I hated the internet this week. Highlights: Consent is essential, Astrology is in, Viola Davis is a BADASS, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis was fired, Cape Town might have to start rationing water, Barbie and Bratz hate each other, the US government shut itself down, and José Leonilson gets his long overdue solo exhibition in the US.

 

1. The Atlantic: The New Age of Astrology

I openly admit to being a proud sagittarius and following @poetastrologers on twitter. Part of the reason I follow Astro Poets is because the entire account feels like a meme… and I love it. This article is surprisingly good at articulating why I am interested in astrology. It feels like a fun break, something that you can read into if it seem particularly accurate on that day, and ignore if it doesn’t.

 

2. CNN: Viola Davis’ full speech at women’s march

Yesterday women marched all over the country to protect their rights. Compared to last year, there were WAY more POCs but still not very many, and it was slightly more intersectional. After marching in DC last year, it seemed less urgent this year, like they were out for a walk on the National Mall, happened to be wearing pink, saw other people wearing pink, and thought it might be fun to march together for Instagram.

The most energizing protests I have been to this year were ones where a specific bill or presidential declaration were being protested, my two favorite being the Travel Ban and Net Neutrality. It is not enough to be hurt or upset about something general, and protest or march on behalf of those feelings. It is necessary to turn those feelings into actionable items, legislation, voting, and seats held in government offices.   

Anyway, Viola Davis’ speech at the march in LA offered some intersectionality that was missing from last year.

 

3. Baltimore Beat: Commissioner Kevin Davis fired, BPD veteran Darryl DeSousa is Commissioner-Designate

Mayor Pugh has fired Kevin Davis as police commissioner. Darryl DeSousa will take his place. In a statement by the Mayor’s Office, Pugh attributed her decision to the BPD “not achieving the pace of progress that our residents have every right to expect in the weeks since we ended what was nearly a record year for homicides in the City of Baltimore.” The change of leadership was not explicitly linked to the murder of Detective Sean Suiter, which has yet to be solved.

 

4. Babe: I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life

Aziz Ansari is the latest man to be pulled into the #metoo movement on the basis of sexual misconduct. But unlike the Harvey Weinsteins, Kevin Spacys, and Woody Allens, the anonymous source tells a nuanced story of rape culture and consent, where a bad date ended with her crying in an Uber.

Published by Babe.net, a website self described as for “girls who don’t give a fuck,” the story has hit a nerve among the multitude of women who have had similarly bad sexual experiences and are reconsidering the boundaries of sexual consent and abuse, as well as those pushing back against it as a #metoo witch hunt and that an anonymous source is not credible. 

 

5. The Root: Aziz Ansari and Shitholes: Men Understand Consent Like White America Understands Racism

The response to anonymous allegations for sexual misconduct against Aziz Ansari has broken into two *general* groups: those that say Grace just had a bad date and is writing ‘revenge porn,’ and those that believe the story highlights an often overlooked aspect of rape culture. *Generally* speaking, I have noticed that people who are in the first group tend to be slightly older than those in the second.

HLN host Ashleigh Banfield accused Grace of derailing the #metoo movement, and the New York Times and The Atlantic both come under criticism for publishing opinion pieces that do not understand consentOn the other hand, many people are championing Grace for how her story can be used to teach consent.

 

6. CNN: She’s the judge these Larry Nassar victims needed


Over the past week, victims of Larry Nassar, a doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, testified against him. Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina is presiding over the case in Ingham County, Michigan. Her approach is being described as a “judicial therapy session,” something that legal experts say is uncommon.  

 

7. The Globe and Mail: Cape Town at risk of becoming first major city in the world to run out of water

Cape Town, South Africa might have to start rationing water due to a two-year-long drought. After two years, some experts say “ the severity of the drought is so rare that it would normally happen only once in a millennium.” City officials have forecast April 21st as “Day Zero,” the day when the city will have to start rationing water. This is a significant change in climate for a place that was once known as “the place where the clouds gather.”

 

8. The New Yorker: When Barbie Went to War with Bratz

Barbie and Bratz have, apparently, always had a contentious history. After all, creator of Bratz, Carter Bryant, used to work at Barbie. The history of these dolls is also the story of patenting women’s bodies, oppressing women, relegating them to objects, and promoting impossible beauty standards. It is no wonder that the women who launched #metoo into the national discourse were “in the entertainment and television-news businesses, where women are required to look as much like Barbie and Bratz dolls as possible.”

 

9. The New York Times: Open, Closed or Something in Between: What a Shutdown Looks Like

The government shut down. Unsurprisingly the parties are blaming each other for the shutdown. But what does that mean, and who will be affected?

 

10. 4Columns: José Leonilson

Brazilian artist José Leonilson (1957-93) currently has his first US solo exhibition up at Americas Society / Council of the Americas in New York. Leonilson began his career as a painter, but is best known for his embroideries from later in his career.

I went to the exhibition on Wednesday, at the suggestion of Monica Amor, the author of this article. It was a quiet, intimate experience, and a much needed break from the austerity and institutionalization of the Whitney Museum of American Art, where I was early in the day. 

The work  flows between imagery and text, eliciting the formless bodies, and suggesting the identity of a person. As Amor puts it, “the meaning of words can never be fully gathered, and “man” is an empty vessel to be filled by his contingent encounters with the world.” Viewing the exhibition didn’t feel like looking at artwork, but reading the history of a person.

 

 

Honorable Mention:

Twitter: @KimKardashian

Kim Kardashian West and her husband, Kanye West, welcomed their third child into the world! Their daughter, Chicago, Chi for short, was born January 16th via a surrogate.