Required Reading

This week, did Donald Glover swipe parts of his number one tune, Godwin’s Law has been suspended, the Black Holocaust Museum has reopened, vintage Chicago restaurant postcards, bees that use flower petals to make nests, and more.

Claire Voon explores vintage postcards of Chicago restaurants of yesteryear and there are many gems, including this “Cemetery” cocktail bar in a place called the Devil’s Rendezvous, which sounds amazing. (via Chicago Magazine)

  • America’s Black Holocaust Museum was founded 30 years ago by a lynching survivor and it reopened this month:

Cameron’s museum was unique in the nation for its emphasis on hard truths. Decades before #BlackLivesMatter, for instance, Cameron drew a direct line from the history of lynchings to the shooting deaths of young black men by police officers.

Cameron “was a pioneer in articulating the legacy of America’s racial violence,” said Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, the nonprofit legal advocacy group that opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Alabama. “I consider him a huge influence and someone who inspired me enormously,” he added.

Allegations of plagiarism against Glover surfaced on Reddit this past weekend, with Redditors citing comments on Jase Harley’s Instagram. Someone wrote to Harley, “People are saying Donald Glover bit your song ‘American Pharoah’ with ‘This Is America.’ What do you think?” Harley responded, “I always felt my song inspired it lol from the first time I heard it.”

Harley added, “It’s cool tho…. Glad they liked my song. It’s all love.” He also wrote that “a shout out would be cool,” that it’s “dope [he] could’ve had some influence on the record,” and that “all artist get inspired by others.”

Much has previously been reported about the NSA’s surveillance programs. But few details have been disclosed about the physical infrastructure that enables the spying. Last year, The Intercept highlighted a likely NSA facility in New York City’s Lower Manhattan. Now, we are revealing for the first time a series of other buildings across the U.S. that appear to serve a similar function, as critical parts of one of the world’s most powerful electronic eavesdropping systems, hidden in plain sight.

“It’s eye-opening and ominous the extent to which this is happening right here on American soil,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “It puts a face on surveillance that we could never think of before in terms of actual buildings and actual facilities in our own cities, in our own backyards.”

What do you do when the tokenizing happens and in what ways do y’all feel tokenized?

Sarah: A lot of white Jews like to use Romani as a token when they talk about the Holocaust. And I hate it. Because the same ones will turn around and accuse me of being a fake Jew!

Michelle: I feel tokenized when people think I speak for all Iranian Jews. I also hate when people say, “You’re so *insert good quality*… not like the other Persian Jews!” I don’t like being a commodity.

Sarah: I am exhausted with being expected to always do all the educating about my people to anyone that asks. Because if I don’t, I’m a “fairy tale.”

Helena: It’s quite rare for me to find a genuine friend amongst white Jews. I always feel like their trophy, their ticket to instant credibility. But I find when I want to speak on intra-community issues, I’m pushed back into “my lane.”

Nylah: I feel also like I am accepted when I am speaking about race or speaking out against anti-Semites like Farrakhan. Which of course I do, because he fucking sucks.

Sarah: Yeah, I find myself waiting for the moment where they say something shitty, or worse: are just silent when I’m defending myself from other white Jews’ attacks.

Michelle: I have had so many negative experience being sexually fetishized by Jewish men who are more white-passing.

To the degree that Trump has any ideology at all, it’s a hatred of civility—a belief that the normal decencies painfully evolved over centuries are signs of weakness which occlude the natural order of domination and submission. It’s why Trump admires dictators. Theirs are his values; that’s his feast. And, to end the normal discourse of democracy, the Trump Administration must make lies respectable—lying not tactically but all the time about everything, in a way that does not just degrade but destroys exactly the common table of democratic debate.

  • A journalist who has been reporting on MS-13 says the common perceptions about the gang — including in the White House — are off:

’m spending the year reporting on MS-13 members and their associates. I’ve been combing through their text messages. I’m talking with the detectives building cases against killers not yet old enough to buy cigarettes. And I’ve been spending long evenings with the gang’s victims, who often start crying as soon as they start talking about the violence that has marred their lives. Everyone agrees the gang is bloodthirsty. Most of the other assertions I’ve heard from the Trump administration this year about MS-13 have almost no connection to what I’m seeing on the ground.

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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