Week In Review
The Week In Review rounds up interesting, inspiring or thought-provoking things I've read this week.
"How are you to imagine anything if the images are always provided for you? To defend ourselves...we must learn to read. To stimulate our own imagination, to cultivate our own consciousness, our own belief system. We all need these skills to defend, to preserve, our own minds." -- Adrien Brody
The Gambia's answer to Coco Chanel | Colin Freeman, BBC News Magazine
"If all it took were motivation, Tida Jallow's name might be up there with Mary Quant's or Coco Chanel's. Her fashion boutique in her village in western Gambia is not one that has outlets in New York or Paris. And her home-made perfume, a scent called Blue Feeling, won't be on the shelves with Estee Lauder this Christmas. But as we sat together outside her breeze-block shopfront, watching chickens and goats peck in the alleyway, I felt as if I was getting a pep talk from some high-powered fashion executive. A Gambian Anna Wintour, maybe. Life is all about what you make it, she tells me. Self-belief is crucial."
From Ms. Howard's Instagram account:
"What do you mean you already have 2 to 5 black models that looks (sic) like me? Did you say the same thing to the 50-100 white models you already have?...Growing up in Africa, I knew nothing about Black and White, we're all equal, it was United we stand! At least that's what my parents thought (sic) me and that's what I believe in...I'm personally fighting for more diversity especially more black models to be seen on bill boards (sic), movies, TV commercials, advertisements etc for us all."
The Environment & Politics
The Violent Costs of the Global Palm-Oil Boom | Jocelyn C. Zuckerman in The New Yorker
"The World Wildlife Fund says that half of the items currently on American grocery-store shelves contain some form of palm oil. ('You’re soaking in it,' went the old tagline of the palm-oil-based dish detergent Palmolive.) The move away from trans fats in processed foods was a particular boon for the industry—semi-solid at room temperature, palm oil emerged as an ideal swap-in for the partially hydrogenated oils formerly used to enhance the texture, flavor, and shelf life of products like cookies and crackers. Since 2002, when a report from the National Academy of Sciences found a link between trans fats and heart disease, palm-oil imports to the U.S. have risen four hundred and forty-six per cent, and have topped a million metric tons in recent years. In addition to its widespread use in processed foods, the oil palm plant, Elaeis guineensis, lurks in one form or another in many cosmetics and personal-care products, such as shampoos, soaps, and lipsticks. It’s also used in animal feeds and industrial materials, and, increasingly, as a biofuel...
Rising palm-oil exports have helped both countries make enormous economic strides in the past few decades, but the growth has come at a cost: deforestation rates in both places have been listed among the highest in the world. The habitat destruction brought about by palm-oil production has helped push scores of the region’s species, including orangutans and Sumatran elephants, rhinos, and tigers, to the brink of extinction."
No country with a McDonald’s can remain a democracy | George Monbiot in The Guardian
"...under the onslaught of the placeless, transnational capital that McDonald’s exemplifies, democracy as a living system withers and dies. The old forms and forums still exist – parliaments and congresses remain standing – but the power they once contained seeps away, re-emerging where we can no longer reach it...
One of the answers to Trump, Putin, Orbán, Erdoğan, Salvini, Duterte, Le Pen, Farage and the politics they represent is to rescue democracy from transnational corporations. It is to defend the crucial political unit that is under assault by banks, monopolies and chainstores: community. It is to recognise that there is no greater hazard to peace between nations than a corporate model that crushes democratic choice."
Free Spaces Can Help Us Fight Trumpism | Harry C. Boyt, The Nation
"In free spaces citizens learn political skills. They build civic relationships across divisions like race, class, faith, and partisanship. They develop public confidence. They grow public imaginations beyond group identities and specific issues. The citizenship schools are a powerful example. From 1955 to 1968, 800 citizenship schools taught almost 30,000 grassroots leaders literacy, nonviolence, community organizing, and history...
Free spaces also build infrastructure to challenge demagogues like Donald Trump, who threaten not only to implement authoritarian policies but also to privatize common things. So what can create free spaces? One key strategy is building the movement to revitalize civic purposes of schools and colleges."
The Mystery of The Stolen Klimt | Max Paradiso, BBC News Magazine
"Ten months earlier the Portrait of a Lady had been involved in a drama of a different kind, thanks to a sharp-eyed 18-year-old art student, Claudia Maga. While flipping through The Complete works of Gustav Klimt she had noticed a strong resemblance between The Lady and another Klimt painting, Portrait of a Young Lady, that had not been seen since 1912.
'The Young Lady had a scarf and a hat but they both had in common the same glance over the left shoulder, the same smile and the same beauty spot on the left cheek,' Maga says. She had photocopied and enlarged the two small photographs in the book, had drawn the profile of the Young Lady on tracing paper and put it on top of The Lady. 'And that was it,' she says. 'The Lady was concealing another portrait beneath it, the only double portrait Klimt has ever painted.'"
What Women Really Think of Men | Irin Carmon, The New York Times Sunday Review
“'I cherish women,' Mr. Trump has said. But this is not the same as recognizing women’s equal humanity. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg, quoting a California judicial opinion, told the Supreme Court in 1971, 'the pedestal upon which women have been placed has all too often, upon closer inspection, been revealed as a cage.' When we declare that men will always be brutes and women can only shrug from on high, we engage in what President George W. Bush once called the soft bigotry of low expectations.
Feminists’ critique of male power has long been caricatured as hatred of men. But it is feminists whose fight is motivated by the belief that men can be better, if we can make clear that they, too, benefit from a safer, more equal and more just world. We have little choice but to try — men still control so much, and besides, many of us love them."
The Baby I Lost, the Person I’m Finding | Leandra Medine, Man Repeller
"I looked into the mirror and apologized, first for saying such nasty things. I thanked my body for recovering. I told us that it’s okay to be sad. That we would get through this, that we’re strong. I tried to give myself the advice that I would give to my own daughter. Or to my best friend. I congratulated my body for getting pregnant on its own. I commended it for holding a baby for 14 weeks. I assured it that together, we would hold another. Several others!...
Without self-compassion, how can you possibly know how to receive someone else’s love? The doctors were right. I needed to take it easy, to relax, to not be so hard on myself. But that had nothing to do with how much work I did or didn’t do and absolutely everything to do with how I spoke to myself. How I let myself think. Believe."
What have you read this week?