What's Good: Jun. 5, 2020

1312, more civil war, and an airbender.

Hello, good morning, happy Friday. This week the nation has been absolutely overrun by police violence. The police have, time and again, shown themselves to be lawless and indiscriminate instigators of violence with no regard for their duties “to serve and protect” the most vulnerable in society. Instead, they are taking every opportunity - knowing that they are on video - to beat, abuse, and maim peaceful protesters. Let me be clear: Black Lives Matter. Fuck the police.

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The revolution will not be televised

Surprise, it’s another Taylor Lorenz banger.

Jordan Uhl, a political consultant and activist in Washington, D.C., wanted to make sure as many people saw these videos as possible. Encouraged by a friend, he edited together 14 clips, including one from a reporter at The New York Times of an officer accelerating and opening a car door that hit protesters. The result is a two-minute, 13-second supercut that he called “This Is a Police State.”

Taylor and Jordan are both great, and Taylor’s piece makes an important point - the supercuts people are making of police violence are an important protest tool. We live in an age of disinformation, where it’s easy to find “reporting” that villainizes the peaceful protesters and glorifies the cops, but it’s hard to argue with videos of back-to-back-to-back gruesome images of unprovoked violence.

And these videos are changing hearts and minds, too. The more people see what’s really going on, the harder it is to keep up the tune that the cops are “just doing their jobs.” If this is their job, maybe they shouldn’t have one!


Is this securities fraud?

Brought to you this week by Kylie Jenner, “Inside Kylie Jenner’s web of lies - and why she’s no longer a billionaire”:

“Kylie is a modern-day icon, with an incredible sense of the beauty consumer,” Coty chairman Peter Harf gushed when announcing the acquisition in November.

But in the deal’s fine print, a less flattering truth emerged. Filings released by publicly traded Coty over the past six months lay bare one of the family’s best-kept secrets: Kylie’s business is significantly smaller, and less profitable, than the family has spent years leading the cosmetics industry and media outlets, including Forbes, to believe.

Is this a material misstatement or omission? Who can say, who can say. This is a long-form piece about the rise and fall of the Kylie empire, I was enthralled by it, I hope it provides you a some escapism.


I don’t need your civil war part 2, I guess

This week Tom Cotton did an absolutely insane thing, multiple times. First, he tweeted that there should be “no quarter” for protesters, which is, you know, an international war crime prohibited in many countries (including United States military manuals). Then he got an op-ed published in the New York Times titled “Send in the Troops,” arguing for essentially the same thing on one of the largest platforms in the country. And it turns out that he did so without the piece being reviewed before publication.

This upset a lot of NYT staff, so Ashley Feinberg wrote about it:

New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet certainly isn’t afraid of controversy. His first marquee hire, Bret Stephens, debuted with a stunning display of climate denialism in which he was forced to correct the only line containing any actual science. Bennet has published the ravings of established conspiracy theorist Louise Mensch and allowed Blackwater founder Erik Prince to run what was essentially an advertisement for private war. However, Bennet’s latest misadventure seems to have finally pushed his frustrated colleagues to the breaking point. What else he could have expected when he decided to showcase Sen. Tom Cotton writing a column demanding a military crackdown on protesters, though, is unclear.

And the epilogue to this piece is that things are getting even more insane, because Bari Weiss is lying on Twitter about the internal discussions at the Times. Obviously it is not unlike Bari Weiss to lie about things on Twitter, but still, holy fuck.

This is a developing story, I guess, so maybe there will be follow-up next week.


Beep beep, antifa bus coming through

First, so as to avoid getting your hopes up, let me start by saying there is not actually an antifa bus. But the Chicago Police Department simply refuses to believe otherwise:

But just around the time she was going to call it a night, Trish heard something come across the police radio that sounded odd. “All of a sudden there was this report of buses heading toward Illinois by way of Indiana with ‘protesters,’” she tells me.

At first, she ignored it. Chicago’s police radio had been hacked earlier, so there was already “several scanner interferences with music playing or a person saying obscenities,” Trish tells me.

Cody, a 24-year-old who’d also been listening to the police scanner throughout the day, adds that dispatch had largely been ignoring these interruptions, which included voices saying to “use deadly force,” and “shut the fuck up.” “But when they said ‘3,000 antifa were on 12 buses from Indiana,’” Cody continues, “they directly acknowledged it for officer safety.”

This is of course a story about dumb racist Chicago cops and the way that misinformation spreads within networks. Once an idea - even a provably wrong idea - gets situated, it can be hard to wipe out.


Black lives matter. Everywhere.

It’s not just big cities that are having protests:

Dorian Miles arrived in Havre, Montana — a windy farm town, population 9,700, along what’s known as Montana’s Hi-Line — just five months ago, a young man from Georgia coming to play football for Montana State University–Northern. “I was nervous about walking around,” he told the Havre Daily News. Like many small towns in Montana, Havre’s population is aging and, generally, friendly. But Miles, who told the paper his uncle had been shot and killed by a police officer in Atlanta, knew that strolling its streets as a young black man with tattoos and dreadlocks could be risky.

On Sunday night, though, he said he felt safe. Over 100 people showed up to a rally in Havre, organized by Melody Bernard, a Chippewa Cree Tribal Member from the nearby Rocky Boy Reservation.

This is a lovely story full of links to more stories and pictures of protests across the country whose participants went forward with them despite any fears that they might be going it alone:

Sometimes, like in the town of Alton, New Hampshire (population 5,335), where one woman organized a protest just two months after being hospitalized with COVID-19, only seven people come. Sometimes, like in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, there are thousands.

It all matters. It’s all important. We can organize everywhere.


Avatar: The Last Airbender rules

Things are hard, watch Avatar:

It’s a world dominated by fascism, injustice and inequality, where good people are afraid to act and leaders encourage intolerance, where revolution seems to be the only solution but also utterly impossible. It’s also a world where adorable, fluffy bison with platypus tails soar through the air. This is the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the 2005 kids cartoon that has suddenly become one of the most popular streaming shows in the country.

This article was inspired by a tweet (embedded in the article itself) that “Game of Thrones wants what Avatar: The Last Airbender has,” and that tweet is absolutely correct.

Even in the first season, Avatar deals with complex issues like modernization versus tradition, loyalty versus principles, and the difficulties of being forced to grow up too quickly in a world that is harsh and cruel. It is beautiful, it is well-written, it is fun.

This is your excuse to start watching it if you’ve been putting it off. Here’s a direct Netflix link.


Back to the howling old owl in the woods

I cannot make this shit up:

Madrid (AFP) - A porn star has been arrested on manslaughter charges following a man's death during a mystic ritual in which he inhaled psychedelic toad venom, Spanish police said Wednesday.


AreTeeJAY!

Run the Jewels 4 came out on surprise early release on Wednesday, and it rules:

In other words, right on schedule, Run the Jewels has forged from the embers of burning democracy some soulful new sounds to pregame on the way to the day’s demonstration. While RTJ4 sits sturdily alongside anything else in the duo’s discography, there could be no more relevant music for right now. This is 2020 in audio form, an incendiary album that sounds like it was written and recorded last weekend, but built to last long after whatever is about to happen happens.

Here is a Spotify embed:

Here is a link to their website where you can download RTJ4 (and their past albums) for free.


You deserve some good animal content


Alright, have a good weekend. Please stay inside.

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