The internet made me kinda mad this week. Highlights: Death on K2, leisure, RENAISSANCE, hip-hop, Coco Gauff, PinkyDoll, racial capitalism, Queen and J. visit Stitch Please, abortion trafficking, and gun violence.
I have read a few stories, and watched a couple of documentaries on the increase in people trying to summit the world’s biggest mountains and they never cease to amaze me. I’m fascinated by people paying hundreds of thousands of dollars—and risking their lives—for recreational conquests. I’m curious about what it means for the local economies and people where these mountains are located. And I’m intrigued by the ethics of flying around the world to see its beauty, yet creating a major carbon footprint to do so.
On July 27th Mohammad Hassan, “a Pakistani porter tasked with carrying equipment for the rope-fixing team,” died on K2. During the July 27th summit window, “at least 102 people had conquered K2.” People walked past Hassan as he was dying with reports that “he was trying to reach out to people.” That day and “[Hassan’s] death would shake the mountaineering industry in the weeks to come, and eventually make headlines worldwide. The climbers who summited K2 that day were swept into the heart of a bitter debate. Speculation churned as people argued whether a man more than 8,000 meters above sea level could have been saved from the Mountain of Mountains — or whether greed for glory had blinded more than 100 climbers and left Mohammad stranded on the ice.”
As I enter the latter part of my twenties, I spend a lot of time trying to envision the kind of life I want for myself. I’ve come to understand some of the things that don’t fulfill me, but I’ve yet to master articulating where I do find the most fulfillment. I know that I don’t enjoy (or do well) living in major cities as I find it difficult to simply live. I spent nearly two years in Brooklyn, and I always joke that I had to fight for my life just to mail something at the post office. The city was busy, and it felt like I never had any time. For me, in New York leisure was work, and felt like a fulltime job and didn’t leave much space for me to think and reflect on my life.
In the city, everyone was obsessed with time, but what exactly was time for? Zena Hitz asks that question here encourages a critical engagement with leisure as “not merely recreation, which we might undertake for the sake of work – to relax or rest before beginning to labor anew. It is an activity or set of activities that could count as the culmination of all our endeavors.”
If we all had more time, what would we do? “What parts of our lives seem to be the culminating parts, the days or hours or minutes where we are living life most fully? When do you stop counting the time and become entirely present to what you are doing? What sorts of activities are you engaged in when this takes place?”
The whole summer has gone by and I have yet to include something on Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour. Beginning in May, the tour has absolutely dominated online discourses since tickets went on sale in February. Although tickets were hard to come by, it seemed like EVERYONE was going to the extravaganza that (along with the album) “is a homage to Beyoncé’s uncle, Johnny—a gay man who introduced her to house music.” I did not go, but based on what I saw, I agree with Bria McNeal’s analysis that “the whole thing exudes rich aunt energy. Pure fun. No rules. And the atmosphere? Well, it’s like a reunion.”
Hip-hop has been celebrating its 50th anniversary all year. It seems like every week there is a new article discussing some part of the genre’s history and impact. While there is much to celebrate about hip-hop, there is also reason to be critical. Hip-hop is notoriously homophobic, misogynistic, and leaves many talented women or queer MCs out of its canon.
Drew Dixon, an activist and producer, has worked in hip-hop since the mid 1990s, but “as a woman in hip-hop” finds its culture to be “a source of tremendous pride and unspeakable pain.” With love, Dixon addresses how “the corrosive paternalism of rap music is shrouded in the patina of upward mobility and Black empowerment. As a result of this stylistic head-fake, many female hip-hop fans have been seduced by the allure of fighting the power in an environment rife with degradation. Hip-hop has not only failed to deliver on its early nod to Black liberation. This powerful global art form reinforces white supremacy. By amplifying toxic tropes about the hypersexuality and worthlessness of Black women and girls, rappers unwittingly echo ideologies used for centuries to normalize the rape of our enslaved ancestors. Hip-hop has morphed into a worldwide distributor of misogynoir, gaslighting Black women and girls worldwide to hate themselves and accept the absolute least.”
As sharp as her criticisms are, Dixon also believes “this culture that has already blown past every expectation, demonstrating its capacity to change the world, also has the capacity to transform itself to embrace women with respect, reciprocity and love.”
The US Open is currently taking place in New York, and they are trying to play in Coco Gauff’s face! During her first round match against Laura Siegemund of Germany, Gauff of the US, “had to advocate for herself in the workplace in a situation involving two white women.” Throughout the duration of the match, Siegemund played at a slow pace, and, “as ESPN put it, ‘took her sweet time between points and never seemed ready to play when the 19-year-old from Florida was.’”
Frustrated by the pace of the game, Gauff addressed umpire Marijana Veljovi, for failing to enforce “the 25-second rule, which says both the server and the receiver need to be ready to play within 25 seconds after the scoring of the last point,” and penalize Siegemund for her infractions. Of course Veljovi said that it was Gauff’s pace that was too fast, and not Siegemund’s slow play. Gauff was correct and, thankfully, the crowd was on her side.
And OF COURSE Siegemund found a way to victimize herself in the press conference, crying about how the crowd booed her saying “they treated me like I was a bad person,” while also admitting that she has a slower pace of play.
Ma’am. You are 35. “As a professional tennis player, you are well aware of what the rules are as far as the time in between serves. You are admitting that you are aware, yet you continue to take your time between plays, and you expect everyone else to adapt to your style of playing instead of you adapting to the actual rules of tennis.”
Viral NPC TikToker PinkyDoll made an appearance at the Streamy Awards, which “honors the best content creators on social media.” PinkyDoll, whose real name is Fedha Simon, was notably darker than she does on her videos, prompting people to accuse her of “lightskin fishing.”
On X (Twitter) @TheCocoaDon said “WAIT SO she’s catfishing on TikTok as a light bright banking on the fact that people are inherently colorist and will typically support a Lightskinned woman with eurocentric features a million times before they ever support a dark skinned woman with the same features?”
Fedha has responded telling TMZ she “loves to be a Black woman.” Digital cameras are notoriously bad at capturing dark skin tones, and many filters make darker skin considerably lighter. Maybe “she said let me use y’all colorist preferences and get this money lolol.”
In the first issue of Hammer & Hope, a new magazine “rooted in the power of solidarity, the spirit of struggle and the generative power of debate,” Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò discusses the term racial capitalism as “a framework to understand what the British Crown sought to build” and the world. Racial capitalism is a term I’m hearing buzzing around social media with increasing frequency, and “is best understood as a way that both racism and capitalism work in history and in the present — and how the world as a whole is formed from the areas of colonialism built off the trans-Atlantic slave trade.”
Providing a brief history of the term, and the ways in which it can fall short, Táíwò acknowledges that you don’t have to use racial capitalism, “the world will be what it is, whether we subtract a word or add several to any term. What matters about racism, capitalism, racial capitalism, and any other options are the ideas underneath and what we do with them. Racial capitalism offers us a clue: If it is true that racism and capitalism are in a mutually supporting relationship, then we should expect that any potentially effective anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggles will also be mutually supporting. Our ultimate goal isn’t to understand the origins of a term or even its lineage, but to understand the workings of a world we are trying to change.”
Tea with Queen and J are still on a break from their main food, but they are doing occasional guest appearances on other podcasts! Queen and J. joined Lisa on Stitch Please to talk “about their first time attending the Essence festival in New Orleans, which is not only the largest Black-organized festival but the largest festival of any kind in the United States. They talk about its reputation for being an ‘Auntie Con’ and how events can be more intergenerational and welcoming to members of the queer community, musical performances by Janelle Monae, Megan Thee Stallion, and Jill Scott, and surprising moments of community care.”
While I do miss my weekly dose of Queen and J. I love learning about new podcasts through their guest appearances.
Over the past couple of years, I have become obsessed with legal comity and this is why. In Texas, anti-aborition activists are targeting highways and local roads to criminalize what they call “abortion trafficking,” or leaving the state, which is illegal in Taxes, to seek medical treatment elsewhere. Two cities in Texas have already outlawed this “trafficking,” and is under consideration in Llano.
These proposals are “designed by the architects of the state’s ‘heartbeat’ ban that took effect months before Roe fell, ordinances like the one proposed in Llano — where some 80 percent of voters in the county backed President Donald Trump in 2020 — make it illegal to transport anyone to get an abortion on roads within the city or county limits. The laws allow any private citizen to sue a person or organization they suspect of violating the ordinance.”
Anti-abortion advocates will not stop.
This week has been marred by numerous high profile shootings. A student shot and killed their advisor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In Jacksonville, Florida, a man intentionally targeted and killed Black people at a Dollar General. Gun violence in this country far outpaces that of any other high-income country, and it is “deeply ingrained in US politics, culture, and law.”
Even though “the majority of Americans support more gun control restrictions, including universal background checks, a vocal Republican minority unequivocally opposes such laws — and is willing to put pressure on GOP lawmakers to do the same,” and this has been true for as long as I can remember.
All of the numbers and statistics in this present a comprehensive and logical argument for gun control, but the part I found most poignant in the update at the end: “Update, August 29, 5:30 pm ET: This story was originally published on May 26, 2022, and has been updated multiple times, most recently with details from the August 28 shooting at UNC Chapel Hill.”