Maybe don’t say the thing about the thing
It really hasn’t been a week (weeks? months?) for nuance. I say this in general but also mostly with regards to the epic back-and-forth over antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-blackness, and who gets to say and do what, and who gets to say and claim what, that has been playing out on-and-offline at every second of every hour of the day. There’s so much I have to say about all of it (in the whole of my life there have been few moments when I haven’t had something to say about something, if I’m honest), but I haven’t really said much. I don’t think there is really a space receptive enough to the ins and outs of what I want to say, or how nuanced and complicated I would like to make it. And to open myself up to the potential shitstorm that could arise feels exhausting, even more exhausting than just sitting and watching has been.
I will say I feel alienated by a lot of friends who, to my mind, really should have checked with Jewish friends before they commented, and did not (they never do.) And on the other end, I also feel furious with a lot of people in my community and I wish they were better. Everyone, everything, everywhere, exhausting, all the time.
What else, what else. I’m still in the midst of Big Life Shifts, which I hate — I always want to fast-forward to a point where the shifts have occurred, so I can take stock of the damage or the benefits or whatever the end conclusion was. I wish that about most things; in the middle of a radio hit (my absolute nightmare second only to TV appearances) this week, I just kept thinking that if I could just fast-forward to an hour in the future, everything would be fine and it would be over. And then it was an hour in the future and everything was fine and it was over. Which will happen with everything else, too, but I’m impatient and I wish it would just be the future now.
But it’s March, which is a nice thing! I like March, it’s a good month and I like the energy. Several of my favorite people on earth are March babies (two best friends, an honorary brother, and an honorary niece included) and I’m so happy they were all born and that they’re all here and that their great Pisces-Aries selves are in my life. I’m also eyeing being back in Texas in a few months for a bit and that’s probably the kindest thing I could do for myself, so I’m letting myself be really, truly excited about it, even though as a default I’m suspicious of everything and know everything could go to shit at any moment. Texas is so terrible but I love it so much and the prospect of going home makes me feel so, so much lighter.
And in addition to March and to mayhem and to maybes in Texas, I have filed my tax returns without crying once, and so I am prematurely declaring victory over the first quarter of 2019, sue me.
Every line. How the U.S. became a part of Latin America. Rewriting the West. The cost of a U.S. work visa. A queerer and darker Ursula Le Guin. Maine’s poet governor. The incredible Selma Blair. Reading, publishing, and the working class. This essay, on Soviet cooking, immigration, and being othered, is a taste of perfection.
The mistakes of anti-Semitism. Meg Wolitzer is a treasure. Texas is failing foster kids and contributing to a spike in teen pregnancy. There are more queer people in the Southern U.S. than in any other region of the country. The U.S. women’s soccer team has sued over gender discrimination. The queer subtext of My Fair Lady. A reason for the Tar Heel State to strike.
Me: I published a small scooplet noting that Nancy Beck, a former chemical industry insider now at the EPA, has stayed close to her former colleagues, even offering to assist one who sought Beck's help in finding her husband a job with the EPA. McConnell’s efforts to divide Democrats on the Green New Deal have hit a stumbling block. In flood-prone areas, buyouts are becoming more common and popular, but they could be more strategic and environmentally-savvy: a new study, focused on Houston, talks about how. The Republicans headed to the House climate change committee signal shifting times for the party.
Not a single Pacific or Atlantic coastal state wants offshore drilling. The Trump administration’s ongoing efforts targeting environmental regulations will increase CO2 emissions by more than 200 million tons annually, according to a new report. Communities impacted by PFAS contamination say the Trump administration isn’t doing enough to help them.
Elsewhere: Climate change: also hurting clouds! The shells of wild sea butterflies are already dissolving. How many regulations would it take to make the Green New Deal happen? Plastics might be the new coal in Appalachia. The Indus: a river of growing disasters. The Texas solar company reviled by Puerto Ricans. The cost of clean air in Bangkok. Jellyfish could be the solution to microplastic pollution. Fighting climate gentrification with a radical community garden.
At least 23 people died in Alabama following a devastating tornado. The vulnerability of home, from California to Calcutta. Why oil giants like carbon taxes. In the South, environmental racism meets dedicated social justice.
Around the Globe
Thousands of migrant children say they have been sexually assaulted in U.S. custody. Escalating tensions between India and Pakistan cooled as Pakistan de-escalated and released a captured Indian pilot last week, but things aren’t great. Nigeria’s president secured a second term. Second Brexit referendum? Venezuela deported a Univision crew after an unflattering interview. Tens of thousands of Algerian students mass-protested President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's plans to run for another term. Cardinal George Pell was taken into custody over multiple accounts of sexual assault.
Argentina’s top rabbi was attacked in his home following anti-Semitic vandalism in Argentina. Also in the country, rape survivors are being denied access to abortion. Iran’s famed foreign minister resigned on Instagram…only to have his resignation rejected. Talks between the U.S. and North Korea collapsed quickly and it appears the latter might be hard at work on a missile site. Drama in Canada as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faces growing pushback and scandal. In DRC, the battle to stop Ebola is meeting a hurdle.
Spoken & Written
“I was the one who ate mashed potatoes and frankfurters for breakfast. Who ate a sandwich for breakfast. Strange? But Americans ate cereal for dinner. Americans ate cereal, period, that oddment. They had a whole thing called “breakfast for dinner.” And the only reason they were right and I was wrong was that it was their country.” — Boris Fishman
As a personal rule I’ve avoided things like TV appearances and radio hits, because they give me anxiety. But I went on the radio this week (with the excellent Alex Kaufman of HuffPost) and it was pretty okay! Sometimes say yes to the scary things, if you are so inclined.
We like intensive weekend baking projects in this house and we finally tried our hand at khachapuri last week; while it wasn’t as amazing as I’m sure it is on the streets of Tbilisi, we were still pretty happy with it and honestly, you might be too.