Welcome to Issue 42.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
Today’s news, fermented:
This still-new year has been full of discussion about the strength of American democracy. As always, this country struggles to find balance between liberty and justice, and it is often the most vulnerable people (BIPOC, low-income folks, LGBTQ+, etc) whose lives are lost as collateral in this tension.
While corporations and lawmakers thanklessly endorsed, supported, and funded GOP quests for ‘freedom’ over the last four years and beyond, it seems that the white supremacist Capitol riots were a breaking point.
Tr*mp’s bank has dumped him. According to investigative journalism newsletter Popular Information, the dam broke yesterday in a swelling of corporations and political action committees both cancelling contributions to Republican candidates and lawmakers and asking for refunds. Most notably, Hallmark, a huge employer in Josh Hawley’s home state of Missouri—including about 2700 of his constituents—both demanded a refund of its donation to Hawley and explicitly called out his actions.
Even Arnold Schwarzenegger threw his hat in the ring with a very strange video set to stirring music in which he compared the Capitol riots to Kristallnacht. He makes some claims I don’t totally agree with re: comparing the sword he wielded as Conan the Barbarian to US democracy, but shifting the public climate is a mammoth effort, and I guess it’s fine that Arnold wanted to say his piece.
It’s notable that while comparisons to the turning point in the Nazi regime get tossed around, Israel is also getting called out for being an apartheid genocidal state. Often, the colonized colonize; the abused abuse; the displaced displace. I once suggested a massive investment in therapy for all Israelis, citing this pattern, to a Zionist acquaintance; I was laughed off.
But the US allies itself with Israel in a way it does with no other nation—it gives them special treatment, perhaps because it/we see the US’s creation story relived in Israel. Experience persecution, seek freedom and safety, lack creativity and diplomacy to do so without colonizing and committing acts of genocide, establish an apartheid settler state. (The US’s desire to not accept Jews fleeing Hitler made it an even stronger advocate for the creation of the settler state, but that’s a bigger conversation than will fit here.)
A stirring piece recounting time in a Uighur ‘re-education’ camp and unfolding violence in Uganda around elections remind us that this is the world we live in—one of anti-Democratic regimes and dominance, often in pursuit of ethnic homogeneity and/or natural resources. Yes, the US’s democracy is threatened—but as we pause to reexamine how and why, it’s crucial to remember that there are countless other places we can look to, learn from, and question.
Here are some massive prehistoric baby sharks.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
If a relationship is never made official on Instagram, then did the two of you ever really date at all?
That's the question on my mind after seeing Michael B. Jordan and Lori Harveyroll out their relationship this past weekend. For months now, there have been dating rumors around the pair, which started after Lori arrived in Atlanta with MBJ just before Thanksgiving last year. If you don't know who Lori Harvey is, she is the 23-year-old stepdaughter of Steve Harvey and homegirl is elite.Prior to dating MBJ, she was linked to several other very high-profile men including Lewis Hamilton, Trey Songz, Future, Diddy, and his son. Despite being photographed with them, she's never really confirmed any of these romances -- until now. Similarly, MBJ has always been very private about his love life and relationships, so Lori's potentially the first girlfriend he's ever really gone public with by including her on his social media. So it must be serious or, at the very least, going super duper well.
Two beautiful people getting together always excites and intimidates me. MBJ was recently crowned People Magazine's 2020 Sexiest Man Alive and Lori is just achingly beautiful. I don't think the world is quite ready yet for a coupling this physically powerful but after the year we've had and the year it seems like we're about to have, we may need this distraction. So I'm glad they made this Insta-official. I was about ready to deactivate my account but now I won't because I'll be scrolling through waiting for more photos from MBJ and Lori.