Welcome to #90! Rest assured: Today’s issue includes no articles about Rachel Dolezal. Instead, you’ll meet seven-year-old Tyshaun McPhatter, Teen Vogue’s Adrienne Keene, and the photogenic dog Primo. The second half of today’s digest focuses on Google’s bid to build a universal online library and o
Welcome to #90! Rest assured: Today’s issue includes no articles about Rachel Dolezal. Instead, you’ll meet seven-year-old Tyshaun McPhatter, Teen Vogue’s Adrienne Keene, and the photogenic dog Primo. The second half of today’s digest focuses on Google’s bid to build a universal online library and on Chechnya’s draconian initiative to eliminate gay people. Indeed, today’s articles aren’t the cheeriest, but I hope you’ll read them and then talk about them with your friends and family.
This is a sad, heartbreaking story. But please read it. Seven-year-old Tyshaun McPhatter lives in Washington D.C., goes to the local charter school, and plays video games. One day at school, shots ring out, and students and teachers go on lockdown. This is not an unusual experience. Later that night, Tyshaun learns that his father was dead.
Teen Vogue (also #71) again makes a strong contribution with this piece, an article by Adrienne Keene that challenges President Donald Trump’s championship of Andrew Jackson as a leader to emulate. Everyone knows that President Jackson in fact fought for the genocide of Native Americans (most tragically with the Indian Removal Act, which led to the Trail of Tears). This is part of Teen Vogue’s “OG History” series, where “we unearth history not told through a white, cisheteropatriarchal lens.”
There are about 130 million books in the world, and a while back, Google began scanning all of them, with the goal of having all of them available to read online. The Google Books project got about a fifth of the way there before shutting down after authors and publishers sued the company for copyright infringement. This article explains how it all went down, surfacing the pros and cons of giving everyone in the world universal and free access to books, with Google as Head Librarian.
In this episode of Reveal (also #67), one of my favorite podcasts, host Al Letson focuses on the recent kidnappings and killings of gay people in Chechnya. For many Russians, Chechens, and Georgians, homosexuality is a Western construct that is anathema to their religious and cultural principles. I appreciate Mr. Letson’s approach: He unveils the evil words and beliefs of hateful people, while simultaneously challenging their views, making clear where he stands.
Thank you for reading The Highlighter this week! Please welcome new subscribers Samantha, L.T., and Veenessa. Thank you for your readership. Loyal subscribers, please continue to get the word out about this digest, and I’ll see you next Thursday at 9:10 am!