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News 14.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 14.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 14.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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When it comes to memorialization, nothing beats a martyr—even when your culture has done the martyring. So it has seemed, anyway, in a nation where no fewer than twenty-six states—along with countless towns, sports teams, summer camps, and recreational vehicles—bear names meant to evoke those humans who came before. Between 1492 and the American Revolution, this continent’s indigenous populace declined from an estimated ten million to a tenth of that. One of the genocide’s lesser-known effects was linguistic. Perhaps a quarter of the earth’s languages in the fifteenth century, linguists say, were American. Lost to us now are millions of words, in thousands of tongues, that Natives used to describe the grasslands and gullies and peaks of the lands that they inhabited. And yet many settlers were keen on borrowing these words, even as they killed the people who coined them. Hundreds of proper names and place-words, or misconstruals thereof, were placed on old maps and remain on ours.

In New York, the first such word to be adopted by Europeans became the most famous one. In the fall of 1609, some weeks after Henry Hudson angled his ship through an inviting narrows, entered an expansive bay, and began exploring a broad river that would later be named for him, one of Hudson’s seamen wrote, in his log, that the river’s wooded east bank was known to the area’s natives as “Manna-hata.” These people, who spoke an Algonquian tongue called Munsee, had beat Hudson there by around a thousand years. Their forebears had left the Eurasian landmass some millennia earlier, striding over the Bering land bridge and gradually traversing the continent to reach its fecund eastern edge. They’d made their home in the deer-filled woods surrounding a sublime natural bay, whose depths teemed with fish and whose shallows breathed, at the start of the colonial era, with a billion oysters. In ensuing years, these people—along with their southerly cousins, who spoke a related but distinct Algonquian tongue, called Unami—came to be known as Delawares.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 14.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 14.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Justin Bieber and I have just met when I ask him something and he talks and talks—for 10 illuminating and uninterrupted minutes he talks. He talks about God and faith and castles in Ireland, about shame and drugs and marriage. He talks about what it is to feel empty inside, and what it is to feel full. At one point he says, “I’m going to wrap it up here,” but he doesn’t, he just keeps going, and that is what it is like to talk to Justin Bieber now. Like you’re in the confessional booth with him. Like whatever rules about “privacy” or the thick opaque wall of massive celebrity that people like Bieber are supposed to follow don’t apply.

He has lived a well-documented life—maybe among the more well-documented lives in the history of this decaying planet. But to my knowledge, there is not one example of him speaking this way—in a moving but unprompted, unselfconscious torrent of words—in public prior to this moment. I will admit to being disoriented. If I’m being honest, I had been expecting someone else entirely—someone more monosyllabic; someone more distracted, more unhappy; someone more like the guy I’m pretty sure Justin Bieber was not all that long ago—and now I am so thrown that the best I can do is stammer out some tortured version of… How did you become this person? By which I mean: seemingly guileless. Bursting with the desire to connect, to tell his own story, in case it might be of use to anyone else.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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Siebert died on January 23, 1998, at the age of eighty-five. His funeral, held three days later, in Philadelphia, was attended by a dozen members of Siebert’s extended family and three other people: Bishop; Clarence Wolf, the Philadelphia-based bookseller who had thought Siebert was homeless; and an elderly man nobody knew, who said that he remembered Siebert from the Cub Scouts. Recalling that day, Wolf sounded as though he were reciting a fairy tale: “These two young women . . . of very modest means . . . suddenly came into a great sum of money.” Then he got hold of himself. “The whole thing was just so odd.”

Siebert’s collection was auctioned off the following year, in a two-part sale at Sotheby’s. It comprised more than fifteen hundred items: books, manuscripts, maps, prints, newspapers, pamphlets, and photographs. Bishop, in an introductory essay for the sale’s catalogue, described Siebert as “the most knowledgeable Americanist of his time,” whose library was “probably the last great collection of Americana to chronicle and follow the frontier across our continent.” Selby Kiffer, a senior vice-president in Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts department, called the auction “monumental,” saying, “Fifty years from now people will still be talking about it.” The collection, he added, “electrified the Americana book-collecting community.” The sale brought in more than $12.5 million. As stipulated in Siebert’s will, his daughters split the sum. Each bought a house for herself, and together they bought one for Marion. No provision was made for the Penobscot people.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 14.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 14.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The last stranger Adriene Mishler hugged before the pandemic was a woman who may or may not have sideswiped her car. It was Friday, the 13th of March, and Mishler, a YouTube yoga celebrity with more than eight million subscribers, was driving back to her house in Austin, Texas. It was exactly a week after the city canceled the annual South by Southwest festival. A female driver in a tan or gold sedan scraped the side of Mishler’s vehicle and, instead of pulling over like a decent person, raced off. The yoga guru gave chase.

“I was not going to chew them out,” Mishler said a few weeks later, reflecting on the incident. “I didn’t give a [expletive] about exchanging insurance or anything — well, obviously I did.” But that wasn’t the point of catching the driver. The point was to have a conversation with that person about the importance of goodness and accountability at a time of global and local turbulence, and as Mishler pursued the driver, she plotted out the interaction in her head. She lost the car, then found it again as it turned into a parking lot outside a thrift store. Mishler parked and got out to examine the other car, which had damage in a location that aligned with where the accident occurred. She followed the woman inside.

“Hi, I’m so sorry to bother you, and this is going to sound really weird, but did you just hit a car 15 or 20 minutes ago?”

The woman’s eyes grew big, which Mishler initially took for a sign of guilt. But the woman denied it. And as soon as she spoke, Mishler could tell this person wasn’t the perp; she had accidentally followed someone else driving a similar car into the parking lot. Mishler was mortified and apologized. As they parted, the woman stopped her and said that she loved doing Mishler’s yoga videos. This is something that has happened with increasing regularity as the videos have exploded in popularity. The two women embraced. “Damn,” Mishler said in late April, reliving the hug. “Outside of my boyfriend, that’s probably the last person I was less than six feet away from.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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News 14.04.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Skagit Valley Chorale last sang together in person on the evening of March 10, 2020. Earlier that day, Skagit County issued a news release on its website recommending the cancellation of gatherings of more than 10 people. But the chorale didn’t see the advisory in time. The valley, a rural expanse in northwestern Washington cupped between the Puget Sound and the North Cascades, doesn’t have a dedicated TV station, and county officials rely on radio, The Skagit Valley Herald and Skagit Breaking, an online news site, to carry announcements. “Whenever I put out news releases, I’m expecting behavior change and common knowledge not to happen for days,” Lea Hamner, the communicable disease and epidemiology lead for the county’s public health department, told me. Businesses, schools, restaurants and other public spaces were open as usual.

Mary Campbell, a tenor who worked as the district manager for the libraries in a neighboring county, spent the day in discussions about how to keep staff and patrons “safe from touching things,” like returned books. She showed up at practice feeling stressed and tired — but knowing that 2½ hours of singing with the group would, through alchemy everyone felt but couldn’t quite explain, give her uplift and energy.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.