#86: Very Expensive Melons
Welcome to The Highlighter #86, where good thing we have muskmelons to start off, because the rest of today’s issue is a little heavy (yet important). After a delightful piece about Japan and its passion for high-quality fruit, prepare yourself for articles on abusive relationships, modern-day slavery, and the challenges of sponsoring Syrian refugees. Don’t feel like you need to read all four articles in one sitting. Take things slowly. (You have all week.)
I like fruit very much (peaches and cherries lead my list), but it seems like Japanese people like fruit even more than I do. Fruit is big in Japan. Particularly muskmelons, apparently, which are similar to cantaloupe, and which can sell for $27,000 a pair. Why so expensive? One theory: An obsession with quality. Another: Hundreds of years of fruit-gifting culture. Either way, in Japan, it is not uncommon to say, “I think only about melons.”
“How do you know if you’re being abused?” I already knew the answer.
This is a raw and disturbing piece about the effects of an abusive man and an abusive relationship on a young woman. Katherine Laidlaw writes, “No one tells you that the most complicated part isn’t moving on, it’s starting over. I think, on average, once every minute, about whether I am smart or pretty or skinny or compelling or captivating or charming enough—1,440 times a day. I am infected. Who is the arbiter of enough, anyway?”
Loyal subscribers Marni and Jennifer took 23 of their students to the National Museum of African American History and Culture yesterday. “It is unlike anything I've ever seen,” Marni wrote.
Slavery is alive and well in the world, especially in India. The practice persists because the caste system endures and the credit system is weak. In some parts of India, if you owe money, you can pay off that debt by sending someone (like your child) to work for the creditor. This piece focuses on the slaveholders, who see little reason for change, because now, “everyone knows their place.”
Canadians Adopted Refugee Families for a Year. Then Came Month 13.
Here is the fourth installment in the brilliant New York Times series about how regular Canadians have sponsored and supported Syrian refugees for a year (also see #72). Now that time is up. Was the program a success? More important, what happens now? This article, which uncovers the co-dependency the resettlement project has developed, does not sugarcoat.
Thank you reading #86, and thank you for subscribing to The Highlighter! There has been a drop-off in new subscribers the past couple weeks, so you know what that means! Help spread the word about the digest and pester your favorite non-subscribers to change their stubborn ways. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am!
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