The Internet Is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 12/12

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Hidden Labor: Area 405’s Final Shows

Basel was fun and it was nice to see some Baltimore people in Miami. But wow. Wow. Wow. So much has happened since the last time I was on the internet! We lost Virgil Abloh and Stephen Sondheim, Craft in America featured Clyde Johnson, Jussie Smollett was found guilty, SZA released a new song, and so much more. Highlights: The Supreme Court, Jeremy Strong, an epic art story, internet rat poison, the worst Michelin-starred restaurant, consent and photography, Natasha Rothwell, Ashanti, Olivia Rodrigo, and Peloton v. Sex and the City.



1. Rewire News Group: Boom! Lawyered: Rapid Reaction—Why the Supreme Court’s Texas Abortion Decisions Are Infuriating

If you do not follow Rewire News Group for coverage of reproductive rights and sexual health, please do! In this rapid reaction episode of Rewire’s podcast, Boom! Lawyered, Imani Gandy and Jessica Mason Pieklo discuss US v. Texas and Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and “break down the decisions and explain what they mean for abortion access in Texas moving forward.”


2. The New Yorker: On “Succession,” Jeremy Strong Doesn’t Get the Joke

As an avid fan of Succession, I’ll say that this profile of Jeremy Strong almost feels like a profile of his character, Kendall Roy. Kendall is the moody black sheep of the fictional Roy family that owns a media empire. Strong is painfully serious in this unpredictable piece in a way that is so steadfast even his co-stars seem confused by it. Kieran Culkin, who plays Kendall’s younger brother Roman, recalled that “after the first season, he said something to me like, ‘I’m worried that people might think that the show is a comedy.’ And I said, ‘I think the show is a comedy.’ He thought I was kidding.” 

This entire profile is almost incomprehensible, not because Michael Schulman didn’t write an excellent piece, but because Strong is so unpredictable. It’s absolutely wild. 


3. Hazlitt: Rothko at the Inauguration

After spending a week at Art Basel Miami Beach, this article, which chronicles part of New York’s history of art galleries and auctions, was a little more than I expected. That being said, Richard Warnica’s narration of Untitled, 1956, a fake Mark Rothko, almost read like a screenplay. Warnica intricately weaves together the stories of the fake Rothko and the closure of the gallery M. Knoedler & Co., creating a story that is “fascinating in a grotesque, mirror-on-society kind of way.” From the beginning, I felt like I was watching a dimly lit HBO art heist dramatic miniseries. 


4. Audubon: The Internet Has a Rat Poison Problem

The internet makes it easy for people to buy all sorts of things they do not need or should not have. The EPA has rules dictating that the second-generation anticoagulants brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone are not to be distributed “in channels of trade likely to result in retail sale in hardware and home improvement stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, drugstores, club stores, big box stores, and other general retailers.” Although these products are regulated, there is an e-commerce loophole, and “it’s hard to overstate the ubiquity of these products, both online and IRL. The global market for anticoagulant rodenticides is expected to grow from $3.8 billion in 2020 to $5.8 billion by 2027.”

Intended to kill rats, the poisons can also kill pets, children, and other wildlife through direct exposure or build-up in the food chain. The anticoagulants cause rats to die via internal bleeding. “Just one night of eating the bait is usually enough to deliver a fatal dose, but the actual process of a rat bleeding out may take upward of five days. For a hawk or an owl or any other predator that regularly eats rodents, this can spell trouble; once consumed, the chemicals can stay lodged in animal tissue for months—posing an ecological menace.


5. Everywhereist: Bros., Lecce: We Eat at The Worst Michelin Starred Restaurant, Ever

I generally don’t enjoy fine dining restaurants. I’m a casual person. They aren’t my vibe. And I don’t normally think they are worth their price point. But I had deja vu reading Geraldine DeRuiter’s review of Bros, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Lecce, Italy, just like I was immediately transported when I first read Jeff Weiss’s 2018 account of Post Malone’s Posty Fest. Framing the experience as a theater production above all else, DeRuiter details “a 27-course meal (note that ‘course’ and ‘meal’ and ‘27’ are being used liberally here) which spanned 4.5 hours and made me feel like I was a character in a Dickensian novel. Because – I cannot impart this enough – there was nothing even close to an actual meal served.” My favorite description is of a citrus foam thatwas served in a plaster cast of the chef’s mouth. Absent utensils, we were told to lick it out of the chef’s mouth in a scene that I’m pretty sure was stolen from an eastern European horror film.”

Although DeRuiter implores readers to “not eat here. I cannot express this enough. This was single-handedly one of the worse wastes of money in my entire food and travel writing career bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha oh my god,” I kind of want to experience the drama for myself. 


6. The Believer: If You See Something

For a long time, I didn’t consider consent in my art practice. Or rather, I didn’t realize how much questions of consent impacted some of my previous bodies of work until recently.

Adalena Kavanaugh interrogates the relationship between consent and photography as “by law, photographers are allowed to photograph strangers in public, without consent, if it’s not for commercial purposes.” Ethics, however, are of a different matter, and “there will always be tension between a photographer’s desire and their subject’s autonomy.”

I’m not sure if I was ambivalent about consent in my previous body of work, but I was stricken when reading that “ambivalence isn’t always bad; it just means you’re thinking.” Maybe it just took me a while to think. 


7. LA Times: ‘SNL’ nearly squashed Natasha Rothwell. Then ‘Insecure’ helped her find her voice

I appreciate Natasha Rothwell. And I appreciate all of the recognition she has received recently. She’s known for her role as Kelli Prenny on Insecure, playing “the perennial we-don’t-deserve-her supportive friend who brings her unforgettable sense of humor to any interaction.” Before that, though, “Rothwell had unofficially brought life to the character in the writers’ room and during readings of scripts — and performing as if she weren’t auditioning turned out to be the perfect audition.” Now Rothwell is set to appear in a sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog, a prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the musical fantasy Wonka), and We Were There, Too, “a John Hughes-inspired coming-of-age story she co-wrote with Gloria Calderon Kellett about ‘the Brown kids, the LGBTQ kids, the Black kids, the real outsiders.’” I can’t wait.


8. YouTube: Ashanti Proves Why She’s The Lady Of Soul With A Medley Of Her Greatest Hits | Soul Train Awards ’21

I adore that Ashanti has been everywhere this year (save concerns over COVID). This year’s recipient of The Lady of Soul Award, Ashanti performed a medley of her biggest hits that featured cameos by Fat Joe and Ja Rule. As Naptural85 commented, this performance is “the nostalgia I didn’t know I needed!” I could not be more excited for Ashanti to rerecord her debut album. 


9. YouTube: Olivia Rodrigo: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

I’d never listened to an Olivia Rodrigo song all the way through until watching her Tiny Desk Concert. Yes, Rodrigo had an amazing summer and I knew who she was, I just never stopped to listen to any of her music. 

Over the past few weeks I’ve been listening to a lot of early 2000s alternative bands and was surprisingly invested in Rodrigo’s performance throughout this video. Recorded in an empty DMV, the concert transported me back to high school, flooding me with both heartening and cringe memories.


10. Slate: Peloton Wants You to Know It Is Not to Blame for the New Sex and the City’s Big Twist

To this day, I still don’t really know what Sex and the City is about. I vaguely understand the premise of the show, that Sarah Jessica Parker blogs about her life, but apart from that I couldn’t follow any discussion of the series—I’ve never seen more than a few minutes of an episode, or read a review (although I do know that SJP and Kim Cattrall have [or had?] beef). 

But the Sex and the City reboot came out this week, then Peloton started trending, and here I am reading my first review of the show. In the reboot’s first episode, Peloton kills someone: “Mr. Big. One minute Carrie Bradshaw’s longtime love is taking a class with his favorite instructor, whom Carrie teases him about having a crush on, and the next minute, he’s having a heart attack. Carrie walks in on him slumped against a wall: death by Peloton.”

Peloton does not take responsibility for this, although it did “[coordinate] with HBO on the placement of the bike.” To combat this death-by-Peloton situation, “the company quickly and entertainingly produced a cardiologist to explain that no, your bike will probably not give you a heart attack.”


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