The Catalogue: No. 31

Friday, May 17, 2019


Dirty thirties, we have arrived!
Here's what I've been reading:
The Instagram Aesthetic Is Over | Taylor Lorenz for The Atlantic
Anything that feels staged is as undesirable for Blutstein’s cohort as unfiltered or unflattering photos would be for older influencers. “For my generation, people are more willing to be who they are and not make up a fake identity,” she says. “We are trying to show a real person doing cool things as a real person, not trying to create a persona that isn’t actually you.”
Intellectually, I know that individuals and communities are complex and can care about/advocate for/be outraged by multiple things. I know it's reductive to accuse us of caring more about shitting on the Olivia Jades of the world than uplifting the newest generation of powerful, well-spoken, fearless leaders. But I do want to shine my own tiny little light on initiatives like JUV Consulting, an extraordinary venture by now-teenagers born into a fucking dumper fire and asked to survive, somehow.

‘Lit’ Is Over, and Other Things You Can Pay Teens to Teach You | Rainesford Stauffer for The New York Times
“Don't talk about teenagers, talk to teenagers,” said Ziad Ahmed, 19, JÜV’s C.E.O. and a rising sophomore at Yale (major undecided). He co-founded the consultancy firm in 2016 with Nick Jain, 19, the company’s C.O.O. and a rising sophomore at Princeton and Melinda Guo, 19, who goes to Stanford and serves as a member of the board. To be clear, the JÜV team scoffs at the idea of a “Gen Z expert”: anyone who pretends to speak for a generation, whether that’s a peer or adult. They aren’t a research firm, they say. They aren’t a focus group. They are, according to Emma Himes, JÜV’s 18-year-old director of development and a rising sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, “a really diverse group of trained teen consultants who can help you.” 
 Rise of Populists in Taiwan: “End Of Taiwan As We Know It”? | William Yang for Ketagalan Media
A KMT-leaning political staffer who asked to remain anonymous said that the reason there is a sense of doom right now is that Taiwan has long used fear as a political tool. “The DPP exploits the “fear of unification with China,” and the KMT exploits the “fear of isolation and war from independence,” he said. “But both scenarios are still some distance away from reality.” He believes that unification between Taiwan and China requires working out how two constitutional systems would interface with each other, which is very difficult.
Instagram Food Is a Sad, Sparkly Lie | Amanda Mull for Eater
This is why Instagram stunt food works: It transforms an indulgent meal or snack from a physical activity to a status performance. In the most successful of Instagram food operations, the posting of a particular item signals both affluence and leisure. Lines can stretch for hours for rainbow bagels with birthday cake cream cheese, or milkshakes bedecked with an entire movie theater snack counter’s worth of candy, so if you’ve obtained one, not only did you spend $15 on a pile of novelty sugar, but you can afford to spend two hours on a Tuesday waiting for it, not to mention the time required to lovingly photograph it in natural light.
Inside Ivanka's Dream World | Elaina Plott for The Altantic
Washington is a city where people are even quicker to forgive—to reclassify whatever once outraged them as nothing more than noise. Take that January evening at the Metropolitan Club: a gathering of people who privately bemoaned Ivanka’s complicity in this and that but who were happy to show up. Happy to sip the white wine, applaud the usual platitudes, and enjoy the soft air of comity. Call it a favor to Dina. Or call it what it really is: Polite society, in the end, will always take back those who are polite.
The Other Notre-Dame Was Not Rebuilt | Amy Wilentz for The Atlantic
Haiti doesn’t have a lot of billionaires hanging around, ready to take special charitable tax deductions by giving huge donations to rebuild the church. Nor is the Haitian cathedral a “world” building in the way that Notre-Dame de Paris had become. So when people saw Notre-Dame de l’Assomption in ruins on TV in 2010, they didn’t know what it had been before. As a piece of architecture and a monument, it had no real meaning outside Haiti; very few people outside Haiti felt it was a part of their lives as humans on the planet—unlike the cathedral in Paris, with its 13 million visitors yearly. Rightly, those who saw reports of the Haitian earthquake turned to more human-focused organizations and projects when they decided to make charitable donations.
Caster Semenya Loses Case to Compete as a Woman in All Races | Jeré Longman and Juliet Macur for The New York Times
A group of scientists has charged that the I.A.A.F. relied on faulty data in trying to establish the precise advantages of athletes with elevated testosterone levels. Semenya’s lawyers and other supporters have argued that science has not conclusively shown that elevated testosterone provides women with more of a significant competitive edge than factors like nutrition, access to coaching and training facilities, and other genetic and biological variations.
The ruling by the arbitration court was also watched closely by transgender athletes and by officials of the International Olympic Committee as they prepared to set guidelines for participants in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Transgender athletes are no longer required to have reassignment surgery to participate in the Olympics, and those transitioning from female to male can compete without restriction.

 Have lots more to share in the coming catalogs.

With love always,
LC

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