This has been a tough week in the U.S., full of violence and tragedy. I'm finding it increasingly hard to not become numb to mass shootings and despicable immigration policies. They just feel so unrelenting. But the most important writing, comedy, and art remind me that it doesn't have to be like this. That this is not normal and there's a better way. It's been a week when I really needed a reminder of that.
NOTE: I'll be doing a national tour with Pop Up Magazine in September and October. Details and tickets should be announced in the next week or so. I'll let you know as soon as they're live.
Both full seasons of Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas are streaming online and on HBO Go. Link
You can listen to all the episodes of my podcast You're the Expert on any podcast app. Three comedians interview a scientist about her work and why it matters. Link
You'll be able to find ticket links for all upcoming shows as soon as they are announced online at my website here.
This week’s list
Toni Morrison's characters and stories were rich and vivid. But her true specialty was sentences that cut to the quick. Her Nobel Lecture is a perfect example. It's hard to imagine anything more chilling than her description of oppressive language (a danger that is more and more present every day in 2019). "Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge. Whether it is obscuring state language or the faux-language of mindless media; whether it is the proud but calcified language of the academy or the commodity driven language of science; whether it is the malign language of law-without-ethics, or language designed for the estrangement of minorities, hiding its racist plunder in its literary cheek—it must be rejected, altered, and exposed. It is the language that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind."The Magnitude of Toni Morrison by Hannah Giorgis
I'm not sure it's funny in a laugh out loud way, but I think no comedic institution handles tragedy and hypocrisy better than The Onion. They have an amazing ability to satirize America's response to violence and racism. Here are a few recent examples: Koch Foods CEO Applauds Immigrant Arrests As Consequence of Illegally Accepting Job at Koch Foods or this "American Voices" piece about the FBI opening domestic terrorism investigations or Mitch McConnell Wonders If He Could've Done More to Harm People in Private Sector.
Graciela Mochkofsky wrote about "the vital importance of learning to see Latinos in Trump's America." The essay got me thinking about how much I enjoy the stories and reporting of NPR's Latino USA. I first started listening to the show (and podcast) a few years ago when I was working with Antonia Cereijido, who produces and often hosts. They cover serious issues like the El Paso Shooting but they also have fascinating, lighthearted episodes like Antonia's deep-dive investigation into whether the Minions are Latino.
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Stay safe out there,