Museum Condemns White Nationalist Conference Rhetoric (Press release, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 21 November 2016): “The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words.” (Sorry, Godwin). The adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is nice but not always true. And yes, although I’m a “model” minority, I’ve personally noticed an increase racially-tinged (or just blatantly racist) comments and insults both online and in public spaces.
Why We’re Saying ‘White Nationalism’ Instead of ‘Alt-Right’(Isolde Raferty, NPR/KUOW, 21 November 2016): Language and diction are important. Words have meaning. That is all.
Senator Elizabeth Warren: President-Elect Trump Already Broke Promise to “Drain the Swamp” (Elizabeth Warren, Senator Elizabeth Warren Youtube channel, 17 November 2016): This speech is perfect in so many ways.
If You Voted for Trump Because He’s ‘Anti-Establishment,’ Guess What: You Got Conned (Paul Waldman, The Washington Post, 11 November 2016): I want to say “I told you so,” but that also still seems enormously inappropriate and/or immature given the stakes.
Chris Christie’s Career Has Quietly Ended as Trump has Imploded (Alex Wagner, The Atlantic, 25 October 2016): Chris Christie’s jagged journey through the political world in the past few years has intrigued me, and I’d be interested to hear the author’s perspective post-election.
HOLY SH*T (You’ve Got To Vote) (Rachel Bloom et al., Funny Or Die Youtube channel, 4 November 2016): I’m a little late with this one, but I still like the concept and execution of the song enough to share. It’s hilarious, but also very NSFW. And although Godwin may be rolling over in the grave that he’s not yet in, “Look, obviously only Hitler’s Hitler…But break up Mein Kampf into tiny parts, and it reads like a Trump rant on Twitter. And if you need a refresher on post-World War I Germany, they had an authoritarian political outsider stoking xenophobia in a nation where the poor felt marginalized and blaming complex problems on scapegoated minorities.” On a lighter note, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word “syphilis” sung with that much vibrato (1:42).
First Lady Michelle Obama live in Manchester, New Hampshire | Hillary Clinton (Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton Youtube channel, 13 October 2016): Also too late to the game. Still an extremely important message aside from the overtly election-related parts. For example, “Let’s be very clear: strong men, strong men—men who are truly role models—don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.” As a woman, another thing I’ve noticed recently (in addition to racially-motivated insults) is an increase in sexually-motivated comments. Hear something, say something.
The World is Complicated
Running While Female (Michelle Hamilton et al., Runner’s World, undated): This has always flummoxed (in addition to startling/frightening/irritating/angering) me. Do men think they’re complimenting me? Actually wanting a (positive) response? Just teasing? Being immature? Trying to be dicks? Are inherently pervy? Worse? Just, why? (Also, a great counter from Randall Munroe of xkcd: http://xkcd.com/1763/)
An Open Letter to the Woman Who Told My Family to Go Back to China (Michael Luo, New York Times, 9 October 2016): I’m as Wasian/banana/twinkie/whatever-other-jokingly-“derogatory”-term-you-can-think-of as it gets, and yet this is still so real. Sometimes, it’s like I’m living in between worlds; like Arwen or Luthien in Middle Earth, but at least they had choice to embrace one existence or the other. Even if I could choose, neither world would believe it.
My Muslim Father’s Faith in America (Mohammed Naseehu Ali, The New Yorker, 24 October 2016): “The reason [Allah continues to bestow his blessings on their country, my father] said, was very simple: Americans were the ones doing Allah’s work, by steadfastly upholding the Islamic tenet of zakat—a form of alms-giving that makes up one of the Five Pillars of Islam. ‘Their government welcomes people who are seeking a better life,’ my father said. ‘They shield and protect the weak, the poor, and the persecuted from all over the world, and, the most important of all, they support orphans and protect the rights of women, as instructed by the Prophet Muhammad in his last sermon.'” We would do well to note this.
Here’s What Happened When I Challenged the PC Campus Culture at NYU (Michael Rectenwald, The Washington Post, 3 November 2016): *sigh* Let’s just say I’m glad I’m done with the hypersensitivity that is undergrad.
Julie Rodgers Keynote: The Reformation Project in Los Angeles (Julie Rodgers, The Reformation Project Youtube channel, 27 October 2016): Julie Rodgers speaking on LGBT issues, the Church, and most important, Jesus. I admire her because she’s not afraid of hard issues and has the courage to be honest–even when it meant publicly explaining why her belief about same-sex marriage in the church changed over time. Some call it flip-flopping; regardless of the before/after positions, I say it’s critical use of intellect and a conviction in faith.
On a Lighter Note
US Mental-Health Chief: Psychiatry Must Get Serious About Mathematics (Alison Abbott, Nature, 26 October 2016): These are both things I care a lot about. Math isn’t impractical and useless theory all drifting about in the stratosphere, and psychiatry neither a bunch of oogey-boogey BS made up by Freud et al. nor a branch of medicine for people who couldn’t get residencies in anything else (besides, Freud was a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. Which isn’t to hate on psychology as a field–it’s important too!–just to point out that misconception). And, finally, as we saw from the disaster that was pre-election polling, the significance of knowing how to collect, interpret, and use statistics cannot be overstated!
What Do Professional Apple Farmers Think of People Who Pick Apples for Fun? (Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 5 November 2016): The craze for apple picking has befuddled me since moving to the midwest, kind of like people who buy blackberry plants for their gardens (you’re intentionally introducing a weed?), the alleged “dumplings” in chicken and dumplings, and the game of cornhole (it’s beanbag toss, you freaks: “cornhole” sounds disturbingly euphemistic.) Apples are the state fruit of Washington; in fact, Washington produces about 60% of the apples consumed in the US and exports enough that they’ve become a status symbol of sorts overseas (while visiting India, I did in fact observe Washington apples for sale at several open-air markets in New Dehli). But I digress. While you can go various types of berry picking in Washington, and I’m sure there are places one can u-pick apples somewhere in the state, there is nothing near the cult-like obsession with apple picking I’ve seen here in Missouri. Berries at least kind of make sense to me: the bushes/plants are small enough that you usually don’t need a ladder or picking gadget, it usually takes a decent amount of time to get an amount of fruit worth the trouble, and most people do it for the sake of canning/preserving cheaply. But apples? Even small trees warrant a stepladder by the time they reach fruit-bearing age, it’s much faster to pick 5 pounds of apples than it is to pick 5 pounds of blueberries (or, God forbid, blackberries) so the 45 minute drive and from the orchard makes a lot less sense, and most people apparently go…just for fun? Which is valid, but still weird to me.
Elite Runners Ryan and Sara Hall Add Parenting to Their Workouts (Lindsay Crouse, The New York Times, 3 November 2016): I look up to these folks so much as runners, parents, and people of faith. The writing in this article is tons better than the article in Runner’s World by Amby Burfoot, so even though it “costs” you one of your free articles, I’d go for it.
My Mother’s 10-Year Quest To Feed Me From 5,500 Miles Away (Alina Selyukh, NPR, 21 November 2016): As the cultural heritage of food wasn’t a particularly strong part of my upbringing, I’ve surprised myself in the past few years by becoming more and more interested in learning how to cook the food of my country of birth, even if neither myself nor my family or close friends speak the language or eat foods familiar to the region. But something about this article spoke true–perhaps I superimposed the author’s Russian mother onto the doting Chinese mothers I’ve encountered throughout the years, “Are you done already? Eat more! You’re too skinny! Don’t waste food! Here, take some with you!”
Trump Make America Great Again Red Cap Collectible Ornament (Amazon): The comments! Go to the comments!