As of late | May 27, 2016

It’s been almost two months since my last “as of late” post, but that will be mitigated today! I have been keeping track of stuff I want to talk about on my Google Drive, but haven’t sat down and actually written the post. Alright, enough rambling, here’s what I’ve been into as of late…

Booktube’s influence in my life –> What Should I Read Next podcast

I’ve realized that booktube has been influencing the books I’ve been reading lately – more so than I really want it to be influencing what I’m reading. I don’t remember the last book I picked up that wasn’t even tangentially a recommendation from outside of booktube. YouTube is a great platform to get across to others that you love a book and that they should pick up said book and love it too. For this reason, I have been picking up more booktube recommended fiction and YA fiction than normal. There is nothing wrong with either, but I want my reading experience to be more diverse genre-wise and for my recommendations to come from more diverse sources, too.

As a result, I found a new podcast! Podcasts are the second most common way I find recommendations (typically On Point or Fresh Air or On the Media) will talk about books in segments they are doing, thus piquing my interest. Then, I’ll get the book, I’ll read the book, and I’ll love the book (best example: Matt Bai’s All the Truth is Out: the Year Politics Went Tabloid, which was a recommendation of On the Media).

I haven’t been following up on podcast recommendations lately, so I found “What Should I Read Next,” a podcast by Anne Bogel. She has guests with very different reading tastes and asks them about books they’ve loved, hated, and what they are currently reading. Then she finds them new books based on that. My favorite thing about this podcast is that Anne has “normal” readers like you and me on her show – it’s not a show with authors, or well-known people in the book world, so it’s very grounded.

So far I am really loving the format and the book picks. I shall get to reading some of them soon. (I need to find more reading podcasts that match my tastes, so if you have any you should drop them in the comments.)

 

booksareweapons 2Books as weapons

Librarians were important in the war effort during WWI and WWII. They provided books for soldiers to lift morale, to offer technical education, and often to help soldiers connect with the world they knew back home. During WWI and WWII, librarians were responsible for collecting 10 million and 17 million books, respectively. You should read the short piece on NPR if you’re a fan of libraries and history (hey, that perfectly describes me).

Recently added to my TBR

One of my favorite past time is adding new books to my monstrously huge TBR (it’s well over 200 books… I don’t have enough hours in the day and I don’t have enough years of life!!).

I have been fascinated by White Trash: the 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg. I first heard about it on On the Media and it pretty much has all the history things I find interesting: the intermingling histories of culture, race, and class. I’m also really excited to read Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. Again, topics I find fascinating: culture and how it impacts sexual ideals and sexual pressures.  Another Jon Krakauer book (I read Missoula this year): Into Thin Air. I’ve been researching Mt. Everest a lot recently since in the past week a handful of people have died trying to climb or descend the mountain. I’ve heard Into Thin Air is gripping, so it might be the perfect non-fiction book to get me back to non-fiction. Ok, I will stop writing about TBR books after this one: Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams. This one I got from What Should I Read Next as a “beach read” that still has great, well-developed characters you can connect with, AND a 1960s historical setting. We shall see if I like it!

A really fantastic YouTuber I found recently

Typically I watch either booktubers or family vloggers on YouTube. The other day I found a new YouTuber that is neither of those. Evelyn from the Internets makes more comedic videos based on stuff that happens in her life. I found her through the VEDA videos she was creating in April after I saw a link to her videos on Rosianna Halse Rojas’s Twitter. The one that made me laugh the hardest – like my belly hurt from laughing – was one about how Kanye West saved her life. Her video about Beyonce’s Lemonade album got featured at Beyonce’s concert tour. She also made a reaction to that a few days ago which is amazing (linked below). I haven’t watched all of the VEDA videos but hopefully I can make my way through them soon.

The cicadas are here

Have you guys heard? A brood of cicadas that have been in the ground for 17 years have started to come out. They are mostly found in West Virginia and Ohio, but will also make appearances in some parts of the surrounding states. David Attenborough’s video about these long-in-the-ground cicadas were my first introduction to what these cicadas sound and look like. I have already started to see them on the ground and on trees. Of course, nothing is as gross and aggravating as cockroaches, so I think I am good. However, the 17-year cicadas haven’t started “singing” to mate just yet. If you go to 1:52 in the David Attenborough video and listen to the noise the cicadas make you can get an idea… I don’t know if I am ready for that mental torture.

Great stuff in short

New currency featuring women and people of color. I am really happy they decided to not just re-do the $20, but to re-do a bunch of other bills. I love that Eleanor Roosevelt will be on the back of the $5! 

New national monument to women’s equality in D.C. I will be taking a trip to D.C. with my dad and brothers this June, so it’s definitely on the list of things I have to see.

Jeffrey Golberg on On Point with Tom Ashbrook about Obama’s foreign policy. This hour honestly explained everything I could ever imagine asking about Obama’s foreign policy and how he sees the world. If you’ve ever been stumped about how to think about Obama’s foreign policy, Jeffrey Goldberg explains it in terms we easily understand, and then we can compare Obama’s policies and ideologies with how we (ourselves) think foreign policy should be done.

The Lonely Death of George Bell by N.R. Kleinfield. This story is just, wow. It was first published in 2015, but I never read it until it was nominated for a Pulitzer. At first I was like, “This is way too long” but then I started reading and soon I couldn’t stop. A great piece of journalism, which also poses lots of questions about journalistic ethics (would George Bell have wanted this published?). 

This is what happens when I rack up all my favorite media things for a month and a half: 1200 words… hopefully I’m back sooner than this next time!

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As of late | March 17, 2016

 

It’s been a while, but I’m back with another post about what I’ve been thinking about the media I’m consuming…

News

New technologies at the library: When I told a librarian at my local library back home that I was thinking about going to back to school to become a librarian, she was supportive and told me how much she loved her job even after 30 years. However, she didn’t let me go without a couple of warnings about the future of librarianship. She said I should consider being a librarian if I’m passionate about technology and new innovation. She talked about how her job has changed: the library has had a decline in circulation so they’re focusing on new ventures to get patrons, such as 3D-printers, e-books, and other technologies. Librarians now have to be on the cutting-edge of all that is innovative because they feel that’s the future of getting patrons to step in the door. In this story, we see how people are using these technologies at libraries. The reality is that libraries need to change to survive and they believe this should be their new focus. I’m not sure if I am as into new technologies as the librarian thinks I need to be, but I can see how the technology has increasingly become important. And at least it seems to be bringing new people into the library. To me, libraries can be both spaces for books AND innovation, and just getting people in the door (for whatever reason) is the first step.

The biggest abortion case to come to the Supreme Court in decadesI watched a bunch of John Oliver clips with Thomas the other day, including one about abortion rights and the Supreme Court case heard a couple weeks ago. The decision has yet to come on the case, but I still think it’s important to be aware of the general facts of the case. Lawmakers and proponents say that this law protects women’s health and ensures their safety. As a result of HB2, which laid out new requirements for clinics (for example, wide hallways and admitting privileges at a local hospital), 26 of 36 clinics closed from 2013 to June 2015. There are now only 10 clinics in the state. Furthermore, 25% of women in Texas have to drive 100 miles to find an abortion provider and there’s almost a complete wasteland with no abortion providers west of Ft. Worth/Austin/San Antonio (see this map). I will definitely be watching for the decision this summer.

Podcasts

On The Media always ends up discussing things I’m interested in, but this past week they did an episode about all things bookish and lit! They dispelled the idea that e-books were going to take over the world (in 2015, physical book sales went up). To be honest, this was never something I really thought would happen – people enjoy physical books and everything (even e-book use) goes in cycles of popularity. I used e-books quite a lot when I was in college, but since 2015 I’ve been frequenting my library to get physical books. There are also entertaining stories about the biggest book thief, how a company is selling/recycling books by the foot for show houses and offices, and how coloring books got started as a political statement and typically mocked 1960s corporate America. I love OTM and they are always teaching me something new.

This episode of RadioLab about debate succumbed me. It really had all the elements  to grip me: a story of an underdog, a story of race and queerness, and a story of the power of words. I never knew much about debating before this (especially debate-speak). I also found it interesting to see the experience of children of color in a typically “white space” like debate. The end is interesting too, including what the POC debate community sees as a “backlash” and a consequence of Ryan Wash’s story. You should check this one out.

Another story that had the same tone (emotional and deep but also humorous at times) was Radio Diaries’s recent story about Frankie Lewchuk. Mostly, Frankie as a narrator is what made me love this story. He talked about growing up in the South (his accent is contagious) and his losing-est but still fun high school football career. Then, in the next episode about a grown-up Frankie, which looks back to his teenage years, things get way more serious and heartbreaking with stories about his dad’s past and stories about Frankie using drugs.

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As of late | February 4, 2016

American Crime – no not FX’s new “American Crime Story” anthology. The other anthology, ABC’s American Crime

I’ve been really into one-and-done television series lately. Television series with a manageable amount of episodes. Television series that I don’t have to put a lot commitment into. Next one for me: American Crime season 2. I watched the first four episodes available pretty much in one sitting (minus the first which I watched before falling asleep the night before). This series is just riveting. Its portrayal of sexuality and identity, privilege and money, and most of all: consent all have me super engrossed. I think the actors are doing such a fantastic job and the kinds of themes they are dealing with are so serious and important today. I can’t wait to keep watching this season. 

NPR’s Fresh Air has been on point

I’ve been really digging NPR’s Fresh Air lately. I only just recently subscribed but these episodes have been the most informative and insightful lately: An interview with Jill Lepore about the creator of Wonder Woman, who led an atypical life for the era he lived in, including an arrangement between his wife and his mistress to coexist. Or NYT reporter Trip Gabriel actually explaining and enlightening me on HOW THE HECK THE IOWA CAUCUS WORKS. Shout out to him (and Terry Gross for the questions non-politically savvy Americans would pose about the process). And finally an episode about China’s one-child policy with Mei Fong – what it meant for Chinese families and what happened when rules were broken.  I was really interested to learn that there is a 30+ million surplus of men who cannot find mates, that there were many children who went “unregistered” to the government and cannot even get a transportation pass, and how this policy unintentionally ended up helping a generation of women born in urban areas succeed in their academic and professional lives (if you were a daughter – and they kept you – all of your parents’ resources focus exclusively on you).

Stumbling upon a random fact about WVU’s favorite song

A really funny thing I learned recently totally randomly: WVU’s theme song (and since 2014, the state’s official song), Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver, with lines like “Country roads, take me home / To the place I belong / West Virginia / Mountain mamma, take me home / Country roads” was actually not originally a song about West Virginia but a song about western Virginia and possibly about some parts of Maryland. It features lines about the Shenandoah River and the Blue Ridge Mountains which don’t really cross into West Virginia. West Virginians love this song. Whenever I have been in public during a WVU game, I have heard West Virginians singing it. Regardless of this silly fact, the song is actually very good.

Why did Jubilee have to go?

You guys, Ben sent Jubilee home this week on The Bachelor and it’s depressing as heck. After all this talk about how The Bachelor franchise is going to push for more diversity, we dump one of the more interesting contestants this season and it’s what, week four? five? (Word on the street is that the next Bachelorette might be Caila, who is half-Filipina. Sorry, but you won’t get a better story than Jubilee’s – an orphan from Haiti, all of her family died except her, a war veteran… this is all you could ever want, Bachelor producers!) This piece from Fusion charts all black contestants in the Bachelor franchise. It’s not necessarily eye-opening because it is a well-understood fact that black contestants don’t do well on this show. I can even understand that the TV climate was different in the late ’90s and the ’00s, but seriously I can’t excuse 2010 to now at all. Look at all the cast pictures in the Fusion article and realize how little representation there is. I wish Fusion would do one for Latina girls in the future.

(P.S I’m still mad we got CHRIS so boring and so cannot formulate a complete sentence SOULES instead of MARQUEL last season. Still not over it…)

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As of late | January 19, 2016

Hello there! I haven’t made an “As of late” post in a bit so I thought I should. This post only focuses on TV and podcasts. I haven’t really been that connected with the news lately. So here’s what I’ve been watching and listening to that I would like to recommend.

UnREAL, a very unique television show

When I first heard of UnREAL as a concept, I was totally in. I watched the first three episodes when they aired, but then suddenly stopped watching the show altogether. This past weekend I’ve been catching up: I’m now on the penultimate episode of season one. I think one of the greatest aspects of the show is how it deals with and ultimately stomps on typical drama/romance tropes. Moreover, the contestant characters are three-dimensional and interesting (the LGBTQ character comes to mind).

Hands down, though, my favorite thing about this show is its main character, Rachel. Rachel’s constant back-and-forth between being a socially conscious and empathetic woman to a manipulative and conniving reality TV show producer is superbly handled by the actress (Shiri Appleby). I connect with Rachel in certain ways – I am not apologetic about my love for The Bachelor franchise, but I do know it portrays women and romantic relationships degradingly. Rachel, too, loves her job and is good at her job but knows it is not the best situation for those involved. Yet I keep watching The Bachelor and Rachel keeps working on Everlasting. I’m excited to see how this UnREAL season ends (and also how The Bachelor goes this season, too).

Mercy Street, a new period drama on PBS

I just heard about the new PBS drama Mercy Street, which focuses the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the Civil War. In this article, the filmmaker/producer of the show discusses what it’s been like scouting and filming in Civil War-era location in Alexandria and other parts of Virginia. I had no idea this show was being made, but now I for sure need to watch the pilot. The producer/filmmaker, Lisa Wolfinger, is a historian by training, which is fantastic news to me. There are also some very interesting actor choices (including a bearded Josh Radnor) and a producer credit for Ridley Scott. So long as this doesn’t end up a soap opera a la Downton Abbey, I hope to see this show on air for years to come.  

Making a Murderer, after I watched it all in a few days

Yep, I’ve watched Making a Murderer like (it seems) everyone else. I think overall the series is fantastic. Some takeaways after I was done: 1) I’m still in shock that episodes three and four are things that exist and happened. 2) I have the utmost respect for the producers – this series basically took 10 years to complete and that is an amazing feat to accomplish. 3) One thing that Slate’s Culture Gabfest brought up recently about MaM is how interesting it is that there is no real narrator. For instance, Sarah Koenig tells us her point of view in Serial and we never really got to fully know any of the personalities involved in season 1 (what do I really know about Adnan, Jay, and Hae Min Lee? Nothing, really). I feel like I understand the complex personalities of MaM a little better by having them tell the story with their own words instead of having an outsider (like a journalist or filmmaker) telling me who he or she thinks is culpable. 4) Finally, if Steven Avery did not commit this murder (?), then these producers were nearby the real killer for probably 10 years. I wonder if we’ll ever really know what happened to Teresa Halbach.

Fresh Air’s recent podcast episode about a woman’s search to discover her family’s past

Fresh Air’s recent episode titled, “A Family Discovers Its Connection to an Escaped Slave” had me totally enraptured today. In the episode, the host interviews Regina Mason, the great, great, great granddaughter of a runaway slave widely considered the author of the first fugitive slave narrative. I can’t imagine what this search meant for her – it must be very emotional and harrowing but also very empowering and important to know who her ancestor was. It was a great hour – it reminded me a lot of PBS’s Finding Your Roots aka one of my favorite shows, but with someone who is not a celebrity. I am constantly gravitating towards stories about genealogy and family history, especially pertaining as to how individual stories can add to the fuller history of an institution (slavery in this case). If any of that sounds interesting to you, you can hear it here or download it wherever you get your podcasts.  

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As of late | Dec 15, 2015

I’ve started really looking forward to making these posts, so I decided to make two this month. I don’t know if this will be a new thing overall, but I have a lot of stuff I’ve been consuming this month that I want to talk about or recommend.

I have loved On the Media for about a year and a half–it was one of the podcasts I automatically loved when I started listening to podcasts. Their Dec. 4 episode, “Lies, Lies, Lies” focuses on how people hold on to false claims even when they are proved wrong. It’s hard to admit we are wrong especially when it “implicates a part of our identity.” Basically, we use politics to express ourselves and if we admit we are wrong, that says something about our values.

Another great podcast episode I’ve listened to recently is Past Present’s 12th episode about Mark Zuckerberg’s recent news about his future philanthropy, baby names, and prayer shaming. Mostly, I loved the discussion during the first two topics. I thought it was great to get background on how Gilded Age businessmen went to philanthropy without realizing that they could do things to help their own employees. I don’t think Facebook specifically is bad to its workers, but it’s important to think about philanthro-capitalism in the way that the hosts discuss it. Do leaders of corporations throw money at causes without looking at problems they themselves are creating?

The next topic, baby names, was so great. I almost thought they’d start talking about how celebrity babies have affected how we name our kids, but instead we got a discussion about the flip from very common names during a time of conformity in American culture before the 1960s. Nowadays, Americans are more individualistic and live in a competitive world–we name our kids something different in a competitive world in an attempt to give them a little boost. I also really thought it interesting when they mentioned how parents before basic health care used to not name their children until they were a year into their lives because it was likely that many of these children would die and names meant attachment. Basically, if you love history and news, you need to be listening to this podcast.

Columbia Journalism Review’s 2015 list for Best and Worst Journalism is out… I agree with many of its takes on what made good and bad journalism this year, especially its take on millennials, Donald Trump, and live coverage during mass shootings or police shootings. But it has pointed me to other stories I have to get to this month, such as the Frontline documentary about Syria and Tampa Bay Times’s work on underperforming elementary schools (maybe I’ll give them a shout out during my next “As of late” post.)

This great Vanity Fair piece I read in an actual print magazine, but I found online for you. It features a U.Va. alum going back to her alma mater and trying to see how three key events: the murder of a student, the arrest of a black student, and the fallout from the infamous Rolling Stone story about a gang rape of a student have all played out in the year since all of these tragic events started taking place. I loved this piece because most of it felt like a behind-the-scenes look at what happened with the Rolling Stone story. I liked hearing what Jackie’s friends and supporters went through. I thought it was really interesting how they hadn’t heard Jackie’s story because as victim’s rights advocates it’s not really in their place to ask for specifics about trauma. They reminded me, in the way they discussed what was happening, that they were still young college students and that they were not women ready for all of this to fall on them. I thought it was interesting hearing how they felt manipulated by both the reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, and their friend, Jackie. And the author tries to tackle all of this as part of a bigger picture of the tensions “between black and white, men and women, aristocracy and democracy” at a university in the South.

The New York Times asked its readers to discuss how often they fear mass shootings might happen on a daily basis. The responses, put together here, are definitely bleak and really upsetting, but I loved that the NYT did this and was representative of different kinds of populations in its reporting. It appears that depending on your race, ethnicity, religion, and even occupation–you think about mass shootings and the possibility of mass shootings differently. I have to say, whenever I travel to a city with public transportation and whenever I fly (I did both recently in Washington D.C.–two days after the mass shooting in San Bernardino) I was definitely looking at ways I could possibly hide or escape. That is the truth. I know that the likelihood of a tragedy like that is minuscule, but it’s still such a frightful thing to see on the news, that it affects the way you view your day-to-day errands and travels.

Another post, another story about coal in West Virginia. Again, I am not stationed anywhere near coal (coal has not been mined in the county I live in for a while now). And there’s not many new facts cited about coal miners or employment in general here. However, I still thought I should link this story because the interviews are much more vivid than the last one and it’s an interactive piece so you can see way better pictures and videos.

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As of late | November 25, 2015

These are the things I’ve been reading, seeing, listening to, and thinking about in November. And 2016 is in one month, oh man.

Obviously the biggest focus this month has been on the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13. I’ve read a lot of pieces lately – it’s a big portion of the media’s output this month as well as what politicians are focusing on right now (discussions about more airstrikes, what to do with Syrian refugees, altogether changing the beginning of a Democratic primary debate, and of course, lots of ridiculous comments made recently by politicians vying for our votes).

I think the most eye-opening piece I consumed was from an Afghan-born journalist, Najibullah Quraishi, who got access to see how ISIS trains in Afghanistan. The videos are the most shocking – you can see children being taught about weaponry and teenaged boys saying they are ready to die for the cause. These are just some of the scenes he captured for PBS’s Frontline, which I must watch very soon.

Another big story that dominated the first half of the month: the campus protests at Mizzou. I was reading and lurking everything I could find, mostly because as a college student studying history, this was my focus. I enjoyed learning about the social movements of the 1950s-1970s, many which were started by students. It was like everything I had studied as a History major was reverberating in real life. Not only that, for my Telecommunications major, I mostly studied how the media affects society and vice versa. So let’s recap: the Mizzou protests were 1) smaller social protests as part of a bigger social movement -history! and 2) the protests at the quad started pushing back on the media that were on site to capture their story – telecomm/ media and society concentration!

Basically the Mizzou story had everything I enjoy thinking and talking about. As a result, I have a lot of links regarding this story and its multitude of complexities. First, the video from the quad. Then, identifying the people involved – which included a professor of mass media – and dissecting the comments made by student protestors and the student journalist.

For a historical perspective I love the Past Present podcast – a new podcast that brings the news stories of today and places them in historical context. Re: the issues on college campuses, I loved the third segment of Episode 8 about trigger warnings on college campuses as well as Episode 9′s first segment on Mizzou and Yale’s recent protests. What I love about these discussions is how they explain how free speech on campus has evolved over time. In the ’60s, liberals (to use a term), were the ones pushing for unequivocal free speech. Now, that has kind of flipped and since the ’90s, conservatives (again, to use a term) have been the ones pushing for absolute free speech on college campuses. That’s very interesting to me. My own university president, President Fuchs, also discussed the issues being raised across college campuses in his newspaper column.

Bill Simmons’ interviewed President Obama for GQ. It’s full of hilarious tidbits, including President Obama telling Bill Simmons he won’t get involved in his Roger Goddell squabbles (“You’re not going to drag me into your fights, man. Come on—I’ve got enough fights of my own”) as well as Obama saying he would’ve had fun campaigning against Donald Trump. And of course, lots of talk about basketball and sports in general. We might just have a future NBA team owner in President Obama (go to the Heat! who cares about the Bulls!).

A beautiful hour from On Point with Tom Ashbrook: Poetry Born in Prison with guest Reginald Dwayne Betts. At the mere mention that Kendrick Lamar influenced his book title I was in… and I’ve never really been a reader of poetry, but it really made me want to read Bastards of the Reagan Era.

Adele released 25 on Nov. 20. I am still not okay. I’ve listened to it probably 15 times by now, and there are some clear favorites: Hello (obviously), Send My Love (so catchy, I love the guitar), I Miss You (gosh, probably my favorite off the whole album, it makes me feel in love), When We Were Young (I sing this one at the top of my lungs until my voice cracks and I feel myself about to cry… it’s very attractive), and Water Under the Bridge (again, I love the pop-y songs and I love Adele experimenting).

Missy Elliott’s new music video “WTF (Where They From)”. It’s so fun to see her back. Missy has always stayed herself – lots of sci-fi elements, lots of cool choreography – and that’s how we love her. The one and only.

In reality news, Kelley Wentworth is the best, seriously everyone’s face when she pulls out her idol. And then the reading of the votes. I love Survivor and I cannot hide it!

The Challenge released its new season premiere trailer… and it is pure gold. When I first watched it, I laughed like a hyena at the end, which is an end-of-the-world conversation between two unknown contestants that has a normal voice saying “They’re playing games!” and a demonic, vein-popping voice replying angrily that “THIS IS A GAME!”. It is actually all I love about reality TV: epic ridiculousness.

If “THIS IS A GAME!” doesn’t win best quote of the month, Canada’s new PM Justin Trudeau’s comments when asked why it was important for his cabinet to be 50% women probably would: “Because it’s 2015,” he says.

In other TV news (not reality), Fargo has been insane all of November. I’ve been listening to Aw Jeez, a recap podcast that also talks about the symbolism in the episodes as well as the history of the 1970s. And the best news? Fargo has been picked up for a new season! Same with Luther, which is coming back for a bit in December! I’ve also watched a few episodes of the new show Quantico, and it’s definitely lots of entertaining action and nice relationships.

I haven’t read an entire book this month yet, just trudging along an 850-page monster right now. We’ll see if I finish soon.

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As of late | October 31, 2015

These are the best things I’ve read, watched, and listened to in the past month…

Timothy B. Tyson’s Blood Done Sign My Name. It’s always shocking and saddening to read about this kind of history, but I’m glad that Timothy B. Tyson wrote it. Other books I read this month: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (finally!), Mosquitoland by David Arnold, and The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.

Another school shooting occurred this month and it feels like nothing is ever going to change… but this piece will remind me–I still think about it–that every town has a story before tragedy strikes.

I’m always looking out for new podcasts to listen to. I’ve heard some of The Axe Files with David Axelrod. His recent episode with Mitt Romney was really great– in all honesty, everything Mitt Romney has done after 2012 has shed new light on his vision for America. Most of his ideas are normal and sound more like common sense, it feels very different after what the 2012 campaign made him out to be. I liked his takes on globalization and the impact it’s having on our economy. Basically he argues that the growing labor supply is what is stopping Americans from getting ahead. Hence, our economy needs to change, because we are never going back to manufacturing/production.

Fargo is back… and I am so excited. This is a great take on the new season. Since it is set in the 1970s it’s got a lot of history I’m really interested in. The ’70s were a time when all the change of the ’60s felt like they came to a halt–the characters feel more like the whole country is unraveling: morally, economically, etc. I just loved them showing Jimmy Carter’s Crisis in Confidence speech in the beginning and Nick Offerman’s character’s paranoia. It reminds me of the 1960s & ’70s course I took in college. I’m really enjoying Fargo because it’s a good drama, but I am also really enjoying it because of these historical references.

Venezuela is still in economic turmoil. My dad’s friend recently told him he spent less than a cent’s worth in bolivares to get a full tank of gas. I have no idea how the government can get better.

Gilmore Girls is coming back… to Netflix. I am both nervous and excited. On the one hand, I love Gilmore Girls, but on the other, I feel like every ’90s and ’00s show is being brought back. Is it just nostalgia, is it actually worth it trying to make these stories? I just hope it’s not forced… pretty much all of the main actors might come back so it might be nice to see Stars Hollow again.

I’ve been living in West Virginia for two months now and over time I have seen more of the political climate here. This piece is really interesting because it shows you how a mostly Democratic state (once upon a time this state didn’t want to join the Confederacy so it split from Virginia and became West Virginia) has drastically changed in a few decades. The author basically shows us some examples of that and why the state is changing politically. Before I came here I didn’t know much about Appalachia and what the residents here did for jobs, so hearing others’ opinions about President Obama and the state of our country is interesting. I may not agree 100% with some of the arguments they put forth, but it is also important to put myself in the shoes of others.

Hello by Adele. Adele is back, y’all and I am so happy. I’ve probably heard this song about 150 times already… I can’t stop. The album will be out Nov. 20th.

Brian Stelter did a great job on this piece, about WDBJ in the weeks following the shooting on live TV.

The Atlantic had an article about how we are losing webpages online. The article particularly focuses on one called “The Crossing” which was a Pulitzer-finalist 34-part series published in a now-defunct paper. After the paper’s website went down, so went the stories from “The Crossing” on there. It’s kind of bonkers how we feel that everything we put on the Internet will be there forever, but some things really won’t be there forever. That’s the problem we are facing in digital platforms now: we will lose some of the webpages on the Internet if they are not kept up.

After I read about “The Crossing” as an example, I ended up reading the actual story of “The Crossing” itself. I had never heard of the story and now I understand why it was a Pulitzer-finalist. The author ended up setting up a website for his stories after the paper’s website went down. So “The Crossing” lives on for another generation to learn about the event–until his own website is not kept up, right?

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