Fall has finally arrived in New York City, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m wearing jeans, long sleeve shirts, and I even broke out my hoodie for the first time. The world is as it should be (at least in this small way that brings some form of normalcy). The reading list is a bit heavy this week, but worry not, I’ve added in a nice essay at the end on solitude and a book on mindfulness!
Staggering Number of Hysterectomies Happening at ICE Facility, Whistleblower Says by Carter Sherman via VICE News
Forced sterilization has a dark, dark history. Trace it back to racial abuses and slavery here in the U.S., to Nazi Germany, and other incidents of ethnic cleansing and genocide. There is no explanation or excuse for sterilization without the full consent of the patient. That this is happening on American soil, by the American government, is beyond comprehension. This story is just breaking, so look for updates in the news as the days go on. Chris Hayes, in particular, has done some good reporting on this story. (Read the article.)
Habituation to Horror by Anne Helen Peterson via Culture Study
This is technically a newsletter, but Peterson’s dispatch this week just really hit me. She ruminates on our state of being right now, teetering so close to living in those dystopian narratives we are always reading about. As she notes though, “the thing about dystopian narratives is that they are not distant from our world; they’re just what happens when our world, or at least our civilization, begins to bend towards its end.” And man, it sure feels like we are bending toward it right now. (Read the newsletter)
Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden by The Editors via Scientific American
Never in the publication’s 175 year history has Scientific American endorsed a presidential candidate. But in light of our current situation, the editorial board felt compelled to take a stand. “It’s time to move Trump out and elect Biden, who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.” As I read this, I was thinking about how our current state of politics has sort of forced scientists to become activists. They didn’t necessarily have to be before, as we didn’t have entire swaths of the country debating whether science was real. Such a strange time. (Read the article.)
QAnon is a NAZI Cult, Rebranded by Gregory Stanton via Just Security
As the founding president of Genocide Watch, Gregory Stanton knows a little bit about where dangerous conspiracy theories like QAnon can lead. In the beginning, I think many of us–myself included–brushed these folks off as a harmless fringe group. But as they grow in size and power, it’s important to understand just how dangerous their conspiracy theories are. As Stanton explains, they are right out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. “The world has seen QAnon before. It was called Nazism. In QAnon, Nazism wants a comeback.” (Read the article.)
The Bourgeois Romance of Pandemic Isolation by Amrita Brahmo via Electric Literature
I loved this essay. Amrita Brahmo so uniquely captures this strange emotional time we’re living in, particularly for those of us who are “doing fine.” She starts the essay with a dispatch from her apartment: “the lizard that lived around my apartment and popped up every once in a while died today. Found dead, cause unknown…I burst into tears without quite knowing why.” Yeah, that sounds about right. In this essay, Brahmo relates her current existence to the May Sarton’s Journal of Solitude. We’re all going to need to talk about the emotional toll this year is taking on us, no matter how “fine” we are.
How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t get a great deal of time to read books this week. Launching online classes is stressful! So, I picked up a book off the shelf that I bought a few years back, but never actually opened. It’s a meditation on how to sit. The author focuses on mindfulness and breathing. I have to say…very helpful this week. Just taking a moment to sit with the simplicity of: “when your breath is deeper and more peaceful, it will have an influence right away on your body and mind. Peace and calm are contagious.” So this week I’m breathing…and sitting…