The newsletters are coming later and later these days -- many apologies! In this media climate, side projects suffer. Thanks for bearing with me, all -- may your weekends be long and your weekdays freer of breaking news updates.
The radium girls. Non-birthing queer mothers want to feel like mothers too. Anne of Green Gables and darkness. A Black queer kiss. Non-French "alt-right" (far right/Nazi) efforts to use memes in support of Le Pen backfired, in no small part because, among other things, frogs have historically been used as slurs against the French. How to write about authoritarians without getting arrested, Pakistani-style. When graduate school doesn't help. Deers and human flesh, idk. How the ACLU became the leader of the resistance. Deep in Macron country. A family's journey home to Afghanistan from Pakistan. NEW HUMAN RELATIVES. The rise of the "alt-left" (with the understanding that this newsletter does not endorse the term "alt-right.") Richard Ford recalls his parents in love. Is an open marriage a happy marriage? Being Russian-American is a little awkward right now. Winners and losers of the recent nuclear holocaust. The white houses not far from ISIS.
Around the Globe
Africa. After three years in captivity, at least 82 of the girls kidnapped from Chibok, Nigeria, were returned to their families. A bus crash in Tanzania killed more than 30 people. There's a dengue fever outbreak in Kenya. Angola is struggling under the weight of those fleeing DRC. The U.N. chief has requested $900 million for Somalia, currently suffering under a horrifying drought. Ivory Coast soldiers clashed with the government over a pay dispute.
Americas. Meet Argentina's first transgender police chief. Brazil's former president (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, not Dilma Rousseff) is going to court on corruption charges. A group of indigenous Venezuelans fled the country to Brazil. Venezuela's anti-government protests continue to rage and now there is literal human shit involved. Puerto Rico's debt crisis is hitting schools hard. Texas is punishing sanctuary cities. The (U.S.) drama: FBI Director James Comey was fired, and the U.S. is in uproar. The story has changed so much over the course of the week one can hardly blame anyone for being lost -- for one thing, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was singled out as the source of the recommendation to fire Comey, but then it surfaced that Rosenstein and his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, had maybe probably been asked to look for a reason to fire Comey. (Trump himself said he intended to fire him all along. He also said Russia was on his mind when he made the decision.) Then he said there were tapes. Now we're here.
Asia & Australia. Discourse surrounding the Iranian election is pushing boundaries. North Korea detained another American. South Korea's president is a liberal who wants to reshape how the country deals with its northern neighbor. The U.S. is set to arm Kurds in Syria in the fight against the Assad regime. U.S.-backed forces asked ISIS to hand over a Syrian city -- it worked. All hail the Australian politician breastfeeding in parliament. Pakistan and Afghanistan are looking to settle their border dispute. A 49 year-old newscast was abruptly shut down in Israel. A blast in Baluchistan, Pakistan was claimed by ISIS and killed at least 25 people. The U.S. and China agreed to new trade talks.
Europe. Portugal won Eurovision. The anti-Kremlin movement is in full swing in Russia. Russia claims there is no campaign going on against queer men in Chechnya. Emmanuel Macron won the French election -- he will be the young leader the country has had since Napoleon Bonaparte. Poland is facing criticism over human rights. Queer people and trafficking victims may have been wrongly deported to Albania due to outdated guidance. Thousands protested the Czech Republic's finance minister. A small blast went off in Rome, Italy, but no one was injured.
I wrote about how SB4 took Texas' war with Austin statewide, and the ACLU's response: a travel warning. After James Comey's firing, I spoke with several experts in authoritarian regimes -- their responses were unsettling. I also wrote about the possibility of an electronics ban on inbound European flights to the U.S., as well as something good happening this Mother's Day.
To listen: Here's a life reveal: I bought tickets to see Michelle Branch in a few months. Throwback. To that end, I should probably listen to Hopeless Romantic (title track is here), her new album, which seems to be getting good reviews. No lie, I was always a fan.
To make: My PIC is wrapping up grad school and in the midst of finals. In a fit of stress-induced angst, brownie muffins appeared before me, to zero complaints. Unclear what recipe was used (or if any methodology at all went into the spurt of mania) but for recreations, this one looks good. (This one appeals to me personally, but PIC hates bananas, so I'd be on my own finishing them. Not sure this is such a terrible burden, though.)
Spoken & Written
"As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!" -- U.S. President Donald Trump, who may cancel White House press briefings because his staff cannot be trusted to speak with accuracy
I've only just started it, so it can't be a recommendation yet, but Netflix's Anne of Green Gables has come at an interesting time in my life (tl;dr at present I am a freckly ginger, whose earliest childhood summers were spent in Nova Scotia, not far from Prince Edward Island, or PEI. A Lot of L.M. Montgomery was read. Nowadays, she's a thing of nostalgia for me, but I'm curious to inspect her through the lens of cynical criticism that comes to us as we creep along our lifespans.)
On that note: L.M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery was an interesting one. A Canadian writer (1874-1942), LMM's most famous works are easily AoGG and its sequels. But she published many more novels, to say nothing of short stories and poems, as well as some non-fiction. She adored her native PEI, which is immortalized in her work, but the U.S. media (and arguably Canadian media as well) belittled the setting as rustic and backward, reflecting 1) larger contemporary U.S. attitudes towards Canada and 2) larger Canadian attitudes to the Maritimes. With the understanding that Canadian women were, like most women, expected to ultimately marry, LMM did so -- a Presbyterian minister, with whom she was not overly enamored, marking a shift for someone who by all accounts seems more of an Anne than a Marilla. It was by virtually all accounts a miserable marriage, leaving LMM deeply depressed and disenchanted. As a result, she wrote more and more as a form of escapism.