I found the internet to be relatively mediocre this week. Highlights: Rep. Elijah Cummings died, artist Ed Clark also passed, two women completed a historic spacewalk, a show about Modern Love, Succession is the best political show currently on TV, Joyce Carol Oates takes on healthcare, the ghosts that create our family, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Rihanna is hot, and Kylie Jenner can’t sing.
1. Baltimore Sun: Rep. Elijah Cummings rose from segregated childhood to powerful political voice in Baltimore, Washington
US Rep. Elijah Cummings died on Thursday, at age 68. Cummings was absent on the Hill over the past few weeks due to illness, “but his death came as a surprise, as it was not known publicly he was in hospice care.” Cummings was a local and national icon, known for “his devotion to Baltimore and civil rights, and his adherence to civility in a fractured political climate, even as he pursued an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump from his role as chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.”
He will be sorely missed. Rest in power.
The influential abstract painter Ed Clark has died at the age of 93. Clark was represented by Hauser & Wirth, and was known as a “ceaseless innovator.” He was one of the first artists to show shaped canvases, and in 1956 he “had begun developing a method of producing luminous, action-packed paintings on his studio floor by pushing paint with a broom, a technique he honed thereafter.” With a career spanning more than 60 years, Clark got his start in the art world during the post-war period, when “certain possibilities in the mainline art world were closed off for” Black artists like him. While many people in the art world ignored Clark’s work, he was “known as something of an artist’s artist, a figure admired by friends and peers like Donald Judd, Joan Mitchell, Jack Whitten, and David Hammons.”
3. Slate: Women on Historic Spacewalk Pause to Politely Correct Man’s Error
In 1984, the first woman went outside of a space station, and numerous women have spacewalked since then. But on Friday, all of the people outside of the space station at the same time were two women, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, making it a historic event. Naturally, Trump didn’t know his history. And when he called the women during the walk and erroneously said that the astronauts were the first women to go outside of a space station, one responded, “we don’t want to take too much credit because there have been many other female spacewalkers before us. This is just the first time there have been two women outside at the same time, and it’s really interesting for us, we’ve talked a lot about it up here, for us, this is really just us doing our jobs.”
4. The New Republic: On Amazon, a Show About Modern Love
I occasionally read the New York Times column Modern Love, but two of my friends love it. One of them (who is my age, 23) has a subscription and they would sit in my old apartment reading the column. I was usually cooking dinner for us, or doing other chores, and would hear snippets of stories and my friends fawning over love. None of us live in the same city anymore, but they both still read Modern Love. Now, the only time I read the column is when one of them sends me a story that they know will move my jaded ass.
Amazon has recently released a show based on the now 15-year-old column. Each episode in the show is independent and the “discrete stories united by an overarching sensibility of rigorous, almost humorless, sincerity. There’s nothing tongue in cheek about it; it’s dead serious about love. You can call it schmaltz if you like, but that’s powerful stuff.” In an intense era of prestige television, “there’s no question that Modern Love is often ridiculous; love is like that.” A cute show about love can be a necessary reprieve.
5. The New Republic: The Politics of Succession
I watched the first season of Succession in a day. I’ve only watched a couple of episodes of the second season, but the show is probably my favorite drama on TV right now. As this article’s subtitle states, “the best show about power in the Trump era is not a show about politicians.”
Succession follows the Roy family, headed by Logan Roy, who own a global right-wing media empire. There is no mistaking that the Roys are stand-ins for the Murdoch family and their fictional news channel, ATN, is modeled on Fox News. Succession is “a comedy until it’s not, a satire that ranges from merely dark to pitch black as it continually reminds us that just because the Roys are pathetic doesn’t mean they don’t control what we watch, or how the president thinks, or whether the people working for them live or die. Much like what we’ve come to understand as political news, it’s all very funny until someone gets hurt, which happens frightfully often.”
6. The New Yorker: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
Listen to this story, do not read it. Author Joyce Carol Oates recorded the audio version of her story, which takes on aging in America, and how “in the twenty-first century, damnation is a matter not of Hell but of inadequate medical insurance.” Oates has been getting a lot of press recently and Crime Reads just published a great interview with her.
7. Lit Hub: Oscar Villalon on the Many Ghosts We Call Family
I don’t normally read aloud, but I read this story aloud to one of my friends, and greatly enjoyed the cadence. This story is hard for me to follow, always referencing grandfathers, and fathers and their grandfathers. I don’t always know what generation I’m in, who might have seen a ghost, and who might not have. The slippage of memory, especially over generations, is present in the prose. The loss of language when one cries upon seeing a ghost “is the purest response to witnessing a breach between the mortal and the immortal. It is awful. It is awesome. It is the stuff of myth.” Families are also things of myths, of certain stories shared and others overlooked.
8. The Onion: Nation’s Indigenous People Confirm They Don’t Need Special Holiday, Just Large Swaths Of Land Returned Immediately
I sent this to one of my friends who is Lakota and she responded “like ya we aren’t joking… every day is Indigenous Peoples’ day on stolen land.” DO NOT celebrate Columbus Day. And if you still don’t understand just how awful Christopher Columbus was, please read this Washington Post story about the Taíno people, indigenous to present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean lands.
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There have been crazy rumors that Rihanna is pregnant. With this video, she squashed those rumors and proved that she will always be the baddest.
Kylie Jenner released this official tour video which is just as strange and wild as you might expect. But the best parts are towards the end when Kylie shows us her champagne vending machine which apparently “is everything,” although she admits, “I haven’t used it. But I have seen some people get some champagne for sure.”
We then visit her daughter Stormi’s playroom where Kylie sings “rise and shine” to wake her daughter up from a nap. Kylie’s “rise and shine” is like Fergie singing the national anthem for the 2018 NBA All-Stars game, but thankfully isn’t as long. And damn, Twitter is too funny.
*All images taken from reference articles*
Have a suggestion for next week? Email [email protected] with the subject line “The Internet is Exploding.”