Happy Memorial Day
Like any worker, I am taking the day off, but I did include some nice links
Have a wonderful day. It’s summer, people. Things have got to get better.
What I do when you aren’t looking:
A bunch of us were assigned to think about what it means to put history on stage week before last, and we did this thing together in the New York Times. Me, Rutgers historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar (taking a break from being the histoircla consultant for the HBO show, The Gilded Age), director Diane Paulus, and theater critic Jesse Green all got in a Google doc with Jenny Schuessler of The New York Times. Schuessler herded all the cats, and edited the conversation. It was super fun—and I got cancelled at the end! But you’ll have to read it to see why. (May 27, 2022)
Jamelle Bouie, as always, locks onto the inanity of the Republican argument that we can’t regulate guns because “good guys” should have them to defend the rest of us. Problem is, guns are not legally sold on teh basis of whether a person is good or bad, or good and maybe becomes bad, or good and the gun gets into the hands of a bad person. “The most vociferous supporters of permissive gun laws seem to believe that an armed society will be, for the most part, self-regulating,” Bouie writes. “That we will be able to keep weapons out of the hands of the wrong people and insofar as we can’t, a law-abiding citizen will be there, with a gun, to stop the bad guys, whenever and wherever they appear. But people don’t exist on such a strict binary. And when we allow for the unlimited proliferation of weapons, we guarantee that when the switch flips, people will die.” (May 28, 2022)
I don’t surf, but I have become hooked on William Finnegan’s journalism about surfing. In this longread about Kai Lenny, a young big wave surfer, you wil be introduced to the outer edges of the sport, and an astonishing athlete you do not know. But it’s also a lyrical essay about wild water and why people try to conquer it. “As waves get bigger, they get wildly more powerful. The difference of a few feet in height or thickness can mean the difference between a tough fall and a catastrophic beating,” Finnegan writes. “Big waves also move faster, so that just catching them calls for unusual skill and specialized equipment. Above fifteen or so feet, waves require a board known as a gun—longer and faster-paddling than a modern shortboard. Most surfers, including very good ones, make a point of not owning a gun, in the interest of avoiding poor choices.” (May 23, 2022)
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