Welcome to Issue 38.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
As the dust continues to settle around the presidential election, a familiar fog is rising to cloud the air again—the corporate ties Democrats love to hide!
With all eyes on Georgia runoffs, corporate America is pouring millions into bullshit ads that ‘thank’ Republican candidates Loeffler and Perdue for their ‘hard work for the American people.’ This framing exempts the ads from campaign finance regulations because they are not explicitly advocating to elect these hacks.
Amazon and Nike, both of which have official positions of caring about climate change, are funneling money into these ads via their membership in the US Chamber of Commerce.
Meanwhile, Nike (along with Coca-Cola, another champ) is embroiled in lobbying to weaken legislation that would ban imports from China made with forced labor by Uyghur Muslims. Of course, these corporations also have official positions on not believing it’s right to use forced labor by persecuted minority groups. But the supply chains!
And through leaked documents, it’s become clear that Amazon, everyone’s favorite, is spying on its workers, as well as environmental and social justice groups on the internet. Specifically,
“The documents show Amazon analysts closely monitor the labor and union-organizing activity of their workers throughout Europe, as well as environmentalist and social justice groups on Facebook and Instagram. They also indicate, and an Amazon spokesperson confirmed, that Amazon has hired Pinkerton operatives—from the notorious spy agency known for its union-busting activities—to gather intelligence on warehouse workers.”
Similarly, Amazon, known to suppress dissent from its 1.2 million person workforce, justifies this surveillance with the need to ‘maintain the efficiency of their fulfillment process.’
Perhaps most alarming is that most (not an official survey result, just my impression) of president-elect Biden’s cabinet picks are drawing concern because of their corporate ties. The latest is Jeffrey Zients, also an Obama alum, who sits on Facebook’s board.
Speaking of Obama, it seems that the former president remembered his strong code of ethics and organizer’s values that brought him to the White House on page 567 of his memoir. Writing about the fallout after the Deepwater Horizon spill, he acknowledges that it really would have been a good time to end fossil fuel drilling and act on climate. Oops?
It does appear that Exxon won’t be recovering from this pandemic anytime soon if at all. Unless, of course, the US government decides they want to bail them out?
Here’s a special leaf bug, free from corporate interference.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
I recently bought myself a planner after a weekend of anxiety at the thought of rapidly approaching my 30s with no workout routine, supplements, or yoga mat at hand. I thought a planner would help reassure me that at the age of 27, I was not wasting away reading the Harry Potter series for the first time and that I do, in fact, have Things to do and People to meet and Accomplishments to accomplish. Instead, it had the opposite effect. In a pandemic where I have limited interactions with people and activities to pursue, I've really struggled to come up with things to plan for. Instead, the planner has devolved into a fancily bound tv-watching schedule of sorts: the Korean drama on Tuesday and Thursday nights, a movie on the weekend maybe, and the Great British Bake-Off (GBBO) on Mondays.
So I've been diligently watching the latest season of the GBBO franchise for the last several weeks. It was filmed this year during the pandemic so the contestants had to quarantine and live on site in a hotel altogether, which meant that they didn't have a lot of opportunities to practice their bakes ahead of time, and I think that affected the quality of the competition bakes itself. It was an okay season, not my favorite of the lot but I liked the contestants and still felt extremely invested in their success. I watched the finale last night and have so many Thoughts and Feelings! So let's get to it.
Spoilers for the latest season of the GBBO, including the finale
First of all, I'm pleased that Peter won this season! That makes him the youngest ever contestant and winner of the Bake-Off, which nurtured his love of baking when he first started watching it six years ago at the age of 12. Of the three finalists, Peter's probably been the most consistent throughout the season so he definitely deserves to walk away with the cake stand. But watching the finale episode itself, I really thought Dave would edge out over his competitor. He and Peter were basically neck-and-neck for both the Signature and Showstopper portions of the episode, but considering Dave won the Technical portion, I thought that would give him the boost he needed to win this season. Which brings me to...
The uneven judging from Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith! It's extremely bad this year for some reason and really made the show hard to enjoy some weeks. If you've been following this season of Bake-Off, you'll no doubt have seen the uproar fans of the show had when fan-favorite Hermine was booted in the penultimate episode over Laura, who had been struggling to produce consistently good bakes for the last three weeks but somehow managing to always bounce back at the last minute. Laura unfortunately got a lot of crap from people online for a decision that was entirely out of her control, which led Paul to issue a stern Instagram post defending the judges' decision and explaining how the judging itself is conducted.
This has always been the judges' excuse for why some people are eliminated over others, particularly if the contestant sent home is beloved and near-perfect like Hermine. On the one hand, I agree that Hermine (much as I love her!) really did do most poorly during the semi-final -- a shame given it was Patisserie week and Hermine's specialty is patisserie. But if every week truly stands on its own in terms of judgment, then I think Dave should have won the season! But it's also been a theme this year that the Showstopper bakes seem to greatly outweigh the Signature and Technical bakes. I love Peter but his walnut whirls lost the shine and ridges Prue specifically asked for in the finale Technical, whereas Dave's was pretty much perfect (hence, his Technical win).
As host, Noel Fielding was an absolute delight this year. Alongside Matt Lucas, he really delivered the laughs and I thought it was sweet of him to give Laura a pep talk when she had her breakdown during her Finale Signature bake. Matt did pretty well too but his schtick gets old really quickly and I think sometimes he annoys the contestants by overstaying his welcome and bothering them while they're trying to concentrate. I also realized last night that Noel Fielding is like a better, less pompous Russell Brand, which made me love him even more.
And now that I'm done with this year's GBBO, I'll have one less thing to fill my planner/tv-watching schedule with. I kind of wish there would be Bake-Off all year round, especially this year, because it's just such a warm and sweet show to watch.