#5SmartReads - September 16, 2022
Hitha on space, rock star memoirs, and why South Asians love Gilmore Girls
First of all, I feel the need to give President Johnson much of the credit for the early formation of NASA and securing the investment they needed to achieve President Kennedy’s lofty ambitions. Both leaders helped get us to the moon, and their vision and early work built the foundation for our continued space exploration.
These days, we think nothing of uncrewed vehicle landing on Mars, and someone on Earth driving it from ~83 million miles away. We marvel at the images from the new James Webb Space Telescope with only a cursory thought to the blurrier, more empty pictures taken from by the Hubble telescope.
And while I find the billionaires’ space race insufferable, I can’t deny that SpaceX’s reusable rocket is super cool.
In just 60 years, we have made incredible advancements in the exploration of our solar system and beyond, and with a timeline that eerily tracks to my beloved Star Trek.
Enjoy this history lesson. I certainly did.
None of this Rocks is not that book. It is, however, one of the most important books that normalizes a man’s mental health challenges in a beautifully written, vulnerable memoir.
As a longtime Fall Out Boy fan, I was immediately drawn to this book and look forward to starting it. But this interview moved it to the top of my TBR pile, with Joe’s honesty and kindness shining through the words.
I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from the very wise Joe Trohman:
“Make what you like. Don’t overthink it. Have fun. And maybe, if it’s really good, people will be drawn to it. Not just because of the quality, but because of your authenticity. Because you’re doing it for the sake of the act, not to fulfill some sort of career ambition.”
Until Heather published this blog post over the summer, I confess that I didn’t think too much about how difficult travel must be for those in wheelchairs - especially wheelchairs that are motorized and have been fitted specifically for that person.
Not only are these chairs likely to be damaged when placed in under the plane during air travel (and standard wheelchairs failing to be a proper substitute), Medicare and Medicaid’s policy is woefully antiquated in providing coverage for these power chairs that give disabled people better health, and a better quality of life.
Seat elevation and standing systems are incredible advancements that provide so much (reducing fracture risk and contractures, simply bringing the person in a power chair eye-level to their friends and family members). But they are incredibly expensive and not covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
But they should be.
‘Gilmore Girls’ and Its Unlikely South Asian Fanbase (The Juggernaut)
It is officially Gilmore Girls season and I have just begun my annual rewatch of my favorite episodes (I’m on Team Emily - forget Lorelei, Rory, or any of those boys).
This wasn’t just one of my favorite shows, but one that my parents and I would watch together during my own high school and college years. I honestly thought we were one of the few South Asian families who found comfort and some level of familiarity between the Gilmores’ WASP nature and our very non-WASP reality.
Turns out I wasn’t alone - there are a lot of us Desi Gilmore Girlies (and parents).
“Gilmore Girls functions much like a two-way mirror for its South Asian viewers: we see validation for who we are and how we live our lives, but also our ideal of the way things could be and maybe will be when it comes to the next generation. We see ourselves reflected in a small-town white American family, one that placed education above all else, valued the collective and the family name, and saw boys as nothing more than distractions. The show made us feel like we belonged, and while it all appeared idyllic to much of the Western world, to us, the finer points were the reality. And years later, the show still holds a kind of reassurance, like an old security blanket.”
Perfectly said, Sadaf.
The news cycle was naturally dominated by the Queen’s passing, inflation numbers, the newest federal challenge to protecting reproductive rights (and states’ rights), and people being mad about fantasy characters being Black (you can stay mad, if a Black mermaid or dwarf or Valyrian lord pisses you off).
But the January 6th commission - which had dominated the news cycles months earlier - is still very much in place, and continuing its investigation before issuing a final report.
This quick read is a helpful summary of where the investigation is and what’s next, from more witnesses to those missing text messages to whether to call the former president and vice president to provide testimony.