Outside Reading — Photo Negative edition

Texas Wedding Photographers Have Seen Some $#!+ by Emily McCullar

Writing for Texas Monthly, Emily McCullar details the dilemma faced by wedding photographers in the state she covers, which presumably mirrors the experiences of similar professionals across the country. McCullar allows some sympathy for those who see their long-planned and likely expensive nuptials compromised by the out-of-control public health crisis, but she’s also accumulates enough details of staggeringly selfish individuals to stir the proper sympathy for the freelance workers who must endure callous threats to their safety for the sake of maintaining prospects for employment. In particular, the opening and closing anecdotes in the story are enough to leave any reasonable person aghast.

I’m the medic who the New York Post outed as a sex worker. This is the real story by Lauren Kwei

Lauren Kwei is a medic in New York City who became the target of the typically heartless faux outrage that is an enduring speciality of right-wing buffoons when a New York Post writer decided to expose her moonlighting gig peddling racy images on an adult website. Rather than cowering in shame, she has stood up for herself, bolstered by support from family and high-profile defenders such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. As many have pointed out, the only scandal to this story is that someone working an incredibly important healthcare job — and a dangerous one at that, given the, you know, global pandemic that’s happening — has to seek out side income to make ends meet. Castigating Kwei is akin to this week’s ludicrous tsk-tsking of Dr. Jill Biden for using the title that comes with her advanced degree. At their core, both arguments betray a core hatred of women that is a core principle of the political right. With graceful honesty, Kwei relates her experiences in an article published by The Independent.


Obituaries Full of Pain and Pleas: Wear a Mask by Julie Bosman

Well over three hundred thousand dead in the U.S. thus far, and we’re still in a scenario where it remains a matter of debate whether we should looking out for our fellow citizens through basic measures that include the mildest of personal inconveniences. The cruelty extends to grieving families feeling some amount of moral obligation to include calls for public action in the obituaries penned for their departed loved ones. Writing for The New York Times, Julie Bosman covers that heartbreaking trend.

Five Star Songs: “Angie” – The Rolling Stones by Tim Quirk

Years ago, Tim was the lead singer for one of the most beloved bands at my college radio station. (That’s a gig, as it happens, that he has again.) Now, he’s one of my favorite music writers. A couple years ago, he wrote an article about Bob Seger that made me completely rethink the artistic contributions of the rocker who almost shares my name while also providing a deep-dive look at the peculiarities of the modern music industry. More recently, Quirk has delivered reflections of the finest songs in his personal digital collection with regular posts on his Five Star Songs blog. Each entry is a delight. I’m sharing this one, I will admit, mostly because it’s my way of ensuring I will always be able to find the too-good-to-be-true anecdote about Keith Richards that Quirk shares.

Intimations: Six Essays (2020) by Zadie Smith

This thin collection find Zadie Smith addressing the current moment of lockdowns, shutdowns, and general discombobulation as society has been knocked silly by a widely mishandled health crisis. In her nonfiction, Smith is expert at melding philosophical wandering with telling, concrete details. She provides an accurate feel for this regrettable slice of history, making Intimations a valuable contribution to communal time capsule. Slip this is among news stories and bleak statistics to enhance the historical record. Other writers are recording the necessary particulars. Smith is her to offer posterity a reminder of what is it like to live in the COVID-19 era.

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