Recommentunde - The Joker’s Wild 🤡- Week of Oct 13 2019

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The Recommentunde Newsletter

For the week that began October 13 2019

Artist JR (left) and Baratunde (right) sit in front of one of JRs first photographs

Howdy human,

This past Sunday, I went to my local movie theatre. It has 1990s prices and 1990s popcorn judging by the smell. The theatre reminded me of the one I liked to go to in Harvard Square, also in the 1990s. Everything about the moviegoing experience felt familiar except for the film.

We saw Joker.

The film rocked me, rocked Elizabeth as well. It felt like one of those dark oil paintings come to life: beautiful but macabre through and through. It was an action movie where all the action was emotional and psychological. It left me exhausted by the end and not entirely sure I enjoyed or would endorse the experience but very sure I would never forget it or how it moved me.

This film brought together abuse, gun violence, bullying, and wealth inequality, while providing a very believable backstory to a superhero villain all without feeling like it was trying to bite off more than it could chew. The acting by Joaquin Phoenix was beyond anything I’ve seen in years.

I suppose this sounds like an endorsement after all, but here’s the thing. If you choose to see this film, be prepared to be worked over emotionally, to be exhausted by the end, and to probably feel less safe in the world and in your own reality after. That’s my warning.

And now, for our regularly scheduled content.

First up: big Guardian piece with a big question: Why can’t we agree on what’s true any more?. Thanks to The Correspondent for the link.

A few weeks ago, I got to sit with the artist JR at the Brooklyn Museum. They’ve made the entire two hour conversation public on YouTube!!

If you’ve wondered how California can possibly allow a power company to cut power with little notice to millions of people, this Brian Edwards Twitter thread is for you. And if you like it, support the local journalism that made such a thread possible.


And now, for some things worth doing in Washington DC:

• From Oct 21-25, attend Black Women Cinema Week at Eaton DC, my favorite hotel in the city. There’s lots of free events as part of the event series.

• October 25, go to the New Negroes standup comedy show as part of the Bentzen Ball. Hosted by Baron Vaugh and Open Mike Eagle. Featuring comics like Dulce Sloan and many others. World Central Kitchen is the official non-profit partner.

• And not in DC but a discount offer for US residents looking to try a different cable service. Here’s two free weeks of YouTube TV. It’s like having your cable company in the cloud with infinite DVR storage. I’ve been using this as my primary cable source for over a year and am happy with it. If that link is busted, use this promo code IA5NDKX4VXKZ at Offer ends October 16.


Here’s one of the best pieces of writing on how China is using the globalized economy and Western greed to dictate what people in the USA can say and do. Y’all might remember me bringing this up a few months ago. I TOLD YALL!

Dope podcast episodes from the past week (all in the Recommentunde Spotify playlist):

Deconstructing a climate change denier, from the America Adapts podcast.

Why China Went to War with the NBA, from The Daily

Consent, false accusation fear, and MeToo, from CBC Front Burner

You probably need this by this point in the newsletter: Cleo Wade’s Most Powerful Mantra For Anxiety.

And I can think of no better dismount than this NYT piece: Get Your Digital Accounts Ready In Case of Death.


Peace and Love.