Welcome to Issue 44.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
Today’s news, fermented:
On the second day of the first week of ‘what happens now,’ it’s worth checking in on some of the rhetoric that has shaped the last few months.
Of course, there is the riot fallout. The justice system is unsurprisingly being uncommonly gentle with white insurrectionists; there is a flurry of discussion/disagreement about the viability of impeaching a president after he’s left office.
As executive orders arrive, so too does the analysis; Public Citizen thinks well of the Buy American move. What a moment to pause and talk about messaging: isn’t the America First narrative in some part responsible for the rise of white nationalism? Surely it is—but here is yet another reminder that so much of Tr*mp’s narrative was and is a perversion of ideals that actually espouse freedom and safety.
Part of why the Buy American order is a big deal is that—despite claiming to prioritize American-made goods, the last administration did little to shore up domestic job markets. One of the first changes that will take place is the revocation of waivers that allow things produced in other countries to be treated like US-made stuff, and therefore taxed differently (less).
This is important because shipping is carbon intensive and incentivizing imports from countries with weaker labor laws (often a legacy of colonization and imperialism!) means corporations get to benefit from selling stuff in the US at American prices while paying little to nothing for labor. There’s basically no accountability in global trade—and corporations treat the planet like a game of Risk, where it’s possible (read: condoned by international trade agreements) to shift liability for the true cost of an extractive economy around the map, like it’s plastic pawns and a shiny board that are at stake, not the welfare of all living things.
Ah, international trade. Juicy stuff.
It’s really exciting to see moves, even if they’re small, in the direction of degrowth: maybe we can even imagine the end of capitalism.
One framework for degrowth—the opposite of growth, the opposite of the expansion mandate of capitalism and colonialism—is bioregionalism, and thinking about re-linking place and people and ecosystems. All Americans know (and often live) the urban-rural divide; the most dominant narrative is that urban places are progressive and forward-thinking and rural places are ‘behind.’
But if we are to begin to degrow, we also must start to repair this breach: we all need each other (do not confuse this deep work with the smiling message of unity we’re hearing these days).
This Kansas town has to start with itself, and reckon with a past that led to one of the most efficient polio vaccination efforts in the country, and a present disagreement about the realness of COVID.
This Wyoming town, on the other hand, is starting to have faith in what a transition to a clean energy-based economy could yield, after a wind farm protected them from the worst of 2020’s economic downturn.
Stay tuned via the calendar of executive orders. One cannot help but wonder about February’s theme: Restoring America’s Place in the World.
Here’s a watchful friend/relative.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
What's the farthest you've ever gone for someone you romantically loved? I decided to move to a different country when I was 19 to be with my then-boyfriend so as you can see, I'm prone to outlandish decisions or declarations of love because I'm a romantic at heart. Although the relationship did not work out, I don't regret the move. It was also easy enough to be reversed had I ever wanted to change course. That didn't happen though and five years later, here I still am.
Tattoos on the other hand... slightly more of a risky decision to make. It's not unusual for someone to get a tattoo that reminds them of the person they love but should that connection ever break, you're now stuck with a permanent reminder of a part of your life that may or may not have ended poorly and caused you great pain. Johnny Depp, for example, is notorious for getting tattoos of his lovers -- only to erase, alter, or cover them up completely once those relationships ended. After his break up, Pete Davidson also chose to cover up his tattoo that was dedicated to Ariana Grande while they were dating. Shit happens, and probably more often than we think. Which is something I want Brooklyn Beckham to keep in mind for the future.... maybe?
Brooklyn is the 21-year-old son of David and Victoria Beckham. Last July, he announced his engagement to 26-year-old Nicola Peltz. And now, he's unveiled this giant back tattoo of Nicola's eyes and a long-ass fckin note she wrote him at some point.
I'm not trying to curse a marriage before it's even started but this is... a lot. It's not even tattooed in a way that can make the note easily readable, per its instructions; thus, defeating the point of getting the tattoo in the first place. Brooklyn's probably gonna need a funhouse of mirrors to be able to see his back and read that sweet note when he wants or needs too but the font isn't even mirrored so it's just going to show up reversed and undecipherable anyway. Also, it's easy enough for Johnny Depp to alter 'Winona Forever' into 'Wino Forever' but a tattoo of this size? That is probably going to be more expensive and difficult to cover up if it ever comes to that. I will say that signing the note as 'Your Future Wifey' was smart in that if this relationship ever ends, Brooklyn may not need to get rid of the tattoo at all considering it'll be a generic enough note that it could conceivably apply to any one of his "future wifeys" that he could have 10 or 15 years down the line. So he kind of covered his ass a little bit there, didn't he?
Anyway, I wouldn't bat an eyelash at moving to a different country for someone else but tattoos are something I'll steer clear from. So I guess I'm actually really rooting for Brooklyn and Nicola to last now. Oh to be 21 and in love! What a time.