#298: Twelve Minutes And A Life
Happy Thursday, loyal readers! Thank you for opening today’s issue of The Highlighter. Even though I do my best to scour the Internet to find you the best articles every week, sometimes an outstanding piece slips by unnoticed. That’s the case with this week’s lead article, “Twelve Minutes And A Life,” about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Originally published last year, the piece won the Pulitzer Prize this week. Mitchell S. Jackson eulogizes Mr. Arbery and attacks systemic racism by directly challenging the (mostly white) readers of Runner’s World, where the article was published. I highly urge you to read this one.
If revisiting the murder of Mr. Arbery is triggering and retraumatizing, skip to the other great pieces this week. Topics range from abolishing the American high school to restoring the bison to Indigenous lands to recoiling from the disgust of the Australian mouse plague. Please enjoy!
+ The Highlighter is almost six years old, and Issue #300 is coming out soon! Do you have a Highlighter-related memory to share? I’d love to include your memory in our upcoming milestone issue.
Mitchell S. Jackson: “Ahmaud Marquez Arbery was more than a viral video. He was more than a hashtag or a name on a list of tragic victims. He was more than an article or an essay or posthumous profile. He was more than a headline or an op-ed or a news package or the news cycle. He was more than a retweet or shared post. He, doubtless, was more than our likes or emoji tears or hearts or praying hands. He was more than an R.I.P. t-shirt or placard. He was more than an autopsy or a transcript or a police report or a live-streamed hearing. He, for damn sure, was more than the latest reason for your liberal white friend’s ephemeral outrage. He was more than a rally or a march. He was more than a symbol, more than a movement, more than a cause. He. Was. Loved.“ (26 min)
+ This article won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, “for a deeply affecting account of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery that combined vivid writing, thorough reporting, and personal experience to shed light on systemic racism in America.”
Maybe the way to improve public education isn’t to reform it, or reimagine it, or reinvent it. Perhaps the answer isn’t more PBL and SEL, less SAT and ACT, or just the right amounts of CRT and CRT. If we listen to Rebecca Solnit (see mansplaining), who found middle school dangerous and earned her GED when she was 15, we might choose to get rid of high school altogether. She asks, Why are we trying to save the bastion of bullying and boredom? Let’s try something new. (11 min)
Wasabi, a Pekingese, won this year’s Best in Show at the 145th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Nominate your pet to appear in The Highlighter: hltr.co/pets
The Indigenous land reclamation movement is gaining momentum: Thousands of acres of ancestral lands were returned to Native American tribes last year. The next step, according to science journalist Michelle Nijhuis, is to restore the buffalo to the American landscape. This article tells the story of the Blackfeet Nation’s efforts since the 1990s to rescue the bison from near extinction and return them to the Northern Rockies, where they can roam and graze again on the land. (17 min)
+ In case you missed it, “Return the National Parks to the Tribes” (#289), offers an excellent argument for reclamation.
First Came The Drought, Then The Floods, Now Millions Of Mice
Not for the faint of heart, this article explains in graphic detail the extent of Australia’s current mouse plague. (Yes, another byproduct of climate change.) One disgusting tidbit: Farmer Colin Tink and his 5-year-old grandson drowned 7,000 mice in one night, then another 3,000 the next. As someone still healing from a traumatic mouse incident 10 years ago (you don’t want to know what happened), I didn’t want to read this piece, then once clicked, couldn’t avert my eyes. (15 min)
+ Reader Annotations: VIP Marna kindly shared that she loved last week’s lead article on sleep, “Chasing a Waking Life.” She added, “The author seemed to be speaking directly to me.” Me too, Marna. Me too. Anyone else out there in the same predicament? (I’ve heard melatonin is the way to go.)
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