Welcome to Issue 21.3 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
As I’m sure many of you have seen, a couple of powerful explosions rocked Beirut yesterday, flattening buildings, killing and injuring countless people, filling the air with bright red-orange smoke.
The graphic details are on display across the internet, from the mushroom cloud to bloodied faces. There aren’t a lot of answers about who, or why, just what—2,750 tons, or approximately 6,062,712 pounds, of ammonium nitrate, stored improperly in a port building, ignited, causing the blasts felt as far away as Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean.
The way this is being reported raises a couple of questions. Lebanese authorities have condemned the situation, obviously, but I haven’t seen anyone say, ‘oh shit, maybe it wasn’t good to keep a massive heap of potentially explosive material in a building for 7 years.’ According to Al Jazeera, officials had known about the explosives and just…not done anything. The article goes on:
“many Lebanese were quick to point out what they believe to be the root causes; immense mismanagement in a broken state run by a corrupt political class who they say treat the country's inhabitants with contempt.”
Hm, sounds familiar.
This explosion was horrifying and devastating—and, another staggering example of when political (and economic) systems operate without any form of public accountability, people are left in disaster’s path.
In the US, while we’re still arguing about if Americans should get an extra $600 a month to face the staggering unemployment that has disproportionately hit low-income folks and people of color in some of the most intentionally neglected neighborhoods in our cities, the boat of unchecked nonsense was rocked.
Cori Bush, Ferguson activist, successfully unseated long-time incumbent Lacy Clay, whose family had held a congressional district surrounding St. Louis since the 1960s. Welcome to the Squad, Cori, and thank you for becoming the only person with the last name Bush to soon do right by the political office you hold.
“They don’t want old white guys who don’t do anything. Not only old white guys; but old white guys who only work when they’re up for reelection…People are punishing these kinds of lawmakers. If you’re old, white and lazy, you’re going to get kicked out.”
This is hilarious, no? Eliot, you’re right on track. Now go away.
One great exit to draw on (listen with sound!):
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
One of the more unbelievable stories I’ve written for ~*Hot Goss*~ this year has been the Lady A(ntebellum) name change snafu.
To recap, country trio Lady Antebellum decided to change their band’s name to Lady A at the height of the coverage of the uprisings for Black lives in early June. Except in doing so, they inadvertently stole the moniker of a Black, Seattle-based blues singer Lady A, who has been recording and releasing music for thirty years. Instead of finding an amicable resolution that involves Lady A (band) finding a different name, they decided to sue Lady A (solo) instead for infringing on the band’s copyright.
As you can tell from that brief recap, the saga was full of audacity and caucasity and performativity. Lady A (solo) recently gave an interview to Today, in which she spilled even more tea on how dismissive Lady A (band) has been to her concerns and attempts at resolution.
Judging from what Lady A (solo) shares in this interview, it seems that discussions are still ongoing between both parties when it comes to resolving the issue. However, it has been roughly “two or three weeks” since both sides have talked to each other and Lady A (band) has rebuffed the singer’s suggestions such as bringing Lady A (solo) under the trio’s management company and helping her to rebrand herself. Instead, the band offered a song collaboration to “look woke.”
I would like to now pause and point out that the trio’s Instagram and Twitter handles are still @ladya. So clearly they don’t give a f*ck about the optics or the implications of their decision to completely wipe the three decade-long career of a Black woman off the map with their wokenanigans. AND! Judging from all the dismissing they’ve been doing in these discussions, nor do they intend to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to “doing better.” It’s honestly all so grody and if it didn’t mean lining their pockets even more, I would urge all of us to attend their concerts and heckle the shit out of them every chance we get.
Unfortunately, I think Lady A (band) won’t be relenting on this any time soon, given that they have the financial power and legal standing to hold on to the name “Lady A” due to the copyright they filed a few years ago. Which is why I totally support Lady A (solo) spilling the tea on this situation anywhere and everywhere she can. Sully those reputations! Make them pay up in more ways than one! Expose the hypocrisy! They deserve absolutely all of it.
This My Favorite Tweet was submitted by column convenor Lena, and it could not be more perfect for today’s story.