Look alive!

Hey, yall.

It’s been a tiring week in what feels like the twentieth consecutive month of winter, so I’ll keep this quick:

If you’re in Canada, then right now, it is our obligation to do everything we can to keep Canadian arms, money, and military personnel OUT of Syria. As much as possible, show up to protests, write letters, sign petitions — we must build public support for the anti-war movement, and loudly and clearly resist sliding deeper into war. Wherever you’re reading this, the main task is to push the government to open borders to refugees.

As well: I’m moving these to a biweekly release. I bit off more than I could chew by doing two newsletters every week, and with some big commitments coming up, I needed to make room in my schedule. Hope that’s cool with y’all.

Here are your Hot Take-Aways for the week of April 13, 2018:

In Review:

If you read nothing else this week:

  1. Indigenous rights aren’t a subplot of pipeline debate (Policy Options) — as Justin Trudeau doubles down on his commitment to building the famously dangerous Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, Jennifer Ditchburn offers a vital reminder that the violation of Indigenous rights—and the Canadian government’s failure to engage with Indigenous peoples as the law demands—are central to the issue.
  2. Did Drinking Give Me Breast Cancer? (Mother Jones) — this impeccably researched article by Stephanie Mencimer examines the relationships both between alcohol and cancer, and between the alcohol lobby and the public.
  3. What About “The Breakfast Club”? (The New Yorker) — Molly Ringwald thoughtfully revisits one of the most iconic movies of her career to ask difficult questions about representation, power, and the role of criticism.

Pop Culture

Cardi B, Drake, and the Art of Sampling Lauryn Hill by Doreen St. Félix for The New Yorker (link)

For the shortness of this piece, Doreen St. Félix has managed to pack it full of impactful passages. In this article, which focuses on the role of singer and rapper Lauryn Hill in contemporary pop music, St. Félix weaves together musings on Black motherhood, male-feminist posturing, meditative anti-materialism, and more, with hints of a cultural appropriation debate and jabs at the kind of myths that surround Black women’s art in the public eye. It’s a smart and satisfying read. I’m a latecomer to St. Félix’s work, but I’m ready to join the fan club.


On Telling Ugly Stories: Writing with a Chronic Illness by Nafissa Thompson-Spires for The Paris Review (link)

Content warning for (slightly graphic and cissexist) discussions of illness and the body

How do we participate in the world of creative work while our insides twist, jump, and tear us apart? And how do we seek treatment when doctors, bosses, and peers are often unwilling to understand our experiences for what they are? In this chronicling of her struggle with endometriosis, Nafissa Thompson-Spires invites the reader along on a horrific medical merry-go-round of misdiagnoses, anxiety, and suffering. She connects the societal mistreatment of Black women with the treatment of her illness, articulating the relationships between shame, productivity, access, anti-Blackness, and misogyny — and their combined impact on her personal journey of health and bodily autonomy. It’s a difficult read, but an important one in shedding light on often-overshadowed conditions.


Rescuing Jewish Culture from Zionism by Jonah ben Avraham and Ben Lorber for Socialist Worker

Jonah ben Avraham interviews Ben Lorber on the current challenges facing the North American Jewish community, and the potential for revolutionary diasporic consciousness. After last week’s disastrous mainstream coverage of Jewdas, the UK-based leftist Jewish organization that Jeremy Corbyn joined for their seder, this is a welcome reminder of the radical and progressive potential for the Jewish community in diaspora.

That’s all for this week!

stay warm, stay strong.

xo alex

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