Born of frustration

Blues Buzz

Lamar Smith goes to the melting Arctic. Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win the prestigious Fields award, a mathematics honor, passed away at age 40. The air we breatheA Wrinkle in Time trailer is here! The U.S. has an infrastructure problem -- it extends to Antarctica. What the actual fuck, R. Kelly. Magic can be normal. The lies we tell ourselves about gentrification. Chester Bennington helped us live. Please allow this absolutely horrifying visual to guide you into the weeks to come.

Looking out on a sliver of Atlanta, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden

Looking out on a sliver of Atlanta, Georgia. © E.A. Crunden



Around the Globe

Africa. It seems Kenya's deputy presidential race is going not well. The country is also dealing with a severe cholera outbreak. Somalia's internet blackout finally ceased. South Sudan's president declared a state of emergency in his home state. Security forces in Cameroon may have tortured Boko Haram suspects.

Americas. Uruguay weed. A mob of Chilean fishermen set Peruvian immigrants on fire, landing them in the hospital. Venezuelans want their president gone. An Australian woman was shot by police in Minnesota. The U.S. State Department is swiftly closing offices relating to war crimes, cybersecurity, and more. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is in hot water with Trump. The latest GOP plan to repeal Obamacare failed again. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has brain cancer. O.J. Simpson is out on parole. A jail in Tennessee is offering reduced sentences to inmates who opt for vasectomies or birth control implants. Latest Trump-Russia scene.

Asia. After liberation, Mosul struggles. India's garment workers want better wages. A Chinese-American graduate student from Princeton was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for spying. The United Arab Emirates was accused of interfering with Qatar -- which the country denies. Saudi police arrested a woman for wearing a miniskirt. A top female politician in India quit after being told not to "monopolize" a discussion. China has blocked WhatsApp. Palestinians rioted over Israeli crackdowns in East Jerusalem. Syrians are getting surprising help from Israel, which has shown little love for refugees. North Korea is facing a food shortage.

Europe. Poles protested the right wing creep of the ruling Law & Justice party, which is further marginalizing the judiciary. Turkey marked a year from its controversial coup attempt and Turkey and Germany are in a fight. A flight from Spain was delayed when protesters rallied against the deportation of a Senegalese citizen. Brexit talks are not going amazingly


Written & Spoken

“The most innocent victim.” -- a lawyer representing the family of Justine Damond, describing the victim, a white Australian woman killed by police in Minnesota. (Other people killed by police in recent years include young Black children.)



Journalism: The Trump administration wants international climate funding to go towards coal. Iraqi and Syrian civilians are dying in droves under Trump. Abortion rights are being rapidly eroded at the state level. The white cop who killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards has been indicted for murder. Texas progressives are fighting back against an onslaught of horrifying legislation. Poles poured into the streets to defend their democracy, as the far-right Law and Justice (PiS) party works to crack down even further on the judiciary. 

Anything Goes:

A heat wave swept through the city this week, which I should add does not mean the temperature rose twenty degrees from cool to warm, it means the temperature rose from very hot to swelteringly hot. Like a scene out of my central Texas childhood, sidewalks became scorching scenes of carnage while humidity worked to drown passers-by. It's ongoing; as I type the temperature is mounting. We rarely use the air conditioning, but this week it's been on. I wore athletic pants masquerading as their firmer, more oppressive equivalents in an effort to remain comfortable, bringing back my perpetual fears that hips in athletic pants are incapable of being anything but femme. I also avoided the outdoors, which is unlike me, but again, outside was a hostile space, and I avoid hostile spaces whenever possible.

Arguably, everything seemed hostile this week. Maybe it's the heat, but issues seemed to bubble and fester. The blisters have ranged. Two painstaking years have been spent slowly moving towards a greener, sparser life, but the hurdles can seem insurmountable. Waste seemed to follow me throughout the week, with no amount of effort shifting its inevitability. My evangelism didn't go over well, either. On Thursday I attempted to convince coworkers of the problems posed by plastic straws, why they shouldn't be accepted so readily, discarded so easily. (All the plastic in the ocean, in landfills, taking up space and creating catastrophe -- how will we live, where will we live?) "I just hate it when ice cubes hit my teeth," someone said to me, defensive of her straw. (She sucked harder on it, as if to make it clear I had caused irreparable offense.) The same tone was used by a friend as she said to me later, "I just couldn't give up chicken." People, I've found, would rather be complicit in large-scale disaster than shift their habits.

It was also a week where I found myself half-crying on a street to PIC over anti-Semitism yet again -- how it comes from all sides and our friends still say nothing, how I can't say anything on the internet or verbally without pushback, how it creeps and creeps and creeps. How often does existence have to be devalued before those who claim to value it admit they are complicit in the problem? She patted me reassuringly, which is really all she could do, with rain coming down and our umbrella barely doing the bare minimum. Eventually we went to a place marketed as "farm to taco" where wholesome vegetarian food was sold in to-go containers. A mounting pile of waste to go with your earth-friendly meal.

Now, staring down Monday and more heat, I remember that really only a month stands between my body and thesis, that for all my exhaustion now there will be more later. Where did the time go this summer, what was I doing with it? Mostly bemoaning the heat, wishing more people worried about the environment and pushed back on anti-Semitism and racism and sexism and Islamophobia and classism and queerphobia and were kinder and gentler with each other. But that is all summers and all things all the time now, so really I'm not sure that this hasn't all just been business as usual.