Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Links 4/10/16


A recent report by the United Nations supports that the United States' history of slavery and racism justifies reparations

The first debate - 
Donald Trump rose to every little bit of bait, and fell into every trap, that Hillary Clinton set for him. And she, in stark contrast to him, made (almost) every point she could have hoped to make, and carried herself in full awareness that she was on high-def split-screen every second. He was constantly mugging, grimacing, rolling his eyes—and sniffing. She looked alternately attentive and amused. 
The Atlantic: The Daily Trump: Filling a Time Capsule, September 27, 2016
Trump’s closest aides and advisors know that they have a problem. Leading congressional Republicans hid out from the press rather than comment on his handling of the debate. The word has gone out from the Trump camp that the next one will be different. There won’t be some dozen people briefing him, as was the case this time; Roger Ailes, who couldn’t get Trump to rehearse the situation by standing at a podium and responding to someone playing Clinton, will take a more commanding part, though the next “debate” is in the form of a town hall. But will Trump’s attention span suddenly grow? Could he somehow come across as well informed? His camp agreed that in the first debate he let some big subjects go by—he didn’t know enough to bring something up even if he hadn’t been asked about it.  
New York Review of Books, The Candidates Laid Bare, September 27, 2016

Donald Trump, among other things, critisised Hillary Clinton for being "prepared" for the debate, which tells you more about the state of politics (now it isn't just a taint anymore to have experience, it also works against you - or at least women - to PREPARE for challenging jobs). She responded drily the she prepared both for the debate and being the actual President of the United States. 2016, you're amazing. This essay beautifully remembers that the film Election is misunderstood as being a negative portrait of women (or its main character, Tracy Flick) when it actually tears down the disgusting, preying, ego-hurt male main character (also, it's a reminder that I used to love the character of Tammy and that speech and oh, how times change). 
This is a summary of feminist media and Hillary Clinton, and again, time changing. And here's Mary J. Blige, interviewing Hillary Clinton. 

In technology, nanotechnology may be used in the future to create healthier and easier-to-use sanitary pads, an issue that hugely influences school outcomes for girls in developing countries (and is also great news for all menstruating people). 

Voters in Colombia have rejected a peace deal with FARC rebels to end the civil war. 

Europe needs a more reasonable asylum system, Hungary needs to... well who knows at this point, and Polish women are protesting to keep autonomy over their bodies. Theresa May has a sort-of timeline for the UK leaving the European Union (and the Irish gleefully doing all their shopping in Northern Ireland, and Scotland becoming independent, presumably). 

Pop Culture: 

A few essays on things that I enjoyed reading the last week: here's one on using WikiHow for self-care, and Mallory Ortberg on the value of internet friendships and what they can turn into (the beautiful end note is an error correction, "Due to a production error, a graphic in this piece originally misstated that Mallory and Nicole met on the White House lawn", and Aeon on secular religions and the value of ritual, and Hazlitt on sexism and misogny in organised atheist circles

Between politics and pop culture, territory and gang wars in Chicago are charted by music: 
During one such meeting, I pulled up a map of Chicago on my tablet and pointed to random intersections. No matter what corner, even miles from their homes, these kids had an intimate knowledge of gang activity there. One boy told me, “If I walk down Cottage Grove, I know that in some places I need to keep my head on a swivel. In others, I can relax my guard.” And I’m thinking, There is no real reason this kid should know this much about gang presence on the South Side, because he’s from another side of town. It wasn’t just territory they had down cold. They were up on the latest of basically every gang war in the city.
I asked these kids how the hell they knew all this. They looked at me like I was an idiot. “Music,” they said.
There are hundreds of gangs in Chicago these days, a splintering that occurred in the wake of the collapse of the traditional “supergangs” like the Black Disciples and Vice Lords in the ’90s. As dangerous as their predecessors, they operate as block-level factions, making the city a complicated patchwork of warring territories. In a relatively recent phenomenon, many of these gangs produce drill music—a Chicago-born low-fi version of gangsta rap, full of hyperviolent boasts and taunts. (Think NWA, but grittier and without the hooks.)
Chicago Mag: Dispatches from the Rap Wars, September 19, 2016

A conversation with Roxane Gay and Rion Amilcar Scott about comics. 

We caught up with some television pilots this week and were captured very quickly by Westworld (which somehow nobody has compared to Humans yet, even though I'd imagine that it would eventually go that way, I guess Dollhouse and BSG - and even that should be Caprica, reallyare more ready in the mind), and will give Pitch a few more episodes. Both have great casts and lead characters. 

Also finished the third season of Transparent, which I'd say was perhaps the best of the show so far - the final episode was absolutely beautiful, as was the first one, as were the character arcs for Rabbi Raquel and Shelly. I oould have done without the very awkward second episode, which showed how much better the show does Boomers and Gen X than Gen Y, and I wish that the episode where Josh was finally called out for all of his appropriation and narcissism had been more about the person calling him out, rather than his (rather untarnished) course after it. Also perhaps having a much-mentioned theme of "intersectionality" throughout the season shed some light on some of the lack of exactly that awareness throughout the writing (POC, class), even though the show does age and religion so well (and there is a part in this Jill Soloway interview that is a bit hard to swallow, the argument that Transparent at the time got away with casting a cis man in the role of Maura but has contributed to changing the climate so that it now would no longer be acceptable).  

What a good time to remember how good Friday Night Lights was. 

This reading list by Tana French is excellent

A summary of how problematic Portlandia is (JFC). 

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