The final line of Audre Lorde’s 1978 poem, “Sequelae,” reads: “I have died too many deaths that were not mine.” The horror that unfolded in Charleston, South Carolina this week brought us nine more: Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Rev. Daniel L. Simmons Sr., Ethel Lee Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and Rev. Sharonda Singleton. Rest peacefully.
“The Charleston Murders Are Absolutely Terrorism” by Sultana Khan
When you say, ”I know” or “I understand,” and then add a “but” when it comes to tragedies like this, your point is already moot, Bill. You can empathize and you can philosophize, but you don’t know, and you don’t understand, what it possibly means to have someone in a position of privilege tell people of color that a marginalized community, which has been continuously and systematically brutalized, is not under attack from terrorists. Just as you would say, “I have 40 years of experience in the national security world” to justify writing about terrorism in all its forms, you must also acknowledge, “I am a white man, and my viewpoint is inherently different than the black community that has been affected,” when writing about divisive racial issues. And make no mistake, this is all about race. When your point is that words are important, all words must be carefully weighed and measured. You can be provocative and court charges of insensitivity, but you can’t credibly do so without acknowledging your own privilege first.
“Doggystyle” by David Drake
Frankie is incredibly prolific, particularly on his YouTube channel where he uploads rare Louisiana rap songs, hosts video countdowns and awards shows, tells personal stories, shoots commercials for artists, and celebrates artists’ birthdays. On his comprehensive blogspot, he writes track-by-track reviews of Baton Rouge mixtapes, an archive he’s kept since 2008. His YouTube and DatPiff accounts host his own productions, as well as songs and mixtapes by artists who would otherwise be invisible. He’s curated nearly 20 of his own Baton Rouge compilations, filled with songs that are difficult or impossible to find anywhere else. Although this massive archive has found a devoted following, that following is not very large. To use the terminology of the digital media business, Frankie’s content is not particularly “scalable.” In many ways, it’s an anachronism from the time before social media, an era when the Internet—and the people who lived most of their lives on it—seemed, well, a little weird. And there’s no doubt Frankie fits that description. Frankie never chased paid work from publications, nor sought approval from his blogging peers—in fact, he actively ignored most hip hop websites, self-segregating from the “rap Internet.” Instead, he wrote for a very specific readership: the rappers themselves, many of whom weren’t used to press attention of any kind. Artists including Lil Mista, Savage, Quikkdraw, and DJ B-Real acknowledged Frankie’s passion by reaching out in return. Frankie treasures a hand-written letter Young Ready once mailed him. His enthusiasm for these connections was real.
“The Death Treatment” by Rachel Aviv
In the past five years, the number of euthanasia and assisted-suicide deaths in the Netherlands has doubled, and in Belgium it has increased by more than a hundred and fifty per cent. Although most of the Belgian patients had cancer, people have also been euthanized because they had autism, anorexia, borderline personality disorder, chronic-fatigue syndrome, partial paralysis, blindness coupled with deafness, and manic depression. In 2013, Wim Distelmans euthanized a forty-four-year-old transgender man, Nathan Verhelst, because Verhelst was devastated by the failure of his sex-change surgeries; he said that he felt like a monster when he looked in the mirror. “Farewell, everybody,” Verhelst said from his hospital bed, seconds before receiving a lethal injection.
“Dear Spoon, Thanks For Playing ‘Metal Detektor’ Last Night. Love, Kelly” by Kelly Conaboy
Near the end of last night’s Spoon concert at Brooklyn’s the Wick, a young woman tapped me on the shoulder. “What was the old song they just played?” she asked. “I thought maybe ‘Car Radio’?” No, I told her. The song wasn’t “Car Radio,” a great song from the band’s 1998 release A Series Of Sneaks. It was “Metal Detektor,” the best song from the band’s 1998 release A Series Of Sneaks and, in fact, the best song they have ever written. Spoon’s best song: “Metal Detektor.” A song they pretty much never play, as far as I know: “Metal Detektor.” My favorite song of all time: “Metal Detektor.” I can’t believe it. She can’t believe it. “Metal Detektor”!
“The Members-Only Penthouse for Millennials” by Brendan O’Connor
Soon enough, Magnises outgrew the townhouse—the organization currently boasts nearly seven thousand members. (Most of those are in New York, McFarland said; there are around five hundred in D.C.) Magnises has access to the penthouse at the Hotel on Rivington from 12 P.M. to 9 P.M. almost every day: In the afternoons, it functions as a kind of co-working space; at night, it’s used for events and networking. “We have people that come in, they’re in the Lower East Side, they want to use the Wi-Fi, shoot a couple emails. We have people that come and have full-on meetings, that come do interviews. We have people that come to impress clients. We have people that are just coming because they’re new to New York—we have a lot of internationals that are new to New York and want to meet new friends,” Howell said. “So we have sort of the full mix, which is also what makes it so exciting. We’re not just a business networking organization, and we’re not just a social club. We cover the full spectrum.”
“‘Shit’s Gonna Hit the Fan’: Talking to a Billionaire About Class War” by Hamilton Nolan
Raising the minimum wage a lot across the board would make a big difference. It’s not the only thing, but it’s an indispensable part of solving the problem. Raising the minimum wage is very efficient. Everybody’s on the same playing field, it’s a very simple rule, it doesn’t require a lot of administration, you don’t have to negotiate anything. It just is what it is. And Americans today spend a minimum of $150 billion a year in tax subsidies that go to people not who don’t have jobs, but who have jobs, and are in poverty. There is no earthly reason why Walmart and McDonald’s and Walgreens and these other giant, profitable institutions should have one worker in need of public assistance. It’s ridiculous. And it’s not just getting them out from under the need for public assistance; it’s like, that’s what drives the economy! The person earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 isn’t going out to eat at restaurants. They’re not taking piano lessons. They’re not going to the gym or the yoga studio. They’re not sending mom flowers on Mother’s day. What good is this person in the economy? If you raise it to $15 an hour, they’re doing all of those things. And all of a sudden, not just business thrives, but small business thrives.
“How to Talk About Suicide on Father’s Day” by Ashley Feinberg
In every instance, from dad bod to death, the ‘likes’ will pour in. A disembodied click denoting everything from “lol” and “hot dad” to “cute pic” and “I miss him, too.” But whatever your social media dad-sharing platform of choice, you’re probably not going to see any smiling snapshots of a father who shot himself.
Just now, even just typing those first few sentences, I’m filled with an unspeakable, almost suffocating sense of dread. How do I describe the death of my father? Did he “kill himself”? Or “take his own life”? Neither of these sound entirely truthful—and that’s why it’s been so hard to talk about the death of my dad, both now and over the last 11 years.
[Image via Getty]