The Internet is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 9/10/23 🔥

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Lost Boys: Amos Badertscher’s Baltimore

I learned a few things on the internet this week. Highlights: Summer of Black women, Black press v. Black media, rotting Rotten Tomatoes, Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas, Danny Masterson, Jimmy Fallon, orange yolks, Oliva Rodrigo and Taylor Swift, Burning Mud, and talking with sperm whales. 


The 19th: The Summer of the Black Woman

This has been the summer of the Black woman and I have loved it! Beyoncé has flooded the timelines for months. VP Kamala Harris is making moves in Southeast Asia. Simone Biles is back. Sha’Carri Richardson got redemption. And Coco wins the US Open! 

The joy of the summer has not come without its lows: “The Supreme Court struck down affirmative action and ended plans to cancel some student loan debt,” and “on July 29, O’Shae Sibley, a queer Black choreographer, was stabbed to death while dancing to Beyoncé’s music at a New York City gas station. Last month, police shot to death Ta’Kiya Young, a 21-year-old pregnant mother in an Ohio parking lot after she was accused of shoplifting.” 

Yet, “all summer long, there were displays of Black women repeatedly choosing joy and unapologetically owning their power in public in a way that felt new and different.”  This summer felt unadulterated, and filled with “[Black women] finding and using their voices, defining themselves and rejecting others’ attempts to define them — and succeeding.” 


What I’m Reading: The new Black press is changing the game

Hearing the term “Black Media,” I immediately think of outlets like The Shade Room or The Breakfast Club, both of which have more than suspect politics. While The Shade Room and The Breakfast Club are mainstays, the landscape of Black Media is vast with “no set of shared standards, ethics, or guidelines among the Instagram pages, influencers masquerading as journalists, or gossip websites that the average reader tends to lump into the category.” 

While there has been a proliferation of Black media outlets, Black press has also grown. The two are distinctly different, and “outlets like the Kansas City Defender, Capital B MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, The Black Wall Street Times, The Emancipator, Hammer & Hope, The Grio, Scalawag Magazine and more are using social media to grow their audiences and share their stories. But they pay homage to the historic Black press, which captured the fight for civil rights, equality, and the everyday lives of Black people, accurately and fairly. These new Black press outlets have editors, style guides, a code of ethics, and issue corrections when something is incorrect.” 


Vulture: The Decomposition of Rotten Tomatoes

I have no clue why, but I almost never engage with Rotten Tomatoes. I rarely look at reviews before I watch them, let alone check the site. Apparently, I’m in the minority, and “the Tomatometer may be the most important metric in entertainment, yet it’s also erratic, reductive, and easily hacked.” Founded 25 years ago, “the site was conceived in the early days of the web as a Hot or Not for movies. Now, it can make or break them — with implications for how films are perceived, released, marketed, and possibly even green-lit.” Hollywood has A LOT of issues. 


Vogue: Long Live the Party Mom
Joe Joans filed for divorce from his wife Sophie Turner and he looks like an ass. According to TMZ, Jonas has been caring for the couple’s two children “pretty much all of the time” while Turner is on set in the UK. Further, there are reports that Turner enjoys going out, drinking, and partying—something that is unacceptable to Jonas and he is attempting to shame her for. 

Jonas has used this behavior to condemn her, but “even if Turner is a party mom…so what?” writes Emma Spector, and the rest of the internet agrees. No one is “condoning drinking a ton or rendering yourself unable to hang with your kids on a regular basis, but Turner’s children were, as far as I know, not at the bar where she was so debauchedly daring to do shots,” writes Spector. 

But “is it really such a five-alarm scandal if this 27-year-old woman and mother wants to enjoy herself adult style while her kids are safe with their dad? Maybe we’d all be better off if we accepted that having kids doesn’t have to permeate every single aspect of your time and identity and just let mothers have some goddamn fun.” 


Legal Affairs and Trials with Meghann Cuniff: Danny Masterson sentenced to 30 years in prison for rape as victims denounce Scientology

‘That 70s Show’ star Danny Masterson was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday for raping two women. Masterson was convicted in late May for the rapes that took place in 2003. Many celebrities, including Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, wrote letters to Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo, who oversaw the case, requesting leniency.  However, during sentencing, Judge Olmedo addressed Masterson, saying, “You are not the victim here. Your actions 20 years ago took away another person’s choice and voice. Your actions 20 years ago were criminal, and that’s why you are here,” making her position clear. 

Much of the hearing focused on the Church of Scientology, of which Masterson was a member. In one statement, a victim (who is known by her initials N.T.) described how the church was Masterson’s “enabler and protector,” and that she was a “brain-washed member.” This was the second trial as Masterson’s first trial in 2022 resulted in a deadlock. 

RollingStone: Chaos, Comedy, and ‘Crying Rooms’: Inside Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’

Well, damn. I guess Jimmy Fallon and Ellen Degenerous are BFFs. On Thursday, RollingStone published this exposé on Fallon and his tenure on ‘The Tonight Show’ by Krystie Lee Yandoli. In her exposé, Yandoli reports that “according to two current and 14 former employees, The Tonight Show has been a toxic workplace for years — far outside the boundaries of what’s considered normal in the high-pressure world of late-night TV.” News of the allegations spread across X, formerly known as Twitter, with users sharing now telling clips of Fallon on his show, and an excerpt from Tiny Fey’s 2011 ‘Boysspants’ recounting how he tried to shame Amy Pohler in an SNL writers room.


Eater: Orange Is the New Yolk

I’ve experienced people using the color of egg yolks as an expression of morals, ethics, and class. Usually this happened when I lived in cities, far from places where many people had farms or chickens, where you could buy eggs from a stand while driving down a county road. People would compare the color of egg yolks, with the deeper yellow-orange signifying a person of better morals, ethics, politics, and a higher class. A person who bought pasture raised or heritage eggs cared more about the quality of life of chickens, thus, they were more moral and had better animal ethics, signifying their politics as well. And, of course, anyone who could afford these eggs, which can cost upwards of $10 a dozen in a city, were of a higher class because WHO CAN AFFORD TO SPEND $10 ON EGGS?!?! 

The egg has become the poster child for all-natural, accessible, ‘whole’ foods ready to prove their virtue once you crack them open.” Social media has fetishized these deep-orange yolked eggs to the point of absurdity, and “in an effort to appease us by proving the natural, healthy habitats of their hens, egg companies will supplement their feed with things like marigolds, turmeric, and beets to greenwash a perfectly suitable yellow yolk.” 


Slate: The Olivia Rodrigo–Taylor Swift “Beef” Is Really About Something Deeper

Until recently, I did not know that adults actively listen to both Taylor Swift or Olivia Rodrigo. Nor did I know the two singers have beef. I guess I am really not on the part of the internet in which they exist? Anyway, apparently “Swift and Rodrigo were once a public mutual appreciation society. That seemed to chill after Sour came out and Swift apparently demanded credit (and an accompanying cut of the profits) for Rodrigo’s single ‘Deja Vu,’ whose shouted bridge was inspired in style by Swift’s ‘Cruel Summer.’” 

For Rodrigo, “like a huge proportion of young singer-songwriters today, it’s not just one or two of her songs that are indebted to Swift but her entire songwriting style, from the diaristic direct address to the mixture of narrow and wide leaps in her melodies.” This has much larger implications as “the legal environment that enables artists to monetize stylistic influence, as opposed to literal plagiarism of one song by another, is due largely to the court decision in the “Blurred Lines” case eight years ago. 

The Rodrigo-Swift affair is an illustration of how off-base that verdict’s interpretation of artistic process was. If every Swift-influenced song had to tithe her royalties, Swift would be wetting her beak in half the output of the industry, like some kind of white-girl-pop Godfather.”

This beef is honestly a lot more interesting than I initially thought.


WIRED: The End of Burning Man Is Also Its Future

This year Burning Man, the annual 80,000-person bacchanal [that] happens about three hours outside of Reno, Nevada, in the Black Rock Desert every Labor Day” turned into a mudslide. Situated in a dry lakebed, the event is usually a place “extreme temperatures, extreme dust storms, and an extreme lack of water,” but this year, due to climate change, it was extremely wet due to a tropical storm followed by an unseasonable rainstorm. Once a radical community-focused gathering, “in the past five years, Burning Man has gained a reputation for being a playground for billionaires and influencers, filled with luxury RVs and private, air-conditioned domes with open bars.” Burning Mud might just give Burning Man the opportunity to re-evaluate its roots for a more sustainable future. 


The New Yorker: Can We Talk to Whales?

A few months ago, my friend sent me a Tweet that asked “Would you rather be able to talk to your dog for 1 hour but lose 10 years off your life or live 5 years longer?” I quickly responded that I would rather talk to my dog, which sent me into a spiral trying to figure out if I would learn dog language, or she would learn English, or maybe there would be some new kind of language? I don’t think I will ever be able to speak with animals, but some scientists are trying to communicate with sperm whales. 

Sperm whales, the largest toothed whales, are thought to have one of the most complex forms of communication in the animal kingdom, “produce[ings] quick bursts of clicks, known as codas, which they exchange with one another. The exchanges seem to have the structure of conversation.” Through the Cetacean Translation Initiative, or CETI, scientists are trying to decode codas with the help of AI. Codas “are clearly learned or, to use the term of art, socially transmitted,” and differ by region, with babies learning to babble “before they can click them out proficiently.” 

Scientists have been able to identify a repertoire of 25 codas, “a pretty limited vocabulary. But, just as no one can yet say what, if anything, codas mean to sperm whales, no one can say exactly what features are significant to them. It may be that there are nuances in, say, pacing or pitch that have so far escaped human detection.”

Header Illustration by Cara Ober

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