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“Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality.” — James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

The original intent of the 1619 Project was not to rewrite the historical record of our American mythology, but to provide context. Reading the amount of articles that have steadily come out either defending or, with increasing frequency, decrying it, it seems that original intent is an inconvenient motivation, a pebble in the shoe of the culture war gatekeepers: senators, op-ed columnists, historians, the media, etc.

The original intent supposes a disconcerting thought: the United States was founded on and continued to believe in a fundamental lie, a lie that has subjugated, disenfranchised, terrorized, and constrained the status of U.S. citizens simply because they are not white. The original intent of the 1619 Project was to present a supplemental reading of our history, an annotation that can be used to both challenge and clarify the gaps in the creation myth we tell ourselves, habitually, every time we cite the Constitution or celebrate the Fourth of July. …


It’s raining.

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Photo by Jide Lambo on Unsplash

On July 9th, I took a COVID-19 test along with three members of my family. It was at a drive-thru testing site. I thought they were going to take swab of a nostril, maybe go a little deep in there like when you’re digging for a booger. Imagine my surprise when the cotton swap turned into hook to pull my brain through my nose (I’m having Jethro Gibbs, NCIS-esque flashbacks here).

No warning, no explanation, just pain and the possibility of a nosebleed (for my mother, it was an actuality). It happened, we were handed a few pages stapled together explaining how to get our results and what to do in the meantime and if we are infected, and we were waved off. …


No wonder Europe disinvited the US from summering in the Mediterranean.

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The times are getting stranger and stranger, but there is something cold and, frankly, terrifying about living in a moment in the United States where getting tested for a contagious virus has become not only politicized, but also increasingly fraught and complicated.

With the nonstop COVID-19 coverage interrupted by nonstop coverage of endemic, institutional racism in the US, it’s easy to forget that we are in a public health crisis. It becomes downright forgettable when minimizing a pandemic becomes a partisan rallying cry for the President of the United States and his followers.

The rhetoric coming from Mr. Trump, supported by his protectors in his administration and Congress and underscored by his allies at the state and local level, doesn’t apply to him or anyone in his cohort (wealthy, powerful, mostly white, and male), but it has deleterious effects on the country, you know, the one frequently referred to but infrequently considered. …


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A particular exchange between Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, underlines the faulty thinking surrounding the relationship between governance and public health:

Senator Paul: As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all. I don’t think you’re the one person who gets to make a decision. …


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Update: on May 8, 2020, George and Travis McMichael were arrested and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault.

The video is clear. It is disorienting in its clarity. And you wonder, for a moment, if this is a found-footage film, something like a cross between Get Out and The Blair Witch Project. But it is real. That is the disorienting part. It is real. It would not be real to us unless we saw it; the truth would be obfuscated if not for the footage.

Watching it, even thinking about it now, I feel sick. Fear sick, with my heart palpitating. I want to outrun it, the trembling, the bile rising. When I first learned of what they did, anger enveloped my brain. It happens every time I first learn of what they do. …


Or, how I learned POC is the new PC term for CP

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Photo by arman khadangan on Unsplash

“I thought of them as people of color, because I knew I wanted to talk about race and class, and those things are so intertwined in our country and our culture…But I didn’t feel like I was the right person to try to bring a black woman’s experience to the page.”

The above is a quote from Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere, taken from an article concerning casting two of the novel’s central characters as Black in the Hulu adaptation. …


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But maybe not this close. (Letterkenny, Narcity)

Like a few billion people around the world, I am practicing a semi-enforced, self-isolation scheme called ‘social distancing’. Under normal circumstances, this scheme is my typical weekend, but when Sunday extends into Monday and Monday melts into all the other days, it starts to feel a little…rote.

Maybe, and this is a very loose maybe, you’ve started missing the stale air of the building you low-key dreaded entering for your full-time nightmare. Maybe you’ve chuckled at the memory of Dave rhapsodizing on productive emailing. …


Nobody’s watching, anyway.

With each Grammy Billie Eilish won, she appeared more uncomfortable. Watching from the safety of my couch, there was a palpable sense of polite befuddlement mixed with a strange disaffection emanating from the Staples Center every time.

This wasn’t the same aura from 2015, when Beck’s Morning Phases won Album of the Year over Beyoncé’s Beyoncé. Those final minutes had the same dramatic fatalism of a Twilight Zone episode — it’s not the twist that gets you, but the surprise that you can still be surprised.

The only difference between 2015 (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) and 2020 is the politeness-inflected wokeness of the Grammy attendees and nominees. When Eilish won Record of the Year over “Old Town Road” (you know, the song that broke records and was remixed by the biggest boy band on the planet), I expected some outraged faces, maybe a frigid look or two, or at least a painfully fake grin. Instead, faces wore stunned smiles, like when the flash goes off unexpectedly in a darkened space. There’s always a futile scramble afterwards to somehow stop what has happened, to somehow recapture the flash. …


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Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

A good fifty people attended the 1:55 p.m. showing for Joker at my local theatre. I wasn’t too aware of the demographic make-up until forty-five minutes into the movie, when a young white man a row ahead of me stood up and walked quickly to the end of his row. He removed his zip-up, draped it over the armrest of the last seat, and darted down the steps to the exit.

Any other time, I would have thought nothing of it, or if I did think something, it would be that he’s going to the bathroom and, oh, that’s an interesting way of marking your row in a dark theatre. This time, I tensed. I looked after him for a long time. I wondered how my sister and I would seek cover should he return and start shooting. Or if he had a knife and started stabbing. I decided it was stupid of us to always insist on sitting near the top row, in the middle, far from the exits. …


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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

My sister and I went to a Vietnamese grab-and-go and smuggled our selections into a fancy AMC to catch a matinee showing of Ad Astra. Despite two semesters of Latin, it took the title cards to educate me on the meaning. To the stars. Who’s going to them? Why? What are they looking for among them?

There is an ageless tale, of a father and son, the former a brilliant thinker and builder, the latter eclipsed by the deeds of the father. The son, either out of pride or out of desperation to make his own mark, disregards his father’s advice and flies too close to the sun. For a moment, he is a god. After that, he is forever and finally a man who cannot accept the limits of his ambition. He crashes into the sea, dead. …

About

Herapocrypha

All the musings of an anxious human with an overactive imagination and a tendency to procrastinate.

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