Recommentunde - America sides with cancer - Week of June 9 2019

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The Recommentunde Newsletter

For the week that began June 9 2019


I’m experimenting this week with my newsletter. For the past few weeks I’ve been doing a recommended media newsletter just for my supporters on Patreon. Today, I’m sharing it with my full email list, plus posting it for Patrons. I’d love to know what you think.

Now on to that digital content which makes the connected world go round…

This week I was all over the place: recording another episode of my Spit podcast at a studio in Hollywood, then skipping over to Phoenix, Arizona to speak at Vox Media’s Code Conference, then to the North Fork of Long Island for another gig all while recovering from an ankle sprain I sustained last Sunday early morning after falling off one of those e-scooters which, just why in the world do the Lime scooters go that fast!? It turns out South Park was right. I was a bit distressed on the scooter because a McDonald’s worker had just threatened to call 911 on me for trying to order from the drive-thru on foot. Clearly he didn’t see my TED talk, and now I can partially blame racism for my injury. Much appreciation to the airport workers who push people around in wheelchairs. This week, I was those people.

This set of articles and videos below will help you make sense of our democracy with it’s tech-accelerated and historically based inequalities. It starts low, but I promise to bring you up with a dose of hope, weirdness, and action to push you through to the upcoming week.

* cracks knuckles *

You begin with U.S. “immigrant detention centers” that an LA Times writer thinks ought to be called “concentration camps.” You’ll find this article isn’t as inflammatory as the headline might suggest. There’s sound historical evidence for the label, and certainly I believe what we’re seeing at the border could become something much worse for many more people.

Speaking of creating “Others,” you find that America is purging Chinese American cancer researchers. If you’re going to choose between fighting cancer and repeating historical racial and ethnic subjugation, well, America’s going to side with cancer.

Jon Stewart somehow was allowed to lecture Congress on its obligations to 9/11 first responders. And now you have one more reason to be sad and mad, and you just need to get out, so you hail an Uber…

But you discover that Uber drivers are intentionally manufacturing surge pricing. This briefly makes you even more angry until you realize it’s because they’re getting screwed financially by working for a VC-subsidized labor exploitation algorithm that redistributes wealth to the already-wealthy. There’s an entire book about this new style of work. It’s called Uberland. (Note: this is an affiliate link so I’ll get a few pennies if you buy).

Switching gears, here’s something for your ears. On The Media is doing a special series about eviction in the United States, and this segment explains how eviction, like so many problems in America, has its roots in a desire to keep black people down. If we were giving out Olympic medals for commitment to racial apartheid, America would definitely get the gold and the cereal box cover.

However, you think, if there’s one thing you know, it’s that education is the key to opportunity in this country. Spoiler alert: it’s not. As this devastating Atlantic article states: “great public schools are the product of a thriving middle class, not the other way around.” In other words, we also must fix this lopsided economy.

Sometimes that education works out though, and a student emerges from the system with her prospects and wits intact. In a typical valedictorian move, Nataly Buhr thanks her parents for helping her get where she is. In an atypical move, the San Isidro High School graduate also thanks the teacher who regularly showed up drunk to class for teaching her a valuable lesson!! Cue rap battle response in five, four, three, two… Here is her speech in full.

Just in time for summer, the Washington Post has its top 10 shows to catch which includes a show made by two of my schoolmates, Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin, called South Side. It premiers on Comedy Central July 24th

Your mood is improving, and you want a bit more faith in these entities called “people.”

You’re not sure if this will help, but you can’t take your eyes off this New York Times profile of a YouTube star who has made over a million dollars by recording herself eating shellfish. Maybe someone should tell the Uber drivers.

You trust me when I say that I’ve shared the stage with Stacey Abrams, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, three times in the past few months and every time it makes me want to do everything she says. So you watch her interview from this week’s Code Conference. You recognize the depths of her analysis of what ails America whether on the shortsightedness of boycotting anti-abortion states or the urgency of protecting the vote. You’re so moved, that even though the odds are you don’t live in Georgia, you decide to support her new effort, Fair Fight Action because she and I both assure you, it’s an excellent idea.

You’re almost back to your full self, motivated enough to keep on pushing through this thing called life. I know it was a big move to open with concentration camps, but I think you’re ready for this final link. It’s an advertisement for a northeastern Spanish liqueur. It’s not that I think you need a drink. It’s that this ad is a finalist for the upcoming Cannes-Lions award. Called “The Time We Have Left,” it’s based on an algorithm the team created to calculate the amount of time we have left to spend with our loved ones. You will have feelings.

On that note, call, visit, text, or send some kind of message to someone you love that you haven’t connected with recently, and make plans to spend time together. Now. Do it. Seriously don’t close this email until you do. I’ll know if you don’t because the surveillance economy is real.


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