Welcome to Issue 9.2 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
A couple of days ago, I spoke on the phone with a friend who doesn’t have a bank account, and didn’t file taxes in 2019. She doesn’t have any income now, and is still. waiting. on her stimulus check.
But news broke today that US fossil fuel giants (Exxon, Chevron, yep also Koch industries) will be receiving, through a bond buyback scheme, $750 billion in ‘relief’ between now and September.
That’s 750,000,000,000. Look at all those zeroes. I put relief in air quotes because that’s what we call money that goes to people and communities and governments when they are in need of help. This money is not relief, it is a bailout. It’s a bailout like the one in 2008, where banks did something unquestionably unethical and then were paid off, their execs sent home with hefty bonuses nonetheless.
It’s also more like a bale-out than a bailout—the fossil fuel industry is boat with a big hole in the bottom. Industry is telling the world, don’t worry, there’s no hole! But we can see the boat filling with water and sinking lower and lower towards the water level. The government, in this moment, is saying, great! Glad to hear there’s no hole, here’s a bunch of patch material and a siphon and why not also some fucking caviar for your trouble.
In other news, just kidding, this is the same news, Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, was 25% less profitable in the first quarter of 2020 than this time last year, but they *still* made $16.7 billion dollars.
While we’re on who shouldn’t be profiting off of this pandemic but is anyway, Andrew Cuomo, who honestly is not even worth my adjectives anymore, called in the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, to appear at one of Cuomo’s daily briefings with GOLDEN ANGEL WINGS behind him. Schmidt has been summoned to envision and likely implement New York’s high-tech, high-profit, low-touch future, along with the freaking Gates Foundation. But don’t worry, Michael Bloomberg aka the people’s billionaire, also has a contract in this mix. We must be in good hands, yes?
Naomi Klein, identifier extraordinaire of disaster capitalism, put it best:
“We had concerns about the democracy-threatening wealth and power accumulated by a handful of tech companies that are masters of abdication—eschewing all responsibility for the wreckage left behind in the fields they now dominate, whether media, retail, or transportation.
That was the ancient past known as February. Today, a great many of those well-founded concerns are being swept away by a tidal wave of panic, and this warmed-over dystopia is going through a rush-job rebranding. Now, against a harrowing backdrop of mass death, it is being sold to us on the dubious promise that these technologies are the only possible way to pandemic-proof our lives, the indispensable keys to keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe.”
This glass luxury rental tower of a future is certainly not for everyone; this is a future where poor people are not allowed, a world with fewer teachers and doctors, a world where physical spaces we can fill together are scarce and screens that monitor our every move are around every corner.
I recently started listening to 1984 in audio book form. I had to stop because I don’t like it when men talk to me and I can’t talk back, but wow, does that world sound a lot like this one.
So while the rich get richer off this pandemic and the rest of us wonder if and when the world’s decision-makers will ever summon the political will to use some of these supposed ‘relief’ funds to address climate change, which will continue to contribute to exponential rates of infectious disease, we have to remember and maintain our humanity.
Yesterday, I had a Spanish class on Skype. We talked about reflexive verbs, something I hadn’t ever thought about in English. Reflexive verbs are things we do to and for each other; they describe the ways in which our humanity manifests. We talk, see, call, hug (someday), hear, help each other. We cook together, write to each other, sometimes we marry each other and sometimes we fight with each other.
While the tech overlords may do their worst and try to profit off of our thoughts and needs and class differences and inclination to purchase things that get delivered to our doorsteps if we have them, I do not believe they can take our humanity. That is ours and we must keep it close.
Here are some nice fish not being human, but swimming peacefully together as we might aspire to do amongst our own species.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
It’s a long one today, folks.
If you’ve been anywhere near a computer, a smart phone, or any sort of electronic device that emits news in the last 72 hours, you might have seen the great Culinary Callout of this quarantine szn – and boy did this beef keep me nourished throughout the weekend, fam.
Alison Roman found herself in a pot of boiling hot pasta water a few days ago after her interview with the magazine New Consumer dropped Saturday evening. If you’re not familiar with Alison, she is a cook and culinary darling of the interwebz whose recipes you may have come across once, twice, or multiple times in the last several months. From the infamous caramelized shallot pasta to the must have chocolate chunk shortbread cookies and the legendary Stew, Alison’s recipes are ubiquitous and highly praised, often going viral for their simplicity and flavors.
Clearly, Miss Alison has been on the up-and-up for some time now. So what does she decide to do? Shoot herself in the feet by trashing Marie Kondo and Chrissy Teigen in this interview, the latter of whom is signed on to executive produce Alison’s upcoming cooking show, by the way.
The excerpts that grabbed particular attention was Alison “calling out” Marie and Chrissy for selling out by… having the audacity to brand themselves and build lifestyle empires in the vein of Gwyneth Paltrow, Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, and many a lifestyle influencer and celebrity before them. qWHITE an interesting take on selling out, no?
The backlash ensued of course, with many commentators pointing out Alison’s racism and hypocrisy in critiquing two women of color for doing the same thing many celebrity cooks do. In fact, something Alison herself is also doing, by the way. In this same interview, she promoted her upcoming ~capsule~ collection of ~vintage spoons and cooking utensils~ with a company that sells $60 wooden spoons. I mean really girl, the backlash just wrote itself. We hardly had to work for it.
And of course, being as online as she is, Chrissy Teigen responded with a series of tweets detailing how truly hurt she was by Alison’s remarks against her and her product line. An undercooked apology was swiftly served – to even more backlash – before it was carted back to the chef in the kitchen in exchange for something a little more bien cuit.
(I like to imagine her internal monologue in the last few days have been Gordon Ramsay screaming “RAW” over and over before she finally came to her senses and offered the more thoughtful reflections just to keep the cooking and chefing theme going here.)
See, this is the kind of ~*Hot Goss*~ that I love. Messy, educational (the amount of think pieces this goss generated… here’s my favorite one), and vindicating for folks like me who never understood Alison Roman’s hype, especially when her recipes are kiiiind of bland and borderline appropriate-y.
By the way, I sprinkled a few cooking puns in this goss just for fun. Let me know if you catch them all and if today’s column sparked joy for you. It surely did for me!