#276: Denial Is The Heartbeat Of America
Hi loyal readers, and thank you very much for being here. All four articles this week are outstanding and worthy of your time and attention. In this week’s lead article, Ibram X. Kendi urges us to sit with the truth of our country and its history, rather than clinging to mythical narratives of exceptionalism and inevitable progress. The second piece — about the last two northern white rhinos on Earth — makes time stop and will likely make you cry. Then, after a cat break, you’ll find two more great articles, one that further reveals the inequities of capitalism and the other that further reveals the limitations of government regulation. Please enjoy!
+ If you have a moment: Hit reply, say hi, and let me know which article you appreciated most this week. Thank you!
Denial Is The Heartbeat Of America
Ibram X. Kendi: “We must stop the heartbeat of denial and revive America to the thumping beat of truth. The carnage has no chance of stopping until the denial stops. This is not who we are must become, in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol: This is precisely who we are. And we are ashamed. And we are aggrieved at what we’ve done, at how we let this happen. But we will change. We will hold the perpetrators accountable. We will change policy and practices. We will radically root out this problem. It will be painful. But without pain there is no healing.
“And in the end, what will make America true is the willingness of the American people to stare at their national face for the first time, to open the book of their history for the first time, and see themselves for themselves — all the political viciousness, all the political beauty — and finally right the wrongs, or spend the rest of the life of America trying. This can be who we are.” (12 min)
+ This is Dr. Kendi’s fourth essay in the newsletter. Check out “You Can’t Be Neutral,” “The American Nightmare,” and “The Power of American Denial.”
A Mother And Daughter At The End
Najin enjoys a good morning scratchdown. Fatu gets mad when egrets land on her back. Mother and daughter, they’re the last two northern white rhinos on Earth. What will be lost when they die? In this sad, tender article, Sam Anderson spends a week with Najin and Fatu. He watches them graze and sharpen their horns on a little metal gate. “It was no time at all, in the scheme of things — not even a blink of evolution’s eye, and just the tiniest fraction of the girls’ big, wrinkled lives. But out there in the field, time hung thick like fog. Every day felt like a sliver of eternity.” (35 min)
Here’s Rory, aka Prince Potato, who belongs to loyal reader Amy, doing his second favorite thing: sleeping in a sunbeam. His first favorite thing is eating. Want your pet to appear in The Highlighter? hltr.co/pets
Using The Homeless To Guard Empty Houses
Augustus Evans is a 67-year-old homeless man who guards vacant houses in Los Angeles while real estate developers renovate and flip them for a huge profit. For the temporary shelter and $800 a month, Mr. Evans must promise not to leave the premises except for quick trips to the market. Doing so would endanger his relationship with Wedgewood, which certainly does not want to repeat last year’s public relations disaster, when Moms 4 Housing occupied its empty property in Oakland, drawing attention to the company’s gentrifying practices. (24 min)
The Very Real, Totally Bizarre Bucatini Shortage Of 2020
My latest 23andMe profile says I’m 98.8 percent Italian (more than before — the data changes!), which means pasta must be in my blood. That’s why I liked this investigation by Rachel Handler, who painstakingly pursues one of the great mysteries of 2020: why bucatini (“the best long pasta there ever was or ever will be”) disappeared from the shelves. No spoilers here, except to say the intrigue includes the De Cecco family, an unrelated man named De Cecco, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (18 min)
+ Please hit reply to confirm, deny, and discuss: Is bucatini far and away the best pasta out there?
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