The Internet is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 3/26/23

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Art AND: Aliana Grace Bailey

There was a lot happening on the internet this week. Highlights: Ozempic, tattoos, lost time, spring love songs, hip-hop’s elegy, the Black Trans Advocacy Conference, a frog, living with leopards, art crimes, and Trump for prison. 


The New Yorker: Will the Ozempic Era Change How We Think About Being Fat and Being Thin?

Over the past year, Ozempic, a “GLP-1 receptor agonist, which has dramatically altered the treatment of diabetes and obesity,” has been all over social media. Celebrities, and those with enough money to afford the drug that costs around $1000 a month out of pocket (many insurances, including Medicaid, don’t cover it) have been using it and other GLP-1 receptor agonists for weight loss, despite the possibility of significant side effects. This cosmetic demand means “the people who most need semaglutide often struggle to get it, and its arrival seems to have prompted less a public consideration of what it means to be fat than a renewed fixation on being thin.”


The Atlantic: Tattoos Do Odd Things to the Immune System

I never thought I would get a tattoo, but, after getting one for my 23rd birthday, I have become a tattoo person. Since turning 23, I’ve gotten two more tattoos—all of them are all minimal and black—and I plan on getting more. 

While I find tattoos to be gentle commemorations of moments in my life, the body, my body, “considers it an assault” as “the skin is the immune system’s ‘first barrier.’” The body defends against the ink as it did when the tradition of tattoos started thousands of years ago. But even with tattooing’s long history, “scientists aren’t sure if that’s good or bad for you.”


Harper’s Magazine: In Search of Lost Time

The world’s official time is in the past, calculated retroactively from “times gathered from the atomic clocks maintained by more than eighty national agencies across the globe.” The UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time, is kept at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, “a research institute operated by the University of Colorado and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).” Located in Boulder, the NIST also “helps maintain the International System of Units—meters, kilograms, and the like.” Tom Vanderbilt explores the wonder of calculating all that it takes to measure perfect units. 


Spotify: Love Songs For The Coming Springtime, Vol. 3

There is no better way to lose time than listening to music. Hanif Abdurraqib is the consummate curator of playlist—and is very generous for sharing so many of them for free! For spring, Abdurraqib created this list of love songs, featuring the likes of Kelela, Doris, BLACKSTARKIDS and many many more. 


The New Yorker: Hip-Hop at Fifty: An Elegy

Born in the summer of 1973, at a fabled party thrown by DJ Kool Herc, at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, in the Bronx,” hip-hop is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. In his elegy, Jelani Cobb commemorates the genre that “more than any other platform or outlet, hip-hop conveyed the frustrations, hopes, ambitions, and fears of a set of people who came of age amid the scourges of crack and aids and the generally barren social landscape of the nineteen-eighties.” 

Hip-hip is an “art form crafted in places where it was not unheard of for twenty-seven-year-olds to perish.” While fifty years is scarcely a blink in the life of a culture… it can be an actual lifetime for human beings. Half a century in the unlikely, inspiring, and unpredictable story of how invisible kids from forgotten precincts crafted art that defined an era remains worth telling.”


Instagram: Tea with Queen and J. in Conversation with @diamondstylz of @marshasplate and @blacktranswomeninc

Tea with Queen and J.—my favorite podcast—has been on an extended break since the end of 2021. However, the duo has recently started to (slowly)  make new content and I am so excited! This conversation with Diamond Stylz of Marsh’s Plate (another favorite podcast of mine) and Black Trans Women Inc talks about the upcoming Black Trans Advocacy Conference, the importances of Black trans places, and things we—especially cis people—call all to help support and protect the lives of Black trans women and people. 


Harper’s Magazine: Frog

Due to my fear of frogs, I almost didn’t read this story. I’m glad I did, but I needed a few breaks along the way. Anne Faidman and her family had a frog named Bunky that lived for at least 16 years. If “there are two kinds of pets—the ones you choose and the ones that happen to you. Bunky belonged to the second category.” Throughout this comical and reflective piece, Faidman contends with “what happens to the pets that happen to you?”


Scientific America: Leopards Are Living among People. And That Could Save the Species

Increasingly, humans and wildlife are living in closer and closer proximity and researchers are “find[ing] wild carnivores and people trying to survive, having their young and living in their societies right next to each other.” Vidya Athreya studies leopards and big cats in India, looking at the effects of relocating the cats and. In the process, Athreya has learned that “when leopards were separated by humans from their homes and families and released in unfamiliar terrain, it was disastrous for the villagers they chanced on,” and that “for leopards to survive, we must learn to live with them.”


Intelligencer: Crime of the Centuries

The art world is filled with crime and nothing about how retired billionaire hedge-fund manager and one of the world’s most powerful philanthropists Michael Steinhardt amassed his collection is surprising. Known for having “one of the world’s great collections of antiquities,” with a gallery named after him at The Met, Steinhardt is accused of being the “principal buyer in some of the world’s most prolific antiquities-trafficking networks — criminal operations that smuggled ancient artifacts from their countries of origin into museums, auction houses, and private collections,” by Matthew Bogdanos, a New York prosecutor. Steinhardt was forced to return some of his works, but he is hardly the only collector (or institution) with stolen artworks. As restrictions have, rightfully, been put in place to regulate the market, “the enduring question now is whether the antiquities trade can continue at all, considering that once-common practices have essentially been criminalized.”


YouTube: Trump for Prison 2023

News of Donald Trump’s potential indictment has been looming in the news cycle for what feels like weeks. The former president is “being indicted by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg for allegedly bribing Stormy Daniels. Now, he’s spewing dangerous rhetoric and copaganda to attack to the DA’s office and stoke his followers.” Movement attorney Olayemi Olurin breaks down everything going on with the indictment and the political context of it happening in NYC. (Hilarious) Fake photos of the arrest have gone viral, and people are enjoying it.


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Highlights: Miss Majors, teaching in a red state, Tina Turner, ‘The Little Mermaid’, hiring a pop star, ‘Succession’, seeing Vermeer, public art, waking up after 20 years, and SCOTUS really doesn’t care about labor.

The internet had some good art and cultural criticism this week, but maybe I’m also just getting back into it!

Baltimore news updates from independent & regional media

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Highlights: Tina Turner, Janelle Monáe, pandemic intimacy, Dr. Money talks the WNBA, Brittney Griner, CitiBikes, Succession, Harlan Crow, trees, and Alyx Weiss.

I learned some things on the internet this week.