We’ve had a full month friends. I finished up my German class, went to Strasbourg, did lots of ghost blog/website writing AND my friend Sandra came back to visit!
We went on long walks in and around Tübingen and stayed up into the wee hours talking about everything under the sun. It was just delightful. Ben and Taido went skiing one day while she was here, so she and Simon and I went on an extra long forest walk. Then the next day we all took a train to Ulm. It was super foggy and gray though so we ended up sourcing indoor activities which included a trip to a Museum of Bread. I kid you not.
When we first walked into the Bread Museum, there was an entire wall of jars filled with fermenting urine. There were even small jars that you could take and fill with your own urine to add to the display. Friends, I have no idea what that was about, but I promise you that we had a good laugh about paying to go into a museum that had a display of urine.
After the bread museum, we had some lunch and went and saw the most crooked building in the world. (it’s in the Guinness Book of Records) That was pretty much it for our tour of Ulm.
Ulm also has the highest church tower in the world but the top of it was covered in fog and also it was closed.
Anyways, here are some LINKS I’ve collected for you!
(many are keeping with the theme of Black History Month!)
This is a picture of me trying to show a little solidarity a few weeks ago with some good folks who were protesting the President’s Travel Ban in DC. The We Welcome Refugees Website is Grand Central Station for becoming a person who both welcomes refugees in the US and advocates for them abroad. I highly recommend getting on their mailing list and checking in with them often.
I read this article about snubs towards people of color by the Academy Awards and Grammys in the wake of Beyoncé’s not getting one of the major Grammys for her album. Most shocking to me was that The Color Purple was nominated for 11 awards and did not win even one. How is that possible?
Related, I appreciated this perspective from a British Arab actor who is weary of being asked to play a terrorist on screen. Is it possible that we are re-enforcing the wrong thinking of our current administration by making more and more movies where the only Arabs on screen are terrorists? One of the most striking quotes from the article was about how the UK is also complicit in stoking “white nostalgia:”
The UK industry, in particular, must similarly do away with its obsession with period dramas. Now is not a time to escape into the “bygone days” of a white imperialist Britain, but to look outwards at the contemporary world, portraying minorities in a way that helps to dispel social prejudices and bring communities closer together.
I resonated with this as a writer and an artist. Period dramas are guilty pleasures for me, but I want to contribute to creating work that unites rather than divides. I want to make (and celebrate) art that is for people of every skin color.
My most alarmist share this month is an article that I have not been able to get out of my head about the way our social media activity is now exploited in election marketing. If you’re like me, you don’t watch many commercials (or adverts), but when you do, you talk out loud to the TV about how they are not suckering you into buying whatever they are selling. But you know how cookies follow you all over the internet and you sometimes see something and think, “That’s a bit creepy that someone knows I want that,” but you’re not sure what could actually be done with that creepy knowledge. Well, this article tells you exactly what can be done with it. In general, I think that being transparent online is the way to go, but when I read that an advertiser now can know me better than I even know myself, I get a little wary. I don’t say that because I want you to be afraid. Wary is not the same thing as afraid. Wary is just being aware that the things that pop up in our feeds and on our sidebars are very intentionally there, and we don’t have to be so easily drawn in.
Um, I love Clint Smith’s spoken word pieces and this one was a good reminder that we can’t heap blanket praise on our founding fathers, because there were some glaring problems. (It is almost as if our country were built on the ideology of white supremacy.) Related, I want to read this new book on George Washington chasing down his runaway slave.
I’m enjoying Black Perspectives’ series this week on Malcolm X. (Random story: When the 1992 film on the life of Malcolm X came out, I was a junior in college. I became obsessed with his life and writings, and that movie is still one of my all time favorite Denzel Washington roles. Of course neither he nor the movie or director Spike Lee received Oscars.)
I just read this piece on knitting as resistance. It is older (2015), but I loved it.
My current favorite protest-y shirt.
I’m love love loving this Kirk Franklin song. I pray it as I listen to it.
That’s it for me folks! I hope you have a weekend full of long chats around the dinner table and other lovely things!
PS I’ve published mostly travel photo essays this month, but I’m getting back to my letters project next week. I’m excited to share more letters with you! I’m even putting together a small book of letters, so jump on my mailing list if you want to know when I release it.