The Internet is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 6/11/23 🔥

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Unconventional Skateboarding at Zeakness Festival

So many things happened on the internet that I didn’t know what to think of this week. Canada is on fire, Trump was indicted, and I learned just how many guns people in this country buy. Highlights: being queer in Florida, the Lady Vols, ‘The Ultimatum’, Cornel West, goggles, ‘The Age of Pleasure’, Charlie Wilson, Tea with Queen and J., Kelis and Bill Murrary (maybe?), and Zion Williamson. 


Time: We’re Here, We’re Queer, We’re Getting Married in Florida

My two favorite regions in the country are the midwest and the south. I grew up in the midwest, but my family is from the Deep South, and although I’ve never been there, I feel connected to the place. Apart from my home state of Michigan, I’ve only spent significant time on the East Coast (mostly Baltimore and New York) and I always go hard for my home. On the East Coast, it is common for people to eschew the Midwest (or the South) or react to my love for it with disgust—questioning why anyone would ever live there even though they have never been to the place they are so deeply criticizing. 

Kristen Arnett is a “third-generation Floridian” whose “entire body of work is an homage to my home state. Everything I create is saturated with it, the sunshine and the rot and the thunder thumping hard as a bass drum in my chest. I’ve always said that Florida is embedded in my work because it lives inside me. How could it not?” She would never leave Florida, but she is also queer and marrying her fiancée in a state that “has become an increasingly hostile and inhospitable place for queer and trans people to live.”

I always feel a kinship to Arnett’s writing because of how deeply she loves a place that “has not always loved me back.” I would guess a lot of people in Florida agree with the “plenty of things to fear in the Sunshine State” and have rightfully left due to safety concerns. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on the place or the people that can’t or don’t want to leave. Arnett wants us to know that “the Florida in me wants you to know that I’m not giving up. I’m just as hardy as this state. Just as grasping and tenacious and hopeful, despite all the people and the laws that might try to tear us down.” And I want Arnett to know that the Midwesterner in me sees that, and thanks her. 


Oxford American: Lady Vols Country

Over the past few years I’ve become a fan of women’s basketball—specifically college, and specifically the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The South Carolina Gamecocks are my favorite team, but Tennesse’s Lady Vols basketball team is easily one of my favorite sports teams. I started following women’s basketball (WBB) when I was getting fatigued from art and design discourse. 

“Sports are not just about sports”, and WBB became a way for me to understand other political discourses. For me, WBB “encompass[es] a battleground for determining how gender manifests in the world, how women and girls can use their bodies, and who can access self-determination.” I found this to be particularly true of the SEC where race and gender intersect in a conference with its heart in the deep South.

Jessica Wilkerson grew up in Tennessee, not from the university where Pat Summit, the late legendary coach of the Lady Vols, created a WBB dynasty. Summit “was intent on winning, who was fearless and brash in her directives,” something that Wilkerson looked up to as a kind. Now a scholar of women’s history, Wilkerson explores the impact Summit had on her growing up and now, and the basic yet revolutionary idea Summit embraced: “women should be able to pursue the life that they desire, something that, historically, women have not been able to do.”


MEAWW: ‘The Ultimatum: Queer Love’ fans slam Netflix for failing to protect Tiff from abusive ex Mildred

Netflix’s series The Ultimatum: Queer Love released its finale two episodes this week and it was a mess. The 9th episode showed the “Ultimatum Day, when the couples choose whether to be engaged or part up,” and the 10th was the reunion. On Ultimatum Day, four of the five couples became engaged, but on the reunion the number still engaged dwindled to two (only one couple is currently together). 

The reunion had a lot of typical reality TV show mess, however, when it came to ex-couple Tiff and Mildred, things became a lot more serious. Tiff and Mildred always had a relationship with “communication and anger difficulties.” Nonetheless they still became engaged on Ultimatum Day, but had since broken up. During their tense exchange on the reunion, Mildred admitted to throwing a picture frame and pet gate at Tiff, and being arrested after Tiff called the police about the incident. Mildred continuously dismissed Tiff throughout the entire exchange, and Tiff walked off the set, and eventually left the premises. Cast member Sam followed Tiff to comfort them before they left, then returned to the show.

Mildred openly admitted to domestic violence on the reunion, yet no one seemed to clock it—one cast member, Yoly, even defended Mildred. While Sam and her partner, Aussie, did support Tiff (Aussie was in a trial marriage with Mildred but left early due to her aggression) no one actually called what she did domestic violence or abuse—something that many fans caught and wondered why Mildred was even invited to the reunion.

I enjoy watching a lot of reality TV shows, but that was a lot. The episode had no trigger warning. I really hope they had a therapist on set. If they did not, it should be standard practice going forward for reality TV shows. 


Twitter: Cornel West announces his candidacy 

This is one of those things that I don’t know how to process. Academic and activist Cornel West announced his candidacy for the 2024 Presidential Election as a member of the People’s Party. West is “running for truth and justice as a presidential candidate for the People’s Party to reintroduce America to the best of itself – fighting to end poverty, mass incarceration, ending wars and ecological collapse, guaranteeing housing, health care, education and living wages for all!” I support all of that, but I’m skeptical… There is not enough information for me to know what to think yet. 


The Atlantic: The Age of Goggles Has Arrived

Apple announced new virtual reality goggles on Monday and we are living in Black Mirror (which we have been living in for years—this just feels more tangible). Branded as a “wearable, spatial computer,” the presentation emphasized how the goggles were “just the beginning.” But the beginning-ness of the goggles begs the questions of “where, and why?” Ian Bogost investigates these questions in his piece. While I do understand how “AR and VR (and XR and MR) are already becoming useful in design, construction, safety training, medicine, and therapy,” I’m not aware of the need for goggles in everyday life. 


Spotify: Janelle Monáe’s ‘The Age of Pleasure’

We are now in ‘The Age of Pleasure’! On Friday Janelle Monáe released their fourth album, and it is perfectly in time for summer evenings by the pool. The beats are rich, luscious, and reminiscent of a sticky hot night and summer romance. Lyrically, it takes me a few weeks to get into Monáe’s music, and on first listen her work often feels a bit didactic to me. This album is no exception, although I’m sure it will be one of my favorites by the end of the month. 


YouTube: Charlie Wilson: Tiny Desk Concert

June is Black Music Month, and NPR’s Tiny Desk is celebrating with a series of concerts by Black musicians. Charlie Wilson has a career that spans 50 years and multiple genres including R&B, hip hop, and rock. His concert runs “the gamut of emotions,” and “his testimonial during a praise break reminded us that he’s climbed through valleys about as deep as they get. ‘I went from rags to riches, riches to rags, then rags to the curb, the curb to homeless,” he said. “Because I was an alcoholic and a crack cocaine addict! But I’m 28 years clean and sober!’”


Tea with Queen and J.

Womanist race nerds Queen and J. are back! Hosts of my favorite podcast, Tea with Queen and J. are back after taking an 18 month rest (although they have been making monthly postings on their Patreon). “One of the OG Black Feminist podcasts” the two have been recording the weekly independent show since 2014. In this episode the two “get into where we have been, how we have been, what kept us away, and what rest means 3 years into a global pandemic.” I have been following the two on Patreon, but I am SO EXCITED they are also back on the mainfeed. 


Page Six: ‘Milkshake’ singer Kelis, 43, is dating actor Bill Murray, 72: report

Page Six and the U.S. Sun are reporting that singer Kelis and Bill Murrary are dating. Kelis is 29 years his junior. This could very well be a rumor, especially given that the U.S. Sun was the first to report the relationship, but just the thought of the relationship set Twitter abuzz. The two have reportedly been “getting close,” but getting close as what? Could it be as friends? I don’t know. But I’m taking it with a grain of salt unless one of them confirms. 


Twitter: Zion Williamson

I don’t think anyone in the world has ever wanted to know as much about Zion Williamson as we have learned this week. The 22 year-old New Orleans Pelicans basketball star is having sex with multipule porn stars (at least one of which is pregnant) and they are fighting on Twitter. It was going on for days. It is too much and people are exasperated by the discourse as seen by Olayemi Olurin in this video breakdown. 


Header Images from Tea with Queen & J Podcast

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