Welcome to Issue 30.3 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
If you’ve ever talked to me for more than a few minutes, you know that I hate binaries. But there is something binary-adjacent I’m fond of—when it appears that two different things are in fact sides of the same ‘coin,’ as the expression goes.
Generally, the ‘coins’ I’m most interested in are in fact paradigms (para-dimes? lol sorry) of oppression, extraction, and deception. The stuff that is so often used to divide and conquer us, but is really just sides of the same coin, threads of the same tapestry, leaves of the same forest floor?! of nasty systems doing awful stuff.
Anyway. Enough generalizations and horrible metaphors. Here’s the actual stuff.
Item #1 is ExxonMobil Should Not Exist. Let’s zoom out for a moment: ExxonMobil is one of the biggest and most actively destructive fossil fuel corporations in the world, and wrote the book/stole the book from Big Tobacco about how to mislead the public, interfere in policy, and destroy people’s lives and the planet. ExxonMobil should not, in fact, exist.
Item #2 is Abolition for the People: The Movement for a Future Without Policing & Prisons. Zooming out again, I read this as, prisons and policing shouldn’t exist. The prison industrial complex in the US is one of the biggest and most actively destructive elements of American economy and society, especially for Black people, immigrants, and Indigenous people, without whom this country would not exist. Policing and prisons yield a net negative by actively destroying people’s lives, extracting labor, and driving global capital flows into the foreign bank accounts of corporations. Policing and prisons should not, in fact, exist.
Seems like someone should just save us time (how capitalist!) and write one article called Racial Capitalism Should Not Exist. I guess that’s what I just did. Ta da!
Kidding—people, especially the Black lesbians behind the Combahee River Collective, have been writing about that since before I was alive. I’m just carrying the…coin-torch.
Here’s a small hippo—talk about busting the paradigm.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
I think everybody should set the expectation right now that they may not be able to spend time with family for the upcoming holiday season that, in the U.S., begins with Thanksgiving at the end of November and goes, of course, all the way to Christmas in December and New Year's Day in January. I'm not trying to be a downer and if you can safely make the trip, I would certainly think you'd like to try to. But of course, it isn't just about the trip, is it? For some people, it could also be that their family members are at high risk for contracting the coronavirus, which makes large gatherings a little difficult to host this year. It's unfortunate, but after having had to experience it myself for Eid this year, it's doable.
It sounds like Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle are preparing for this scenario as well. Reports came out earlier this week that the couple (and their son, Archie) may not be returning to the UK in December for a royal Christmas celebration after all. Transatlantic travel during a global pandemic may be playing a huge part in this decision, given that it's also just as unlikely that Queen Elizabeth will be able to host her traditional festivities this year. Something about royal household staff being in revolt for perhaps needing to stay back in a bubble to make sure these celebrations happen at the expense of their own time off and with family. Yet I also wouldn't be surprised if this very logical explanation is twisted into something more sinister by royal commentators and observers, especially those of the anti-Meghan bend.
As we all know (and as I've covered extensively on this column), the Sussexes and the rest of the British Royal Family aren't exactly on good terms right now. In fact, since the Sussexes announced their multi-year multi-entertainment deal with Netflix several weeks ago, the feud between the two parties has only intensified. Already there are whispers that the Sussexes won't be home for Christmas not because of the coronavirus, but also because of the souring relationship between Harry and William, because Meghan continues to engineer ways to cut her husband off from his family, because because because -- has no one heard of Occam's Razor or do people just hate Meghan this much? Ugh.
In any case, I have some advice for the British Royal Family and anyone else who may be facing the prospect of spending the holidays away from family: keep some traditions alive. In my case, I chose to cook two of the myriad of dishes we typically have for Eid in Malaysia and spent the entire day before pounding coconut, simmering curries, molding rice cakes, and baking cookies so I could still celebrate the occasion despite the situation. And obviously, dress up and celebrate in style! I had my finest silks on all day, which really made it feel less forlorn than it otherwise would have been. And then the day ended just like all the days have ended in this year so far, and it was just as festive a celebration as it could have been given the circumstances. So as I mentioned earlier, it's unfortunate but totally doable, and I'm sure the Queen has a family recipe for a Christmas roast laying around in a drawer somewhere that she can pull out for the occasion! It will be fine. I promise.