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This week
Who gets to be a very good person, and who gets labeled a thug? Whose violence is seen as justified and sanctioned, and whose violence is called "senseless"?

Please absorb the words of reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones on violence and the pursuit of basic human rights: "The Civil Rights Movement was *not* non-violent. It was sparked by violence—beginning with the brutal beatings of black servicemen coming home from war. And while black protestors were trained to be non-violent, they courted *white* violence as a strategy. ... Peaceful protest did not bring about the great civil rights legislation of the 1960s. Black people being firebombed, water-hosed, lynched, bitten by dogs, beaten to a pulp by police trying to march across a bridge is what brought the changes. Violence." (If you haven't engaged with the entirety Hannah-Jones's Pulitzer-winning 1619 Project, I recommend it.)

If you have freedom from violence, and therefore have the option to ignore it, you have an obligation not to. Take action for Breonna Taylor. Support the protesters demanding not only accountability for the murder of George Floyd, but deeper solutions to the problem of police brutality. Research the police budget in your own city (here's what's going on in Los Angeles, for example), and join the effort to redirect those resources.

I'm reading
A white damsel leveraged racial power and failed. The unbearable grief of Black mothers. A Black-owned local newspaper in Tulsa refuses to bury the city's history of racist violencePregnant in prison during a pandemicLarry Kramer and Anthony Fauci were intense frenemies. The stories of people who survived polio. In pandemic advertising, consumers are heroes. In Hong Kong, protesters take to the streets again. In Tunis, "I am both comforted and unnerved that the public-health guidelines and rules of Ramadan are collapsing into each other." In Uttar Pradesh, Modi's Hindu nationalism has enabled vigilantes terrorize Muslims. In São Paolo, an indigenous curator searches for cultural commonalities. How Brené Brown became America's therapist. Foodie culture is over. How MedMen, "the Apple of pot," collapsed, and the hidden origin of the CBD craze. The inventor of the Roomba assures us that robots won’t take over the world. A wild story about SimCity. Groundhog Day was a horror movie all along. "My father is dead. I probably should have told you that at the beginning, but my father would have it thought it fairly ridiculous to tell a story in a linear way."

Pie chart
The Pandemic Day Pie
with apologies to Mary Oliver

These charts are free for everyone, courtesy of my members! Become a paying member for just $5/year. If you're already a member and need to update your account, you can do so here.

I’m looking & listening
My friend Lesley, a home cook who doesn't plan very well, has been making delightful cooking videos. A huge list of Peel Sessions. An interactive tour through Thomas Eakins' bloody 1889 oil painting, The Gross Clinic.


I endorse
On CYG this week, I interviewed Maurice Harris, the artist behind Bloom & Plume, about the politics of beauty and his work centering Black bodies in stunning large-scale floral installations. I'm loving Maurice's new short-form show, Centerpiece. Watch the trailer here.

A call for stories from women
Allison P. Davis is writing a book about female desire called Horny, exploring the personal/political/cultural moments and events that have reshaped women's attitudes towards sex/dating/their own horniness. 

The pandemic has thwarted her ability to report in person for now, so she's made a “Horny Census,” to collect stories/opinions/thoughts from as many women as possible. Pour a glass of wine and take it, and then send it to people you know. Hopefully we can spread this thing so far and wide, it ends up in Rihanna’s inbox. Here’s the link.

The Classifieds

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Ann Friedman

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