Hot Take-Aways with Alex ~ 23/2/18

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Anyway, I probably don’t need to tell you that this has been a difficult week here on Occupied Turtle Island. The families of two murdered Indigenous youth were denied justice, once again, over the past two weeks. It’s yet another dark chapter in an already horrific history.

For readers in Toronto, on occupied Treaty 13 land, the United Jewish People’s Order is holding a special vigil in front of the Israeli Consulate (@ Bloor and University, across from the ROM, 5-7PM) for the thousands of African refugees who are currently under threat of mass deportation by the Israeli occupation government. If you can make it out, please do.

Here are your hot take-aways for the week of February 23, 2018:


In Review:

If you read nothing else this week:

  1. In One Tweet, Kylie Jenner Wiped Out $1.3 Billion of Snap’s Market Value (Bloomberg) — jesus fucking christ this is so fucking funny
  2. Price of Intimacy (Out) — a short and compelling read from earlier this month
  3. It’s Time to End ‘Trending’ (New York Magazine) — a smart and sharp take on some of the consequences of the way our digital world is organized

Hot Take:

A Fantastic Woman Fails to Reckon With Its Transgender Lead by Willow Maclay for Nashville Scene (link)

Stories about trans people created by cis people inevitably lack the space required for trans people to live inside them; they are sensationalized because that is how cis people experience and perceive of trans people. Willow Maclay is incisive and insightful in her critique of a film that centers on trans suffering without humanizing its trans characters.

Spotlight:

The Scion of a Pakistani Political Dynasty Comes Out by Saira Khan for The New York Times (link)

Any article about Islam and queerness, especially from a bougie-ass publication like the NYT, automatically makes me tense up, but I actually liked this a lot. This piece made the necessary mentions of homophobia and reaction, but didn’t dwell on them; the focus was instead the relationship between embodying a position of interest in one’s homeland, while embodying also the highly politicized identities of being Brown, being Muslim, and being queer in America. I’m a bit of a sucker for diaspora art (I’m Jewish, what can I say), and I appreciate that this piece put some new things on my radar.

Long Read:

The Forgotten Zine of 1960s Asian-American Radicals by Jaeah J. Lee for Topic (link)

Lovingly composed and filled with compelling images, this feature-length article is a thoughtful look into one powerful element in the mid-century development of an Asian-American identity in the context of a radical culture of correspondence and protest. I also appreciate it as a frank take on how communities come together and sometimes come apart; how solidarity forms through small impactful moments of connection; and how empire exercises power in excluding people and groups from the process of making and sharing history.


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What’s New

New investigation:

How a broken jury list makes Ontario whiter, richer, and less like your community by Ebyan Abdigir, Kvesche Bijons-Ebacher, and Palak Mangat, as well as Robert Cribb and Jim Rankin from the Star, for The Toronto Star (link)

This article is a collaboration between Star staff and journalists at the Ryerson School of Journalism. It showcases the results of a two-year-long investigation into the composition of Ontario juries, and highlights the trends and consequences of jury lists that are increasingly made up of rich white settlers.

Reading this reminded me of when I used to write about housing: there are thousands of interlocking levels of moving parts within an unjust system that keep it operating that way. For journalists, it can be demanding work to communicate the complexity of a system, so sometimes you’ve just gotta start somewhere (check out this piece by Michael Greenberg for an exceptional example of this difficult process). I saw something similar happening in this story. At first, I was a bit thrown off by the investigation methodology (you’ll see what I mean), but reading through, it quickly became clear that the reporters involved had exhausted every option available and were able to pull together enough information for some significant findings. This is a long read, but it’s very much worth it.

New opportunity:

Call for submissions for Briarpatch Magazine‘s July/August issue (link)

Briarpatch is a progressive Canadian politics magazine. Here’s the text from their call for submissions:

Queries due Thursday, March 1, 2018.

Briarpatch is seeking submissions for our July/August 2018 issue.

Read our guide to improving your pitch!
We are looking for feature articles, investigative reportage, narrative journalism, interviews, project profiles, comics and graphic texts, book reviews, and photography that are rooted in anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, feminist struggle. Take a look at our back issues to see what we’re recently covered.

If your query is accepted, first drafts are due April 6, 2018, with an intensive collaborative editing process lasting until about the second week of May.
Your query should outline what ground your contribution will cover, give an estimated word count, and indicate your relevant experience or background in writing about the issue. If you haven’t written for Briarpatch before, please provide a brief writing sample.

Please review our submission guidelines and a guide on improving your pitch before sending your query to pitch AT briarpatchmagazine DOT com.
Our rates are as follows:
$75 – Profiles, short essays, parting shots (generally <1,000 words)
$150 – Feature stories, photo essays
$225 – Research-based articles and investigative reportage (generally 1,500–2,500 words)

We reserve the right to edit your work (with your active involvement), and cannot guarantee publication.


That’s it for my Hot Take-Aways for this week! Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter to get Hot Take-Aways in your inbox along with extra bonus content throughout the week — starting next week!

Much love in the meantime,

Alex