• This week, a lawsuit filed by a group of White foster families challenging the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) heads to the Supreme Court. Rebecca Nagle writes for the Atlantic that the decision could have dire consequences for Native communities:

If ICWA is unconstitutional because it is based on race, then what of the clinic where I get my health care that serves only tribal citizens? If ICWA discriminates against non-Native foster parents, what of gaming regulations that allow tribes to operate casinos where non-Native casino developers can’t? What “racial group” in the United States has their own police forces, courts, elections, governments, and lands, as tribes do? The possible shift is radical. The U.S. has been passing laws that treat tribes and tribal citizens differently from non-Native citizens since the founding of the republic. If that is unconstitutional, the entire legal structure defending the legal rights of Indigenous nations could crumble.

Cohen famously borrowed and repurposed a Kabbalistic metaphor in his song “Anthem,” as Finley discussed during the class. “Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack, a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in,” goes the refrain. In the Lurianic origin story, the Ein Sof, what’s infinite in extension and density – that “obsidian luminosity,” to borrow a phrase Finley used – long ago contracted out to create space filled by the absence of the divine. As light shined into the space of divinity’s absence, vessels holding the light cracked. What’s called the “Kabbalistic catastrophe” has to do with the breaking of the vessels or sefirot, the divine emanations. Cohen exercised poetic license, inverting the origin story so that rather than the light overwhelming and cracking the vessels, it’s the cracks within them, the brokenness, that lets the light in.

In “Anthem,” Cohen conjures up an image of the mythical breaking of the vessels incapable of containing the sacred splendor. He connects that motif to the mutilated nature of human beings – traits that ironically endear us to what’s holy, according to Cohen’s art and Finley’s course about its spiritual significance.

  • What’s “longtermism,” you ask? Well, Elon Musk, the richest person in the world, appears to adhere to this philosophy for one. Émile P. Torres tries to answer the question for Salon:

As I have previously written, longtermism is arguably the most influential ideology that few members of the general public have ever heard about. Longtermists have directly influenced reports from the secretary-general of the United Nations; a longtermist is currently running the RAND Corporation; they have the ears of billionaires like Musk; and the so-called Effective Altruism community, which gave rise to the longtermist ideology, has a mind-boggling $46.1 billion in committed funding. Longtermism is everywhere behind the scenes — it has a huge following in the tech sector — and champions of this view are increasingly pulling the strings of both major world governments and the business elite.

But what is longtermism? I have tried to answer that in other articles, and will continue to do so in future ones. A brief description here will have to suffice: Longtermism is a quasi-religious worldview, influenced by transhumanism and utilitarian ethics, which asserts that there could be so many digital people living in vast computer simulations millions or billions of years in the future that one of our most important moral obligations today is to take actions that ensure as many of these digital people come into existence as possible.

  • If you proudly sport t-shirts of bands you don’t actually listen to (guilty), artist Leslie Stein has a message for you in her latest comic for the New Yorker, “We Need to Talk About Your Nirvana Shirt.”
  • Bayt Al Fann put together a fascinating compilation of 21 artists’ detail-oriented tezhip techniques used in Islamic illumination:

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.

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

Lakshmi Rivera Amin (she/her) is a writer and artist based in New York City. She currently works as Hyperallergic's editorial coordinator.