The Sunday Post for February 5, 2017

How Black Books Lit My Way Along The Appalachian Trail

Friend of the Seattle Review of Books Rahawa Haile did the absolutely amazing, inspiring, and so very, very hard thing she set out to do: she hiked the Appalachian Trail. Here's her first report back about what she chose to carry, and why it meant something important to her. Can we just say it? She's one of our biggest inspirations in a time when we need inspirations so bad.

For many, the Appalachian Trail is a footpath of numbers. There are miles to Maine. The daily chance of precipitation. Distance to the next campsite with a reliable water source. Here, people cut the handles off of toothbrushes to save grams. Eat cold meals in the summer months to shave weight by going stoveless. They whittle medicine kits down to bottles of ibuprofen. Carry two pairs of socks. One pair of underwear. Abandon enclosed shelters entirely and opt for a tarp. Everything pulls double duty when you are hauling it 2,189 miles over mountains whose trails consist of slick roots and sharp rocks. Pants zip off into shorts. (That second pair of socks can be worn as mittens.) Floss today is thread tomorrow for stitching deteriorating shoes when the next town with a decent outfitter is 80 miles away. Few nonessentials are carried on this trail, and when they are — an enormous childhood teddy bear, a father’s bulky camera — it means one thing: The weight of this item is worth considerably more than the weight of its absence.
The False Lords Of Misrule

Peter Pomeranstev on what some absolute assholes, mostly in power, like to joke about. What is it about fascists and fascination with penis size, bodily functions, and sex? I'm sure it has nothing to do with the roles their father's played in their lives.

Speaking of fascists, is anybody else totally wary of the term "AntiFas" for anti-fascists? It's a truncation that has little poetry, only saves one syllable, and is about as punk rock as saying you're AntiGlut when you try not to eat bread.

What do Trump, Putin, the Presidents of the Czech Republic and Philippines, right-wing anti-EU Europeans and the British Foreign Minister have in common? Ideology? Not always. Gender? Closer – but the answer is simpler: their sense of humour. These men all constantly joke about private parts, fucking and shitting, often partnered with boasts about excessive screwing, eating and drinking. Their bawdy lingo tells us more about their political strategy and strengths than any manifesto: populism and penis jokes go hand in hand.
STEVE BANNON WEEK: Portrait of a Schlub

Speaking of asshole fascists white supremacists (with special thanks to Nancy Pelosi this week), Seattle's own Willie Fitzgerald penned a very satisfying essay on American White Supremacist Fascist Asshole in Chief this week:

There’s something about this photo in particular that reminds me, against my will, of Terry Richardson. Maybe it’s Bannon’s blank, vacuous stare, as if the photographer had caught him mid-(probably very racist) thought. Maybe it’s the washed-out color palette, or maybe it’s that penumbral effect around his head and shoulder. This picture is like an inverse of Richardson’s American Apparel ads; it shows the objectifier, not the objectified. Instead of a billboard showing a wan young woman in a leotard, we get the man who listlessly ogles her on a billboard while his car is stopped in traffic.
The Successful Boycott of #DeleteUber and a New Era of Activism

The thing about Uber that drives most people I know crazy is their arrogance. Their corporate motto appears to be "it is better to ask forgiveness (by lawsuit) than ask permission." They more-or-less forced Portland to accept them, and they more-or-less did this wherever they wanted to expand. They seem, from the outside, immune to criticism or feedback.

So it was wonderful to see them blink during #DeleteUber, and do a political about-face that was startling in its abruptness. I guess that's what happens when you lose 200,000 customers overnight.

It's not like Lyft is gonna save you from ethical dilemmas — their investors include Peter Thiel and Carl Icahn, after all — but knowing that whatever ethically-challenged way of transportation you've used (and all of them have their own varying degrees of baggage) is bendable by public protest makes it feel like, just maybe, the consumers are calling the shots after all.

It took one ill-advised tweet from Uber, which announced surge pricing had been suspended around the airport, to finally force the company to re-evaluate its business practices. More than 200,000 users—under the hashtag #deleteUber—removed the app from their smart phones, and Vice reported that officials within Uber grew increasingly worried that the social media-driven movement would have a ‘significant impact’ on the company’s U.S. operations. Just six days later, Recode’s Kara Swisher reported that Kalanick, who also serves on President Donald Trump’s business advisory council, had excused himself from the group.