It’s been a difficult week.
We began with horrifying news of unnecessary and forced sterilization of women in ICE camps. To say this another way: medical professionals in the United States are removing women’s ability to reproduce without the consent of these women. To draw a direct line to history: they did the same thing in the concentration camps in World War Two. German “doctors” used Jewish women as guinea pigs, and treated them like animals, denying women their basic human rights and bodily autonomy. This reproductive torture was one of many that Nazi doctors used in their campaign of terror against their victims.
Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.
Or in the case of almost 25% of young Americans – they are doomed to believe trolls on the internet and deny the existence of killing camps during the Second World War.
We also lost the heroic and unflagging rights-defender Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her wisdom and humanity are sorely missed. And now, America must grapple with the vacuum her loss leaves behind, and the only hope for the future is that enough good people stand up to the current administration.
I do this round up every week because it’s a journal for me to remember things I love and/or thought were interesting. Little snippets on a digital dashboard to remember what I thought week by week.
But this week, I felt more downtrodden and disheartened by the state of the world than I ever had before.
I think before I share what I learned from and engaged with this week, it was critical for me to acknowledge how terrible this week has been.
It’s been a terrible week, but we can make it better. I have to believe that.
So, with that acknowledgment of the state of things. Here’s my round up for the week.
Article: Scientific American endorses Joe Biden (Scientific American)
In 175 years, never before has an American president attacked science and reason with such ferocity so as to force the Scientific American to take sides and endorse a candidate. This isn’t so much an endorsement of Biden as it is a scathing criticism of Trump – because how bad do you have to be that the Scientific American has to call you out?
Comic: Black Rain on the Highway of Death (The Nib)
I have always felt that first person tellings of true war stories are incredibly effective. When an artist is able to weave words and images together, the memories can become so much more vivid and impactful.
This story is heartbreaking and beautifully told. I appreciate how difficult it must be to share these memories.
(If you can stomach it, Waltz with Bashir (2008) remains with me years after I watched it. It’s a heartbreaking and gritty telling of a former soldier struggling with PTSD. It’s a documentary told through animation.)
Interactive Quiz: Spot the Troll (Clemson University Media Forensics Hub)
This is a good learning opportunity for everyone who uses the internet (you’re here, so that includes you!)
As good as we think we are at spotting trolls, they are increasingly nuanced and incredibly sophisticated at sharing misinformation – as this quiz will prove to you, you may not be as skilled at spotting them as you think. Check your bias before you start!
Article: Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted — It’s Why You Feel Awful (Elemental)
I’m not nearly as accomplished or as intelligent as this writer, but I will say despite our differences, it’s nice to have someone cut me some slack – to say “hey, I understand what you’re feeling right now”.
Covid has been a weird and awful time. I was listless, grumpy, and angry most of the last week, even though I didn’t really do anything. And, I guess it would seem, that’s not too unusual.
One specific piece of advice I’m taking to heart: Begin slowly building your resilience bank account.
Article: Transitions (Washington Post Magazine)
In the comments on this article, some people gave this mother a hard time saying she wasn’t respecting her daughter’s transition and “made it all about her”. I disagree with the characterization of the article – this was the honest and truthful telling of a mother and human being understanding and coming to terms with a huge life transition.
I appreciate Mattia’s honesty and obvious love for her child. I appreciate her acknowledging that change is hard. But most of all, I appreciate her moving past the difficult stage of this transition to showing up for her child.
Mattia’s beautiful honesty moved me to tears, and I wish that all young trans people could have such a loving and supportive family.
Article: The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies (Medium)
To ask for forgiveness is a humbling experience. To ask for others to punish you for your wrongdoings is an incredible act of vulnerability.
Krug has done many things wrong. She has done things wrong over and over again. She has chosen to lead others astray and made them think she was black.
But unlike that other person who did this same thing, Krug has acknowledged the pain and hurt she has caused. She indicates that she wants to make amends and do better. What happens next is unclear, but a person has come to her community, heart open and acknowledging her fault. How we respond is up to us.
Watching Murdoch Mysteries, the writers will often throw in period appropriate phrases. One such word is antediluvian – can we make this commonplace again? It’s delightful!
We Asked Toronto to Remix Wartime Posters (Toronto Public Library)
Covid isn’t over yet – and these posters remind us that we still have responsibilities to keep others safe. And it’s a whole heck of a lot easier than what we would have had to deal with during the war.
Good dog, Togo! I think many of us remember the 1995 animated jaunt Balto – which was rife with inaccuracies (most notably that there was a goose NOT fuelled by hate and malice). 2019’s Togo does not go for documentary level accuracy, but by all accounts it’s not just Disney magic.
Yes, I love dogs. Yes, I love that this movie was filmed in my home province. I love Willem Dafoe in almost every role he plays. Yes, someone who is very dear to me worked on this movie. Does that make me biased? Yes. Does that make the movie any less awesome? No!
It’s a movie that is a love letter to the hard fought lives of mushers, their dogs, and the northern communities that look out for and rely on their neighbours.
It’s worth a watch, and if you have a heart in your chest, bring your Kleenex.
Learn more about the real life Togo from Atlas Obscura’s article here.
A former colleague shared Dot Dash Jules’ site on her instagram, and I immediately fell in love with her delicate yet formidable pieces.
Her pieces use morse code to send a message – she will make you a message of your choosing or you can select from her existing ones. Dainty and sassy – just how I like it!