Friendmendations 7.20.20

I want to touch the light, the heat I see in friendmendations

Friendmendations 7.20.20

Hi. I’m still here! You may have noticed that there was no Wednesday post last week. That’s because last week was a chaotic pile-up of calamities — my toilet stopped working for two days, my apartment was overrun with mice, the faucet to my sink broke and somehow caused a leak into the apartment below mine — and it was very difficult to write while managing all of that. Also, I felt pretty bad, physically, which is concerning because I was exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. But maybe my body was just reacting to all the stress? I should get my test results back today and will know for sure if the virus played a factor in my exhaustion. I’m feeling better after a few days of sleeping near-constantly, so hopefully that was all I needed.

Here are some links, as per usual. I’m fired up about stuff, as per usual.

RIP John Lewis

John Lewis was a genuine American hero — Adam Serwer’s obituary for him in The Atlantic calls him an American founder. But Ari Berman writes in Mother Jones that Lewis’s greatest legacy, expanding Americans’ right to vote, is under attack.

Text “Senate” to 50409 for ResistBot to email your Senator for you, then add your own message imploring your senator to pass the bill restoring the Voting Rights Act. And stay vigilant: check your voter registration, keep up with news about voter suppression chicanery, contact your local officials if applicable, and for the love of God, get Mitch McConnell out of office. Fuck that guy.

Anti-Semitism: still a problem! Getting worse!

I came of age in the South, where the Jewish population was very small and my personal understanding of anti-Semitism came mostly from history class. But anti-Semitism never went away. Hate crimes against Jews have skyrocketed in the past few years as white supremacist views have become more widely accepted. So it’s important to discuss the situation with Nick Cannon, who was recently fired from ViacomCBS for his anti-Semitic comments on his podcast and has received messages of support from Diddy. Soraya Nadia McDonald, who is Black and Jewish, wrote a piece for The Undefeated about the intersection of her identities and the importance of calling out anti-Semitism even from people who belong to a different marginalized group.

For further reading, I recommend Lee Levitor’s excellent piece about the way Christianity is centered in discussions about anti-Semitism:

“None of this is about whether progressive Christians are ‘good’ people. Our binary conception of good and evil, rooted in Christian teachings about sin and salvation, is not terribly helpful when addressing systemic and generational harms. In the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel: ‘Few are guilty, but all are responsible.’”
Cancel the fucking rent

The additional $600/week unemployment assistance runs out this week. Here in New York, the eviction moratorium has expired. One-third of the country is currently unemployed. WHAT THE FUCK IS THE PLAN HERE? I should know better, and yet I’m still shocked that we still haven’t cancelled rent and mortgage payments. (With the exception of Ithaca. I’m so jealous, Ithaca!!)

So I was particularly inspired by “The Depression-Era Book That Wanted to Cancel the Rent,” the New Yorker’s piece on public housing advocate Catherine Bauer. It’s an odd comfort to know that people have always been imagining better systems than the ones we feel stuck with. An earlier American crisis gave us the New Deal, which would have made housing a public right if Bauer’s lobbying had succeeded. I’m still clinging to hope that this crisis will lead to large-scale improvements if we fight for them.

A little something for my coconutheads

Taking a brief break from salad content to introduce some coconut content, because I love coconut all year long and especially in the summer. I had great success with this garlic butter shrimp made with coconut milk, which turned out SO flavorful and didn’t require too much time on the stove. (Her recipes tend to involve a lot of ingredients, so I usually end up cutting one or two and it’s always fine. I omitted the bacon here because I’m pescatarian and I subbed soy sauce for fish sauce because it’s what I had on hand. Still delicious!) I served it with this coconut rice instead of noodles and I liked how it soaked up all the extra sauce.

I don’t know if you have any occasion to celebrate nowadays, but I have to recommend the coconut-lime cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World just in case. I’ve made them with margarine and with butter in the frosting, depending on whether I’m baking for vegans or not, and they turn out delicious either way. (But you should halve the frosting recipe because it makes SO MUCH FROSTING. Or, you know, just double the cupcakes.)

Another documentary recommendation

My two most popular posts are my deep dive on the way Britney Spears has been mistreated since she was a working toddler and my overview of the child abuse problem at Nickelodeon. So naturally, I’d been eagerly anticipating the release of Showbiz Kids since it was announced. Directed by Alex Winter, himself a former child star who retired from acting after the second Bill and Ted movie, the documentary allows current and former child actors to share their perspectives on their bizarre childhoods. Since it’s a topic I already follow closely, I didn’t learn anything new per se, but I appreciated the nuance with which Winter and his subjects presented their feelings.

Okay. That’s that for the week. I WILL be back on Wednesday for a Wednesday post, come hell or high water. And then I’ll see some of you behind the paywall again on Friday. (Sign up for the bonus posts and I’ll see you then, too! Plus, you can access all previous bonus posts in the archives!)

Signing off with this delightfully terrible character from actor Fergus Craig. “Dad” has been through a lot this quarantine, much of which is compiled in a Twitter roundup, but my favorite dispatches from Dad have been excerpts from the crime novel he’s been working on.

May you all be filled with such creativity and inspiration.