scattered

[From a few weeks ago, on Flathead Lake here in Montana]

In lieu of collection of scattered thoughts for this week:

  • Anyone who’s worked for a company that’s afraid of its workers unionizing and actually gaining power will recognize a technique from this month: corporations making Juneteenth an official holiday instead of entering into more serious conversations about what racial equality and justice in the workplace would actually look like. As Jamelle Bouie put it in his excellent essay this Friday, “There’s obviously a certain opportunism here, an attempt to respond to the moment and win favorable coverage, with as little sacrifice as possible. (Paid holidays, while nice, are a grossly inadequate response to calls for justice and equality.)”

  • What is the place of white Americans in the celebration of Juneteenth? I don’t know, at least in this moment, that there is one. A lot to consider in this tremendous package.

  • From “The Stuff of Astounding: A Poem for Juneteenth,” by Patricia Smith: Listen to the thousand ways to say black / out loud. Hear a whole people celebrate their free and fragile lives / then find your own place inside that song. Make the singing matter.

  • I read all the ecstatic reviews for Watchmen over the last year because I have been burned too many times by masculinist and vacuous comic book adaptations (and have a particularly dislike for the Zack Snyder aesthetic, which turned me off the film adaptation of Watchmen). I was very very wrong, and there is no better time to be wrong with me than this weekend.

  • Millennials are beginning to fetishize Gen-Z (they’re so cute and activist! they tricked the Trump administration into thinking a million people wanted to come to their rally!) Cherishing Gen-Z means appreciating their ability to roast us, even though a lot of what’s described here is their parents’ behavior, not ours. (But real talk old millennials need to stop hashtagging their kids)

  • We’re not on a second wave of COVID. The first wave just keeps on going, and we’re pretending otherwise. My colleague Bri Sacks and I spent most of May talking to people in Amarillo, Texas about what that experienced felt like, as cases spiked in the area and most people just kept behaving as if nothing was happened. Why? Because the people catching COVID were largely meatpacking workers and refugees, culturally and geographically isolated from the rest of the city. Read the story here. And if you’re behaving as if COVID’s no longer really your problem, maybe consider what’s allowing you to feel that way.

  • Just going to say that it’s interesting that the two prominent features on the future of working from home (both by writers I like!) have been written by men. (See here and here).

  • I love this piece from Wyoming Public Radio on the small town protests that have percolating across the state. Not because they interviewed me — but because of the kicker.

  • Speaking of small town protests — if you or a family member or a person on your Facebook heard that antifa was coming in a van/chartering a plan/rowing down the river to your smalltown protest, you are very much not alone. I tracked the rumor and why/how it became so easy for people to believe.

  • I think this story — involving a poodle — is particularly effective to share with people in your life who can’t understand how systemic racism intersects with the police state.

  • And speaking of the police state: “against cop shit” in the classroom

  • And the case against the good cop, even Olivia Benson

  • Earlier this year I started thinking about pieces/books/art that made you change your mind about something. This piece completely changed my mind about prison abolition. I’ve returned to it again and again, and encourage you to take some time with it and Ruth Wilson Gilmore.

  • This week’s just trust me (yes, I realize pressing play requires even more trust)

If you know someone who’d like this sort of mishmash in their inbox, forward it their way. You can subscribe here. You can follow me on Twitter here, and Instagram here. Please forgive any typos or weird sentences; the freedom of imperfection allows me to get this out for free and like so many of us, I’m doing the very best I can.