#5SmartReads - February 8, 2023
Hitha on the Satanic Temple, how to help those in Syria and Turkey, and a nuanced look at Ozempic
The Satanic Temple opens clinic to provide 'religious abortion' care named for Justice Samuel Alito's mother (Fox News)
The Satanic Temple’s fight for reproductive healthcare is not a new one (they were the first religion to sue a state for infringing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2021, and have been on my mind ever since).
Their latest step in this fight is catching a lot more attention, with the opening of a health clinic in New Mexico to provide telehealth screenings and medical abortions as an “abortion ritual” (the services are free, the medication costing about $90).
Religious liberty has been nearly exclusively claimed by certain Christian groups when it comes to policy. Only recently have we seen Jewish and Muslim faith leaders speak about abortion in terms of their religions.
And yes, some will dispute the Satanic Temple’s legitimacy as a religion and their specific claim of abortion as a religious sacrament. Time will tell how the winds will shift in terms of religion and politics.
But this won’t be the last you’re hearing from the Satanic Temple.
Real Housewives of Politics Instagram Account Fuses Politics With Housewives Memes (Teen Vogue)
I know I’m not alone in the Venn diagram of liberal politics nerds and Real Housewives fans (and yesterday was our Super Bowl, between the SOTU and the premiere of RHONJ).
If you live in this overlap, meet your new favorite Instagram account: Real Housewives of Politics.
The brainchild of Nelini Stamp (who works as a political organizer for the WFP in Philadelphia), the account blends the two worlds with spot on memes and hilarious commentary. And this approach has a deeper purpose and goal:
“Working in politics, I have seen some of my family members and community members get radicalized by memes. Everybody wonders how radicalization happens, and it’s through memes and the internet and popular stuff. The right wing has been using video games, pop culture, Twitch, and YouTube. Fox News says I’m trying to radicalize Real Housewives fans, but we’re trying to educate people. We’re taking popular moments in Housewives history and talking about current events.”
Nelini, if you need a co-host for NYC watch parties, I’m SO down.
For Super Bowl ads this year, crypto is out, booze is in (Associated Press)
My emotional well-being is in the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles right now (and Rihanna, to a lesser degree). But in non-Eagles Super Bowls, I am an ardent fan of the commercials, as I guess some of you are as well.
Don’t expect to see Larry David passing on crypto this year. But do expect to see more alcohol ads than last year, as Anheuser-Busch is no longer the exclusive alcohol advertiser (though they did purchase 3 minutes of national airtime). You’ll be seeing ads from other alcohol companies, as well as packaged food brands as well.
These advertisers seem at odds with Gen Z’s growing influence in purchasing (and what they’re buying). This generation (and to some degree, millennials as well) are drinking less alcohol, eat less packaged foods, and have more and more disposable income. And many of us tune into the Super Bowl every year and actually watch the commercials.
Granted, a lot of the emerging non-alcoholic spirits brands and fresh food startups don’t have or won’t spend the capital on a Super Bowl commercial, given the high price tag. But I wonder if and when we'll see this shift (or the acquisition of this sector by the bigger corporations that invest in Super Bowl airtime every year).
Obesity in the age of Ozempic (Vox)
I will admit that I was very quick to judge people who began taking GLP-1 based drugs to lose weight for vanity purposes, and I did assume weight loss goals were tied up in vanity.
The truth is that it’s a lot more complicated than that, and I was wrong to share my rapid take without considering the factors that don’t get the attention or thoughtful analysis they deserve. This piece really opened my eyes to how we as a society weigh weight, and how these drugs are just a part of that story.
“Rather than viewing obesity as the result of personal failing or emotional issues, easily reversed with diet and exercise, patients like Juneja say they’re beginning to see it as medical researchers long have: as a condition that arises from complex interactions between our biology and our environments. Like other complex illnesses, such as diabetes, this means it can also benefit from medical treatment.
And some patients, including those who accept their larger bodies, may want to try obesity medication for help losing weight. “You can be healthy at every size,” Juneja summed up. But “I was not healthy at the size that I was.””
This piece is phenomenal - a science lesson on how GLP-1-based therapy works, an analysis of society’s very binary view on weight, and personal accounts of those whose physicians recommended these therapies and their full experiences with them. It’s very worthy of your time.
What is happening in Turkey, Syria? Key quake questions answered (AlJazeera)
The earthquake in Turkey and Syria left immense death and damage, and the aftershocks may cause even more in the coming days and weeks.
This piece does an excellent job of sharing the facts and the state of both countries right now, as well as the rescue efforts hampered by a blizzard.
If you’re able to, please join me in donating to Karam Foundation (they have a fiscal sponsor matching $100,000 in donations). We personally vetted this organization nearly 10 years ago when we were building Bridge2Act, and they are one of the most impactful local nonprofits supporting Syrian refugees. You can donate through this link or via my Instagram profile, on the IG app.