- Just in time for the Yellowjackets Season 2 finale, critic and writer Carmen Maria Machado explains cannibalism plotlines and why we love to ~consume~ them for Bon Appetit:
Cannibalism stories ask us to wrestle with thorny questions about what it means to eat the things we eat, or what it means to unmake something just like us in service of ourselves. It is a subject impossible to untangle from our human desire to consume, or the vulnerabilities that make us easy to be consumed. In her essay on cannibalism as metaphor for capitalism and feminism, Chelsea G. Summers—author of her own brilliant cannibal novel, A Certain Hunger—writes on the way the idea has infected our very language: “We don’t just win; we devour. We don’t just vanquish; we roast our rivals, and we eat them for breakfast. We go to bars described as meat markets in search of a piece of ass, and if we find a lover, we nibble, we ravish, we swallow them whole.” Cannibalism is a way of framing the capitalistic impulse to conquer; how the upper hand, so to speak, always goes straight to the mouth.
- The Guardian‘s Oliver Milman reports the distressing news that New York City is sinking, and unsurprisingly, skyscrapers and climate change are to blame:
This enormous heft is pushing down on a jumble of different materials found in New York City’s ground. While many of the largest buildings are placed upon solid bedrock, such as schist, there is a mixture of other sands and clays that have been build over, adding to a sinking effect that is naturally occurring anyway along much of the US east coast as the land reacts to the retreat of huge glaciers following the end of the last ice age.
“It’s not something to panic about immediately but there’s this ongoing process that increases the risk of inundation from flooding,” said Tom Parsons, a geophysicist at the US Geological Survey, who led the new research.
- A late-1990s article by Tema Okun has recently been weaponized against activists of color, though it originally intended to identify signs of “white supremacy culture” within organizations and the interpersonal. For The Forge, five longtime activists — Sendolo Diaminah, Scot Nakagawa, Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, Rinku Sen, and Lori Villarosa — discussed the framework’s uses and how it can be adapted by activists today:
Sen: Building a culture is hard in organizations; it’s hard anywhere. It’s a daily kind of activity. And it is leadership’s responsibility to build a constructive, pluralistic culture that moves the mission. One thing it requires is super good strategy and the ability to clearly communicate it. Many leaders get in trouble because their strategy is not that clear so how people should arrange themselves in relation to their power in the organization is also not clear.
Sendolo, I want you to talk about responsible use of power from top to bottom in an organization because I think that it is something everybody has to bring to the work. It’s what distinguishes the hustlers from the real people.
Diaminah: I have often been afraid of using power decisively because, in our movements, power is so associated with abuse and we struggle with distinguishing between the two. You’re not supposed to want power, you’re not supposed to use power; you’e supposed to tear it down. I think what that disguises is that we are always using power in many different ways: it’s not just people at the top of an organizational structure who are engaged in power. There’s a need for all of us in movement to be like: We all have power. How are we using it? Are we using these terms [from “White Supremacy Culture”] in order to deflect the ways that we ourselves are using power? And are there ways that we can actually turn the light on ourselves and say, “How do I take responsibility for this moment right now?”
- If you’re in need of a new video game challenge, look no further than Vulture‘s recent encyclopedic list of the “100 hardest video-game levels of all time,” as compiled by 12 of its writers:
The modern home console-based games industry is almost unrecognizable compared to those early days. Extra lives are no longer stingily meted out between checkpoints, an easy mode is usually only a toggle away, and generally speaking publishers are more interested in immersing us in a story rather than humbling us with our inadequacies. And yet, even now, gamers have a grudging appreciation for a really tough level. They may not be as common as they were in the old days, when there was a direct financial incentive in thwarting players, but plenty of studios still crank up the meters to 11, eager to break our thumbs in two. In fact, with the mainstream success of games like Elden Ring and Returnal, difficulty seems to be coming back into fashion. We’re here to celebrate the tradition and hopefully get some closure on our collective anguish.
- For the New York Times, Margaret Roach sat down with New York City’s High Line designer Piet Oudolf to pick his brain on the craft of creating artful gardens:
You loved what you refer to in the book as the gardens’ “over-the-top quality,” but you also say, “English gardening is a lot about decoration and about doing the right thing at the right time.”
At that time, when you read English garden books, it was all about what to do and when to do it. It’s a bit dogmatic, telling people what to do in a garden. I felt that, without losing my interest in English gardens, I wanted to free myself a little bit from that idea that you had to do things in gardens at a particular time — a particular week or a particular day. Along with the needed craftsmanship, I wanted to do something creatively, without being restricted by rules.
- As film continues playing a key role in India’s Hindu nationalist movement, Sayeri Biswas analyzes five movies and their overtly right-wing messaging for Feminism in India:
The 2022 film directed by Vivek Agnihotri called ‘The Kashmir Files’ is another such propaganda film that employs disguising fiction as truth. Seemingly based on real events, it exaggerates, manipulates, and builds upon those instances to create a version of the truth which is far removed from what historically is said to have gone down. The 1990s exodus of Hindus from Kashmir is the premise of the fictional storyline of the movie. Immediately after the film was released, it received the stamp of support from the BJP government with Prime Minister Narendra Modi going so far as to declare it a must-watch for it finally reveals the truth which has suffered silence for a very long time.
The film received an almost instantaneous reaction from the audience. Despite critics vehemently opposing the factual inaccuracies, gross misrepresentation and demonisation of the Muslim community, the film continued to do well at the box office with right-wing groups doing mass viewings and demonstrations in support of the film. Even though the promotion of the film was made with claims of truth, the disclaimer of the film shows that in reality, the film has no foothold over historical accuracy or actuality and it’s another piece of propaganda.
- Curator and organizer Breya M. Johnson considers the linguistic nuances of survivorship versus victimhood, especially for Black women and marginalized people, in a thoughtful essay for Scalawag:
Despite well-intentioned efforts, the cultural push towards survivor language is accompanied by assumptions of growth and empowerment that aren’t inherent to any term. To some people, identifying as a survivor feels better. It’s more digestible. Several Black women in my life who have experienced tremendous harm, hurt, and violence remain deeply committed to calling themselves survivors—if they can even acknowledge what happened—but many struggle to see strength as an inherent part of this term.
I don’t believe Black women and gender-oppressed people need to get any stronger. We need a world that gives us all less to survive. Patriarchal violence (PV) is an “interconnected systems of institutions, practices, policies, beliefs, and behaviors that harm, undervalues, and terrorize girls, women, femme, intersex, gender-nonconforming, LGBTQ, and other gender-oppressed people in our communities,” so violence doesn’t just happen on the individual level. We live in a society that perpetuates PV and other forms of violence. Under systems of domination such as capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy, we live with conditions for violence all around us. Simply put: wherever there is violence, there will be victimization. There will be harm-doers.
- Orcas seem to be fed up with humans, and who can blame them? A group of them sunk three boats in Southern Europe this week, though no one seems to know exactly why. Stephanie Pappas has the story for Scientific American:
The safe rescue of everyone involved, however, suggests to Deborah Giles that these orcas don’t have malevolent motivations against humans. Giles, science and research director of the Washington State–based nonprofit conservation organization Wild Orca, points out that humans relentlessly harassed killer whales off the coasts of Washington and Oregon in the 1960s and 1970s, capturing young orcas and taking them away for display at marine parks. “These are animals that, every single one of them, had been captured at one point or another—most whales multiple times. And these are whales that saw their babies being taken away from them and put on trucks and driven away, never to be seen again,” Giles says. “And yet these whales never attacked boats, never attacked humans.”
- After a teenager was harassed by “Citi Bike Karen” Sarah Comrie a few weeks ago, his sister took to TikTok to share her brother’s story and shed light on the situation:
- Are we on the verge of a “hipness purgatory” renaissance?:
- The design that changed the art world forever:
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.