The Internet is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 8/27/23 🔥

Previous Story
Article Image

How To Run At the End of the World: Tribe Called Run

Next Story
Article Image

Kim Rice Finds Her Life’s Work in Baltimore

It’s been a while and the internet has been a lot this week. Highlights: Embodying heat, ‘Jaguar II’, remembering Aaliyah, Rhiannon Giddens, reproductive justice in Mississippi, the world is going blind, Gwyneth Paltrow’s guesthouse, the Blind Side, narcissism, and inmate P01135809 (AKA Trump).


Harper’s Bazaar: Heat Is Not a Metaphor

Four years ago, the hosts of QueerWoc podcast, Nikeeta and Money, described Alexis Pauline Gumbs as the “high priestess of Black feminism,” and that is how I have referred to the North Carolina-based poet ever since. A self proclaimed “Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all sentient beings,” Gumbs reflects upon the teachings of marine mammals in her most recent book Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals

Using heat as a metaphor, Gumbs argues that heat is, in fact, not a metaphor for the climate crisis, which is not only happening to the planet but also to us. Gumbs looks at the (perhaps) matriarchal teachings of elder long-finned pilot whales that “[collectively] stranded themselves on the shore. As soon as they lost the support of the water, their chest walls crushed their internal organs. They literally broke their hearts. Choreographed under helicopter cameras.” She writes about the killer whales who, “off the Iberian coast of Europe… collaborated and taught each other how to sink the yachts of the super rich. They literally sank the boats.” 

Gumbs urges us not to think of the planet as separate from our own bodies, asking “How can we stop dissociating from what is happening to our largest body, this planet? Is that your chest collapsing or the rainforest burning? What am I sacrificing to try to earn a premium spot on a sinking ship? Is that your breaking heart or an iceberg shattering? And how cool would it be if none of this were metaphorical?”


Spotify: Victoria Monét’s ‘Jaguar II’

Victoria Monét is absolutely that girl. Monét released ‘Jaguar II’ on Friday night, following her 2020 album ‘Jaguar’, and let me tell you, there are absolutely no skips! ‘Jaguar II’ is atmospheric with lyrics and production that ooze the lush visuals that Monét’s videos and performances are known for. 


Detroit Metro Times: Remembering and releasing Aaliyah, 20 years later

There has been so much bad writing about Aaliyah over the years, so much writing that infantilizes the singer, while also fetishizing her. Aaliyah died in 2001 at the young age of 22, on the cusp of becoming a global sensation. In an attempt to remember Aaliyah, she is often kept trapped in the past and stuck within a male gaze. 

The times are changing, and “as the conversation around consent and justice continues with a revised look at Y2K pop icons like Britney Spears and Janet Jackson, the lines get even more blurred (and intrusive) when we think about the future assumptions that male artists in particular have pushed on Aaliyah. This infinite loop of grieving, craving, and accessing Aaliyah is not exclusive to a handful of male artists; it permeates the culture and its commitment to nostalgia.” In this beautiful piece, Imani Mixon looks at what earnestly imagining a future for Aaliyah would look like, and how “we can also imagine the future of her fans” releasing Aaliyah back to herself. 


Vulture: The Same Old Rhiannon Giddens

I’ve always known Rhiannon Giddens for her folk work, which addresses slavery and the history of this country. In her latest project, You’re the One, however, she has transitioned and taken a turn towards pop as “it just felt like I needed to make music in a slightly different way for my own mental health.” The project “places the older folk styles Giddens has long worked with in conversation with more (relatively) modern influences, like Aretha Franklin (on “Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad”) and Dolly Parton (on “If You Don’t Know How Sweet It Is”). It’s also her first album of completely original material, following a series of albums that focused largely on reinterpreted folk music.”

I have yet to listen to the album, but I am excited to hear what this transition sounds like. I am thankful that she is making the switch for herself, and is sharing her journey. All too often, artists can get pigeonholed and stuck—and I see this a lot (and experience it myself) when someone who is racialized makes work about their race and its historical context. I am happy Giddens has both the courage and space to make the work she needs to make in whatever form it might take. 


Time: She Wasn’t Able to Get an Abortion. Now She’s a Mom. Soon She’ll Start 7th Grade. 

This is one of the most tragic stories I have read since the last story I read about a Black person’s tragic experience with pregnancy. Ashley (whose name has been changed for privacy) lives in Mississippi, is 13 years old, and just had a baby after being raped last fall. 

“Ashley lives in the heart of abortion-ban America,” and months earlier her doctor could have directed Ashley and her mother “to abortion clinics in Memphis, 90 minutes north, or in Jackson, Miss.”

Now, however, the closest one is in Chicago, and with the pierce of “gas, food, and a place to stay for a couple of nights, not to mention the cost of the abortion itself,” and missing work, her mother could not afford to take her.  

Ashley is just one of many people who have not, are not, and will not receive the medical care that everyone should be entitled to—whether that be an abortion, STI screening, or anything related to their reproductive health. Why is depriving women of healthcare so important to certain groups right now?


Wired: The World Is Going Blind. Taiwan Offers a Warning, and a Cure

The world is facing a health crisis: myopia rates are drastically increasing. The rates amongst people in Taiwan is particularly high, although the trend is global. The crisis was first noticed in the early 1980s and “by 1990, the myopia rate among Taiwanese 15-year-olds had risen to 74 percent,” and its growth corresponded to the country’s industrialization, and long school hours. At first, it was thought this was due to students spending too much time reading things at a close distance or the amount of time students spent continuously reading, but rates continued to rise. 

Pei-Chang Wu, a surgeon specializing in repairing retinal detachments, learned of the worrying trend in the mid-1990s during his residency and dedicated his career to understanding the phenomenon. Wu found a 2008 paper by Ian Morgan, an Australian researcher, around the same time it was published that offered a solution to myopia: sunlight. Like any concerned parent, Wu brought the information to his son’s school, and began testing the theory with astonishing results. It is interesting and beautiful that such a worrying problem has such a simple solution. 


The Ringer: Gwyneth Paltrow Put Her House Up on Airbnb. And Thus, a Quest Began.

I have seen the clips about Gwyneth Paltrow listing the guesthouse of her Montecito home on Airbnb. When I first saw the clip I rolled my eyes and thought, “What is this woman doing now?” before continuing to watch Paltrow introduce her guest house. The offer is part of an Aribnb campaign to fight loneliness (and, most likely, their slipping stock). 

Jodi Walker was invited to stay at the house, but, as she comically writes, “When I battled loneliness in the past, I never once considered going to stay at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Montecito guesthouse as a solution. And that’s on me. So, thank goodness Airbnb had this brilliant idea to partner with someone who has 8.3 million Instagram followers in order to cure the loneliness epidemic.” I am very glad Walker took the offer and wrote this comic review because I would not stay at that woman’s house. 


ESPN: ‘Blind Side’ subject Oher alleges Tuohys made millions off lie

Michael Oher, subject of the 2009 Oscar winning film ‘The Blind Side’ is “[alleging] that a central element of the story was a lie concocted by the family to enrich itself at his expense.” The petition “alleges that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, who took Oher into their home as a high school student, never adopted him. Instead, less than three months after Oher turned 18 in 2004, the petition says, the couple tricked him into signing a document making them his conservators, which gave them legal authority to make business deals in his name.” Additionally, Oher claims he was never was never paid for the movie, while the Tuohys and their biological children were made rich. 


Scientific American: What is Narcissism?

Unqualified individuals on the internet loveeeee to pathologize people, especially if they have never met them! One of the diagnoses I often see bandied about is narcissism, but what, exactly, is narcissism? While most people have probably encountered someone with a narcissistic personality disorder, they may have “looked nothing like Trump, Musk or Modi.”

There are several layers to narcissism, and it “may be grandiose or self-loathing, extraverted or socially isolated, captains of industry or unable to maintain steady employment, model citizens or prone to antisocial activities.” Even among amnesty psychologists, a decades-long debate on how narcissistic personality traits and disorders has raged on: “Most psychologists who treat patients say that grandiosity and vulnerability coexist in the same individual, showing up in different situations. Among academic psychologists, however, many contend that these two traits do not always overlap.”

The complexities of narcissism and mental illness are too varied to fit into a TikTok or a thread. 


Democracy Now!: Inmate P01135809: Trump Surrenders to Jail in Georgia, Booked on 13 Felony Counts

On Thursday, Donald Trump became the first president to ever have his mugshot taken. Trump surrendered at the Fulton County Jail on “13 felony charges for attempting to overturn the 2020 election. He paid $20,000, or 10% of his $200,000 bond, through a local bail bondsman, allowing him to be released after about 20 minutes at the jail. He is expected to face trial as early as October.” 

There are “18 other co-defendants, including former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and lawyer Kenneth Cheseboro, who first suggested the plot to create fake electors.” Amy Goodman spoke with “Carol Anderson, a professor of African American studies at Emory University and the author of One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy, among other books on race and civil rights in American politics, and Hugo Lowell, a reporter for The Guardian who has closely covered Trump’s criminal case in Georgia.” Anderson and Lowell discuss Trump’s long history of racism, and the implications this has for his campaign. 

The internet rejoiced when Trump’s mugshot was released, however, whether or not mugshots should be released is part of an ongoing ethical debate. And, while Trump was able to make bail the same day he was surrendered, Fulton County Jail is currently being investigated by the DOJ for allegations that the facility “is structurally unsafe, that prevalent violence has resulted in serious injuries and homicides, and that officers are being prosecuted for using excessive force.

Related Stories
An Interview with This Year's Featured Authors, Kwame Alexander and Jami Attenberg

“This is a love letter to Baltimore,” says Du Pree, executive director of the CityLit Project, describing the annual festival, now in its 21st year.

Announcing a Second Printing of our City of Artists Book!

A recap of our very first City of Artists release celebration on December 8, 2023: a reading at the Enoch Pratt Library featuring authors Scott Shane, Sheri Booker, Lane Harlan, E. Doyle-Gillespie, and BmoreArt publisher Cara Ober as moderator.

Local Bookstore Teams Up with the Baltimore Water Taxi

While the atmosphere on the Water Taxi was decidedly leisurely (it was a sunset cruise, after all), the underlying excitement was unmistakable. A constant flow of folks congregated around the book display even when the initial rush had passed.

Thoughts Inspired by the Enoch Pratt Library’s 36th Annual Booklovers' Breakfast

This, the Pratt’s 36th Breakfast, was to be my first. And so, with little idea of what to expect, I daydreamed about Jesmyn and me sitting across a fancy table, spearing pancakes and passing the bacon whilst talking about characters we had yet to bring to life.