Welcome to Issue 21.5 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
Had a weird dream last night that someone was trying to control my mind by only letting me eat root vegetables, therefore starving my brain of vital compounds needed to think critically? Exciting times.
And here’s some weekend reading: How the Pandemic Defeated America, by Ed Yong. Sneak preview below of its 212-word sentence:
And here are some, as they are referred to, live slipperies in the Gowanus Canal, which if you didn’t know, is full of toxic waste and raw sewage. Happy Friday!!
Caro's Advice Corner
Back next week— Caro is also outta power!
DJ M0RO’s low-key Music Show - this week from Gabriel!
(This week sweet Mo is out of power post-storm and also moving to Providence for a very cool new job! She’ll be back next week.)
Hello, it’s Gabriel here filling in for the great MoRo and today I have two fantastic recently released mixtapes from the great state of Alabama!
Both Chika (Jane Chika Oranika, 23) and Flo Milli (Tamia Monique Clark, 20) gained prominence through social media - Instagram and TikTok respectively. Both of their debut records clock in under half an hour, perfect for a quick listen, with Chika’s Industry Games packing an unbelievable amount of love and charisma into only 20 minutes.
My first exposure to Chika was through her Tiny Desk show from the before-times when bands could gather behind tiny desks in offices without masks on and I was immediately enchanted. Chika is backed up at the Tiny Desk and on her record by four amazing vocalists whose gorgeous harmonies provide a springboard for Jane’s lighter than air delivery. Swedish producer Lido, whose sunny shimmery production graced a couple of tracks on Chance The Rapper’s The Coloring Book, produces most of Industry Games, which adds an extra glimmer to lyrics like:
I'm a sunflower that feel like a seed
I'm screamin' "Water me!"
You like, "This bitch got way too many needs"
And to be honest, I know what you mean
It’s a feel good come-up album, but the little melancholy twists woven into Jane’s lightning quick verses ground the songs and keep the production from being to saccharine. There’s even an almost cheesy love song (ON MY WAY) that despite its clichéd bits, or maybe because of them, makes the all the pieces of my gay brain squeal and ooze dopamine.
“When I'm home, it's quiet on the Earth and-
I wanna thank you for being my person”
♡( ŐωŐ人 )
Flo Milli’s release, Ho, Why Is You Here? is 28 minutes of Tamia discussing, as my roommate Cosi puts it, “how much she loves money and how she’ll beat you up if you get in her way.” It’s truly delightful, with line after snort-laugh inducing lines like “I don’t even let him hit it, I got him sprung off just the friendship,” “all they do is talk shit, like a toilet with some lips,” and “I walk around like I’m it... not the clown.” On In the Party, Tamia opens the first verse with “dicks up when I step in the party,” like, YES! THank you! The tracks are fun and danceable but deadly clever and skillful, as she puts it in a Genius interview, “I’m not going to sit here and act like it’s easy, it’s not easy... I care about my craft.”
With everything happening right now, it’s comforting to take a ride with these these two Black gen-z women living what seems like their best lives. The kids really are alright and you can’t help but be happy for them.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
You know what’s even more tiring than writing about Ellen Degeneres and the toxic work culture that pervades her daytime talk show?
Writing about Ellen Degeneres’ wealthy friends chime into this discourse and talk about how she’s always been nice to them.
As we know, The Ellen Degeneres Show has come under scrutiny lately following two articles by Buzzfeed News in which former and current employees described a toxic environment on set and detailed allegations of sexual misconduct among producers of the show. Ellen herself may not have been directly accused of these behaviors, but the general tone of these articles does question her leadership – or lack thereof when it comes to disciplining high-ranking executives for abusive conduct. It’s also an open secret that the comedian and talk show host isn’t as nice as she preaches and portrays herself to be on television, and these articles merely added more fuel to the fire that has been quietly burning for some years now.
Ellen did send out an open letter to her staff apologizing and pledging to do better as a boss. But the letter was not well-received, with even comedian and actor Brad Garrettweighing in on the issue. So now, there’s a concerted PR campaign to salvage Ellen’s reputation before it tanks any more. Enter other famous and wealthy folks who call Ellen a friend – and their slew of support for someone they said has never, ever treated them rudely or unkindly. Quelle surprise.
Here is Diane Keatonin ALL CAPS proclaiming in force of how she has ALWAYS ENJOYED HER VISITS TO THE ELLEN SHOW. The same Diane Keaton who has stood steadfastly beside Woody Allen despite allegations of rape against him. Yes, definitely a good judge of character here…
Here is Katy Perry chiming in to say that Ellen’s “light and continual fight for equality” makes it slightly – just slightly – hard to believe that she (Ellen) would be capable of being at best, an unattentive and out-of-touch boss and at worst, an enabler of toxic and abusive behavior on her set.
Ashton Kutcher also decided to throw his hat in the ring to say that Ellen and her team only treated him and his entourage “with respect and kindness” without “pandering to celebrity,” which did we ever watch the same show, sir? Her whole schtick is about pandering! Also I wonder what “teams” mean in this context. Because as far as the Buzzfeed stories go, most of the employees who were interviewed were self-described as lower on the rung of the show’s ladder.
The good news is that these celebrities have been heckled by the Internet for failing to see the difference between the treatment they are generally afforded in life by virtue of their wealth, power, and status versus, you know, the day-to-day treatment of actual employees at a show and in an industry that has long shielded abusers and tacitly allowed abusive conduct in the name of “making it big” or “breaking through.” Yes, Ellen may not have been directly accused of these actions in those stories, but at the end of the day, the show carries her name and makes her millions of dollars – all on the hard work and labor of those who are being stepped on. She bears responsibility for what happens on her set and what is perpetuated by her producers. Especially when the brand that they are selling to us is “kindness,” “wholesomeness,” and “positivity.”
Anyway! It’s a Friday, the weather has cooled down, and I’ve got biscuits waiting for me in the oven for breakfast. So I’m going to head out and wish you all a wonderful weekend! More goss on Monday :)