The Catalogue: No. 19

Monday, November 26, 2018


"If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you do not see."
J A M E S  B A L D W I N

This week, in things that make me angry.

I Love America. That’s Why I Have to Tell the Truth About It | Viet Thanh Nguyen for TIME
Being immune to the flag and the anthem does not make me less American than those who love those symbols. Is it not more important that I love the substance behind those symbols rather than the symbols themselves? The principles. Democracy, equality, justice, hope, peace and especially freedom, the freedom to write and to think whatever I want, even if my freedoms and the beauty of those principles have all been nurtured by the blood of genocide, slavery, conquest, colonization, imperial war, forever war. All of that is America, our beautiful and brutal America.
Specter of Meddling by Beijing Looms Over Taiwan’s Elections | Chris Horton for The New York Times
The Taiwan authorities say they suspect that Beijing is also illegally funneling money to political campaigns through Taiwan businesses in mainland China. Late last month, the government said that it was building cases against candidates who were being funded by Beijing and that it had shut down two underground money exchanges through which funds earmarked for influencing the election had been flowing.
Progressive Taiwanese Civil Society Sees Defeat By Way of National Referendum | Brian Hioe for New Bloom Magazine
In the years before the Sunflower Movement and afterward, a certain political consensus came to emerge among Taiwanese social movement activists. Despite the fact that issues as support for gay marriage, opposition to nuclear energy, support for environment-friendly, renewable sources of energy, support for referendum reform, and advocacy for Taiwanese independence may have had no inherent relation to each other, these issues were broadly embraced by Taiwanese civil society under the framework of progressive politics.
Yet referendums on supporting gay marriage, LGBTQ-friendly Gender Equality Education, legal provisions to phase out nuclear energy by 2025, and the call for Taiwan to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as “Taiwan” rather than “Chinese Taipei” were voted down yesterday. 
Scientists ‘Went Rogue’ and Genetically Engineered Two Human Babies | Kat Eschner for Popular Science
“I don’t want to convey that I’m categorically against [gene editing on embryos] ever being done,” says Musunuru. But in this case—in secrecy and without oversight—he says it’s totally unacceptable. Perhaps the biggest problem, to him, is the fact that the two embryos showed evidence of mosaicism and off-target mutations. Mosaicism is when some of the cells in an organism have a mutation, like the one that He was trying to make, but others do not. Off-target mutations are exactly what they sound like: genetic changes that weren’t the ones intended by the gene edit, potentially introducing congenital diseases or other unforeseen consequences.
Lena Dunham Comes to Terms With Herself | Allison P. Davis for The Cut
Dunham internalized the feedback — sort of. It sometimes seemed as if her newsletter, founded in 2015 with Konner, was a line of defense against a certain strain of Dunham criticism: Lenny Letter featured writers and artists of color and LGBTQ voices writing about issues of identity. Somehow — was it the whiff of insincerity that clings to reflexive apologies? — her efforts to use her platform for righteous causes only made people more annoyed by her.
 Can We Ever Really #Cancel Dolce & Gabbana? | Rachel Tashjian for Garage
When fashion fanatics unleash vitriol against Dolce & Gabbana online, that vitriol carries the weight of a hundred other rejections, misdeeds, and pain that can’t be vocalized because of the reality Diet Prada recognizes: at the end of the day, every part of the fashion industry is still tethered to a need for institutional respect. Does #cancel culture ask for structural change to those institutions, or is it asking for the structure as it exists to accept it? 
RELATED:
A Full Timeline of the Crisis at Dolce & Gabanna | Rachel Tashjian for Garage
In anticipation of “The Great Show,” Dolce & Gabbana release a series of video advertisements in which a Chinese model was “instructed” on how to eat various Italian foods, such as pasta and cannoli, with chopsticks. In one segment, the model struggles and giggles with a cannolo as a voiceover says, “Is it too huge for you?” According to Jing Daily, “Many social media users in China labeled this video stereotypical, racist and disrespectful for Asian female upon its release.”
Note: I don't know if I have the bandwidth or ethos for it, but there has to be some article tying together how prestigious Western institutions, be these of art/fashion/commerce or higher education, pander to Chinese affluence without genuine consideration of Chinese people. And in the same vein, the way that access to Western symbols of approval/wealth (European handbags, stints at their boarding schools/universities, being Asia-born but England-educated) have a stronghold in Chinese culture that still reinforces European hegemony. The relationship between those who will accept the cash but not its holder; and those who grovel to hand it over, still. Am I reaching?

Trans Woman Was Beaten in ICE Custody Before Death, Autopsy Finds | Scott Bixby,
Betsy Woodruff for Daily Beast
Even before her detention in New Mexico, Hernández Rodriguez had walked an extremely difficult path on her way to the United States. In an interview with Buzzfeed News a month before her death, Hernández Rodriguez said she decided to flee Honduras after she was gang-raped by four members of the MS-13 gang, resulting in her being infected with HIV.
“She journeyed thousands of miles fleeing persecution and torture at home only to be met with neglect and torture in this country’s for-profit human cages,” Free said.
How a March at the US-Mexico Border Descended into Tear Ga and Chaos | Dara Lind for Vox
Many migrants in the caravan weren’t expecting the wait or the conditions. They’ve already been traveling for weeks, often with children in tow, with the hope of getting asylum in the US. In many cases, they’ve had the mistaken expectation that asylum would be granted immediately after they arrived. That hasn’t happened, and they’re getting desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.
RELATED: 
 Many of the children who will be most affected are the victims of unspeakable violence and have been exposed to trauma. Children do not immigrate, they flee. They are coming to the U.S. seeking safe haven in our country and they need our compassion and assistance. Broad scale expansion of family detention only exacerbates their suffering.
“We don’t have the ability to easily predict [the] effects [of tear gas] unless there is more history of use against children,” Cordesman told The Post. “It looks like we’re setting the precedent.”
And finally, on a lighter note:
The Ultimate Guide to 'Fantastic Beasts 2' | Rob Bricken of Nerd Processor
Can you briefly summarize the movie? A bunch of wizards run maniacally around Paris until Johnny Depp gives a TED Talk. 
With love always,
LC

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