The internet was complicated this week. A lot of stuff happened, almost too much for one week. Donald Trump had a very active political week, including bombing Syria and signing the SESTA/FOSTA bill into effect. For the third Friday in a row, Palestinians have protested at the fence between Gaza and Israel. Two Black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia for no reason. Beyonce made history headlining Coachella.
Highlights: Taylor Swift took whiteness to a whole new level, Kanye West is writing a philosophy book, Janelle Monae loves vaginas, Khloe Kardashian had a baby, the holocaust is being forgotten, Junot Diaz shares his story, Mark Zuckerberg is peak meme material, and an avocado toast cocktail exists.
— SPIN (@SPIN) April 13, 2018
“What in the Cultural Appropriation is this shit?” I don’t even know how to emotionally respond to what Taylor Swift did this week. Taylor had the audacity to release a “stripped-down, banjo-slathered rendition of the soul classic” September by Earth, Wind, and Fire. Needless to say, most people are not having it. The cover has been compared to when “white people put apples in guacamole,” “macaroni n cheese with raisins in it,” and “Karen’s potato salad.” According to one listener, “only someone whiter than a white girl could manage to make a fabulous soulful song like ‘September’ into unrecognizable mush.”
If you need more evidence than this of Taylor Swift wielding white innocence and fragility you might be a lost cause. Listen at your own risk.
2. YouTube: Janelle Monáe – PYNK
I know Janelle Monae says she doesn’t like to talk about her sexuality but DAMN! I guess she just wants to show us??? Donned in vagina pants, birthing Tessa Thompson, Janelle Monae praised female anatomy for four and a half minutes in PYNK bliss. This video is the third from Monae’s next album, Dirty Computer, which has yet to be released. It is being praised for every reason, including making it clear that not all women have vaginas.
3. BuzzFeed: Khloé Kardashian And Tristan Thompson’s Entire Relationship, Explained
P sure every news source in the world has reported something on Khloe Kardashian this week. Khloe gave birth to a baby girl on Thursday amidst rumors of her boyfriend and baby-daddy, Tristan Thompson, cheating on her. This gossip is especially juicy as most *general* timelines of their relationship indicate they started dating while Thompson’s ex, Jordan Craig, was pregnant with their child. Khloe and Thompson have never commented on that rumor but it is *generally* accepted that something v sketchy went on.
Anyway, the comments this week can basically be summed up to “karma’s a bitch, Khloe” and “Tristan is the worst.” Kim also got dragged into the drama because she was posting pictures from her vacation and was not being a “supportive sister,” but it has come out that she was present for the birth of Khloe’s daughter, whose name has yet to be released.
I love this interview with Kanye West and Axel Vervoordt because it seems like Kanye is talking to someone who understands him and his sometimes bizarre analogies. There are many memes and strange videos poking fun at Kanye’s impressive ego, but in this interview, we learn why he has it.
Kanye is a genius and just as brilliant as he says he is. This is not to say that he is without faults and doesn’t say crazy shit sometimes, but the work he is doing in music and design is incredible. If one thing is made clear from this interview, it is Kanye’s obsession with learning from anything and everyone. As Vervoordt put it, “you learn also from the ugliness because you either want to make it better or try to accept it.”
Amongst his many endeavors, Kanye is now working on a philosophy book, Break the Simulation, about photography’s influence on culture, and, basically, Guy Debord’s notion of the spectacle. Kanye admitted that he is “on the fence about photographs — about human beings being obsessed with photographs…. [They] can be used to document, but a lot of times it overtakes [people].”
I am very excited about this book. Also, if anyone has a connection to Kanye, could you ask him if he wants to write/direct an opera? Please? Thanks.
5. Design Observer: Compulsion: Where Object Meets Anxiety
Whenever I order a coffee, I immediately align the seam of the cup with the seam of the coffee sleeve, then both of those with the midline of the lid. I always do it in this order, and often ask if I can do the same to the cups of the people I am with. “We make small, compulsive decisions every day.”
This article is beautifully written, until the last two paragraphs. Throughout the article, designer Chappell Ellison meditates on her brother’s OCD. For him, living his life within certain constraints, designing his life in particular ways, is a means of coping. In the last two paragraphs, design is presented as a possible solution for Ellison’s brother, and, more importantly, for her. Design is seen as a savior, rather than an intrinsic and evolving state. In presenting design this way, my empathy for Ellison and her brother weakened because I stopped reflecting on my own compulsive decisions. The subtlety of how life necessitates design as a means of organizing and understanding the world—and ourselves—was lost.
6. New York Times: Holocaust Is Fading From Memory, Survey Finds
People are not learning about the Holocaust. According to a recent survey, “thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million. Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. And 52 percent of Americans wrongly think Hitler came to power through force.”
The findings of this survey are particularly startling in today’s current political climate, with the rise of the right across many western countries. If our knowledge of the Holocaust is forgotten, many other histories can also fade from memory. And, “if we wait for another generation before we start trying to take remedial action, we’re really going to be behind the eight ball.”
7. The New Yorker: The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma
Author Junot Diaz was raped as a child, and now he is telling his story. Growing up, he felt that “the rape excluded me from manhood, from love, from everything.” It took him years to go to therapy and he has “come to learn that repair is never-ceasing.” This isn’t really a story I can summarize. It needs to be experienced in full and come from the author himself.
8. The New York Times: Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis
Hearing the statistics that “black women are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts” and “black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies,” a number higher than that of 1850, is astounding, but not surprising. I greatly debated putting this on my list this week. It is not because I don’t think this is a big issue, but because it kinda read as “water is wet” to me. This article is well-written and is something everyone needs to know about, but also feels late to the conversation.
9. The Washington Post: Transcript of Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate hearing
CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, testified at a Senate hearing and it was a lot. Basically, Zuckerberg didn’t answer many questions and kept saying “I can have my team follow up with you after this.” He also had to do a lot of explaining about what Facebook is, and social media and technology generally. Like yes, Mark Zuckerberg is crazy and FB needs more regulation, but this trial was such a hot mess…
That face when you just wanted a faster way to rank girls by looks and ended up installing a fascist government in the most powerful country on earth pic.twitter.com/VEaQjz9Z6s
— Zack Bornstein (@ZackBornstein) April 10, 2018
…one of the best parts about Zuckerberg’s testimony is the sheer quantity of memes it has inspired. I have been laughing out loud at my computer all week. There were lots of jokes about Zuckerberg realizing that “actions have a consequence.” These memes will float around for a while.
Very Smart Brothas: The Creation of the Avocado Toast Cocktail Is the Whitest Thing That Has Ever Happened
LOL! This is one of the funniest things I have ever read. It is from a few weeks ago but it is so funny! Apparently, an avocado toast cocktail exists in Boston, putting “an even whiter spin on the already aggressively white avocado toast, which is like Tomi Lahren using skin-bleaching cream.” TBH, I was surprised Boston was the first place to come up with this and not LA or New York. What’s good SoHo? I imagine Taylor will make a pit stop.
*All images taken from reference articles*
Have a suggestion for next week? Email [email protected] with the subject line “The Internet is Exploding.”