When Adams began teaching at Emily Carr, I was working at the school as a communications officer. I had been in my job for 14 months and I was excited about the new faculty members. For my job, I wrote stories about the powerful artwork created by our Indigenous students and alumni. Many of them spoke about the importance of their Indigenous teachers, like Xwalacktun (born Rick Harry), an Emily Carr alumnus and master carver of Squamish and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestry, and Mimi Gellman, a long-time professor and interdisciplinary artist. I, too, had been deeply affected by the Indigenous mentorship and support I received as a student.

Though I’m a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, I grew up in Vancouver. With my fair skin and auburn hair, people never guessed I was Indigenous, and I preferred it that way. (My mom is of northern European ancestry.) I wasn’t ashamed of being Cree, but I was uncomfortable talking about it. Mentioning my identity often led to questions about “how much” Indigenous blood I had or demands to see my status card, which made me defensive, as if I had to prove who I was. Even well-meaning questions about Cree culture or language were painful, because I never knew how to answer.

… I didn’t recognize the gaps in my knowledge as the inevitable product of forcible assimilation. I saw them as a personal failing, a sign that I wasn’t Indigenous enough. If I protested a racist comment about how Indigenous people never paid taxes or drank too much, I’d often hear, “Oh, I’m not talking about people like you.” The message was clear: being Indigenous was tragic or shameful. Or it was mystical and noble, a warrior on a horse, somehow untouched by colonization. Middle-class and easily sunburned, I didn’t fit with any of the stereotypes I saw or heard.  I didn’t know any Cree people in Vancouver apart from my family.

Determined to follow through on my “travel” plans, I borrowed a more up-to-date VR headset and logged in to Horizon Worlds. I created an avatar that looked close enough like me to feel representative, but I kept him dressed in the default clothing, which was much cooler than the outfits I wear in RR (reality reality). My avatar also sported a baseball cap by default, and I couldn’t bring myself to remove the hat and replace it with my real-world hairline. Clad in a virtual black bomber jacket over a white V-neck tee and skintight digital pants, I was ready to explore.

The app walked me through a brief tutorial that largely centered on how to operate an in-app wearable wrist device that for obvious business reasons they couldn’t just call an Apple Watch. I was already wearing a whole big thing on my face and holding two controllers in my hands. But sure, why not throw in a pretend fourth interface? I learned how to run and jump within the Horizons Worlds world, which made me wonder if I was going to have to flee some kind of virtual danger, and there was even a lesson in grasping and firing a “gun” that shot colorful balls through targets. Thank goodness for the Second Ametament, I guess. It took me a bunch of wild flailing to figure out which things I was supposed to point and click at and which I was supposed to reach out and “touch.” All of this felt profoundly not relaxing. And, by this point, the loud instructions coming from the Oculus’ speakers had driven my wife out of the actual room where we were both sitting.

I see you’re having an excavating heart-to-heart with your American friend about her childhood trauma. Here’s a plate of cut apples. Make sure to eat the skin; that’s where all the vitamins are. Stop crying, Shannon—your tears are washing the vitamins off.

You have a cold? How many times have I told you not to leave the house with wet hair? Put this raw garlic beneath your pillow and flash this quarter at the full moon. Here’s enough chicken bouillon to drown a mountain lion.

A pimple! Now I know you’ve been touching your face again. I got you an emergency appointment with my facial lady in an hour. Give her this fifty-pound box of Ferrero Rocher. But ask that cardiology fellow to carry it—your womb is damaged enough from sitting on the sidewalk as is.

  • For ProPublica, Marilyn W. Thompson and Jenny Deam have published a jaw-dropping report on how Republicans in Montana politicized COVID-19 to such a degree that anti-vaccine laws they passed even allowed nurses working in cancer wards not to be vaccinated. Remember the death panels Republicans used as a scare tactic during the debate over Obamacare? Well, it appears the state Republicans created a de facto one in Montana:

One critically ill non-COVID-19 patient had a serious heart condition. “I feel the heart patient will not survive. How do you feel?” one doctor asked. Everyone agreed that the heart patient would not get an ICU bed and could be treated in another unit.

After about 20 minutes, the committee decided the woman in the emergency room had the most urgent need and should go to the ICU. They could make a bed available by moving a dying patient too ill to survive to another unit. But they had promised the patient’s family they would wait until everyone arrived to say their goodbyes before removing life support. One family member was not there yet. The hospital was running out of time.

Suddenly, a piercing code blue alarm sounded in the emergency room. “Wait a minute, guys,” an attending physician told the committee. “The patient is coding.”

Then, “the patient has died.”

The committee took a moment to absorb the news. Then it began deliberating again. The call lasted an hour. In the end, the terminal ICU patient’s family members were able to gather to say their goodbyes. When that bed was free, another patient discussed during the call was moved into the ICU but died a few days later.

Of the five patients who had been vying for a bed, four ultimately died.

EA: How are beauty standards connected to the climate crisis?

JD: Taking a broad view, what’s happening to our planet right now is derived from the same cultural forces that created beauty culture: patriarchy, white supremacy, colonialism and capitalism. I often talk about those four things being the core roots of any beauty standard or beauty trend. Basically, anything that’s happening in the industrialized beauty space can be traced back to one or two or all four of those forces. I think the same could be said for climate change. 

More specifically, they are connected by consumerism. Mainstream beauty is very much about consuming, and looking like you’ve been consuming. If you look at some of the celebrities that we hold up as our beauty idols, they have this aesthetic of looking like they funneled money into their faces. The standard of beauty is just wealth, and wealth is just buying things and putting them on your body, or injecting them into your body. And buying things is directly related to climate change.

To understand why anarchism led to the creation of one of the most dangerous police forces in the history of nation-states, it’s necessary to witness anarchist history as a universal threat. At the turn of century in the early 1900s, anarchists made members of the world’s ruling establishments increasingly fearful. As a radical ideology that doesn’t try to reform or create new states, it questioned the fundamental need for their existence. Therefore, it’s condemned as a chaotic impulse by ruling classes that depend on state formations to govern. To make matters terrifying for the world’s reigning elite, some anarchists engaged in what was known as the “propaganda of the deed” as a model method to try to provoke a revolutionary uprising among the masses. These were insurrectionary tactics that took on the form of violent attacks on police, political assassinations, bombings, and revolutionary expropriations. Enough of it had occurred to conjure the image of anarchists as “bomb throwers.” These actions would work to redefine national security apparatuses. 

When self-professed anarchist Leon Czolgosz shot President William McKinley on September 6, 1901, it transformed the nature of law enforcement in the United States. The assassination of King Umberto of Italy on July 29, 1900, by the anarchist Gaetano Bresci set the stage to portray anarchism as a global threat. Writing for the American Historical Review in 1955, historian Sidney Fine recalled that The Outlook correspondent Francis H. Nichols made an important note. Nichols “asked … whether the nation’s government and the President were themselves secure from anarchist attack.” Fine writes, “Anarchism was regarded as ‘the most dangerous theory which civilization has ever had to encounter.’” After all, European anarchists assassinated President Carnot of France on the 24th of June in 1894, Prime Minister Canovas del Castillo of Spain on August 8th, 1897, and Empress Elizabeth of Austria on September 10th, 1898 – and they weren’t the only ones. The President of the United States was but the latest victim. 

  • Actress Jennifer Lawrence is mad, and she’s particularly vocal about her disappointment over Roe v. Wade being overturned. Variety reports on a reality faced by many with Republican family members:

According to Vogue, much of Lawrence’s disappointment over Roe v. Wade being overturned is “directed at certain relatives back in Louisville, Ky., where she’d grown up, including her father.” The actor had been trying to repair the family rift after giving birth, and then the Supreme Court ruling was made official and complicated matters. Lawrence processed her family drama in therapy, and she even told her therapist about a recurring nightmare she was having about Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

“I just worked so hard in the last five years to forgive my dad and my family and try to understand: It’s different. The information they are getting is different. Their life is different.” Lawrence said. “I’ve tried to get over it and I really can’t. I can’t. I’m sorry I’m just unleashing, but I can’t fuck with people who aren’t political anymore. You live in the United States of America. You have to be political. It’s too dire. Politics are killing people.”

YouTube Poster

Researchers found that people who perform a random act of kindness tend to underestimate how much the recipient will appreciate it. And they believe that miscalculation could hold many of us back from doing nice things for others more often.

“We have this negativity bias when it comes to social connection. We just don’t think the positive impact of our behaviors is as positive as it is,” said Marisa Franco, a psychologist and author of “Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make — and Keep — Friends,” who did not work on the recent research.

“With a study like this, I hope it will inspire more people to actually commit random acts of kindness,” she said.

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, and it 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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Required Reading

This week, Godard’s anti-imperialism, in defense of “bad” curating, an inexplicable statue, criminalizing culture wars, and more.

Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

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