Happy Thursday , loyal readers, and thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Highlighter. Today’s edition focuses on race and health. The first two articles — a profile of a white nationalist and an account of the Crazy Horse memorial — offer well-written portrayals of the dark and complex con
, loyal readers, and thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Highlighter. Today’s edition focuses on race and health. The first two articles — a profile of a white nationalist and an account of the Crazy Horse memorial — offer well-written portrayals of the dark and complex contours of American culture. They’re both worthy of your time. If you’re more interested in food and health, you’ll enjoy pieces on the history of cooking and the dangers of sugary beverages. Go ahead: It’s time to read!
Your generous responses
to last month’s Loyal Reader Survey confirmed the strength of our reading community. You are serious, dedicated readers who appreciate well-written, thought-provoking articles on race, education, and culture. In addition, you value that the articles come from a variety of publications and provide perspectives you wouldn’t typically come across. Most important, you believe that reading helps us learn about our world, builds our empathy, and makes us better people. I believe that, too. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. Over the next few weeks, I’ll let you know my next steps for the newsletter based on your suggestions.
+ Question of the Week
Before Samantha joined the alt-right and became a white nationalist, she grew up in New Jersey and Florida, worked at Chipotle, and volunteered for the Obama campaign. Then Samantha met Richie, who cooked and danced and played the guitar. She fell in love. At first it didn’t matter that Richie quoted 4chan and made anti-Semitic remarks. But when he began arguing for racial purification and announced, “I’m a fascist,” that was too much. Samantha left Richie — that is, until she decided to look into some of his beliefs, to find out where he had gone wrong. Five days later, after watching YouTube videos and reading articles online, Samantha changed her mind: She wanted to become an advocate for the white race, too.
In this excellent chapter from Antisocial, Andrew Marantz (#115, #134) emphasizes that “there is no formula that can predict exactly who will succumb to fascism and who will not.” He adds: “We would like to imagine that, in the current year, the United States has developed a moral vocabulary that is robust and widespread enough to inoculate almost all of us against raw bigotry and malign propaganda. We would like to imagine that, but it would be wishful thinking.” (35 min)
Down the highway road from Mt. Rushmore, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the world’s largest monument commemorates the life of Tasunke Witko, best known as Crazy Horse. But the reality is complicated and controversial. In this outstanding article, Brooke Jarvis tells the story of the memorial, arguing that “sites of theft and genocide have become monuments to patriotism, a symbol of resistance has become a source of revenue, and old stories of broken promises and appropriation recur.” (25 min)
Truth is elusive in this challenging time of division, but one thing remains for certain: If you own an Instant Pot, you love it. So does food writer Bee Wilson, who argues that few kitchen appliances respect women as primary food preparers. At the root is “our collective failure to see the work of cooking as something important, and skilled, and worthy of our respect.” Unless, of course, it’s out at a restaurant, and the chef is a man. (23 min)
Given my love of my mom’s cookies, I’ll never avoid sugar altogether. But arguably the best health decision I’ve ever made was when I decided, nearly 20 years ago, to stop drinking Coca-Cola cold turkey. Therefore it makes me happy that more and more cities and countries around the world are taxing sugary beverages. The jury is out about whether these efforts will lead to decreases in diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, but it’s a step in the right direction. (18 min)
There’s no more of this week’s newsletter. 😢 Don’t be forlorn: Another one is coming very soon. In the meantime, use the thumbs below to tell me what you thought. Also, let’s please welcome this week’s four new subscribers, including Dave, Mara, and Ray. I hope that you find the newsletter a welcome addition to your Thursday email inbox.
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