Editor's note: I'm back from Puerto Rico and Northampton and thus so is this newsletter! Slightly fuller in some areas and sparser in others as a result, evergreen mea culpa.
In the wake of damage. Sure, straight people love to talk about the LGBTQ cinema boom, but what's happening to QUEER cinema? The deeply complicated Philip Roth, A Problematic Man but also An Important Jew, has passed away. Rural America is a hospital desert. Towards a greener Ramzan (Ramadan). Icelandic fiction is a family affair. Poland, my love, and the International Man Booker Prize. The original Southerners: Native Americans. Men see their writing as canon (it is not.) Sad white men. Queer movements -- forging community in anti-queer spaces. Eighteen Black women running for office in Alabama. The new generation of indigenous chefs. Beto v. Ted and the fight for Texas Latinx voters. Finland's radical libraries. Learning to write characters like you can make you feel less alone. On the poetics of fatness. The queer history behind A League of Their Own. A podcast for LGBTQ Alabama. The closure of Atlanta's homeless shelters. Honoring food justice in the South.
I was reporting in Puerto Rico last week! I wrote about how islanders are reeling from Maria, but also from Puerto Rico's many pre-existing problems -- which they wish they could be addressing instead. I also wrote about how Puerto Rico's most vulnerable communities lived in a state of constant emergency before Maria ever arrived; since the storm, the solidarity and unity they have built has been put to the test. Back on the mainland (a term many people take issue with, but used here for differentiation purposes), I covered the muted reactions from U.S. officials to reports that the death toll following Maria may be close to 6,000.
Non-PR-related: Members of the EPA's Science Advisory Board are set to challenge the White House on car emissions. Rick Perry: another Trump administration official into expensive premium class travel. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt spent roughly the cost of a studio apartment in D.C. on 12 fountain pens. Pope Francis is set to engage Big Oil executives on climate change in Rome.
Around the Globe
Africa. Beheadings in Mozambique. Gambia's former dictator's bogus AIDS clinic has ignited rage. In a nod to the country's young population, Nigeria has lowered the required age for president. The U.N. is threatening an arms embargo on South Sudan. Now there's an Idi Amin museum.
Americas. Hurricane Maria's death toll may have been closer to 5,000 or 6,000. Colombia's presidential runoff is another referendum on peace by some measures. Many Brazilians are calling for a military takeover. Here comes the trade war -- now featuring the other two North American countries! Nothing is noted here about Roseanne or Samantha Bee, but yes, that did happen.
Asia. Another summer, another deadly heatwave in Karachi during Ramzan (complete with creative ways to cool off.) Pakistan and India eye a ceasefire in Kashmir. The Syrian regime is winning the war after seven years of unending violence. The women of the Tamil Tigers. Gazans are still dying -- Israeli forces killed a paramedic on Friday. The latest on North Korea-U.S. talks is...still foggy.
Europe. Ireland has overturned its archaic abortion ban in a historic moment brought to you predominately by a lot of people with uteruses. Hungary's anti-migration crusade continues. A political crisis is ripping Italy apart (a non-solution, which came late in the week, spells trouble for the E.U.) A Russian journalist was assassinated in Ukraine, or so we all thought (he was not.) Greece protests a new wave of austerity measures. E.U.-U.S. trade war here we go! Spain's prime minister is out.
Drowning in plastic. Fun time for press and the EPA. National Parks, now uncensored. Nature is done with the EPA. Fish feel pain. Democrats are being stupid about climate change, too. Family-owned versus family-farmed and who really owns American farmland? The rural South is treated like America's toilet bowl. Appalachia wants to help Puerto Rico. Mapping light pollution. Of the 68 national parks and monuments at risk for oil spills in the U.S., 23 are in the Southeast. A year on from the U.S. announcement that the president would exit the Paris climate agreement, mayors, including Republicans, are still the ones leading the way towards a greener life. After Flint, Michigan wants stringent water restrictions. Pipeline opponents aren't happy with Justin Trudeau. What the Texas Panhandle drought is doing to farming.
Spoken & Written
“Even if you’re moving to a ‘better’ place, a ‘better’ area, you’re still going to miss that. It’s not that it’s better, it’s that it’s different, and that’s what people don’t understand. There’s a lot going on in these communities, a lot of activities. There’s also people that can’t just move because they don’t have the ability to do so.” -- Estrella Santiago Perez, an environmental manager with ENLACE.