Welcome to Issue 40.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
I’m all ears for your feedback, or if you’re already a fan, share this email with your friends. If you’re not yet on the list, click below to sign up.
Today’s news, fermented:
It’s the penultimate digestion of the year, so I’m going to try to cover a bunch of ground.
The big news today is the passage of a stimulus package in the US, which includes a paltry $600 for individual survival checks. There’s lots of talk about how ‘quickly’ this money will start moving to Americans’ bank accounts, but the first folks who get this aid are those who need it the least—people who filed taxes last year and set up direct deposit for their return.
What about the people with no bank accounts, no direct deposit, no taxes? What about the months and months and months it took to pass this package, while resources were instead devoted to investigating mythical election fraud and confirming a Supreme Court justice from the Dark Ages?
In this article about who ‘won and lost’ in the new package, it seems that ‘the poor’ received some aid and also corporate lunches are now tax deductible. What the actual fuck, America? What page was that on, 5,439?
Of course, this is not the point—the point is that millions of people don’t have what they need, and this is a problem the government caused and could fix, but won’t. 2020, ladies and gentlethems.
There is a lot of saying one thing and doing another. In Seattle, there’s affordable housing under construction to support the disproportionately unhoused Native population, but encampments of unhoused people are getting bulldozed.
New Zealand has figured out how to vaccinate its entire population, so it will also be offering vaccines to residents of its island neighbors. Meanwhile, the president of Colombia has said they will not vaccinate Venezuelan migrants, and frontline workers in US warehouses, who are not designated as ‘essential,’ are worried they also may not get access to the vaccine.
There’s PFAS, a dangerous forever-chemical, in water across this country, and microplastics in fetuses. Oh yes, might those be problems caused by corporations never held accountable by our capitalism-obsessed government?
And some other things: Somebody is finally writing about how Americans’ almond milk obsession is diabolical, which I will gladly harp on with little prompting. Eddie Izzard is trans. The president has been working (perhaps on this, and this alone) for the last seven months on an executive order to ensure that all federal buildings are ‘beautiful,’ which, idiot, is a subjective term, and not everybody thinks classical architecture, from whence I personally get ‘small penis large wallet and empire’ energy, is ‘beautiful.’ Although I did appreciate that ‘Brutalism’ was trending on twitter and people took that opportunity to drag Boston’s inexcusable City Hall.
Last but certainly not least, it is my sweet mama’s birthday today. She’s also been writing a daily newsletter; like me, she has a penchant for communication and a dislike of fuss. For her birthday, she’s asked that those wishing to celebrate do so by retiring medical debt.
When you donate, not only is your money used to buy up bundles of medical debt and retire it, thus liberating people from the financial burden of our healthcare system’s under-funding, but you also get tremendous bang for your buck. Nobody wants debt—so a donation of $5 buys you $500 of debt. Where else does money work like that!
If you donate today (or would prefer to venmo me, and put ‘RIP medical debt’ in the subject line, @lena-greenberg), I’ll tally up our grand total—in dollars and in amount of debt relieved, for tomorrow.
Here’s a glowing wombat.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
I feel like during the course of this year and the pandemic, Ariana Grande has been one of the few celebrities who have actually been responsible in modeling good behavior for their fans to follow. She's encouraged her fans to follow lockdown protocols and hasn't been going to parties or any other type of superspreader events like birthday parties ala Kendall Jenner and Rita Ora. She's been hunkered down in LA since March, quarantining with her boyfriend Dalton Gomez, whom she started dating in January (I think). Given the fact that it was barely two or three months before they had to quarantine and spend all their time with each other, I'm pretty impressed that the couple are doing well. So well in fact, that Dalton and Ari got engaged over the weekend!
Dalton is a real estate agent and seems pretty low-key. His Instagram is private and most of the stories about him online are related to his work. I guess the pandemic helped keep this relationship more private than usual, but this is a slightly different beat for Ari after her last two very high-profile relationships with Pete Davidson and the late Mac Miller. Again, the two have not been dating for that long but they've also had to spend all of quarantine together and I suppose that would help speed the process along quite a bit. I have no idea why I'm rooting for them but I am!!!! I think it's because I find Ari to be pretty unproblematic overall and she just does her own thing and is sweet to people around her and makes good, cute ditty little pop bops that I love so I just want her to be happy. Plus it's a nice happy distraction from this new mutating coronavirus strain they recently discovered in the UK so... wins where I can get them I guess, even if they're not personally mine.