The internet was filled with so much good shit this week. I loved it. Highlights: Quincy Jones shat on the music industry, the “good life” might destroy the planet, Mark Zuckerberg had to hire someone to tell him that people don’t like him, Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested and Eagles fans were not, Kylie Jenner had a baby, Disney and Fox are scary, Black Panther is already breaking the internet, Republicans like memes, activists and organizers need to get better at working together, and Mayor Pugh said a bunch of confusing things.
1. Vulture: In Conversation: Quincy Jones
I don’t even really know what this conversation is but I love it? Quincy Jones gave the interview of a lifetime to Vulture, full of things that he “can’t talk about.” Honestly, Jones makes it seem like he is a secret musical spy in this interview and can destroy the world with all of the things he “can’t talk about.” He is surprisingly good a shit talking.
2. NPR: If We Bring The Good Life To All, Will We Destroy The Planet?
There is a common assumption among most people that everyone should have the western ideal of the “good life.” A life with access to “clean water and power, medical care to stay healthy, enough income to feed their kids, education for the children so they can fulfill their potential.” We often talk about this without considering an important question: what impact will this have on the health of the planet? Researchers have found in industrialized countries “as we increase our resource use, we get almost no increase in human well-being from that.”
No one should live in poverty, but this research questions if everyone should have access to “the good life.”
3. The Verge: Facebook hired a full-time pollster to monitor Zuckerberg’s approval ratings
Each week I spend a lot of time on Facebook reading different articles people post for this list. I love the fact I found this article on Facebook. Anyway, apparently, according to this article, Mark Zuckerberg, via Facebook, thinks of himself as a politician (which is kinda v true considering Russia and all) and hired a pollster to tell him how people feel about himself (which is also interesting because he could just read his website).
The practice of companies working with consultants on brand image is common in companies, specifically tech companies, but having a full-time staff person to do this is not. Facebook has a huge societal and political impact, and it seems to just be realizing that “from a business perspective, Facebook has done phenomenally well. Facebook is a cash cow. But from a social perspective, those metrics could be inversely related. The more Facebook builds profit, the more it’s at the expense of the American people.”
4. BuzzFeed: Kylie Jenner Broke Away From The Kardashians With Her Birth Announcement
Last Sunday Kylie Jenner announced the birth of her daughter, Stormi. Unlike how Kardashians of the past used Keeping Up With the Kardashians to reveal their pregnancies or other big news, Kylie went into hiding for her pregnancy. She did not personally confirm that she was pregnant until she announced the birth of her daughter, along with a 12 minute home video documenting her journey. The video broke the internet and have the 7th highest number of views in 24 hours, and an image Kylie posted of Stormi holding her thumb is the most liked post on Instagram with almost 16.5 million likes.
This is an extreme departure of how the Kardashians have handled big news of the past and other celebrity baby announcements. Historically, magazines would buy images of a celebrity’s baby, but the creation of social media has given public figures autonomy of how and when to share big life events. The Kardashians have found a whole new way to manipulate us and I am here for it.
5. Bitch Media: Creating an Empire
Disney owns Fox and that is scary as shit. This merger means that Disney has even more control over the entertainment industry than before (which was already A LOT). Both of these companies have a history of supporting white supremacy and imperialistic and misogynistic ideologies. An extreme danger of this is the company’s focus on young audiences.
For many American children, Disney movies and TV shows were an entrance to the entertainment industry. While the company does appear to be increasing its diversity, they still do super sketchy things like try to patten “‘Dia de los Muertos’ toys, jewelry and cereals.”
6. Time: The Revolutionary Power Of Black Panther
The best thing about Black Panther, at least thus far, is that articles like this are already being published. Critiques of this movie are not that interested in the film but in its cultural impact. Which is already massive.
I also think this movie is particularly interesting due to Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox and racists past and present (see the Bitch article above). Disney owns Marvel, which Black Panther is part of and Black Panther is unequivocally a celebration of black excellence. It will be interesting to see how this movie and its reception will engage with that history.
7. New York Times: The Mainstreaming of Political Memes Online
Personally, I spend a lot of time looking at memes. And political memes have been on my Facebook and Twitter feeds for a while. We all know by now that Donald Trump loves Twitter, and Twitter loves memes. So it makes sense that his campaign, with all of its Russian bot ties, rely on memes to engage with supporters. There are a lot of liberal memes but most liberal, leftist memes I see are not associated with the democratic party, but many anti-capitalist movements. In fact, many of them make fun of the democratic party. Many of these memes are founded in postmodern and Marxist theory. I think one of the reasons right-wing politics is more successful in its meme usage is it employs emotion, and not logic to convey its message. Memes are quick, funny, improvisational, and intuitive.
— Black Visions Collective (@BlackLivesMpls) February 4, 2018
Last Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots and won the Superbowl for the first time in the team’s history. Eagles’ fans partied HARD! While only 3 Eagles fans were arrested for celebrating, 17 Black Lives Matters activists were arrested for “unlawful interference with transit” when protesting systematic racism in the NFL and country on Minneapolis’ light rail tracks.
9. Truthout: Our Relationships Keep Us Alive: Let’s Prioritize Them in 2018
Since Trump’s election in 2016, a lot more people are interested in being politically active. Ejeris Dixon offers insights into movement building in this think piece. Most political movements, in the context of this piece, want the same thing, to end oppressive structures. When movements take on different oppressive structures (racial, prison industrial, economic, gender, etc) tensions can arise. If we don’t work together, “our movements will rot from the inside out.”
10. Baltimore Beat: Mayor Pugh blames press for Baltimore’s “perception problem”
Mayor Pugh says a lot of confusing shit, but this week was filled with more “what the fuck” moments than usual. She seems to be taking a page from Donald Trump and blaming the press for misconstruing her words after she said that she has not followed the BPD Gun Trace Task Force trial because she has to “run the city” and does not “have time to sit in a trial.” OK! Fortunately, people like Councilman Ryan Dorsey believe “Baltimore has far more than a perception problem. It has deeply rooted inequities that need to be addressed head-on with more than boosterism and ‘changing the narrative.”
Longreads: What Happens Between What Seems Like All the Facts: On Interviewing Artists
Curator Michael Auping has spent 40 years interviewing artists. When he first started working in the art world, he didn’t know anything about art. Instead of starting with learning about art, he decided to learn about artists. Interviewing artist was perfect for Auping because he “wasn’t interested in judgment or art history per se — who’s the most important, or this or that — [he] was interested in how artists become artists.”
New York Times: When You’re a ‘Digital Nomad,’ the World Is Your Office
I feel this article so hard, as I sit in The Bun Shop typing this. Roam is a new chain of luxury hotels where “digital nomads,” people that have telecommuting based jobs, can live. “Roamies” or members of this elite hotel chain pay rent, starting at $500 a week, to be able to live and work at any of Roam’s residential estates across the world.
Roam seems like the beginning of being disembodied. There is a very seductive idea about it, about not having a home. But in the end, so called “Roamies” do have one, thier laptops. While I do get antsy spending more than 2 weeks in the same city, there is also something seductive about being able to go home.
*All images taken from reference articles*
Have a suggestion for next week? Email [email protected] with the subject line “The Internet is Exploding.”