May 21, 2020 4 min read

#244: Shadowland

#244: Shadowland

Happy Thursday, loyal readers, and thank you for opening today’s issue of The Highlighter. A couple weeks ago, as VIP Summer was sharing her wisdom in a podcast episode for Article Club, I was reminded of a simple and powerful fact: There’s a lot of trust you’re giving me when I choose articles and

Happy Thursday, loyal readers, and thank you for opening today’s issue of The Highlighter. A couple weeks ago, as VIP Summer was sharing her wisdom in a podcast episode for Article Club, I was reminded of a simple and powerful fact: There’s a lot of trust you’re giving me when I choose articles and suggest that you read them. It’s all wonderful and generous, and if I haven’t said it lately, I’ll say it now: Thank you. I appreciate you, your readership, and the reading community we’re building.

Now let’s get to this week’s selections. Even if you’re not fascinated by conspiracy theorists, or wonder how regular people become radicalized to believe in the politics of the far right, I highly recommend this week’s lead article, especially if you care about the future of our country. I can’t stop thinking about it. The other three pieces are also strong. They focus on a range of topics, including the unacceptable rates of diabetic amputations in the South, the challenges of opening schools safely in the Fall, and the seemingly inevitable forces that drive parents insane. Enjoy!

+ Should we have HHH on Thursday, June 4? Yes, HHH is best in person, but we can’t do that, unfortunately. But if joining one more Zoom doesn’t sound excruciating, I’d love to see all of you, invite you to chat with other thoughtful readers, and give out prizes (of course). (If you’d prefer a collective silent reading hour, without all the banter, I like that idea, too.) Hit reply if you’re in!

QAnon Is More Important Than You Think

We can laugh at conspiracy theorists all we want. We can reject their politics, call them extremists, and deride their way of looking at the world. But this outstanding article by Adrienne LaFrance convincingly argues that QAnon has organized once-disparate conspiracy theories into a powerful force that is gaining power and threatening to spread mainstream.

Ms. LaFrance writes: “It is a movement united in mass rejection of reason, objectivity, and other Enlightenment values. And we are likely closer to the beginning of its story than the end. The group harnesses paranoia to fervent hope and a deep sense of belonging. The way it breathes life into an ancient preoccupation with end-times is also radically new. To look at QAnon is to see not just a conspiracy theory but the birth of a new religion.” (41 min)

+ Don’t be scared, but Republican voters in Oregon voted for Jo Rae Perkins to be their nominee for Senate in their primary this week.

The Black American Amputation Epidemic

In the Mississippi Delta, if you’re Black, have diabetes, and go to your doctor with poor circulation, chances are you might lose a limb, even though diabetic amputations are the most preventable surgery in the country. Dr. Foluso Fakorede, one of the few Black cardiologists in the state, is on a mission to serve his Black patients, fight against racist practices in the medical and health care fields, and disrupt longstanding beliefs that life outcomes for some Americans can’t be improved. (33 min)

+ This is Lizzie Presser’s fourth feature in The Highlighter. See also #80, #96, and #164.

VIP Phoebe is exultant after braving her work’s mailroom (while staying safe) to retrieve her prized Highlighter merchandise. The perks of becoming a VIP are real.

We Cannot Return To Campus This Fall

No, I don’t agree with Oakland teacher Harley Litzelman when he says that we shouldn’t try to open schools in the Fall. But his writing is vibrant, and his vision of the challenges ahead are spot on. I’m not a fan of his smug, pugilistic tone and his suggestion that only teachers know enough about education to make decisions. Plus his proposed solution isn’t good for kids, especially those who are most vulnerable. But I’ll give Mr. Litzelman credit: This is a provocative article that got me thinking. (27 min)

+ Thank you to loyal readers Laura H, Geoff, and Trisha for this piece. Educators, hit reply and share your thoughts!

Why Are American Children Treated As A Different Species Than Adults?

All parents want the best for their children. But only in the United States has this natural desire led parents to insanity. As Sarah Menkedick argues, there’s no need to invest in a “kid culture” that separates family from community life. Kids don’t need trampoline parks and summer camps all the time. But because we conceptualize parenthood as a project, and non-parents prefer that children stay home, and capitalism sucks every minute out of an otherwise healthy childhood, it’s not easy for parents to resist the hamster wheel. (18 min)

+ Interested in more? Ms. Mendekick’s new book, Ordinary Insanity, is receiving rave reviews.

Did you find any good articles? Hope so. Thank you for reading this week’s newsletter. Let me know what you thought by hitting reply or by clicking on the thumbs below. Also, let’s welcome our community’s five new subscribers, including Claire, Katie, Nathalie, and Mara. I hope that you find this newsletter a solid addition to your Thursday email inbox. (Thank you, loyal reader Phillip, for the referral.)

If you really like The Highlighter, please help it grow and get better. I appreciate your support. Here are a few ways you can help:

On the other hand, if you opened today’s issue by mistake and actually want the newsletter to disappear, please unsubscribe. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am!

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