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The Internet Is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 8/21

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The internet was pretty slow this week, and nothing much happened. Highlights: Brad Pitt eating, learning English, inequitable camping, Hanna Phifer’s reading list, combating anti-abortion propaganda, Dark Brandon, s’mores, Dillon the pickle, and Domino’s leaves Italy. 

 

1. Hobart: An Essay About Watching Brad Pitt Eat That Is Really About My Own Shit

I don’t watch many films with Brad Pitt in them, so I didn’t know that “there are many options available if you want to watch a supercut of Brad Pitt eating. They range from three-minute collections of the obvious clips to the more satisfying 20-minute epics that trace his consumption across three decades.” Lucas Mann, however, has spent a lot of time thinking about Pitt eating, and has spent time “watching a body that is made to be looked at, that is professionally looked at, behave as though it’s simply doing something natural, unconcerned with what we might see.” Mann’s close observations of the actor gave the writer a lens to look through when considering his body and the bodies of others. 

 

2. Virginia Quarterly Review: The Grammar of Exile

While in Rome on a fellowship, Will Boast volunteered at a refugee resource center teaching English. His students were from more places than he can remember, and Boast was tasked with teaching them “phrasal verbs, quantifiers, prepositions, collocations, and every other nonsensical rule.” Boast’s students came from crisis with stories that “anger and appall and move us. But for almost all of my students, the crisis had also come to mean something else: waiting. Waiting and trying to grasp the rules, the grammar, not just of new languages but of a new continent, one made up of a particularly labyrinthine network of bureaucracies and charitable organizations.” Teaching English would help his students to a certain extent, but if Boast “wanted to help my students, really help them, I’d have to learn that new grammar too.”

 

3. The New York Times: In the Scramble for a Campsite, Everyone Deserves an Equal Chance

Next Sunday I’m beginning a road trip from Detroit to South Dakota with a friend who is Dakota. Along the way, we are camping at various state and national parks. I don’t have much experience camping, so my friend was in charge of making the reservations.

A lot of the places we are staying are popular, requiring reservations “that become available at an advertised time, like concert tickets,” and had websites that were difficult to navigate. This process, Michael Levy writes, is “disadvantaging the historically marginalized communities the Park Service has worked hard to attract in recent years to its more than 400 parks around the country,” as one needs access to high-speed internet to have a chance at getting a place and the time to spend online. Due to the timing constraints, my friend couldn’t even make all of our reservations, and her partner had to make some. Further, many of the most desired campsites book up to six months in advance and a lot of people can’t plan that far in advance. 

As my friend was in the depths of procuring our reservations, she sent this article to me, writing, “I’ve been getting frustrated with the gatekeeping of the outdoors trying to prepare for this trip and how its colonized system literally gives free passes for people in the military but not to natives.”

 

4. Twitter: @writtenbyhanna’s August’s Reads

At the end of each month, Hanna Phifer compiles a Twitter thread of articles she read that month. Sometimes I’ve already read most of the articles included on the thread, and other times most of them are new. This month I only read one thing included here, a review of Megan Thee Stallion’s sophomore album Traumazine

I always enjoy Phifer’s perspective on things and I’m excited to read more of the articles here!

 

5. Jezebel: Abortion Providers Would Like You to Please Stop Interviewing Anti-Abortion Propagandists

On Monday, Physicians for Reproductive Health shared an open letter exclusively on Jezebel urging journalists and media outlets to stop platforming anti-abortion propagandists. Signed by “more than 600 doctors, nurses, social workers, nonprofit organizations and abortion support staffers,” the letter requests “reporters, journalists, editorial teams, and producers” to “stop giving air-time to anti-abortion activists.” The letter explains how anti-abortion propagandists spread misinformation and that, in platforming them for the sake of balance, “You are giving the opportunity for dangerous lies to spread. You are, by way of asking them questions, legitimizing their answers. You are allowing hateful, dangerous harassers to build a base that encourages protesting at clinics, stalking and harming clinic staff and abortion providers, and online and in-person abuse of people who have abortions and those who support them in getting that care.”

 

6. Twitter: @Chunkled on Joe Biden and Christopher Walken

I honestly have no clue how to process this video. Someone placed Joe Biden’s face over Christopher Walken’s in Spike Jonze’s video for Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” and added text that lists what Biden has done as President. This video came across my Twitter feed, and after watching it way too many times, I can’t figure out if pro-Biden people are trolling themselves or not? Is this serious? Is it a meme? 

Propaganda can be a very useful tool. But is this really the pro-Democrat propaganda that Democrats want to go with?

 

7. Vox: The “Dark Brandon” meme — and why it’s so confusing — explained

The questions I posed above are central to the “Dark Brandon” memes. Originally, the right-wing meme was meant to criticize Joe Biden, but Democrats have attempted to reclaim them, alluding to Biden’s alter ego. The fight over “Dark Brandon” poses many questions centering aesthetic responsibility, including “who gets to decide what a meme means? Can a meme born in darkness — say, for instance, the racist corners of 4chan — ever come to have lighter meanings? Do we have a responsibility to purge our cultural vocabulary of memes with spurious origins, or does that just lead to the elimination of, well, all internet culture?”

 

8. New York Times: S’mores

Marshmallows are my favorite food. I don’t care about the haters that argue marshmallows are not food—they are! S’mores are my favorite thing to make with marshmallows, and I have STRONG opinions about the gooey dessert, many of which this recipe does not address. While I could spend many hundreds of words describing my personal opinions on marshmallows and s’mores, I’m more interested in how wild it is that the New York Times Cooking published this non-satirical recipe. 

Filled with comedic gold, the preface describes how “the perfect campfire s’more is perfect because it’s a reflection of you,” before instructing you to “expertly assemble and ignite a campfire” in the recipe’s first step. A recipe for s’mores feels antithetical to the entire vibe and premise of the dessert whose “magic is in the discovery.”

 

9. Twitter: Dillon the Pickle

The collegiate baseball team Portland Pickles decided to let their mascot, Dillon, take over their Twitter account. Dillon, however, accidentally posted something interpreted as a NSFW picture and got their privileges revoked. While I’m sad we didn’t get to see everything else Dillon was planning to post, this exchange is quite entertaining. 

 

10. CNN: Domino’s tried to sell pizza to Italians. It failed

Lmao. Apparently Domino’s tried to expand to Italy and it did not go well. After just seven short years in the country, ePizza, the Italian franchise, is closing all of its locations because “it failed to win over locals who preferred homegrown options,” which just makes sense. 

 

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