Hello! Happy February! It’s Black History Month, so I’m going to be highlighting relevant links in the recommendations posts. Very jazzed about this week’s!
In other news, I saw Parasite last week and have no WORDS for how exceptional it is. It’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen! It’s a masterpiece and you should avoid all spoilers, go see it immediately, and then read all about how they built (!!) that house!
This! Is! Incredible!
This is the piece I just said I was jazzed about: Channing Gerard Joseph’s fascinating piece “The First Drag Queen Was a Former Slave” in The Nation about William Swann, nicknamed “The Queen.” Read it! It’s so good!
Born in Maryland around 1858, Swann endured slavery, the Civil War, racism, police surveillance, torture behind bars, and many other injustices. But beginning in the 1880s, he not only became the first American activist to lead a queer resistance group; he also became, in the same decade, the first known person to dub himself a “queen of drag”—or, more familiarly, a drag queen.
Let’s dip just a toe into politics
I’m trying not to share too much election-specific content because: a. the entire process is an ever-churning Charybdis that will increase in intensity for most of this year, with or without my participation, and b. if you’re paying attention to political news then you already have a bunch of sources for this type of recommendation anyway.
That being said, The Atlantic’s piece “How Capitalism Broke Young Adulthood” is not about the election so much as it is about larger economic trends, and it’s a very clear explainer that I found informative and useful. (It references but does not specifically endorse Bernie — it’s more focused on framing the general perspective). I listened to a podcast this weekend where one host insisted that the American public will never accept anyone who uses the term “socialist” to describe themselves, so I found this piece a good counterargument to that kind of panic.
The federal government already guarantees single-payer health care to Americans over 65 through Medicare. Senior citizens already receive a certain kind of universal basic income; it’s called Social Security. While elderly Americans might balk at the idea of the government paying back hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt, they are already the grand beneficiaries of a government debt subsidy: The mortgage-interest deduction, a longtime staple of the federal tax code, effectively compensates the American homeowner (whose average age is 54) for their mortgage debt, thus saving this disproportionately old group approximately $800 billion in taxes owed to the federal government each decade. The economist Ed Glaeser has likened these policies to “Boomer socialism.”
… Social Security and Medicare were the product of a consensus that the economy had broken the process of growing old. Today’s progressives argue, in part, that the economy has broken the process of growing up.
One more link
“Raising a Person in a Culture Full of Types,” by Dan Brooks, was a really interesting essay that made me think! I am very guilty of the typifying behaviors described here and Brooks makes the case that such thinking is very limiting while highlighting how the internet exacerbates the problem.
Not sure if this will be interesting or VERY boring, but want to know about some food products that I endorse? Okay, first, Bigelow Cinnamon Stick tea is my shit. It’s not too cinnamony or spicy, which some other cinnamon teas are, in my personal opinion, just a super pleasant black tea. I drink it all year long, with a little sugar in it because my family is Irish and I grew up drinking only black teas with milk and sugar in them and cannot break the habit. However, I am trying to consume less added sugar in general, so I very much enjoy the freeze-dried mango from Trader Joe’s (not the regular dried mango, which has added sugars and is chewy, but the freeze-dried kind, which has the pleasant consistency of astronaut food). I tried another brand of freeze-dried mango and the pieces were so hard it felt like they would break my teeth. I don’t know what that was about.
After years of slowly forcing myself into it, I’ve finally embraced plain Greek yogurt instead of the super sugary flavored kinds. I drizzle it with maple syrup or sugar so I can add my own level of sweetness. My roommates got my into Fage 5% yogurt (which I guess just means whole milk?) and it is decadent. It’s so much thicker and more satisfying than the lowfat kinds. I particularly like cooking up this granola made with olive oil for a savory-sweet topping. Making your own granola is a game-changer. This peanut butter granola is delicious, and this grain-free granola is excellent if I ever want to exclude the oats.
DO NOT get scammed this tax season!
So I was a dipshit for years and thought that I should use TurboTax because it seemed easy and well-designed and popular. It is all of those things, but also a dirty trick!!!! You’re supposed to be able to file your taxes COMPLETELY FOR FREE and TurboTax DELIBERATELY tricks you so you pay for the state filing! “Reply All” did a whole episode about what a scam it is. They are a garbage company full of SCAMMERS! There’s a list of actually free filing services here. Get that full return! Sacrifice nothing!
Obviously this is a USA-specific problem, if you live in another country and your tax code isn’t an unholy mess, then just count yourself lucky. And I hope you enjoyed the weird stock photo of the concept of taxation, at least.
Okay, ciao for now, my beautiful croissants. I’ll see you again on Wednesday and then see some of you behind the paywall on Friday. Here is a 2-panel comic that is relatable in a bad way:
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