Welcome to Issue 41.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
Today’s news, fermented:
It’s runoff day in Georgia, the state that, through tremendous organizing by Black women and the absurd system of quasi-democracy we have in this country, holds the key to the Biden Administration’s legislative viability.
That’s just the beginning, because as Kate Aronoff writes, “Covid-19 is one of the simpler problems humanity will have to deal with this century.” She goes on to detail how the logistical failure of the vaccine rollout is a bad omen for the logistical nightmare that is a (just) transition away from fossil fuels, which will require massive movements of people and resources immeasurably beyond refrigerating vials of vaccine.
Ed Yong (who, as I was thinking about how to qualify his clear-eyed, scientifically detailed long-form for The Atlantic, I considered calling our ‘pandemic daddy’) has written a new piece: Where Year Two of the Pandemic Will Take Us. I haven’t read it all yet, but I pretty consistently feel better after I read his writing, almost like he is a comforting parent…or an articulate voice of leadership amid chaos and lies…
He writes, “The winter months will still be abyssally dark, but every day promises to bring a little more light.”
Nothing has gone unscathed in this pandemic—and our movements have thrived, inviting additional masses, building platforms, evolving theories of change. It is the vision of what comes when there is a little bit more light that pushes these movements along. We can take lessons from writers of science fiction (via this amazingly-headlined piece, “If the aliens lay eggs, how does that affect architecture?”) as well as rappers and prison abolitionists (like Noname and Mariame Kaba), and, of course, our non-human friends:
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
The Internet was buzzing yesterday after news dropped that Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles are maybe potentially dating. I had fully intended on covering it for ~*Hot Goss*~ today but late last evening, a friend sent me a link to a story on two warring influencers and I knew I had to write about it as soon as possible. Besides, there aren't that many details yet on the WildeStyles -- my proposal for their couple's portmanteau -- so I thought it'd be a good idea to wait another day for more news to come out about their blossoming romance.
Instead, I'm here to tell you about Jessica Hart and Sasha Benz, two "influencers" who are currently feuding because they both decided to name their daughters 'Baby'. Jessica Hart is an Australian model and founder of beauty line Luma Beauty while Sasha owns several New York-based clothing stores and founded a blog called All My Friends Are Models. According to the About Me section on her blog, Sasha's career first took off in Australia, which is where I assume she and Jessica first came to know each other. So there's history to this friendship that presumably makes the betrayal of one giving her daughter the same name as the other particularly painful.
And so it is that Jessica recently gave birth to a daughter whom she decided to name Baby as an homage to her favorite movieDirty Dancing (of course). This came as a total shock to Sasha, who has a three-year-old daughter named Baybi. According to sources, Sasha was blindsided by Jessica's daughter's name and suspects the model copied her instead of finding inspiration from Dirty Dancing. The two women have not spoken since Jessica gave birth and the Ba(y)bys have caused a rift in their friendship.
In all of my years reading celebrity gossip, this is possibly the pettiest drama I have come across. Clearly there are -- and will be -- no winners in this feud. In fact, it's the children I feel most sorry for, having to grow up with names like Baby and Baybi and Booboo and Bae. And because Schitt's Creek has become a phenomenon worldwide, there's also no way we or anyone else is going to pronounce Baby/Baybi as anything other than Bébé, right? Bad decisions all around, but I've been thoroughly entertained by the drama.