Outside Reading — Representation edition

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Chef Francesca Hong Is Proving that Food Is Political by Esther Tseng

As noted previously, I’m lucky to live in a community that largely reflects the values I believe in most strongly. That good fortune extends to my elected representative in the State Assembly. Francesca Hong is co-proprietor of Morris Ramen, an exceptional downtown restaurant, and an all-around community pillar who put indefatigable energy into betterment projects before she had a government title. She also has a refreshing willingness to speak bluntly about the regressive fools on the other side of the political spectrum who are doing immeasurable social harm in the name of hoarding power and dollars. Esther Tseng profiles Hong for Civil Eats.

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Lost Time by Geneva Abdul

Geneva Abdul takes the recent release of a unaired 20/20 piece on James Baldwin, filmed in 1979, as an occasion to write about the ways the view of him as a public intellectual shifted over the years. More powerfully, Abdul considers the stunning and infuriating lack of progress on the issues of racial justice Baldwin addressed in the interview. It’s been more than forty years since his sat before those ABC News cameras, and we’ve made little progress towards an equitable society free from prejudice, or even a society prepared to roundly condemn prejudice instead of acquiesce to those who want to preserve that prejudice as policy, excusing the bigotry as merely a benign differing viewpoint. This piece is published by The New York Times.

Cat Person” and Me by Alexis Nowicki

As a general rule, short stories don’t become sensations in this era. An exception happened a few years ago, when The New Yorker published “Cat Person,” by Kristen Roupenian. At least among the intensely online, an admittedly unrepresentative sample set of the culture at large, the story was discussed exhaustively. I think the story is great, and my interest in the original discourse was minimal. In an essay published by Slate, Alexis Nowicki details her unique experience with the story and some subsequent revelations that revealed a previously unexpected proximity to the author. There are plenty of twists to Nowicki’s tale and an interesting consideration on fiction reflecting reality and vice versa. Nowicki’s essay launched a whole new round of fevered online discourse. Once again, the most sternly asserted reactions are of negligible value compared to the writing that instigates those reactions.

It’s Not Wages That Are Keeping People Out Of The Workplace — It’s Consistency by Hanna Brooks Olsen

Here’s another reminder that the reason certain industries are having difficulty recruiting staff following the extended shutdowns and slowdowns of the pandemic is that those industries haven’t taken the opportunity to adjust their practices to better serve workers. Focusing a little less on wages and more on scheduling stability, Hanna Brooks Olsen makes a convincing argument that labor deserves better than what they’ve been getting. This article in published on Index.

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