June 19th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

High Bud Pressure, Freudian Taylor Swift Analysis

“It isn’t every day that you see right-wing Americans wildly celebrating the fact that a Mexican brand is now the best-selling beer in the US.” But then again, it also isn’t every day that you see people shooting cans of Bud Light. Sadly, the Bud Light boycott over a campaign featuring trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney leaves a taste in one’s mouth that’s even worse than the one left by the product being boycotted. James Surowiecki in The Atlantic (Gift Article): The Bitter Truth About the Bud Light Boycott. Or how a small thing can become a big thing in the age of social media: “With the Bud Light boycott, right-wing influencers spread the message and reinforced it day after day, and the video clips of people shooting at cans or throwing out cases of Bud Light gave people a sense that this was a collective movement. In that sense, what the boycott most resembled was a viral social-media fad like the ice bucket challenge.” Sadly, the Bud Light boycott has been effective, which means it won’t be something easily nipped in the bud. Ultimately the point of the boycott is “not just to get Bud Light to back away from its partnership with Mulvaney, but to deter other companies from adopting any similar association in future.” Right now, the fear is bud curdling.

+ Of course, this boycott isn’t taking place in a vacuum. The anti-LGBTQ movement has been building for years, sweeping up politicians who have no problem punching down to lift themselves up, even when it requires a complete reversal of their pre-campaign views. Trump repeatedly celebrated the inclusion of transgender women in his beauty pageant. “In since unreported radio and television interviews from spring and summer 2012, Trump celebrated the interest in a 23-year-old transgender woman named Jenna Talackova participating in a Canadian pageant. He then later effusively praised the winner of the Miss USA pageant, Olivia Culpo, for saying that transgender women should be allowed to compete. Trump, then the owner of the Miss Universe pageant, would go on to cite the possible participation of transgender women in Olympic sports to justify his decision to end a ban on transgender pageant participants.”

+ These movements don’t come from out of nowhere. Well-funded Christian group behind US effort to roll back LGBTQ rights. “Since it was formed in 1994, Alliance Defending Freedom has been at the center of a nationwide effort to limit the rights of women and LGBTQ people, all in the name of Christianity … The organization counts among its sometime associates Amy Coney Barrett, the supreme court justice who the Washington Post reported spoke five times at an ADF training program established to push a ‘distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law.'”


Zoom Lens

“Student learning across the country, as measured by many assessments, has stalled to an unprecedented degree. Researchers have pointed to a number of causes, including the trauma experienced by children who lost family members to COVID-19, but the data generally shows that the shortcomings are the greatest in districts that were slowest to reopen schools. It also shows that the falloff was far greater among Black and Hispanic students than among whites and Asians, expanding disparities that had been gradually shrinking in recent decades. ‘This cohort of students is going to be punished throughout their lifetime.'” Can America’s Students Recover What They Lost During the Pandemic? (Can we get computer and broadband access to the point where certain groups aren’t behind even during non-pandemic times?)


Private Label

“The trove of data indicates that advertisers could also target people based on sensitive information like being ‘heavy purchasers’ of pregnancy test kits, having an interest in brain tumors, being prone to depression, visiting places of worship, or feeling ‘easily deflated’ or that they ‘get a raw deal out of life.'” A spreadsheet on ad platform Xandr’s website revealed a massive collection of ‘audience segments’ used to target consumers based on highly specific, sometimes intimate information and inferences. (And AI will get better and better at targeting messages that match your specific traits.)


Reconcilable Differences

“When John Greene, believed to be an ancestor of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, got off a schooner from Trinidad in Charleston, S.C., he was immediately enslaved and dispatched to a plantation, according to family lore. When John Howland, the 10th-great-grandfather of Jackson’s husband, Patrick Jackson, disembarked the Mayflower at Plymouth, Mass., he was given housing and several acres … Ketanji Brown Jackson and Patrick Jackson are left with a historical subject in common: enslaved people. His ancestors owned them, while her ancestors were them.” WaPo (Gift Article): Ketanji Brown Jackson’s ancestors were enslaved. Her husband’s were enslavers.

+ “Opal Lee first made national headlines in 2016, when the then-89-year-old walked more than 1,400 miles from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C., in a campaign to convince lawmakers to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday (a designation it finally received in 2021). Seven years after her historic walk, Lee’s activism continues to make news.” Opal Lee, Fort Worth’s ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth,’ Is Still Marching at 96.


Extra, Extra

Secrets and Stabilize : “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met on Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping and said they agreed to ‘stabilize’ badly deteriorated U.S.-China ties, but America’s top diplomat left Beijing with his biggest ask rebuffed: better communications between their militaries.”

+ Titanic Struggle: “A submersible that takes tourists to the Titanic shipwreck has gone missing off the North American coast in the Atlantic.” The Boston Coast Guard is now leading a search and rescue mission. Here’s the latest from BBC.

+ Ghosted: “In the two years leading up to the pandemic, for example, about 20,000 remote workers moved away from the San Francisco metro area. Then during 2020 and 2021, 110,000 did. In those prepandemic years, about 40,000 remote workers moved away from metro New York. Then, 200,000 left in two years.” NYT: The Places Most Affected by Remote Workers’ Moves Around the Country. (As I keep saying, San Francisco isn’t a crime scene. It’s a ghost town.)

+ Beast or Burden? “By MrBeast standards, “1,000 Blind People See for the First Time” was not a megahit. The platform credits the video with 144 million views, placing it behind MrBeast classics like “I Adopted EVERY Dog in a Dog Shelter” (195 million views), “I Filled My Brother’s House With Slime & Bought Him a New One” (181 million views) and Donaldson’s all-time biggest video, “$456,000 Squid Game in Real Life!,” which clocks in at 434 million views. But unlike even Donaldson’s biggest videos, “1,000 Blind People See for the First Time” seemed to break YouTube containment when it was released in January.” NYT Mag (Gift Article): How MrBeast Became the Willy Wonka of YouTube. (Some people react like Charlie. Others like Augustus Gloop.)

+ Breaking Wynd News: Wyndham Clark won his first PGA Tour event at the Wells Fargo Championship six weeks ago. Yesterday, he won his first major taking this year’s very entertaining US Open.

+ Freud, Taylor’s Version: “But what is singular about this artist, in this time, is the access she has created to a cohesive community, particularly for the pandemic generation, whose social connections grew tragically elusive and for whom the internet’s offerings assumed a central role. Whatever you are upset about, the poet laureate of this generation has got a song somewhere in her mega-oeuvre describing that precise feeling. She is not going to solve whatever problem you are having, but she is going to sit with you in it until the passage of time does its work: Look at her now.” NYT (Gift Article): Taylor Swift Has Rocked My Psychiatric Practice. (Give it a few years. They’ll change the subject to Rachel Maddow.)


Bottom of the News

“Apple’s quest to own the IP rights of something as generic as a fruit speaks to the dynamics of a flourishing global IP rights industry, which encourages companies to compete obsessively over trademarks they don’t really need.” WiredUK: Apple Is Taking On Apples in a Truly Weird Trademark Battle.

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