to Donda, Kanye West’s tenth studio album released last Sunday. The conversations about the album, however, have been everywhere this week. Some people are tired of Kanye’s antics and are abstaining from listening, some fans seem to like Donda, and most of the reviews I’ve read seem to agree that the album is all over the place. Dylan Green wrote for Pitchfork that “its 1 hour and 48-minute runtime includes euphoric highs that lack connective tissue, a data dump of songs searching for a higher calling.” 

There is a divide between fans and critics, which follows a trend over the past few years as “critics have become somehow more angry and sanctimonious than even [Kanye] is. So I get the urge to defend him from the many knives out for Donda, I really do. For very different reasons, both Kanye’s fans and his critics have experienced the past few years as a betrayal.” In his post-Yeezus career, Kanye’s music has been increasingly intertwined with the spectacle of their totally-designed rollouts. For Donda, “he built a three-bedroom house in the middle of Soldier Field; he ascended to a 300-foot-high arena ceiling on a wire in Atlanta.” 

While his album releases have become more involved, and he continues to venture off into new endeavors, “for every escalation of his celebrity, Kanye’s songwriting suffers. Kanye’s albums are increasingly about his fame and its discontents, and this is becoming his only idea about anything. It’s only so interesting after so many albums about the same vices and grievances—in increasingly disorganized lyrics, over worse and worse beats . . . Do you love/hate Kanye the musician or do you love/hate Kanye the celebrity? The songs or the process? Was Donda, as music, ever going to beat the intrigue in watching this weirdo make his bed in residence at a football stadium?”



10. Eater: Margaritaville and the Myth of American Leisure

Reading this gave the same feeling as a dystopian YA novel. There is a resort in Times Square called Margaritaville and that is just . . . wild to me! In the resort, there is a 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar, that does not open until 5 p.m., and “sure, the License to Chill Bar opens at 2, but it’s the principle of the thing.” 

Everything in this resort sounds like a lie. “A resort like Margaritaville is foremost designed to be looked at: the novelty of sitting by a pool in Midtown . . . However, conspicuous leisure has taken on a different flavor as it has spread. The rich who spent their days breeding dogs did not have a job to return to at the end of the week. The rest of us do. So when we engage in conspicuous leisure, there is a tinge of anxiety. Staying at Margaritaville may not result in anyone’s rest or self-betterment, but we need to convince ourselves it does.”



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