‣ In an essay for the New York Times, scholar Erin Thompson reflects on witnessing the melting of the infamous Robert E. Lee sculpture that long stood in Charlottesville, Virginia:
Covering this story over the past few years, I’ve come to realize two things. First, when a monument disappears without a ceremony to mark why it is coming down, a community has no chance to recognize that it has itself changed. (Ideally the ceremony is public, but because of safety concerns, the melting I attended was not.) Second, if you are outraged that something’s happening to your community’s heroic statue of Lee, you’re not going to be any less outraged if the statue is moved to some hidden storeroom than if it’s thrown into a landfill. So if all changes, large or small, will be resisted, why not go for the ones with the most symbolic resonance?
‣ Toni Morrison may be best known for her writing, but Dan Sinykin writes for LitHub about the prolific author’s tenure at overwhelmingly White publishing houses — and what pushed her to leave:
Her situation as a black woman at a very white press, though, was fraught. It was fraught within the house, where she had to contest entrenched white supremacy. It was also fraught outside the house, where her black peers might see her as a sellout. Some did. Morrison published poetry and fiction by Henry Dumas, a black writer who had been murdered by the police in 1968. His poems had circulated in the black press, including Black World, before Morrison published his collection Play Ebony, Play Ivory. Her edition didn’t acknowledge the prior publications. Editors at Black World were displeased. The executive editor wrote to Morrison to say that he was “more than a little offended.” A week later, Morrison received a letter from her friend Carole Parks, a Black World editor. She wrote, “it’s not just that you have given people absolutely no inkling that a Black publication gave Dumas his first national exposure. It’s that you have at the same time added to the myth that Black genius would languish unappreciated were it not for some white liberal or far-sighted individual like yourself.” Parks accused Morrison of being interested in herself and her “already prestigious career.” Morrison responded that she had been deeply hurt. She asked, “Perhaps I should leave white publishers to their own devices?”She said she would miss her friendship with Parks.
‣ Barry Schwabsky, longtime Artforum editor, responded to the publication’s recent open letter controversy in a piece for the Nation, and this quote in particular stood out:
We seem to be witnessing the breakdown of a modus vivendi that’s made possible the art world as we’ve known it. We can’t quite see it yet, but artists on the one hand, and the collectors and patrons of their work on the other, are no longer willing to overlook the fundamental incongruence of their respective sympathies and world views. How strange it is that wealthy businessmen have been sponsoring the efforts of artists who imagine their work as a critique of neoliberalism, racism, and colonialism—and that neither side of this compact seems to have noticed it until now?
‣ Wall Street can’t resist war and the profits that come from it. Eli Clifton has published “‘Hamas has created additional demand’: Wall Street eyes big profits from war” 0n the Guardian and Responsible Statecraft, and he writes:
“Hamas has created additional demand, we have this $106bn request from the president,” said Von Rumohr, during General Dynamics’ earnings call on 25 October. “Can you give us some general color in terms of areas where you think you could see incremental acceleration in demand?”
“You know, the Israel situation obviously is a terrible one, frankly, and one that’s just evolving as we speak,” responded Jason Aiken, the company’s executive vice-president of technologies and chief financial officer. “But I think if you look at the incremental demand potential coming out of that, the biggest one to highlight and that really sticks out is probably on the artillery side.”
That next day, Von Rumohr assigned a “buy” rating to General Dynamics’ stock.
Morgan Stanley’s head of aerospace and defense equity research, Kristine Liwag, took a similar approach to the conflict during Raytheon’s 24 October earnings call.
“Looking at [the White House’s $106bn supplemental funding request], you’ve got equipment for Ukraine, air and missile defense for Israel, and replenishment of stockpiles for both. And this seems to fit quite nicely with the Raytheon Defense portfolio,” said Liwag, whose employer holds over $3bn in Raytheon stock, a 2.1% ownership share of the weapons company.
“So how much of this opportunity is addressable to the company and if the dollars are appropriated, when would be the earliest you could see this convert to revenue?”
‣ After being pressured to exclude any mention of Gaza from a recent keynote speech, Palestinian novelist Karim Kattan channeled the experience into a must-read essay for the Baffler on whom mainstream media does (and does not) include in the “land of humanity”:
We as Palestinians stand at the threshold of humanity. Sometimes invited, but not always. I keep going back to that phone call, to a voice on the phone, hailing from the far and distant land of humanity, where I am a guest until proven otherwise. The voice on the phone, kind, conciliatory, understanding, kept repeating: “Please, Karim, let us find a positive solution.” The organizer didn’t exactly reject my humanity. It was simply a very inconvenient fact for her that I was a human; she had to contend with it and was very uncomfortable. She suggested that we could talk about things such as “exile, memory, transmission, borders,” but, please, without mentioning Palestine. I wondered how I could talk about exile without mentioning the material cause of this exile, which is a history of occupation. I wondered what “memory” consisted of in this context, if not survival in spite of a concerted, century-long campaign to erase all our histories. I wondered, also, if she imagined that it was great fun for me to talk about depressing subjects. Believe me, I would rather talk about anything else if I could. But I cannot.
‣ In a new development in the Hasan Minhaj/New Yorker debacle, the comedian posted a video claiming the article misrepresented his conversation with the reporter — and he has receipts. Nadira Goffe attempts to explain for Slate:
In his response, Minhaj acknowledges that this incident didn’t happen, but that he “did have altercations with undercover law enforcement growing up,” including being physically harassed while playing basketball (an account that Malone does include in the piece). He apologizes, explaining that his intention was to amplify the stories of people who actually experienced devastating run-ins with law enforcement, like Hayat. Minhaj says he created the story in the way he did to heighten the feeling of paranoia that all Muslim Americans were feeling at that time. Minhaj shows text messages allegedly from Hayat praising and thanking him for talking about his story on the special. Minhaj accuses the New Yorker of being “more concerned” with the FBI informant than his intentions of spreading awareness for stories like Hayat’s.
‣ This is what happens when you invite an artist to a pumpkin-carving party:
‣ If only real tampons were this smooth:
‣ New Yorkers will totally relate to this Halloween costume:
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.