Welcome to Issue 5.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
I used to (read: a month ago) participate in Zoom meetings with just one earphone in. It let me feel like I was in two places at once: actually at home, in a real place with real people, and in a meeting in virtual space with my colleagues. It was nice.
Then days of working at home became weeks, and I started to lose my ability to focus on the spoken content of meetings that occupied only the thirteen inches of my screen. I put the other earphone in, and laughed a sort of sad laugh to myself about how real the expression ‘in one ear, out the other’ feels these days. As though if I plugged in both my ears, less information would fall out of them.
It’s been variably successful. Reading the news today (rounded up by my dear confidante Gabriel) I couldn’t help but think of that sentiment, and the others that go with it: biting the hand that feeds you, things about front doors and back doors, statements that suggest trying to do one good thing (listening, giving animals snacks, entering a place) that yields something less ideal than intended (forgetting, getting bitten by animals, entering a place from elsewhere). Sometimes this outcome is intentional; sometimes it’s a bad mistake and everyone uses a silly expression to write it off.
I would like to think that these colloquial false binaries are not the governing principles of our economy and society. But today’s news suggests otherwise.
In New York City, where efforts to keep the notoriously dirty city clean are at an all-time high, sanitation workers are getting sick in record numbers.
While the US is largely shut down and only the most essential are working, non-essential lobbyists are virtually descending on Washington to pick, peel, and pry at all of that juicy virus bailout funding that should be going to people who are essential workers or are staying home.
Just recently were migrant farm workers deemed ‘essential,’ which is already backwards: most of this country would starve without their crucial work. Now, T**** is moving to slash their wages, while also sending relief to the farmers (overwhelmingly white US citizens who possess generational wealth) who employ these folks.
Decarceration movements are taking off in cities across the country; it’s well-known that folks in jails and prisons are at increased risk of infection. So as mayors and governors move to reduce populations of incarcerated people by releasing them, these people are emerging into a terrifying, different world. They’re often asked to self-quarantine for 2 weeks, but many people released from jail or prison—not to mention those released earlier than they expected—have nowhere to safely quarantine (or do anything else, for that matter).
I think maybe this whole time, the expression I’ve really been looking for is ass-backwards.
Last week’s bout of voter suppression and messy elections in Wisconsin fits that definition pretty well, but one great thing emerged: Jill Karofsky, a liberal challenger, won a 10-year seat in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, defeating a T****-friendly incumbent. Now, Karofsky can play a key role in future state cases on voting rights. Ass forwards, perhaps?
Amidst the backwards wildness of the world yesterday, I came across this very sweet pileated woodpecker up to some forwards wildness, posted by one of my favorite internet bird nerds.
What a difference a year makes, huh? This time last year, I was in my final push of grad school, getting ready to turn in FINAL final papers and graduate into a summer where I spent a lot of time writing my Master’s thesis, watching Bachelor in Paradise with friends, and going on tiny adventures in Connecticut and North Carolina and New York with my then-boyfriend. It was bliss.
Today, I am sitting in bed quarantined for the fourth week, nursing the remnants of a broken heart and reproducing celebrity gossip for twelve people to read. And while I have come to appreciate this slowed pace of life, I also know for a fact that I am not alone in feeling extremely emotional about everything all the time.
So if there’s one thing that can lift my spirits, it’s speculation of a One Direction reunion sometime during this hell of a year. Hawk-eyed fans began to notice that bandmembers Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles started following Zayn Malik again over the weekend – an auspicious move given the fact that Zayn left the group in 2015 under somewhat strained conditions. One Direction announced an extended hiatus a year later, with many of the boys going on to pursue solo careers to different degrees of success. I came late to the One Direction block party but I love a good boyband/pop group reunion and am excited to see this happen if true. I’ve been following the One Direction fandom on Twitterverse and folks are in a TIZZY. I’ll report back as soon as we find out more.
Diddy found himself in a bit of controversy lately after hosting an Instagram live dance party on Easter afternoon to benefit a coronavirus relief fund for frontline workers. The gist of the event was getting tons of celebrities to dance on Instagram Life from their homes. A fun idea, no doubt, for participant and spectator alike. Controversy came, however, when the rapper and mogul reacted very differently to two celebrities who started twerking during this dance-a-thon: Draya and Lizzo. As in, Diddy and his sons got into it when Draya started twerking to “Back That Ass Up” but told Lizzo to stop when she started twerking during her dance slot. WHEW where do we even start with this?! Accusations of fat shaming obviously followed but Diddy responded by saying that the song Lizzo was dancing to (“1 2 3” by Moneybagg Yo) was too profane for Easter Sunday. An explanation that totally makes sense because “Back That Ass Up” is definitely the family-friendly go-to celebratory Easter song that we all know and love.
If you’re still in need of a mood booster this week, how about watching this video paying tribute to the comical sibling dynamics of Alexis and David Rose on “Schitt’s Creek?” And if you haven’t yet, check out this brilliant comedy on Netflix or the POP TV app. It is the wholesome, hilarious, endearing tv show that you need in these trying times.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
Today’s news, raw:
GARBAGE PICKUPS TELL A TALE OF TWO CITIES, WITH PART OF MANHATTAN SHRINKING, 4/12/20, The City
Lobbyists Descend On Washington Seeking Coronavirus Relief Money, 4/13/20, NPR
Trump Moves to Slash Pay for Essential Migrant Farmworkers, 4/13/20, Democracy Now!
Out of Prison With Nowhere Safe to Go, 4/14/20, The New Republic