Welcome to Issue 31.3 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
It’s almost the middle of October, which means it’s almost the beginning of November. Someone said to me at the beginning of this month that it would be a long one—so much hangs in the balance, particularly in the US, and so much could change.
I’m still saying a daily prayer—the closest I’ve ever gotten to dedicated spiritual practice—that the president will expire. In the meantime, all sorts of other shenanigans are going down re: what happens in the handful of weeks between now and November 3rd.
Twitter, one of the Big Tech corporations that has screwed up misinformation a little less than some of its competitors, recently shut down a network of accounts that were supposedly run by Black Trump supporters but were actually fake. I guess it’s unsurprising that this is what a 2020 conservative acknowledgement that the Black vote is crucial looks like.
In a more benevolent iteration of people pretending to be political actors they are not, the original cast of the West Wing has reunited for a special re-enactment of an early episode in which the fate of the White House hangs in the balance. It’s a get out the vote effort, and will air tomorrow on HBO Max. This confused me—what’s the good of GOTV on a subscription service? Aaron Sorkin, director of the West Wing, clarified: “What we want to do is we’re aiming at a very narrow demographic – we want to move fans of the West Wing to the polls.” Ok Aaron.
But in all seriousness. David Frum, former speech writer for George W, published a piece, Last Exit From Autocracy, which warns against the dangers of a second term. He lays out a few key pillars of these dangers:
Abuse of the pardon power
Abuse of government resources for personal gain
Directing public funds to himself and his companies
Inciting political violence
Are these all dangerous and problematic? Yes, absolutely. I think about audiences a lot, though—it’s clear to me this piece is not for people who have long been abandoned, not to mention targeted and systematically excluded, by the state. Just a note to have in your brain pocket while you read.
The first article I read today was ‘This is a War’: Cross-Border Fight Over Water Erupts in Mexico. It’s an exposé about the strained water-sharing relationship between the US and México, which is governed by a very old treaty. I couldn’t stop reading once I started; I was waiting for the part about NAFTA. It eventually came, in a sentence, but fell very short of addressing the unquestionable strain that exporting US corporate operations, and all the nasty shit that comes along with it, has put on México’s ecological and social systems.
It feels crucial to include this piece about water alongside today’s update about the catastrophe that continues to be US politics. The US has not only perpetrated all sorts of violence upon other states and nations, but also actively interfered in global climate action—which means that water scarcity, and myriad other impacts of the climate crisis, will only continue to sharpen the focus on how tremendously fucked up this country’s domestic and international actions are.
In other news, Stevie Wonder has blessed us with some new music, and you will finally get to satisfy your curiosity about how giraffes eat grass.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
You know, I wasn't going to keep writing about Max Ehrich, the spurned lover of Demi Lovato, after having already spent two columns on their break up. I think Max is definitely thirsty. We saw the tweets he had been sending to Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus before he started dating Demi. And then of course, after the break up, he started acting out by claiming Demi was being abused and posting cryptic messages about her wellbeing on his Instagram in what was undoubtedly more attention-seeking behaviour. Now that his meal ticket has left, it seems to me like Max is milking this drama for all it's worth, which is pathetic and makes his family's suspicions about him very valid to me. So i didn't want to give Max more air and feed his fame-hungry ways through my dinky little column, because I definitely have that kind of clout myself.
I changed my mind after I saw this story though. Over the long weekend, paparazzi caught photos of Max sitting cross-legged and sobbing at the beach on which he proposed to Demi several months ago. A video posted by TMZ shows MAX clearly processing the break up—in addition to sobbing, Max also hurled pieces of seaweed into the ocean and started praying. It was quite the performance but unfortunately garnered more clowning than it did praise, particularly from Demi's fans. Some even think that Max called the paparazzi himself, which I wouldn't be surprised by. It's a common practice among the famous and the fame-hungry in Hollywood and I don't think Max is above that sort of behavior.
Maybe I shouldn't be too harsh on him. Break ups are shit and we've all been there. But then I saw this tweet and it made me laugh so I'm not quite sure how to reconcile these conflicting feelings within me. Feel better soon, Max?