Chag Sameach!

Passover starts today and I’m way too busy for a real intro! Welcome to your Hot Take-Aways for the week of March 30, 2018!

In Review

If you read nothing else this week:

  1. Dear Naomi: We Need to Say Her Name (Gal-Dem) — Raw and heartfelt, this piece by Travis Alabanza addresses the loss of Naomi Hersi, a 36-year-old Black trans woman, and the punishing combination of silence and sensationalism that followed in the mainstream British press.
  2. How a Single Blog Post Derailed a Nationalist March (VICE) — Mack Lamoureux covers the alt-right/conspiracy theory/white nationalist beat for VICE Canada. He’s made a name for himself by churning out smart and easily readable work on some of the weirdest and most dangerous ideologies in Canada — including this article, which details how a white nationalist march in Hamilton, Ontario, was completely derailed by a combination of well-planned infiltration and broad-based organizing.
  3. It’s Time for Jewish Communities to Stop Investing in the Police (Forward) — Can you believe that I’m out here promoting articles from Forward for the second week in a row? Gag!

Under/Over Examined

5 Somali Creatives On How Surveillance Culture Shapes Their Work by Najma Sharif for Nylon (link)
Capturing and contextualizing the current fascination with surveillance, Najma Sharif hones in on the many ways in which Somali communities in diaspora — as Black, as Muslim, and as transnational — are highly surveilled, at times internally as well as externally. This series of interviews with Somali women in the worlds of arts, literature, and information is both surprising and affirming. Across their varied answers, she manages to pin down a number of big themes that have remained absent from largely white mainstream discussions of surveillance culture, providing insight into how various forms of being watched become integral to the creation of art and community.

Messy Take

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Recap: Is Miz Cracker Problematic? by Brian Moylan for VICE (link)
Look, there’s merit in critiquing the actions of the people who, for better or worse, effectively represent a lot of the queer community on TV every week. But boy, was this ever silly. I loved watching people hate on this article, because it was such a reach! Unnecessary, uninteresting, and honestly kind of whack to see it coming from a white person with such a noticeably weak sense of irony. The employment of “problematic” as an accusation based on three seconds of source material is needlessly vague and ineffective, and the endless use of a hashtag in doing so — as “#problematic” — was at best anachronistic, and at worst, tone-deaf. This article wasn’t offensive, it was just… tacky. The most embarrassing part (that many people were quick to point out on Twitter) was when he called out Yuhua for mixing up the Black queens, and then did literally the same thing in his article! Girl! You have Google! You have no excuse! I gagged. For those who don’t remember, this is also the same writer who outed both Anderson Cooper and Lee Pace, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised at his poor sense of boundaries.

Saying What’s Unsaid

What a Massive New Study on Income Inequality Misses About Black Women by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein for The Cut (link)
This article is a quick read, and it’s insightful media criticism. Ever the conscientious researcher, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein tackles this topic with an incredible number of sources and a healthy dose of context. Prescod-Weinstein’s article is a response to a working paper that made headlines last week—she provides some context and explanation in her article. I’m generally a fan of a well-done critique, no matter the topic; but this article is especially satisfying, largely because the author asks all the right questions to point out holes in the original stories told about and around the study mentioned in this headline.


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What’s New?

New episode!

Eating for Free — American Crime Story: Beyonce’s Face Bite (link)
Last week, I finally started listening to Eating for Free, a comedy and culture podcast hosted by Matthew Lawson and Joan Summers. This week’s episode is a whirlwind of absolutely ridiculous celebrity news, followed by a discussion over the ramifications of representation in so-called queer media content when cis straight people are the gatekeepers.

New opportunity!

Briarpatch Magazine — Andrea Walker Memorial Fund (link)
Briarpatch Magazine is looking for pitches centering the healthcare experiences of trans people and women. Heres’s the text of part of their call:

The $400 fund was established to assist writers and artists who are working in the field of women’s and nonbinary people’s health and grants payment for a feature article, photo essay, or graphic narrative to be published in the September issue of Briarpatch Magazine.

Happy holigays comrades!
xoxo alex