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#5SmartReads - July 12, 2022
Hitha on the evil eye, the economy, and what a Gentleminion is
The endgame for anti-abortion activists isn’t as clear or certain as I previously thought.
Yes, there is a faction of this group who wants to push for a national ban on abortion. But a larger faction - and one more focused on the Republicans winning back the House and Senate and solidifying their hold on state legislatures - are less comfortable campaigning on this message and the overturn of Roe.
And that makes for an incredible opportunity for those who support choice and reproductive healthcare to double down on protecting these rights as a campaign message and a platform, from local to federal elections.
That’s not to say that we can be complacent and assume this message will win on its own. It still requires our regular participation (calling your elected representatives, studying the candidates in the upcoming midterms in your precinct to confirm who supports choice, volunteering as an election worker). I take the daily actions that my friend Emily posts everyday - highly recommend you follow her and do the same!
The evil eye isn’t just a trend. Here’s what it means to me. (The Washington Post)
The tradition of my mother pouring salt in her hands and holding it in tight fists as she waved her arms around me, chanting “amma dhisti, nana dhisti, andharu dhisti, po po po thu thu thu” (mom’s bad juju, dad’s bad juju, everyone’s bad juju, go go go) is ingrained in my memory and something I thought everyone did to ward away the evil eye.
(Same as saving yogurt containers for leftovers and storing bags of plastic shopping bags to use as trash liners).
Removing dhisti (evil eye or bad juju in Telugu) is a ritual that has stuck with me - I do it for my kids and husband, for friends, and even on myself after a business trip or a big content project going live.
Evil eye is truly a global cultural norm, though different cultures have different ways to ward against it. I loved learning from Eda Uzunlar’s perspective on the evil eye - both her own experience and her research on the topic.
I can’t believe this is a controversial statement, but cheerleading is very much a sport, despite the lack of recognition by Title IX and other global sports authorities.
But the ‘how we got here’ is more nuanced and requires context to truly understand, and that’s exactly what this smart articles unpacks.
“A lot of it, though, stems from the cultural associations formed at the time of Title IX’s origins. Cheerleading’s deep history as a promotional tool for college athletics departments continues to shape public perception of the sport, even as it has evolved into its contemporary competitive form, heavily reliant on tightly synced choreography, elaborate stunts, and intricate tumbling combinations executed by both all-women and co-ed teams.”
This article put a lot of CHEER season 2 into context, when you saw coach Monica Aldama seize the many opportunities that came her and her athletes’ way. But most teams aren’t Navarro and have the global profile that Netflix gave them - and they deserve the recognition and resources that Title IX designation would give them, and a chance to be the athletes they are without the extra, unpaid work thrust on them.
I honestly was lost on TikTok, watching these teens get dressed to the nines to see the new Minions film.
“Gentleminions are young people who film themselves dressed in formalwear, flooding unsuspecting movie theaters to see the newest "Minions" flick and hollering at the screen like they're lining the ring at Wrestlemania. TikTok teens are arguably not the audience Illumination had in mind when concocting the latest slapstick-heavy animated children's film, but they've turned out in droves anyway thanks to the viral trend -- the hashtag #Gentleminions has over 22 million views and counting on the platform.”
Thank you, CNN, for the explainer we all needed, as well as Gen Z’s obsession with these little yellow creatures.
July 10, 2022 (Letters from an American)
Following up on yesterday’s explainer of trickle-down economics, here’s how Biden’s economic policy is focused on rebuilding the American middle class - and how it’s going.
Turns out it’s going much better than what’s being reported.
“But look at this: transportation and warehousing have grown fast, with 759,000 more jobs than in February 2020. Manufacturing is back to where it was in February 2020, suggesting that President Joe Biden’s emphasis on repairing supply chains is paying off.
And in the past year, wages have gone up 5.1%. That, along with increased pressure for unionization, suggests workers have more power than they did before the pandemic.”
And the Democrats aren’t done yet. While the USICA (US Innovation and Competition Act) and the slimmed down reconciliation package are not as compelling as the larger Build Back Better agenda (which I firmly believe we should still be pushing for, and electing the reps and senators we need to make it happen), these two bills are important to create more jobs that offer a dignified wage and benefits, to reduce the uncontrollable costs of living for so many Americans, and for funding the important things like Medicare by closing tax loopholes.