Required Reading

The “Dubai Frame” has opened and the city gets another branded architectural landmark. This image was created by Made from Drone and their whole feed is highly recommended for impressive images of the United Arab Emirates. (via @madefromdrone Instagram feed)

Ultimately, though, the endgame of this informal partnership between the Trump racket and Sinclair is not about ideology. As is the case with everything that Trump touches, the entire hustle is about the money. The administration exists under cover of base-pleasing racist, misogynist, and xenophobic bluster for few reasons other than the looting of the national commons, whether by opening up public lands to mining interests or billing the Secret Service market-rate fees for its officers’ stays at Trump’s own golfing resorts while protecting the president during frequent visits to his properties. As candidate Trump said on the campaign trail, “I grab and grab and grab. You know, I get greedy; I want money, money.”

I forgot, staring at the handwriting on that etching, how much I was influenced by Louise Bourgeois’s writings, even the appearance of her handwriting. As I stood there with my baby in the stroller, her red shoes dangling, it came over me with such a wave of intensity and feeling, the monumentality of this artist with three sons, how I had completely omitted this before when thinking of her work.

  • How an art installation created by a Ukrainian-American auto-plant worker became the “Disneyland of Detroit“:

Szylak was born in 1922 in the city of Lviv. His arrival in 1949 in America came at the end of a major wave of post-World War II Ukrainian immigration—around 80,000 Ukrainians were resettled in the United States between 1947 and 1951.

Szylak arrived in Hamtramck with his wife, whom he met at a displaced person’s camp, a family lawyer told the Detroit Free Press. He found a well-established Ukrainian community: Thousands of immigrants had settled in the area in the early 20th century, and Ukrainian-owned businesses in Hamtramck included a funeral home and a pharmacy. Szylak became an assembly-line worker at a General Motors factory and started a family. After he retired, he began work on the installation. “I think about what I’ll do, I make a hobby on two garages, on the roof,” he said in an interview with the local paper.

To say that my English translation of The Vegetarian is a “completely different book” from the Korean original is, of course, in one sense, entirely correct. Since there is no such thing as a truly literal translation — no two languages’ grammars match, their vocabularies diverge, even punctuation has a different weight — there can be no such thing as a translation that is not “creative.” And while most of us translators think of ourselves as “faithful,” definitions of faithfulness can differ. Because languages function differently, much of translation is about achieving a similar effect by different means; not only are difference, change, and interpretation completely normal, but they are in fact an integral part of faithfulness.

  • Khaled Beydoun writes about “Acting Muslim” in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and he explains:

… this identity performance as “Acting Muslim” – the process whereby Muslim Americans strategically negotiate and publicly perform a religious identity stigmatized by counterterror policy. By holding Muslim identity to be presumptive of terror threat, prevailing counterterror policies incentivize expressions of Muslim identity deemed unsuspicious and non-threatening by the state. However, Muslim Americans that confirm their religious identity through outward expression affirm and invite counterterror suspicion, and therefore, are more likely to experience Free Exercise violations. On the other hand, actors that conform, downplay or entirely conceal their Muslim identity voluntarily choose to diminish their Free Exercise rights in exchange for insulation from state suspicion, surveillance, and punitive action.

The outrage and indignation, of course, are what makes it work. That’s what keeps you coming back. Oooh shade. Oooh flamewar. We rubberneckers can’t keep our eyes off of it. I don’t know what the original idea of Twitter was, but it succeeded because of natural selection. In a world where the tech industry was cranking out millions of dumb little social applications, this one happens to limit messages to 140 characters and that happens to create, unintentionally, a subtlety-free indignation machine, which is addictive as heck, so this is the one that survives and thrives and becomes a huge new engine of polarization and anger. It’s not a coincidence that we got a president who came to power through bumper-sticker slogans, outrageous false statements chosen to make people’s blood boil, and of course Twitter. This is all a part of a contagious disease that is spreading like crazy because we as a society have not figured out how to fight back yet.

Taiwan’s central news agency led the confusion in Asia by translating “shithole countries” as, in phonetics, “niao bu sheng dan de guo jia”, which means, mysteriously, “countries where birds don’t lay eggs”.

In China, the People’s Daily decided it meant “countries that suck”, while Vietnam’s Youth newspaper in Ho Chi Minh City went for “rubbish states”. In Europe, Greece’s daily Ta Nea settled on “thieving countries”.

Required Reading is published every Sunday morning ET, and is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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