The Internet is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 9/17/23 🔥

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Hand to Eye: Artists Show Up and Show Out in Supp [...]

You know, sometimes things happen on the internet, but life is too much. This was one of those weeks. No one cared about the (potential) aliens. Aaron Rodgers (predictably?) is out for the season. And did Jonathan Majors really break up a fight?

Highlights: Coco Gauff, the VMAs, Erykah Badu, Diahann Caroll, Mitski, Lake Lainer, celebrity auctions, Hasan Minhaj, the Roman Empire, and UAW is on strike. 


The Guardian: How Coco Gauff and her father plotted a new route to US Open glory

Coco Gauff won her first US Open and I could not be happier! Admittedly, the US Open is really the only tennis tournament I pay attention to, and I didn’t know that Coco struggled in spring or that father took a step-back from coaching her this year. It was heartening to read about her father, Corey Gauff, “[making] one of the most important decisions in his daughter’s career. He knew exactly when it was time to take a step back and he helped her to find the right people with which to surround herself, hiring Pere Riba just before Wimbledon and Brad Gilbert afterwards.” I am always wishing the best for Coco!


RollingStone: The 2023 VMAs Didn’t Even Suck This Year. What Happened?

Normally, I don’t regret missing an awards show–but I weirdly regret missing the MTV’s Video Music Awards this year. The show took place on Tuesday night, and usually there are only a few performances worth watching. This year, however, I’ve found myself watching ALL of the performances (and many of them multiple times), PLUS most acceptance speeches. Yes, I do have some critique—like the lack of women in the performance celebrating hip-hop’s 50th anniversary—but on the whole the show “delivered a constant barrage of pop stars doing one or more of the two things they’re good at: (1) the hits and/or (2) making glitter-cringe spectacles out of themselves on live TV.” 


The Cut: Peak Badu

While I often enjoy Erykah Badu’s music, I have never known what to think of her as a person. She is vastly contradictory, an aesthetic and sonic genius, a fashion icon, and someone who at 15 wrote a letter to the universe. She is often referred to as an auntie, but “Erykah Badu is not like your aunt, not even your favorite one,” writes Casey Gerald. “I’ve met presidents, mayors, billionaires, Dallas Cowboy Hall of Famers, Holy Land juice healers, TED Talkers — a lot of people, all over the world, and Badu is one of the few who holds up after close inspection. I don’t mean she is perfect. I don’t mean she is better than you or anyone else. I mean she is who she says she is; she is trying to be better than she’s been.” Gerald didn’t tell me what to think of Badu, but paints a full picture of the singer—the good, the bad, the confusing—so I can decide for myself (although I’m still a little confused).


Metrograph: Also Starring… Diahann Caroll 

I miss Diahann Caroll. I can’t remember the first thing I saw Caroll in—but she has always felt, and been, everpresent. Star of Julia, “the first weekly series helmed by a Black woman,” Caroll’s career spanned seven decades, and was “the last gilded idols that remained of Hollywood’s mid-century pantheon. But what endured above all was the face she turned to the world: a perennial portrait of bourgeoisie glamor—spotted furs and glittering pearl gowns.” In every role she commanded attention, appearing “lit from within by some inextinguishable force.” Kelli Weston’s love for Caroll is palpable in this essay, and emblematic of her enduring presence in the life of many. 


Spotify: Mitski’s ‘The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We’

Even before listening to Mitski’s seventh studio album, released on Friday, I was taken by its title ‘The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We.’ I, as many others, have long been concerned by when I am implicated in a we. There are many moments throughout the album where I understand how I am part of we—like when Mitski sings “nothing in the world belongs to me / But my love” on My Love Mine all Mine. The album is cosmic, expansive—wondering what it means to be human and love in a galaxy vast beyond comprehension. 


Yahoo! News: Georgia’s Lake Lanier has claimed over 200 lives. Why do people believe it’s haunted?

It seems like every year, or few weeks, news of someone else dying in Georgia’s Lake Lanier comes across my Twitter feed. At 59-square miles, the manmade lake is the most popular lake in the southeast with “upwards of 11 million visitors each year,” and has claimed more than 200 lives since 1994. While there are many reasons for this high number, “many Georgia [and internet[ residents are quick to claim the lake is haunted due to its complex and eerie racial history. Situated northeast of Atlanta with waters up to 160-feet deep, the lake sits atop an area that was once home to a small, yet thriving, Black community in the early 1900s, until those residents were violently forced to flee.” You could not pay me to swim in that lake. 


Slate: Every Dream Offer From Hollywood’s Union Solidarity Auction, Ranked

Hollywood writers and actors are still on strike. In an effort “to raise money for production crew members who are losing health care benefits,” the United Solidarity Coalition, “which was created this year by Hollywood writers and directors, is currently hawking a hodgepodge of memorabilia and experiences on eBay.” The things for sale are FUNNY, and “range from signed posters (boring) to Funko Pops (OK) to intimate Zoom calls and in-person quality time with your favorite actors, writers, and directors (where’s my checkbook?).” 


The New Yorker: Hasan Minhaj’s “Emotional Truths”

I’m not a comedy girlie and, really, the only thing I know about Hasan Minhaj is that he told Ellen Degenerous to pronounce his name properly. Never have I consumed—actively or passively—any of his work. Known for his “blend of autobiographical storytelling and social-justice commentary” and “leans heavily on his own experience as an Asian American and Muslim American, telling harrowing stories of law enforcement entrapment and personal threats.” However, some of these stories are untrue. 


WIRED: Why Is Everyone Asking Men About the Roman Empire?

‘Roman Empire” has been trending all week! At first, I didn’t pay attention to why I was seeing “Roman Empire” everywhere, or look into many of the obscure jokes because, well, I think about the Roman Empire all the time. One of my friends has done extensive research on the ancient civilization, and tells me all of the things she has learned about how the Romans influenced our understanding of whiteness, ownership, and colonization amongst other things. 

The question of “how often do you think about the Roman Empire” has flooded the internet this week, and “everyone is trying to figure out how often the men in their lives think about the Roman Empire.” Curious about the trend, and why no one was asking people who aren’t men, Angela Watercutter investigated, leading her to theorize “dudes/people don’t think about the Roman Empire a lot, they think about media about the Roman Empire.”


HuffPost: Auto Workers Strike Ford, GM And Stellantis All At Once

For the first time in its history, the United Auto Workers union is on strike at Ford, GM, and Stellantis simultaneously. The strike, however, is not taking place at every factory in the dispute, and only “called on workers to walk out at only certain facilities when their contracts expired at midnight [on Friday].” 

This strategy allows some union members to continue to get paid, but “depending on how long it lasts and how wide it spreads, the strike could have major economic and political consequences. Nearly 150,000 workers are employed under the three contracts, and many jobs at other employers, such as parts suppliers and dealerships, depend on production running smoothly at Ford, GM and Stellantis, which owns the Dodge and Jeep brands.”

With this strike, the UAW joins numerous unions on strike across the country including the Writers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA (the actors guild), and hotel workers in LA.  


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