Senator Kamala Harris formally kicked off her presidential campaign at a rally in her hometown of Oakland Sunday.
Senator Kamala Harris formally kicked off her presidential campaign at a rally in her hometown of Oakland Sunday.
Senator Kamala Harris formally kicked off her presidential campaign at a rally in her hometown of Oakland Sunday.
White House officials dangled the possibility of another partial shutdown next month.
An undocumented worker who was fired from one of President Trump’s golf courses over the weekend said he believes Trump knew undocumented people worked at his various clubs.
Two days after a dam break left at least 58 dead, residents of Brumadinho are forced to evacuate again, while experts warn that the regulatory system is flawed.
A daughter’s smile and a son’s smirk are expressions that the grieving Ernest family will never see again.
Reading is one of the best solutions to a rainy day, cancelled plans, and maybe even the state of our world. Whether you’re an activist or just want to take a deep dive into an issue you’re passionate about — immigration, racial justice, gun control —a book is a great tool.
The catalog of books coming out in 2019 is jam-packed with powerful writers and activists who are encouraging conversations in the hopes of creating a more inclusive, just society. Some, like Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and Valerie Jarrett’s memoir, Finding My Voice, draw from direct experiences — at refugee camps, the White House, and other places around the world.
In the below books, you’ll hear from women’s rights trailblazer Gloria Steinem, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Shannon Watts, former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue Elaine Welteroth, who helped prove teenage girls in this country care about both fashion and politics.
Some books provide an escape from the never-ending news cycle while others rejuvenate your desire to protest on the streets, call your representatives, vote in upcoming elections, and continue the work of 2018.
Whether you’re interested in learning more about the LGBTQ movement, introducing a young reader to the power of community protests, or finding a YA book that features a Muslim American protagonist, consider adding these books to your TBR pile:
In her second book, We Are Displaced, education activist Malala Yousafzai begins with her experience of being internally displaced and eventually relocating to England — far from her home in Pakistan. The book also features stories from refugee girls from around the world who, despite their devastating circumstances, demonstrate resilience and hope.
Memes are known to magnify and poke fun at pop culture moments, but technologist, writer, and artist An Xiao Mina makes the case that they play a role in today’s politics, as well. While activists in China use them to evade censorship, certain governments and hate groups utilize memes to spread propaganda, according to Mina. Meme culture is engraved in our feeds and conversations, but this book takes a deeper look at the power pictures and hashtags can have.
This book is a collection of interviews between American poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren and various civil rights leaders, including James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Ralph Waldo Ellison, and Roy Wilkins. Although excerpts of those conversations have previously been published in Penn Warren’s Who Speaks for the Negro?, this is the first time they will be released in their full, original form.
Follow the story of a young black girl who raises her hands on a regular basis — to play peek-a-boo and get dressed. When she gets older, the daily action takes on a more powerful meaning when she stands in solidarity with her friends and community at a protest. Parents and children, especially black children, will feel empowered and inspired to make a difference after reading McDaniel’s debut picture book.
In Reclaiming Our Space, social worker and activist Feminista Jones explores how black feminists are using social media to build movements, communities, and platforms to discuss feminism. To better understand the power and innovative nature of hashtags and movements like #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackGirlMagic, and #SayHerName, you’ll want to read Jones’ latest work.
Engaging with politics and social justice issues, whether it’s climate change, race, or gender, can feel like work (and it is). Adrienne maree brown makes the case that you can feel good while doing so, hence the term, “pleasure activism.” In addition to brown, you’ll read published essays by feminists Audre Lorde and Joan Morgan, as well as an interview with Cara Page, the former executive director of the Audre Lorde Project. They and other contributors will challenge you to rethink your approach to changing the world.
Danielle Sered is the executive director of Common Justice, a restorative justice program of the Vera Institute of Justice. In her book, Until We Reckon, she offers ideas on how to help end the mass incarceration of Americans who’ve committed violent offenses. It’s a must-read for people advocating to reform the criminal justice system.
Brought to you by the bestselling author of Love, Hate, & Other Filters, this book follows Layla Amin, a Muslim-American who leads a revolution when she and her family are forced into an internment camp in the U.S. Set in the very near future, this book will inspire readers to fight against Islamophobic rhetoric and politics, ensuring this scenario remains a work of fiction.
You may want to treat everyone with respect and dignity, and maybe you’ve even made efforts to promote equality, but unconscious racial bias can still influence your perception and behavior, which manifests in classrooms, streets, and prisons. In her book Biased, Jennifer Eberhardt, a professor of psychology at Stanford, offers suggestions to organizations and individuals on how to address unconscious bias.
Valerie Jarrett’s life was forever changed when she interviewed Michelle Obama (then Robinson) for a city government job. She just didn’t know it yet. Jarrett’s memoir, Finding My Voice, follows her journey to becoming a senior advisor to President Barack Obama, as well as an advocate for gender equality, civil rights, criminal justice reform, and working families.
History books have glossed over indigenous people, especially when it comes to their fight for environmental justice. In As Long As Grass Grows, you’ll learn about it all, including treaty violations and efforts to protect sacred sites. Dina Gilio-Whitaker is a scholar, educator, journalist, and Colville Confederated Tribes descendant.
In conversations about how to end gun violence, we’ve heard a variety of approaches, such as background checks and bans on assault-style military weapons. Igor Volsky, the co-founder and director of Guns Down America, suggests building a future with fewer guns altogether with federal and state buybacks. He also proposes a licensing and registration initiative and stricter regulations. Actress and activist Alyssa Milano endorsed the book, writing “Anyone who wants to build safe American communities must read this book.”
Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising (June 28, 2019), you’ll want to read this anthology. It includes first-hand accounts, diaries, periodic literature, and articles from LGBTQ magazines and newspapers from that time period, all pulled from the New York Public Library’s archives.
For a look at LGBTQ history — from the 1960s to now — turn to Mason Funk’s The Book of Pride, which honors more than 50 LGBTQ activists and revolutionaries, including Evan Wolfson (the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, the campaign that won the right to same-sex marriage) and Charles Silverstein (a licensed psychologist who got the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality as a mental illness).
Shannon Watts is well-known for being the founder of the national advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. In her book, she offers a closer look at what inspired her to start the movement and why women have innate power to become engaged and effective activists in their communities.
Fans of Teen Vogue and its former editor-in-chief, Elaine Welteroth will be thrilled to get a first-hand account of how the award-winning journalist broke boundaries in the industry, as well as the struggles and lessons she learned along the way. She was the first African American beauty and health director at Condé Nast and then became the youngest editor-in-chief in 2017. In that role, she integrated social justice issues into the magazine’s coverage, validating and empowering teenagers who care about fashion and politics.
Ibram X. Kendi’s memoir not only challenges readers to think about what constitutes an anti-racist society but also empowers them to think of ways to make one a reality. In telling his own story, Kendi includes history, philosophy, and even imaginative fiction. Kendi is a National Book Award winner, professor, and columnist.
Anthem looks like a promising step in a new direction for BioWare, the studio behind Dragon Age and Mass Effect. But it’s not there yet, clearly.
Publisher Electronic Arts picked the final weekend in January to serve as the timeframe for Anthem‘s “VIP Demo,” ahead of a Feb. 22 release. Unfortunately, it’s been a bit of a mess.
Anthem is an online-focused game with “live” features that shift and evolve according to a schedule, not unlike recent favorites such as Destiny 2 or The Division. What that means is there’s a bunch of different moving parts, many of which are difficult to test inside the studio prior to release.
The stated reason for the release of a VIP Demo, as EA called it, was to let players “dive into the world of Anthem” a few weeks early. Progress made during the demo weekend won’t carry over; rather, the whole thing is designed to give players a taste of the various activities they’ll come across in the final release.
Of course, the demo weekend also served as a live test. Friday marked the first time the general public had any way to try the game, so everyone signing on at once (or trying to) gave BioWare a taste of what the Feb. 22 launch might feel like.
It hasn’t gone well. Players have faced excessively long load times; the inability to access certain unlocks or even progress in the demo; in many cases, people were barred from even starting up the game to begin with.
It got so bad that BioWare’s head of live service, Chad Robertson, wrote an extensive blog post on Saturday running through the demo’s various issues and detailing plans to get them fixed. There are three types of problems players are running into, according to the post.
1. Platform connections – this was caused by the spike in players entering the game when we opened up. Unfortunately, these issues did not present themselves during our internal testing. Investigations are ongoing, and we will continue to apply fixes throughout the weekend.
2. Entitlements – these are account flags that grant players things like their pre-order incentives and demo access. During the demo weekend, we identified a bug where VIP players with a specific combination of entitlements were being blocked from accessing the demo. We believe we’ve resolved most of these, but have additional cases we are addressing.
3. “Infinite loads” – this is occurring for some players, particularly when they transition from Fort Tarsis to an expedition. We saw this only in isolated cases during internal testing and believed it was resolved. Unfortunately, the problem is exacerbated in the real-world where differences with player’s ISPs and home networks introduce new behavior.
Fixing all of this is an ongoing process at BioWare, Robertson wrote. The data the studio was able to start gathering on Friday is going to be essential for making Anthem release-ready, from the sound of things. And for some players, that’s kind of what the problem is.
You see, the VIP Demo was framed as a buy-in bonus. To get a code, you had to either pre-order the full game or be a paying subscriber to one of EA’s “Access” services (EA Access on Xbox One, Origin Access on PC).
It’s not unusual in this day and age for publishers to make offers like this. Commit to buying one game or another and you can play in that game’s pre-launch beta test. In cases when those tests are open to the public, a pre-order often gets you more time than the general public, as is the case with Anthem (there’s an “Open Demo” running from Feb. 1-3).
The problem, as many have pointed out, is EA’s decision to call the “VIP” access period a demo. That word creates false expectations, some say. Pre-order players went into the weekend planning to sample a working version of the game, and so they were deeply disappointed when that wasn’t universally the case.
It’s not an uncommon problem for EA, or even the games industry. While the situation has improved somewhat in recent years, publishers are generally averse to transparency when they don’t have to be transparent.
Games take a long time and a lot of money to make, which means every single official utterance carries risk. Moreso than in many other entertainment fields, game publishers work hard to control public perception through calculated messaging.
Unfortunately, that means when things go wrong you get a situation like this: the publisher and/or developer facing a massive backlash because they and their customers had different ideas about what was happening.
Harvey Weinstein and Sundance have a history.
The producer had long been a fixture, picking up future hits and hobnobbing with talent. It was also, we learned in 2017, where he perpetrated some terrible crimes. In 2018, Weinstein sat out the festival for the first time since the ’80s.
In 2019, Weinstein had a presence at the fest yet again – but not as a power player on the ground. This year, he is the subject of Untouchable, Ursula Macfarlane’s 98-minute documentary about the abuses he’s waged on others over the past four decades.
If you’ve been following the Weinstein story since The New Yorker and The New York Times blew it open, Untouchable won’t have any new bombshells to offer. The stories are ones we’ve heard before, from victims who’ve gone on the record in other articles. The observations about Weinstein’s character and talent and personality, and the recollections about the toxic work environment he created, feel familiar by now.
And for all Untouchable rails against the systemic injustices that kept Weinstein in power, and the complicity of the people who looked the other way, it doesn’t really shed any new light on on the institutions or the industry that let him flourish.
What Untouchable does have is the power of these women’s stories, told by them directly to the camera. Though the information isn’t new, the camera picks up other details the printed word can’t: the long pause as one woman struggles with words she can barely bring herself to form, the tremor in another’s voice as she remembers how she tried to piece herself back together.
The fact that Untouchable is at Sundance this year instead of Harvey Weinstein is certainly a step forward.
The tales from others – like the male executive who remained with Miramax after one of his female friends told him she’d been raped by him – are less harrowing, but serve a similar purpose: All of these firsthand accounts make flesh and blood the people Weinstein affected.
Untouchable finishes on a tentative note. On the one hand, it presents the #MeToo movement and the Women’s March as a sign that times are changing – “If we could do it in Hollywood, people can do it anywhere.” On the other, it scrupulously points out that locking up one bad person won’t solve the problem.
It’s the part of Untouchable that feels the least confident, but that seems appropriate, too. Even a year and a half after Weinstein’s behavior made front-page headlines, even after he fired from his own company, stripped of his honors, and eventually arrested for his crimes, it remains unclear where we as a society are not just with Weinstein, but with other men like Weinstein.
As Untouchable was making its way to Sundance this year, The Atlantic published an exposé detailing sexual abuse allegations against director Bryan Singer, another Hollywood hotshot whose behavior had long been an open secret. On the first day of Sundance, news broke that Singer would keep his job directing Red Sonja despite those accusations.
The fact that Untouchable is here this year instead of Weinstein is certainly a step in the right direction. But the actual verdict isn’t in yet. Other abusers still have their jobs and their reputations, and defenders who’ll jump at any opportunity to wonder if these poor men haven’t been punished enough. We’ve still got a long way to go before anyone can reasonably claim Hollywood has solved its sexual abuse problem.
So Untouchable ends the only way it really can: with a voice warning, “It’s not over. It continues.”
In Binged, Mashable breaks down why we binge-watch, how we binge-watch, and what it does to us. Because binge-watching is the new normal.
If you were born a working-class kid near the English city of Leicester before Queen Victoria’s reign, then you may have been one of the first people in the world to use the word “binge.” Which, back then, meant “soaking wood so it swells and won’t leak in the rain.”
The first writer to record the word, in 1848, also mentioned Leicestershire locals had started to use “binge” for another kind of soaking: getting wasted. And that’s how it spread around the world — from alcoholism (binge-drinking) to excessive food consumption (binge-eating, introduced around a century ago), until finally, around 2014, largely thanks to Netflix, we began to talk of binge-watching.
But now, five years later, it’s time we reconsidered this nasty linguistic turn.
Yes, I know, this is a strange thing to say in an article that’s part of a series called “Binged.” English is democratic that way; enough people use a word and we all have to adopt it to be understood. But that doesn’t mean we can’t also fight back against a word that starts to sound a little queasy when you, er, binge-use it. (Trust us.)
The thing about the phrase binge-watching is it’s the only one of those three kinds of consumption where the meaning has flipped. Try telling everyone in the office you binged on vodka every night this week; you’d get fearful looks and a meeting with your manager. Boasting about binges that involve family-sized bags of chips and whole cakes? Your doctor may want a word about life-threatening eating disorders.
So why is it socially acceptable to talk about binge-watching the latest hot Netflix series? Unlike those other contexts, it isn’t really an addiction — not unless you find yourself on an uncontrollable, self-hating downward spiral where you have to go back to Season 1, Episode 1 over and over again, forgoing your sleep, your health, your job.
Spoiler alert: Even the Battlestar Galactica-obsessed characters in this famous 2012 Portlandia sketch did not go that far.
Synonyms for binge include spree and jamboree. Both of which would be more fun, if a little twee — later, guys, I’m going on a TV spree! If you want to get a little more medieval about it, you could talk about a televisual feast.
At the same time, modern English already has a perfectly good, positive, aspirational word used to describe consuming many pieces of entertainment in a row — it’s a marathon. These days, it seems, the word is most commonly connected to movies — but starting with Nick at Nite in 1985, TV channels used to call multi-episode blocks of the same show a marathon.
Why marathon hasn’t been applied to the streaming realm isn’t clear. Maybe comparing non-stop streaming to running 26.2 miles at a time when more of us than ever have actually done the latter, just sounds too much like a humblebrag. Binge-watching may have become popular because it is self-deprecating: Hey, I was just stuffing tons of crud into my eyeballs!
Yet we actually have more reason to use marathon in the Golden Age of TV, where plenty of shows that have better plots and production values than Oscar-winning movies. (Game of Thrones vs. Argo? No contest. Sorry, Ben Affleck).
Even if what you’re marathoning is Gossip Girl rather than The Wire, there’s no need to think of it as a low-nutrition, low-culture guilty pleasure that you’re “binging.” This scene from the 2000 movie Finding Forrester, in which famous reclusive writer Sean Connery boasts of having the New York Times for his main course of reading and the trashy National Enquirer for dessert, has the unapologetic truth of it.
The problem is that our language isn’t precise enough yet. There are at least two kinds of behavior that we mean when we talk about binge-watching. There’s the kind where you watch an episode, get sucked in by the cliff-hanger, and fire up the next episode even though you had other things you wanted to do instead: wash, rinse, repeat.
Sure, let’s call that version binging; there is at least a small element of out-of-control behavior involved. Stomach-churning, guilt-inducing procrastination is somewhat binge-worthy.
But then there are the times when your whole goal is to watch a lot of TV. You’ve had a long hard day, or it’s a rainy weekend, or you’re fighting off the flu. You just want to crash on the couch, snuggle up with blankets and a pet and maybe (just maybe) a significant other, and watch a show that isn’t hard to follow and makes you feel good: Parks and Rec, say.
Good for you! Own it! Treat yourself!
What alternative name could we could call this type of positive viewing: Treat TV, perhaps? My classy colleague Alexis Nedd proposed an even classier name: a TV retreat. Yes, we’re retreating from reality for a while, just as we do when we take a spa day or a hot springs weekend.
In both cases when we return, we feel relaxed, with an inscrutable grin on our faces from all the fun we’ve been through.
After all, given the word’s origin as a synonym for soaking, we could accurately describe a nice bath as taking a binge. There’s a reason why we don’t: It sounds way too negative for what it is. The same rationale should apply to the gentle, uplifting soaking of our poor overworked brains in the light of the big screen.
Float on and enjoy your TV retreat, everyone.
In the age of Photoshop, you never know what photos have been edited beyond belief.
But sometimes, weird optical illusions can occur. These photographic tricks leave our brain filling in the gaps in hilarious, weird, and sometimes raunchy ways.
Let yourself do a double take, because not everything is as it seems.