Monday, June 17, 2024
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Required Reading

‣ Chinatown’s Yu and Me Books is a hub for Asian American writers, artists, and literature lovers, and Jordyn Holman writes for New York Times about the bookstore’s struggle to recover after a devastating fire in the fall:

After spending long days inspecting stores and talking to other business owners in Chinatown who had dealt with fires, he would return to his one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, which was filled with mismatched furniture, books and records, and watching television shows about home improvement. shows like “Hack My Home” and “Hoarder House Flippers.”

The programs taught him what colors clash and how to make a room look larger. Murphy shelves and nooks could create a homey feeling. He made drawings to show his contractor.

“I wish I had met other people who had designed spaces,” Ms. Yu said. “But I thought, ‘This is something I’m going to have to do.’ And that’s why HGTV was my resource during this time.”

‣ After Columbia Law Review Editors refused to remove an already published article on the Palestinian Nakba, the journal’s board of directors shut down the website entirely, shocking scholars across academia and beyond. Natasha Lennard and Prem Thakker report for the Intercept:

Board interventions in editorial content are, editors said, extremely rare. (The board did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how often it participates in editorial processes.)

All law review editors who spoke to The Intercept said Eghbariah’s text went through an extensive editorial process, with special caution due to concerns about potential backlash.

“I was just sick to my stomach and disgusted that, once again, this was happening, seven months after Harvard had just gone through that debacle,” said Erika López, CLR editor and chair of diversity, equity and inclusion.

‣ When Helen Stephens took the international stage for the 1936 Olympic Games, the lesbian athlete, the fastest runner in the world at the time, was accused of not being a woman. Sounds familiar? Michael Waters delves into Stephens’ life and legacy to Deserter:

“It is scandalous that the Americans have entered a man in the women’s competition,” the newspaper clearly states. The accusation should have been dismissed out of hand, the rantings of a paranoid sports journalist frustrated by the defeat of one of his country’s top stars. But at the Nazi-run Berlin Olympics, where street sweepers and bus drivers wore brownshirt uniforms, the story was powerful. At a press conference, a European journalist translated the article aloud for Stephens. Instead of expressing sympathy, the journalist insisted: “Are you really a woman? Are you in disguise, a man who participates in women’s races? the journalist asked, as Stephens told his biographer decades later. Stephens recalled responding that the rumors were simply “sour grapes.”

In the history of the Olympic Games, the firestorm is perhaps the first high-profile example of sports leaders questioning an athlete’s sex. While male officials had whispered before about female athletes not conforming to their notions of femininity, such a direct accusation had never before been made openly. Indeed, by speculating about Stephens’ gender, that Polish sports journalist encoded what would soon become a familiar narrative at the Olympics: that women who did not fit specific gender norms were inherently suspect. A direct line can be drawn between the accusations against Stephens in 1936 and policies that largely exclude women like Maximila Amali and Caster Semenya, and trans and intersex women in particular, from sports today.

‣ For Rolling Stone, Lisa Fernández tells the story of sexual abuse at the women’s prison in Dublin, California, which the Department of Corrections recently closed:

The sexual abuse scandal at Dublin FCI was horrific and rampant,” said Shanna Rifkin, deputy general counsel for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a national group whose mission is to create a fairer and more effective justice system. “But they are the canary in the coal mine. They are unique only because people started paying attention. But sexual abuse happens in prisons across the country. This is not just a Dublin-specific problem.

‣ Americans are spending record proportions of their income on food amid skyrocketing prices, and by JacobeanVeronica Riccobenne explores corporate greed behind the scenes:

Since pandemic-era social safety net expansions expired in late 2021, hunger has been on the rise. The number of households facing food insecurity increased by 3.5 million between 2020 and 2022. Households with children are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, growing 24 percent between 2021 and 2022 alone. The Department of Agriculture estimates that about Twenty-eight million adults in the United States lack consistent access to enough food to lead an active, healthy life, forcing them to consume unbalanced diets, reduce portion sizes, and skip meals.

This spring, a group of Democratic senators called on the Biden administration to use executive action to address rising food prices.

‣ Maybe you’re captivated by basketball phenom Caitlin Clark; Maybe you’re just curious about all the fuss. Emma Carmichael writes an immersive courtside report and reflects on the longevity of this momentous moment in WNBA history for the Cut:

Even if the phrase has already been as hackneyed as the Fever’s backcourt this season, the so-called “Clark Effect” is immediately clear on game days in downtown Indianapolis. Season ticket sales have more than doubled, according to Barber. There are lines of stopped cars entering and exiting the parking lots and, notably, there is more than one parking lot in use. (Barber remembers promising his parents early in his tenure that “one day we will have traffic. And now we have traffic. It’s fantastic.”) I talked to fans who had traveled from as far away as Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee and, of course, Iowa, many of them for their first WNBA game. The overall impact, Joel Reitz, owner of a nearby Irish pub called O’Reilly’s, told me, is “like adding another sports team” in Indy. (The Fever, which won a championship in 2012, is celebrating its 25th season this year.)

‣ Filmmaker Justin Simien explains how the history of minstrelsy, the appropriation of the work of Black artists, and racism in Hollywood are prophetic of the current threats that AI poses to creatives in all fields:

‣ Heck, pubs across the UK are struggling to stay afloat despite their historic presence in British society. Learn why in PBS News HourThe report of:

‣ Google Maps finally launched a feature highlighting public bathrooms in New York City, a much-needed step toward taking bathroom access seriously as a health issue. What a relief!

‣ JLo canceled her world tour this week and at least one person was disappointed:

‣ This TikTok trend asks people to expose the ridiculous lengths they went to to impress their crush, gathering truly notable content from our reels:

‣ Have we been sleeping with news anchors like performance artists?

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon and consists of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts or photo essays that are worth a second look.

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