The Sunday Post for January 14, 2018

Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that’s your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.

A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America

The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington spent two weeks walking America up and down with Prof. Philip Alston, UN monitor for extreme poverty and human rights, documenting what it’s like to be poor in this country. The article is a little long in the tooth (published all the way back in December 2017!) but too fitting to miss this week, too strong a reminder that poverty and despair are anything but alien in this Great (cough) Nation of ours — and more important, at whose door to lay the blame.

Think of it as payback time. As the UN special rapporteur himself put it: "Washington is very keen for me to point out the poverty and human rights failings in other countries. This time I’m in the US."

Alternate take: Electric Literature’s roundup of books by writers from the countries Donald Trump most recently targeted with his racist, anti-human, dull-minded bullying.

The Good War

I once studied with a man who fought in World War II — a Coleridge contrarian, a comic book writer, a quiz show winner, and a man who, captured at the Battle of the Bulge, led a lecture series in the camp where he was held to keep himself and the other prisoners sane. Watching Saving Private Ryan, he said, was almost impossible for two reasons: because the opening scene brought his memories of battle back too vividly; and because the jingoistic patriotism of the movie was so opposed to his own complicated feelings about the war and America’s role in it.

Mike Dawson and Chris Hayes have a brilliant graphic essay in The Nib against lionizing the Greatest Generation and the war they fought — against knitting those stories into a cover under which we hide injustice and cruelty and smother dissent. I know at least one member of that generation who would have heartily agreed with everything they have to say.

I Made the Pizza Cinnamon Rolls from Mario Batali’s Sexual Misconduct Apology Letter

In this piece that’s already been read by every human on the internet, but that I bet you’ll read again because it’s just that good, Geraldine DeRuiter skewers Mario Batali, bad apologies, and the patriarchy as a whole. While baking cinnamon rolls from scratch. There’s not an imperfect line in the entire damn thing.

I find myself fluctuating between apathy and anger as I try to follow Batali’s recipe, which is sparse on details. The base of the rolls is pizza dough  —  Batali notes that you can either buy it, or use his recipe to make your own.

I make my own, because I’m a woman, and for us there are no fucking shortcuts. We spend 25 years working our asses off to be the most qualified Presidential candidate in U.S. history and we get beaten out by a sexual deviant who likely needs to call the front desk for help when he’s trying to order pornos in his hotel room.

Donald Trump is President, so I’m making the goddamn dough by scratch.

Letter to My Younger Self

And finally! What do I love as much as baked goods? Sports. I own t-shirts dedicated to my passion for the entire spectrum, from golf to water polo. Okay, it’s one t-shirt, and it’s a bit snarky, and I’m sorry, I know it’s a personal failing but I’ve tried and I just can’t.

Nevertheless, I loved Quentin Richardson’s letter to the basketball player as a young man, especially because what it celebrates is not being the best, but simply being good enough to give the best a run for their money. I’d be happy with that. I think we all should be.

If you’d rather not be inspired in a miraculously un-sappy way, read this other thing about meeting your past in a dark alley: Matt Gemmel on finding his own suicide note years later.

But first read this.

You gotta be a dog to come out of Chicago. I mean, remember in the third grade when that kid stole your Hostess doughnut right off your lunch tray?

You could have just accepted it.

I mean, it was just a doughnut. The plain powder one.

But what did you do? You got up, snatched the doughnut right out of his hands and punched him with the damn doughnut. You gave that dude a doughnut-punch. Powder all up in his hair and everything.

It wasn’t about the doughnut, man. It was about the principle.