The Internet Is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 1/30

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The internet was weird this week. I was locked out of my Twitter account (where I spend a lot of time) for a day and it threw me off. Highlights: Love, Death, Grief, Mourning, avalanche rescue and climate change, the South Georgia Museum, Stephen Breyer to retire from the US Supreme Court, Ezra Miller, blue raspberry, Nate Jacobs, Solange, and Lana Del Rey. 



1. Emergence Magazine: On Death and Love

I’m known amongst my friends for having difficulty grieving and dealing with death. Most of my friends that comment on this have active grieving processes, and have “met Death” in a way I have not. The consistent commentary on my way of grieving—or lack thereof—is always a bit unsettling to me, however, and I often find myself seeking out conversations on death, grieving, and bereavement. 

In this essay, Melanie Challenger “examines the belief in human exceptionalism that has devastated life on this planet, [and] she wonders if our desire to outrun death is hindering our capacity to love.” Challenger’s meetings with Death have taught her “that humans are profoundly affected by the one thing that all of us, no matter our fortunes, have in common with the rest of life: we will one day die. Everything that we have cherished, each hope or triumph, however small or glorious, will be gone.” 

For me, I was deeply engaged with the capitalization of “Death” in this piece—a reverence for “the espousal of both Love and Death.”



2. Places Journal: Reading Detroit in a Season of Mourning

I drove through Detroit on Friday for the first time in months. During day trips to the city as a child, I remember how normal it was to drive past vacant homes. But as Azzurra Cox writes in this article, around 20,000 vacant buildings (mostly houses) in Detroit have been torn down over the last six years, “as part of the nation’s largest demolition program in recent memory. In neighborhood after neighborhood, once-sturdy brick homes have been emptied and razed, leaving only their footprints in the place we know today — a city of muscular flatness, an exuberant horizontal spread, marked now by the unlikely coexistence of Black cultural resilience and a pattern of land vacancy that rises as high as 75 percent in some areas.”

Although last year I lived half a mile from Detroit’s northern border in graduate school, my studies took me further north to the city’s affluent suburbs, and I never learned to read the city—something I regret. Driving through the city after reading this article gave me a new appreciation for how “landscape is eloquent. It speaks by way of constant change, as well as through the imaginations and narratives of all who walk in it, inhabit it, touch it.”



3. GQ: The Rescue Artists of the New Avalanche Age

One of my pastimes is watching dog training videos on YouTube. Recently, my favorite types of training videos to watch are avalanche and helicopter rescues. With serendipitous timing, this feature on how “the world’s most elite helicopter rescue team is more important than ever, as skiers and snowboarders venture further in the backcountry and climate change makes mountain conditions more dangerous” came across my feeds.

Based in the Swiss Alps, the Air-Glaciers rescue squad has six bases and a fleet of 16 helicopters. It’s “perhaps the most effective unit of its kind in the world” or, at least, “one of the busiest,” flying around 2,500 missions a year in the privatized Swiss industry. In addition to state-of-the-art equipment, “Air-Glaciers maintains a database of 45 trained rescue dogs and handlers in Sion and the surrounding valleys; at least four teams are always on call” to help them execute some of the world’s most daring rescues.   



4. BBC: South Georgia: The museum at the end of the world reopens for business

Initially when reading this, I was captivated by the idea of visiting the South Georgia Museum, on a remote island just above the Antarctic circle. The first few paragraphs note that the island, which historically was a whaling port, has “no native population” and that the museum’s mostly UK-based staff “must come from abroad when it opens for the southern hemisphere summer.” Museum staff interviewed for this article share the pandemic’s impact on visitors, the virtues of living without a stable internet connection, and how the Scotland-based South Georgia Heritage Trust, which funds the museum, has helped endangered wildlife populations rebuild on the island. 

South Georgia has been a British island since the 18th century, when Captain James Cook claimed it. Early 20th-century Swedish explorers gave the town where the museum is now located, Grytviken, its name. Around then, Norwegians established a whaling station in the town, where for the next 60 years they processed whale meat, blubber, and bones until the whaling industry “had burned itself out.” According to Alison Neil, chief executive of the heritage trust, the now-recovering animal population is “to a very large extent down to the fact it’s being looked after by the UK.” This statement, however, feels disingenuous; presenting the UK as a savior without acknowledging that those animal populations were decimated while the island was under British rule is dismissive of the impacts of imperialism and industrialization. 



5. Democracy Now!: Stephen Breyer to Retire, Giving Biden Chance to Nominate First Black Woman Supreme Court Justice

Liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring after 27 years on the Supreme Court. He was appointed in 1994 by Bill Clinton. This gives a chance for Joe Biden to fulfill his campaign vow of nominating the court’s first Black woman justice, something White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated he is still committed to. Biden’s commitment, of course, is also leading to conservative hysteria over identity politics. However, as The Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal states in this segment, since its founding, 108 out of the 115 Supreme Court justices have been white men. “So, I think that if we’re worried about identity politics, it’s actually the white guys who have been picking white guys to be confirmed by white guys, who maybe have been a little bit too focused on the race and gender of their nominees instead of looking for the most qualified candidate possible,” Mystal says. 



6. Variety: Ezra Miller Targets KKK Chapter in Video Post: ‘Kill Yourselves With Your Own Guns’

Without any context, actor Ezra Miller posted a video to Instagram addressed to the Beulaville chapter of the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan. In the video, Miller briefly introduces himself—asking a rhetorical “how are you doing?”— before stating, “look, if y’all want to die, I suggest just killing yourselves with your own guns, okay? Otherwise, keep doing exactly what you’re doing right now — and you know what I am talking about — and then, you know, we’ll do it for you if that’s what you want.” 

The internet isn’t mad at the video, mostly just confused about its impetus. 



7. Twitter: I would read an oral history on the flavor “blue raspberry”

On one of the days I was not locked out of my Twitter account, I came across this tweet by @micco_caporale, and it had me THINKING. 

While a quick Google search did not return any oral histories of blue raspberry, there are many histories of the flavor and analyses of blue trends in food. The two most informative articles I read on the subject were published in The Manual and Bon Appetit. As can be quite easily deduced, blue raspberry doesn’t taste like raspberries, nor is that the point. Both of the referenced articles pin the origin of the flavor to the mid-20th century, emphasizing that “The blue raspberry concept is one invented to capture your attention and imagination,” as Mark Stock writes in The Manual. 



8. BuzzFeed: 26 Fictional Characters Who Would Absolutely Annihilate Nate Jacobs If They Were On “Euphoria”

I love watching Euphoria, specifically on Sunday nights when the rest of Twitter is watching. I engage with the show with a critical eye and I understand the ways in which it is problematic, but I also find it highly entertaining.

Anyway, this week, one of the show’s villains, Nate Jacobs, trended on Twitter after people started posting characters from other media that would absolutely destroy him. There are a lot of good answers, however, my favorite response is probably Carrie, Kate, Beth, and Heather from John Tucker Must Die (2006), featured above. 



9. YouTube: Solange – Black Cab Sessions (Bad Girls)

In a throwback pick this week, I’ve been listening to this song on repeat since October. I first heard this version years ago, but for some reason it just started hitting differently this fall. 

As the title suggests, this video was recorded in the back of a cab. This simple rendition—Solange accompanied with only a guitar—has always let me delve into the lyrics in a way the studio recording has always denied. 



10. Twitter: U.S. Army and Lana Del Rey

LMAO. One of my friends sent this to me and I honestly don’t know how to react to this except to laugh. It isn’t totally off base as Del Rey has a long history of finding inspiration in American patriotism, but it is still funny. 



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