A new weekend means a new list of articles, essays, and books to read! I don’t know about you all, but this week felt a bit heavy for me. So finding time to read was definitely a nice escape from it all. I’ll be honest, this week’s list is a bit New York heavy, but I think it’s a good selection. As always, feel free to comment, send me what you’re reading, etc.
Jerry Seinfeld: So You Think New York is Dead by Jerry Seinfeld via The New York Times
This one is just good fun. Every few years someone writes an article about how New York is dying. This particularly happens during large economic downturns, such as after 9/11. There have been a multitude of articles recently about the end of New York. Seinfeld does a good job of mocking these articles into submission. New York isn’t going anywhere. Will it look the same? Probably not. Will it ever die? Not likely. “We’re going to keep going with New York City if that’s all right with you. And it will sure as hell be back. Because of all the real, tough New Yorkers who, unlike you, loved it and understood it, stayed and rebuilt it.” (Read the article)
I’ve been following the protest movement in Belarus very closely since a few weeks before their presidential election. It’s a historical moment, as the people of the country are coming together to demand change and the end of the dictatorship. This particular article focuses in on the silence coming out of Washington in response to the uprising. While I disagree with John Bolton’s claim that “US support [is] key to solving the crisis,” (look John, we’re not that important) our silence is deafening and we should be joining forces with the EU to support the people of Belarus in their fight for democracy. (Read the article)
If you haven’t been following the situation, below is a clip from PBS to give you an overview.
We Will Emerge via PEN America
I haven’t made my way completely through this amazing project yet, but I’m excited to keep reading. Wajahat Ali and Dave Eggers brought together 111 writers, academics and activists to ruminate on how we will emerge from this pandemic. Ali opens his introduction by quoting historian Robin D.G. Kelly, asking, “What shall we build on the ashes of a nightmare?” Look for responses from folks like Jelani Cobb, Roxane Gay, Julia Alvarez, April Reign, Hasan Minhaj, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, and so many more. (Read more)
New York’s Most Virulent Opponent of Police Reform by James D. Walsh via The Intelligencer
This was an infuriating read. As much progress as we’ve seen across the country in the last few months in the way of police reform, very little progress has been made here in New York. The greatest barrier to police reform in the city is the police unions. Ed Mullins, president of the NYPD’s Sergeant’s Benevolent Association is the worst offender. His views include: “police are not above the law. Rather, the law should empower police to operate however they choose, almost entirely free of oversight or consequence.” Additionally, “cops should be allowed to sue the estates of people they shoot for emotional damages.” This article is a great deep dive on Mullins, and the state of police unions in NYC. (Read the article)
When the Ice-Cream Man Goes Rogue by Zach Helfand via The New Yorker
This article just cracked me up. It’s such a great glimpse of not only a particular area of Brooklyn, but also just how strange life is right now. It’s like we’re living in an alternate timeline, and honestly, Mr. Softee turning into Mr. Smashee sounds about right. (Read the story)
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
A stylistically unique book, with the author making the artistic choice not to use quotation marks with dialogue, The Shadow King has me enthralled. Once I got in the groove, Maaza Mengiste’s storytelling just pulled me in. The Shadow King follows the story of the female soldiers during Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, something I honestly knew nothing about. The notoriety this book has gained is well deserved, and I highly suggest the read.