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News 06.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 06.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 06.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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Nic spent most of her childhood avoiding people. She was raised by a volatile father and a mother who transferred much of the trauma she’d experienced onto her daughter. The combination left Nic fearful and isolated. “My primitive brain was programmed to be afraid of everybody, because everybody’s evil and they’re gonna hurt you,” she told me. (Nic asked to be referred to by only her first name to protect her privacy.)

Nic’s fear isn’t uncommon in a country where valid lessons about “stranger danger” can cast all people you don’t know as threats to be feared, but she recognized it was unhealthy, so she took steps to engage with the world. As she grew older, she began to travel to seek new people out. At 17, Nic visited Europe for 10 days with her high-school classmates and noticed that people began starting conversations with her. “If people in Europe randomly talked to me, then maybe I’m not so bad,” she figured. “Maybe I’m not gonna die if I randomly talk to them.” So she took more trips and connected with more people. She was anxious about these encounters, wired for fear and expecting the worst, but they always went well. She found that, contrary to what she’d been raised to believe, these strangers weren’t dangerous or scary. They were actually sources of comfort and belonging. They expanded her world.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 06.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

At a 1988 conference of art historians, curators, ethnographers, and museum professionals called “The Poetics and Politics of Representation,” art historian Svetlana Alpers presented a paper on “the museum as a way of seeing.” The crux of it was that museums, by their very nature, invest the objects they display with visual interest. She calls this the “museum effect” and uses an example of a crab in a glass case she once saw in a museum as a child. In its mere presence on display in the museum was, from her child’s point of view, enough to entice her into contemplating it as a work of art and not a mere specimen, an arbitrary example.

Rather than seeing this effect as interfering with a museum’s pedagogical functions, Alpers argues that it is necessary to them. “It is very possible that it is only when, or insofar as, an object has been made with conscious attention to crafted visibility that museum exhibition is culturally informing,” she writes. Accordingly, objects in museums shouldn’t be overburdened with too much curatorial context but exhibited to maximize their visual interest. Viewers should be encouraged to follow their bliss with their eyes and, through this process, experience both an enhancement of their sense of agency and a refinement of their personal aesthetic capacities. Only after that might they learn anything about crabs.

“One measure of a museum’s success,” Alpers argues, “would seem to be the freedom and interest with which people wander through and look without the intimidating mediation between viewer and object that something such as the ubiquitous earphones provides.” That “way of seeing” — engagement unencumbered by context — is not so different from what social media encourage: We can scroll endlessly through images and videos presented as isolated fragments, looking for moments of spontaneous visual interest that we can commemorate with likes, comments, and reshares. And since everyone has social media space to fill, we can operate like museums ourselves, “curating” experiences and memories as unfolding works of art that most of all must look interesting. You can point the phone at things and conjure up the network behind the lens to impute potential significance to whatever it is you’re looking at.

Sometimes phones are treated as though they have disrupted how museums operate, causing them to radically alter themselves to accommodate the phone’s implications. But the pre-existing museum effect has also shaped how people have come to use phones. In other words, the phone, like the museum, is a way of seeing. There is a “phone effect” that changes what we perceive and implies a certain kind of interest. How people use phones in museums is not so much disruptive as it is clarifying of museums’ already established complicity with consumerism.

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

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Americans will eat about 2bn chicken nuggets this year, give or take a few hundred million. This deep-fried staple is a way of profiting off the bits that are left after the breast, legs and wings are lopped off the 9 billion or so factory-farmed chickens slaughtered in the US every year. Like much else that is ubiquitous in contemporary life, the production of nuggets is controlled by a small group of massive companies that are responsible for a litany of social and ecological harms. And, like many of the commodities produced by this system, they are of dubious quality, cheap, appealing and easy to consume. Nuggets are not even primarily meat, but mostly fat and assorted viscera – including epithelium, bone, nerve and connective tissue – made palatable through ultra-processing. As the political economists Raj Patel and Jason Moore have argued, they are a homogenised, bite-size avatar of how capitalism extracts as much value as possible from human and nonhuman life and labour.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 06.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In 2000, the race equality thinktank the Runnymede Trust published a report about the “future of multi-ethnic Britain”. Launched by the Labour home secretary Jack Straw, it proposed ways to counter racial discrimination and rethink British identity. The report was nuanced and scholarly, the result of two years’ deliberation. It was honest about Britain’s racial inequalities and the legacy of empire, but also offered hope. It made the case for formally declaring the UK a multicultural society.

The newspapers tore it to pieces. The Daily Telegraph ran a front-page article: “Straw wants to rewrite our history: ‘British’ is a racist word, says report.” The Sun and the Daily Mail joined in. The line was clear – a clique of leftwing academics, in cahoots with the government, wanted to make ordinary people feel ashamed of their country. In the Telegraph, Boris Johnson, then editor of the Spectator magazine, wrote that the report represented “a war over culture, which our side could lose”. Spooked by the intensity of the reaction, Straw distanced himself from any further debate about Britishness, recommending in his speech at the report’s launch that the left swallow some patriotic tonic.

The Parekh report, as it was known – its chair was the political theorist Lord Bhikhu Parekh – was not a radical document. It was studiously considerate. Contrary to the Telegraph front page, it didn’t claim “British” was a racist word. It said that “Britishness, as much as Englishness, has … largely unspoken, racial connotations”. This was the sentence that launched a thousand tirades, but where did this idea come from? Follow the footnote in the offending paragraph and you arrive at the work of an academic called Paul Gilroy.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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News 06.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Anderson, of Heritage, declined to respond to questions about the group’s collaborations with Hoffman, instead sending a prepared statement: “After a year when voters’ trust in our elections plummeted, restoring that trust should be the top priority of legislators and governors nationwide. That’s why Heritage Action is deploying our established grassroots network for state advocacy for the first time ever. There is nothing more important than ensuring every American is confident their vote counts—and we will do whatever it takes to get there.”

Hoffman, who formerly served as a town-council member in Queen Creek, a deeply conservative part of Maricopa County, did not respond to requests for comment. Kristin Clark, a Democrat who mounted a write-in campaign against him after the news of his troll farm broke, called Hoffman an “unintelligent man who wants to be a big guy.” She told me, “The Republicans here have changed. They were conservative, but now they’ve sold out. It’s money that’s changed it. All these giant, corporate groups that are faceless—it’s outside money.” In her view, “Jake Hoffman is but a cog.”

The spark that ignited the Arizona audit was an amateur video, taken on Election Night, of an unidentified female voter outside a polling place in what Kristin Clark recognized as Hoffman’s district. The voter claimed that election workers had tried to sabotage her ballot by deliberately giving her a Sharpie that the electronic scanners couldn’t read. Her claim was false: the scanners could read Sharpie ink, and the ballots had been designed so that the flip side wouldn’t be affected if the ink bled through. Nevertheless, the video went viral. Among the first to spread the Sharpiegate conspiracy was another one of Charlie Kirk’s youth groups, Students for Trump. The next day, as Trump furiously insisted he had won an election that he ended up losing by roughly seven million votes, protesters staged angry rallies in Maricopa County, where ballots were still being counted. Adding an aura of legal credibility to the conspiracy theory, Adams, the Public Interest Legal Foundation president, immediately filed suit against Maricopa County, alleging that a Sharpie-using voter he represented had been disenfranchised. The case was soon dismissed, but not before Adams tweeted, “just filed to have our client’s right to #vote upheld. Her #Sharpie ballot was cancelled without cure.” Arizona’s attorney general, Mark Brnovich, a Republican, investigated, and his office took only a day to conclude that the Sharpie story was nonsense. But, by then, many Trump supporters no longer trusted Arizona’s election results. Clark, the former Democratic challenger to Hoffman, told me that she watched in horror as “they took B.S. and made it real!”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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