Wowowow! A lot happened. Highlights: Human composting facilities, the profitability of love, returning to Palestine, Herschel and Christian Walker both have issues, Loretta Lynn, being an outlaw, marijuana pardons, nuclear armageddon, and the Right Stuff.
Every few months one of my friends sends me something on the history of deathcare. She sends me papers about death practices that are thousands of years old, as well as recent innovations such as alkaline hydrolysis, and she is always going on about “a gal on TikTok” who is a mortician—although I can’t remember who. Perhaps more so than the history of deathcare, my friend is interested in how massive shifts in the practice are currently underway, one of them being natural organic reduction or NOR.
NOR is also “known as human composting — the first truly new form of final disposition developed in decades.” First legalized in Washington state, the process of “turning a body into soil takes at least two months,” and the process is illustrated in an interactive five-step graphic. While this new form of disposition and others continue to develop, “after so many generations of viewing the corpse at a distance, few of us know what we really want to happen when we die — or how to ask for it.”
Nine percent of the Philippines’ gross national product comes from domestic workers that work abroad. Many “Filipina women employed overseas work as domestic workers, maids or helpers. The labyrinthine and often random process by which a woman is transplanted from a rural village in the Philippines to a job as a maid or helper in a particular home in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Middle East, North America, or Southeast Asia is facilitated by employment agencies, which carry out the work of recruitment, contracting, visa processing, sales, transportation, logistics.”
Tan Tuck Ming grew up in Hong Kong, and while he doesn’t remember this, he was “told that we had three maids, one after the other, in the first eight years of my life, before we left the continent,” and there is only one that he remembers. In this essay, Ming reflects on the only maid he can remember, Daisy, and considers how a core aspect of the global market of care is the profitability of love.
At 22, Fida Jiryis traveled to her father’s village in the Galilee region of Palestine. For all of her life, Jiryis “had read and heard of the tragedy of Palestine. Now, I was looking at it.” Jiryis’s family had been exiled in the 1970s, her dad was an active member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and he had spent her life ‘want[ing] a country. I wanted not to feel like a foreigner any more.’” Touring Fassouta with her dad, who pointed out structures that didn’t get decimated by Israeli bulldozers, Jiryis wondered which is worse: “to have one’s home destroyed, or to have it remain, for others to live in?”
4. YouTube: Christian Walker Has Daddy Issues & The Try Guys are Mad | Keeping up with the Kreators 004
Conservative internet personality Christian Walker—the son of former football player Herschel Walker, who is currently running to represent George in a very close Senate race—has been dragging his father across the internet for, amongst other things, paying for an abortion for his former girlfriend. Christian has also accused his father of being absent and abusive in a viral TikTok and a slew of tweets.
Christian, who is Black mixed person and gay, has a reputation for being a “vampire”; he is contradictory, anti-Black, and spouts beliefs that are misogynistic and homophobic while also being very gay. Herschel Walker is a Trumpian who is anti-abortion in all circumstances, and he’s been critical of absentee fathers—both of which contradict his own alleged behavior. Honestly, both of them have a lot of issues, all of which Kimberly Nicole Foster covers here, in addition to some of the Try Guys drama from last week.
My country music knowledge is admittedly very limited, and I recently learned about country singer Loretta Lynn while rewatching Friday Night Lights. On Tuesday, the country music legend died at the age of 90. Lynn was known as someone “who sang songs about no-good men, or the no-good world, but [was] never at the mercy of anyone or anything,” and “was so committed to the rigors of loving herself that she suffered no one,” writes Hanif Abdurraqib.
In this tribute, Abdurraqib reflects on a letter he wrote to Lynn a few years ago. At first, Abdurraqib intended to write to her about the possibility of an interview, but “halfway through the letter, I gave up on the interview task,” he wrote in an Instagram caption about the tribute. “I wrote to her about birds instead. How I thought we were maybe both writers who loved birds, who trusted them to understand our sadness better than we did ourselves.” Abdurraqib, like many others, misses Lynn already.
As previously stated, I don’t know much about country music. Over the last few years, however, due to one of my friends and the writer Tressie McMillan Cottom’s love for the genre, I’ve become more and more interested in country. A lot is being made at the moment of Beyoncé’s most recent studio album, RENAISSANCE, but in this essay, Francesca T. Royster looks back to the superstar’s 2016 performance at the Country Music Awards with the Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks).
Royster looks at the very Black history of country as a space that loves an outlaw, noting that “by being born a Black woman, and a queer one at that, I am already an outlaw, whether or not I choose to be. There is a difference, of course, between the outlaw that others dream up for me and my own resistance.” Excavating a lineage of country music, Royster interweaves the work of Black feminists, such as Audre Lorde and bell hooks, and looks at “the joy that can come from being an outlaw, what the Black feminist scholar Brittney Cooper calls ‘eloquent rage,’ the rage of an anger passionate, precise, and owned.”
Earlier this week it was reported that NFL quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bündchen are hiring divorce lawyers. Page Six has done an excellent job reporting this ever-evolving story, and more and more people seem to be invested—including a lot of people who couldn’t care less about the NFL. It has been reported that the “impending divorce is due to Brady not prioritizing his family,” as the quarterback just came out of retirement for this season (will it be just one season? Who knows!). From what I’ve seen on my corner of the internet, football fans support multiple Super Bowl-champion Brady, but everyone understands why Gisele is upset.
On Thursday, President Biden announced “a pardon of all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana,” and “urg[ed] all Governors to do the same with regard to state offenses.” Additionally, Biden also called for an investigation of the classification for marijuana, which is currently in the “Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances.” Amongst the many reasons for the pardon, Biden cited race, noting that “while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”
Almost as soon as the announcement was made, Dank Brandon meme began circulating online, much to the dismay of the conservative right.
President Biden stated that “the risk of nuclear ‘Armageddon’ is at its highest since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, as Moscow talks openly of the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons in its invasion of Ukraine.” However, “White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on Friday that there are no signs of an imminent nuclear threat, adding that Biden was addressing Russia’s ‘reckless and irresponsible’ rhetoric.” Whatever the case, people are making jokes, and I’m interested to read what will certainly be many think pieces on how the internet and memes are shaping midterm elections.
10. Salon: “To the right, to the right”: Peter Thiel invested $1.5m in right-wing dating app “The Right Stuff”
The conservative dating app The Right Stuff launched September 30th, and the reviews are spectacular. The app was funded by Trumpian PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and “developed by Ryann McEnany, sister of former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.” Users quickly complained “that the app is short on women, that the invite-only system makes it impossible to actually join, and that answering a profile prompt about January 6 led to contact from law enforcement.” LMFAO!