This Week’s Best Of: Dolly, Durban, Rent Control and Gay Symbiote Slash Fic

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The student: Since the beginning of time, man has reached for greater heights.

The talking head: The situation has become both more volatile and more unpredictable than before.

The historian: [FILL-IN-THE-BLANK HISTORICAL EVENT OR PROCESS] was the result of the interplay of a complex and diverse array of factors.

These are just some of the lazy clichés and madlib postures that come to mind on this gray Friday morning in October.  We could be on the verge of a Blue Wave that decisively thwarts the political momentum of the Creamsicle Antichrist… or a soul-crushing letdown in which the unholy trinity of Citizens United, voter suppression, and white nationalism ensures that American democracy is, perhaps, past the point of no return.  In essence, irretrievable.

As De La Soul once said, stakes is high.

Students in American history courses often ask how people ever thought Jim Crow was okay.  The concept of rigid, legally enforced racial segregation goes against their fundamental moral sensibilities.  More importantly, they ask: how did people let disenfranchisement happen? How did the powers-that-be get away with it?  One need look no further than the state of Georgia to see how.  Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for Governor, is the current Secretary of State, and, amazingly, he is allowed to oversee his own race for office, shamelessly purging voters, many of them African American, from the voting rolls — among many other kinds of chicanery.  If Democrat Stacey Abrams narrowly loses her bid for Governor, Mr. Kemp will have Mr. Crow to thank for it.

However, not all is lost — yet.  People across America are working the shoe-leather to get their fellow citizens out to vote to arrest the nation’s alarming slide into authoritarianism.  And a lot of smart people keep writing great stuff, as we saw this week in pieces on Ted Cruz’s creepy debate-kid persona and the rise of new protest movements in America.  There was the heartbreaking testimonial from Ady Barkan, a writer, activist, and parent who is reflecting on the future as he faces final days with the brutal disease ALS.  And there is a wonderful essay on the gender and class politics of Dolly Parton, among many other great pieces below.

Living with Dolly Parton (LongReads)

The Brown Berets Got Their Start After Police Violence (Teen Vogue)

I’m Dying. Here Is What I Refuse to Accept With Serenity. (The Nation)

The Republican party is about to face the wrath of women (Guardian)

It Crawled from the College Debate Circuit (ToM)

Why Public Service Loan Forgiveness Is So Unforgiving (NPR)

The Deceptive, Shameful, Lucratively Funded War Against Rent Control (New Republic)

How the Soviets invented the internet and why it didn’t work (Aeon)

Why Kodak Died and Fujifilm Thrived: A Tale of Two Film Companies (Petapixel)

John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’ Was Supposed to Be a Warning. We Didn’t Heed It. We Didn’t Even Understand It. (The Ringer)

I Am So Sick of Being Sick (The Mighty)

Emily Dust visits Durban, South Africa, home of the sparse, dark, hypnotic genre ‘gqom’ (Global Beats)

I Came Out to My Parents Over Kimchi Fried Rice (Food 52)

Venom Review: Sony Made a Symbiote Slash Fic (Birth. Movies. Death.)

The Dawn of Television Promised Diversity. Here’s Why We Got “Leave It to Beaver” Instead (Smithsonian)

Alaska Gov Dramatically Drops Re-Elect Bid, Hoping To Throw Support To Dem (TPM)

Experts Say Vast Deserts, Absence Of Life, May Indicate Mars Was Once Run By Conservatives (Outabouter)

Teen baked her grandfather’s ashes into sugar cookies and brought them to school, police say (Los Angeles Times)

Storming the Casino: Dawson Barrett on the Rise of Today’s New Resistance Movements (ToM)