Welcome to Issue 57.3 of Digestable, your thrice-weekly mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
Today’s news, fermented:
As for one of the other crises of this week—global vaccine apartheid—there was some movement on Wednesday when the US decided to support the intellectual property waiver for US corporation-made vaccines. This was, of course, only possible because of people’s movements for public health all over the world.
When we talk about this, we have to talk about Bill Gates. Bill and Melinda announced their divorce this week, which is going to ‘shake up the philanthropy world,’ an idea that makes me cringe, except for the fact that this tweet emerged from the fuss:
Anyway. I saw this headline: Is the Shine Starting to Come Off Bill Gates’s Halo? Yes, also what halo? Maybe sometime we’ll institute an 100% tax for Americans who hold more than $5 million in assets (arbitrary number, but most super-rich people are way way above that and have enough to fix all our shit!).
But I digress. Eat the rich, have a nice weekend, stay tuned for the cicada exodus.
DJ toMoR0’s low-key Music Show
I usually try to keep it light here, and most of the sounds featured have something positive and upbeat going for them. This one has those tones, and it’s comforting and familiar, but it also deals with grief in a particular and unusual way.
When we lost one of my favorite songwriters Justin Townes Earle last August, I felt it personally, in the same place searing lyrics or poetry can pierce your heart. Earlier this year when his dad Steve Earle released JT, his cover album of Justin’s songs on what would have been his son’s birthday, my heart did skip a beat. What was he trying to say to his son, to the world, about grief?
I heard Steve say somewhere that the process of recording his son’s music in his own voice was less cathartic and more therapeutic. Don’t miss one of my favorites on the album, his cover of Harlem River Blues.
From a Pitchfork review of the album:
“To hear Steve sing Justin’s songs is to hear him erase many of those differences and emphasize their similarities: their brutal candor, their emotional rawness, but most of all their shared belief that a sturdy song was the perfect weapon to beat back their darkest demons.”
Please enjoy these memories of Justin from 2012 live on The Current playing one of my favorite of his songs, Look the Other Way, and a 2019 live version of his sermon-like Saint of Lost Causes. Also this sweet moment albeit shakier recording from 2009 of father and son on stage together performing and bantering a bit about Townes Van Zandt, for whom Justin was partially named.
Finally I leave you with the Last Words of Steve Earle to his son Justin, from the only original song on the album and its ending.
Wherever you are traveling now
It doesn't matter anyhow
Can't help but wonder if you knew
You took a part of me away with you.
~Caro’s Tarot~ and *Hot Goss*