Outside Reading — Ain’t That America edition

asbury riots
(via)

The Asbury Park Revolt by Katy Slininger

It was fifty years ago today that a few Black teens were horsing around in a destitute, civically abandoned part of Asbury Park, New Jersey, prompting a couple police officers to intervene, escalating the situation as only law enforcement can. And the city was engulfed in several days of civic unrest, the authorities taking every opportunity to deploy excess force against the citizenry and local leaders in the Black community explaining the foundational social ills behind the violence and actively problem-solving despite the willful indifference of the privileged power structure and entrenched prejudice. Writing at Medium, Katy Slininger details the history of the largely forgotten event, letting the parallels to today go unstated explicitly and yet wholly understood.

 

alec monopoly
(available for purchase!)

Standing Their Ground in Well-Manicured Yards by Adam Weinstein

Adam Weinstein finds an article prompt in the grotesques extras from The Purge who waved weapons unsafely at protestors walking on the street in front of their house. Writing for The New Republic,  Weinstein shrewdly and savagely demonstrates how the buffoonish panic of the immediately infamous couple is a natural result of and a proper representation of the exploitative bigotry propagated by political leaders of all stripes and brought to its ugly apotheosis by the lifelong criminal given the keys to the White House despite his second-place finish in the most recent presidential election. Make no mistake, it’s not the people marching through the streets with their fists raised high who are a danger to the public peace. The real threat is the legion of ill-trained people who love their guns like cherished heirlooms and have now spent decades having their base fears stoked by irresponsible miscreants who profit off the sale of bullets.

 

natt spil
(source)

I’m Not Ready to Go Back to Restaurants. Is Anyone? by Tejal Rao

In The New York Times, restaurant critic Tejal Rao writes with relatable melancholy about the absence of restaurants and the current difficulty of imagining a time when it will again be comfortable to sit in a buzzing, bustling establishment indulging in food and drink. Running through the article is a justifiable anger at the dire situation restaurant proprietors have been put in because too many political leaders — led by the oafs in the Executive Branch of the U.S. government who have predictably mishandled the public health crisis at every step — have abdicated their responsibility to guide society through this troubled time, leaving it up to small business owners to somehow develop epidemiological response strategies on the fly. We are in this situation of cyclical shutdowns — and therefore perpetually jeopardized businesses — because the emergence of COVID-19 in the U.S. was a solvable problem that our leaders simply chose not to solve.

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