Week Nine

Contrasting Histories of Genocide in Former Yugoslavia

Dara of Jasenovac seems like a filmic attempt at historical revisionism and denial of war crimes, while Quo Vadis, Aida? takes a different tact.

Link: https://hyperallergic.com/634129/dara-of-jasenovac-contrasting-histories-of-genocide-in-former-yugoslavia/
In sharp contrast to Antonijević, the director of Quo Vadis, Aida?, Jasmila Žbanić, has come out forcefully against this tendency to speak of “our” genocide against “yours.” Speaking for the necessity to remember all genocides equally, she denounced pitting a Serbian and Bosnian film against each other. In a recent interview, Žbanić said, “As for Jasenovac, genocide was committed there, and that is the greatest tragedy of our peoples. In terms of horror, Jasenovac cannot be compared to anything, and not one, but 50 films should be made about it.” She then connected the two tragedies thus: “The fact that Srebrenica happened after Jasenovac shows how much violence and crime are something that has not been overcome in this area.”

The Squandered Promise of Chet Hanks’s White-Boy Summer

Perhaps, in the end, we weren’t nearly as ready for it as we might have wanted to be.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-squandered-promise-of-chet-hankss-white-boy-summer
In an Instagram story posted this past Thursday, Hanks is seen walking on the beach. “You don’t know what’s gonna hit you. You’re not ready,” he says with a cackle, thrusting the front of his T-shirt, bearing the white-boy summer logo, toward the camera. Though I presumed Hanks was referring to a forthcoming white-boy summer “movie,” which he has said he was filming, the story made me uneasy. Hanks’s muscular frame, his shirt logo’s typeface, his laugh—all of these struck me as more forbidding than they might have initially seemed. Perhaps, in the end, we weren’t nearly as ready for white-boy summer as we might have wanted to be.

How Trump Steered Supporters Into Unwitting Donations

Online donors were guided into weekly recurring contributions. Demands for refunds spiked. Complaints to banks and credit card companies soared. But the money helped keep Donald Trump’s struggling campaign afloat.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/03/us/politics/trump-donations.html
“Bandits!” said Victor Amelino, a 78-year-old Californian, who made a $990 online donation to Mr. Trump in early September via WinRed. It recurred seven more times — adding up to almost $8,000. “I’m retired. I can’t afford to pay all that damn money.”

The death truck: how a solution to Mexico's morgue crisis created a new horror

The long read: How did a lorry carrying 273 dead bodies end up stranded on the outskirts of Guadalajara?

Link: http://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/apr/01/death-truck-mexico-morgue-crisis-guadalajara
To their horror, they were right. Concealed behind the polar bear’s anodyne smile lay 273 decomposing corpses. Still, what they did not suspect was that it wasn’t the drug cartels who had brought this grisly cargo to their doorstep. It was the state government.

Life Lessons from a Moab Trailer

What I learned about love, loss, and landscape over two decades of living in a 1961 Artcraft mobile home in the Utah desert

Link: https://www.outsideonline.com/2421817/moab-trailer-mark-sundeen-essay
I took up with a six-foot-one river guide named Slim, who drove a 1972 Ford truck and sang like Tammy Wynette. I told her I was too wounded for love. She said that was OK because she preferred to be single, and we drove across the creek to Susie’s Branding Iron to karaoke, where she sang “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” and I sang “I’m Gonna Break Every Heart I Can.” Although, like me, she came from the California suburbs, Slim equally embraced the scuffed boots and sheepskin coats. Our romance could find no more glorious set than a rickety trailer.

Unpacking the controversy at The Washington Post - Poynter

A Washington Post town hall meeting on Zoom with hundreds of staffers “went off the rails briefly.” The controversy grew even more over the weekend.

Link: https://www.poynter.org/newsletters/2021/unpacking-the-controversy-at-the-washington-post/
During the March 16 meeting on Zoom, the Post trumpeted its defense of reporter Seung Min Kim from anti-Asian internet trolls. Then another Post reporter, Felicia Sonmez, typed in the chat box, “I wish editors had publicly supported me in the same way.”

Inside America’s Most Interesting Magazine, and Media’s Oddest Workplace

The publication of the “Harper’s letter” attracted huge attention. Most people had stopped reading the magazine, which is stranger and better than you might expect.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/28/business/media/harpers-magazine-macarthur.html
The situation, widely viewed internally as insane, makes complete sense to those familiar with the recent history of the magazine. Harper’s first published an excerpt from “Moby Dick” in 1851, but has had a difficult couple of decades, sinking into obscurity as Mr. MacArthur battled the rising digital tide and his own staff. Now, Harper’s is the weirdest place to work in New York media and yet an unexpectedly excellent magazine that stands out in part because of its wide range, in style and substance, amid a homogenizing media landscape.

Insurgents Seize Mozambique Town, Killing Several People; Fate of Hundreds Unknown

The attack by hundreds of militants trapped nearly 200 people, including foreign workers, in a hotel in Palma, Mozambique, site of a major gas project.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/27/world/africa/27mozambique-insurgents-attack.html
After establishing some control, around 100 additional insurgents descended on the area, attacking villages along the way and cutting off roads leading into the town center that government forces could use to send in reinforcements, the contractors said. Insurgents then hunted down government officials and attacked government buildings.

Florida’s only lead smelter exposed hundreds of workers to high lead levels

Hundreds of workers at Gopher Resource have been exposed to dangerous levels of lead and other dangerous chemicals.

Link: https://projects.tampabay.com/projects/2021/investigations/lead-factory/gopher-workers/
Gopher exposed workers for years to levels of lead in the air that were hundreds of times higher than the federal limit. At times, the concentration was considered life-threatening. Workers described regular tasks that left them caked with dust, as though they’d been dunked in powdered sugar.

The Historians Under Attack for Exploring Poland’s Role in the Holocaust

To exonerate the nation of the murders of three million Jews, the Polish government will go as far as to prosecute scholars for defamation.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-historians-under-attack-for-exploring-polands-role-in-the-holocaust
The other part of that story is that half of the European Jews murdered in the Holocaust were killed in what had been Poland before the war; a Jew in Poland had a 1.5-per-cent chance of survival. Not all the killing was carried out, or even compelled, by the German occupiers. Gross’s book “Neighbors” documents the murder of sixteen hundred Jews by their Polish neighbors: the killing of one half of a village by the other.

Far-Right Extremists Move From ‘Stop the Steal’ to Stop the Vaccine

Extremist organizations are now bashing the safety and efficacy of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to try to undermine the government.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/26/us/far-right-extremism-anti-vaccine.html
In Idaho, the far-right activist Ammon Bundy helped to push for a proposed state law to ban any mandatory vaccines, although work stalled after the legislature suspended its work on March 19 for more than two weeks because too many lawmakers contracted the coronavirus.

For Biden, an Anguishing Choice on Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Five factors will influence the U.S. role and the prospects for peace after two decades of war.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/for-biden-an-anguishing-choice-on-withdrawal-from-afghanistan
“The expectation that violence would gradually reduce as we went into the peace process is not taking place,” Miller said. Attacks on American forces have stopped, but more than ten thousand Afghans—a significant number of them civilians—have died since the U.S.-Taliban deal, a senior Army officer, who is now on his seventh deployment in Afghanistan, told me. Dozens of Afghan soldiers are dying every day in what has become a “staggering” death toll, General Kenneth (Frank) McKenzie, Jr., the head of the U.S. Central Command, told me when I travelled with him to Kabul this month. Americans haven’t taken notice because Americans are not the ones dying.