The internet was FUNNY and engaging this week. Highlights: Marriage plots, Airlines, Colin Kaepernick, grief and love, “Black math,” Blueface and Chrisean, the WGA, pandas, WNBA expansions, and remembering Dianne Feinstein.
I’m at the age in my life where people are starting to get married. Well, people are either starting to marry, or are running as far away from the institution as possible. Over the past fifty years, marriage rates have declined, but a new “marriage fervor” is emerging. The reason for marriage’s initial decline is ”not simply that people aren’t getting married: Many are marrying later, marrying multiple times, marrying people of the same gender, living unmarried with romantic partners, raising children on their own, or some combination of these things.”
However, “efforts underway to once again make (straight) marriage ubiquitous, including an all-out Republican offensive against the liberalized divorce laws of the late-20th and early-21st century.” This is an absolutely fascinating piece by Rebecca Traister.
Last month, Delta announced changes to its milage program and people (rightfully) lost their minds! “Instead of relying on a combination of dollars spent and miles traveled in the air, Delta will grant status based on a single metric—dollars spent—and raise the amount of spending required to get it” making accruing status much harder. The changes means Delta’s “SkyMiles is no longer a frequent-flier program; it’s a big-spender program.”
Beginning in 1978 when “Congress passed a sweeping law deregulating the airline industry,” airlines have increasingly acted as quasi-banks, earning “more money from mileage programs than from flying planes.” This is quite a fascinating history from Ganesh Sitaraman.
The New York Jets are without a star quarterback after Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury to his achilles tendon in the first game, ending his season. Colin Kaepernick, “former 49ers quarterback-turned-overnight activist despised by Middle America and just about every racist in the county for braving and quietly exercising his First Amendment right to free speech by kneeling for racial justice during ‘The National Anthem’ in 2016, has found his way back into the spotlight.”
It was reported that the Jets were looking for Kaepernick, and wrote a letter to the team’s general manager offering to “lead the practice squad” explaining he would “be of great service to the team as a practice squad QB, while also giving you a low-commitment chance to assess my capabilities to help in any other capacity you may see fit.”
As the letter circulated critics asked, “Why is Kaepernick asking to be a part of a league he’s called a ‘plantation,’ a league that he shunned when he was invited to training camp in 2019, a league that effectively blacklisted him from ever playing the sport again, and opened him up to backlash from bigots who only want Black athletes to keep their head down — be respectable — shut up and keep playing?” Clearly, we do not live in a racial utopia, and Kaepernick “deserves his fair shot at playing pro football again after all the vitriol and abuse he’s been through . . . but is it worth it?”
I’m in the process of writing an essay on a photographer whose practice is governed by love. During conversations with the artist, we talk a lot about love, of course, but also its counterpart grief. In this project, photographer “Justin Hardiman invited folks to participate in an audio-visual exploration of their relationship to grief.” In preparation for the shoot, Hardiman asked each person to do two things: “Pick a color that represented how they visualize grief” and to “pick an object that represented how they engage with grief in their own lives.” Even though Hardiman’s tasks and this project introduction do not mention love, it is ever present.
“Girl math,” or the math women do while calculating financial decisions has taken over the internet the past few weeks. In general, I’ve found the trend annoying and reductive (especially in accordance with “girl dinner”). This week, however, “girl math” transformed into “Black math”. On Tuesday, @justlikemike911 asked “what is black math” and the results are hilarious, and include “not being the one, but somehow being the right one,” “umpteen,” and “losing the house key and your momma somehow equating that to someone being able to just walk into her house.”
In addition to Black math, people have also inquired about “white math,” concluding its “Moving to a Caribbean island and being mad that locals live there,” “going to war for spices and then using 0% of them,” “divorce is costly so killing the whole family instead,” “and being “white + nonbinary = person of color.” I hollered!
For months now, Blueface and Chrisean have been blowing up the timeline and no one needs to know the things we have learned over the past few weeks. The two met on Blueface’s “Flavor Flav-inspired dating show,” and the toxicity has been building ever since.
In September, Chrisean gave birth to the couple’s first child on Instagram live, and their already abusive relationship has continuously digressed while also becoming more public. The infant has been used as a “prop for social media sparring or to feign that he’s the catalyst for one’s supposed change for the better that still hasn’t been seen.”
His father posted pictures of his genitals to Instagram. His mother smoked weed while pregnant and had him “bent in a wildly uncomfortable position while being videotaped not properly supported in a carrier.” This situation is getting increasingly dangerous and messy.
The Writer’s Guild of America strike came to a tentative end on Tuesday after a deal was struck between the union and production studios. It was the second longest strike in the union’s history. The deal reached is not without criticism, anger, and disbelief as to why a strike even needed to take place.
After “148 days of collective misery” the agreement’s “specifics were hammered out in less than a week of actual bargaining.” There are multiple converging reasons for this, but it mostly boils down to money. “Burdened by streaming debt and the market’s pivot toward valuing profitability over subscriber growth, the entertainment giants figured that freezing spending for a few months would be good for their short-term bottom line. At the same time, the studios hoped that a weakened WGA would settle for a less costly deal, saving a few more nickels — and, more importantly, making the gods of Wall Street happy.”
Due to “an agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association,” come December, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. will be without pandas for the first time since 2000. Currently, the Zoo’s panda house is home to three pandas: Mating pair Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, and their youngest cub, 3-year-old Xiao Qi Ji. To say goodbye to the beloved bears, Meilan Solly takes a “look back at major milestones in the history of giant pandas at NZCBI, as illustrated by five decades of media coverage. Below, follow the story from the first Smithsonian pandas’ arrival in the U.S. to the current trio’s impending return to China.”
After years of potential expansions, the Golden State Warriors are reportedly close to finalizing an expansion bringing the WNBA to Oakland. The announcement could come as soon as this week. “If finalized, the franchise will play its games at Chase Center and be headquartered in Oakland at the [Warriors] practice facility, which the organization still owns and uses to maintain a presence in the community.” Expand the WNBA!
California Senator Dianne Feinstein has died. She was 90. Fienstein was “the oldest member of the Senate, the longest-serving female senator and the longest-serving senator from California,” and planned on retiring at the end of 2024. She faced increased calls for resignation over the past few months due to concerns about her declining health.
Feinstein was known for her support of gun control, yet as a centrist Democrat, she drew criticism from more liberal members of her party. “She parted from them on a number of issues, including opposing single-payer, government-run health care and the ambitious Green New Deal climate proposal, which she argued was politically and fiscally unfeasible.”