- AI newscasters have been unveiled in Kuwait, China, and India. The German public broadcaster DW has the story about India Today’s new AI news anchor (has anyone else noticed how light-skinned they all are?) — though it’s worth mentioning that China’s AI news anchor debuted last year:
- For the scholarly fans of actor Pedro Pascal out there (the whole thread is *chef’s kiss*):
- Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Soleil Ho says the popular Netflix show Beef has “poisoned the well” during what is proving to be Asian America’s peak media moment:
Ever since Asian American activists rallied the community to sell out screenings of “Better Luck Tomorrow” in 2003, this feeling has morphed into a moral imperative to show up for everything Asian American. If we don’t make these movies profitable, the logic goes, Hollywood will stop caring about us. But last week, this familiar pattern took a disastrous turn with the release of “Beef,” a new Asian American-led Netflix series that has dumped cold water on the collective goodwill that has driven Asian American media activism until now.
Released on April 6 and currently headlining the Netflix library, “Beef” is a comedy, but also an informal ethnography of Asian Americans in Southern California, tracing its characters’ faulty attempts to chase self-fulfillment and success. It’s a nuanced and well-produced take that speaks directly to an Asian American audience, and Netflix has heavily targeted it to that audience in its promotion. But its release was met by a viral tweet from writer Aura Bogado that resurfaced a 2014 podcast in which one of the key actors, celebrity graffiti artist and professional dirtbag David Choe, recounted raping a Black female masseuse. He later walked it back as an attempt at shock humor. In the best case, it was a disgusting joke about a fictional situation; at worst, it was a potential felony.
- Another pretendian is unmasked, and Amber X. Chen of the Daily Californian in Berkeley, California, has the story of Elizabeth Hoover:
Hoover, who is currently the chair for the Division of Society & Environment and an associate professor in the department of environmental science, policy and management, had previously claimed Mohawk and Mi’kmaq descent.
“I have always introduced myself as the person my parents had raised me to be—someone of mixed Mohawk, Mi’kmaq, French, English, Irish, and German descent and identity,” Hoover said in the statement. “My identity within the Native community, rooted in the histories of my family, is something that shaped my entire life, even though I was not eligible for tribal enrollment due to blood quantum requirements.”
In her statement, Hoover also noted that she came to the conclusion that she cannot claim Indigenous descent after conducting genealogical research in response to recent questions about her identity, which she said she was first alerted to when a draft of a “pretendian” list circulated about a year ago.
Hoover said the news left her and her family “shocked and confused.”
- The Central Valley ingredient that fueled Los Angeles’s sushi revolution is the topic of this article by Daniel Miller of the LA Times:
Launched in 1962, Kokuho Rose was developed by Koda Farms in conjunction with rice breeder Arthur Hughes Williams. The heirloom variety, Koda said, crossed a California medium-grain rice with a Middle Eastern long-grain to create a new, higher-quality medium-grain offering.
Koda said Kokuho Rose was envisioned by her grandfather, Keisaburo Koda, who founded the San Joaquin Valley farm in 1928, as a table rice. The variety, she said, “was not developed specifically to be a sushi rice — that’s just the application that [Mutual Trading] saw was useful to them.”
The rice was a revelation: Until the invention of this medium-grain strain, what had been available to make sushi in California was “tasteless, couldn’t retain moisture, and would get brittle as it cooled down,” said Anthony Al-Jamie, editor in chief of the Japanese culture magazine Tokyo Journal.
- On Monday, a White subway rider choked Jordan Neely, an unhoused Black man, to death on a train and was released by the police without arrest. Community members mounted a protest at a nearby Manhattan station yesterday, and for Intercept, Akela Lacy breaks down the violent racism, ableism, and classism at work in the police’s response:
“Of course you’re gonna have individuals deputizing themselves, thinking that this is the response,” said Adolfo Abreu, housing campaigns director for Voices of Community Activists and Leaders New York, or VOCAL-NY, a grassroots member-led organization that advocates for justice in housing, policing, and public health for poor and low-income people. “Because our leaders are saying, ‘Hey, there’s so much rampant violence, and homeless folks are a nuisance’ — and having armed police be the first interaction is the appropriate response.”
The New York Police Department’s response to Neely’s killing sends a dangerous message that anyone can take vigilante justice into their own hands without consequences, Abreu said.
For others, the treatment of the 24-year-old man showed how police identified with the intervention against an unhoused person. Neely’s entire medical and criminal history were released to the public, but police won’t give out any information about the alleged assailant. “They’re acting as if this Marine was a member of the force,” said Beth Haroules, director of disability justice litigation at the New York Civil Liberties Union, who testified in February before the New York City Council against Adams’s plan to forcibly hospitalize mentally ill people and remove them from subways.
- Excited to tune into Charles’s coronation this Saturday? Neither is Hāmiora Bailey, a Māori artist who devised a brilliant plug-in to interrupt the soon-to-be king’s crowning moment and repace it with Indigenous news, Tess McClure writes for the Guardian:
The service, called Pikari Mai!, is a free plugin to download, and promises users an opportunity to “switch off the toff”. Made with agency Colenso BBDO, it uses data scraping to scan webpages for words and images related to the royals, then replaces those with articles linking to Indigenous news produced by Indigenous Māori outlets.
While King Charles III remains New Zealand’s ceremonial head of state, Māori never ceded sovereignty to the crown. New Zealand continues to reckon with a violent colonial legacy – for which the crown has made a number of formal apologies – including land confiscation, atrocities, aggressive warfare and unlawful arrests.
- Immigrant moms of the world unite (to discipline your sons!):
- Heidi Blake writes in the New Yorker about Sheikha Latifa and her attempt to escape from Dubai, where her father is the ruler:
Latifa caught a taxi to an area near the border, where she stopped a passing cyclist and persuaded him to sell her his bicycle. She rode on as the sun rose over the desert, until she reached a fence and cut the wire to squeeze through. When an Army car pulled up beside her, she kept moving, but before she got far men in camouflage gear jumped out and bundled her into the back.
Latifa was taken to a police station, where she was met by a “toadish” man who worked for her father. He took her home, where, she recalled, she was beaten until blood poured from her nose. Her mother watched, she wrote: “She was dressed up with a face full of makeup and frosty lilac lipstick as if she was expecting my father to visit.”
When the beating was over, Latifa was put back in the car and driven to a desert prison. Inside, she was taken to a cell and told to remove her shoes. Then one guard held her down while another battered the soles of her feet with a heavy wooden cane. “He could not have beaten me harder than he did,” she wrote in a detailed account of her imprisonment. The next torture session lasted five hours and left her unable to walk; she had to drag herself along the floor to drink from a tap next to the toilet. She squeezed her broken feet back into her Skechers, hoping they would act as a cast, and slept with them on. She was awakened by guards dragging her out of bed for more beatings. (The Sheikh’s attorneys deny that he mistreated or imprisoned Latifa.)
- The Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike this week, and the protest signs are truly works of art:
- Another good WGA protest sign:
- Straight cis man talks about being assaulted in the bathroom just for wearing a pro-trans t-shirt:
- Ever wonder why we’re all seeing more moving objects in the night skies? This might give you a little idea why:
- Sometimes you see a video and you have no idea what’s going on, this might be one of those times:
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.