💭 Greg's Newsletter Has Like 10 Thoughts [No. 074]

Butter, as it turns out, is still good.

I have nothing coherent to say this morning, so HOW ABOUT A FEW DIFFERENT THOUGHTS!

These should/could be tweets. But they feel better off in the hands of an email, to you. ❤️.

(Whoops sorry, they feel butter off your hands.)

  1. Speaking of you: you, the readers of this newsletter, helped raise $900 to support organizations like the ACLU and The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights; organizations that are fighting systemic racism and police brutality. Special big shoutout to Sam and Travis for jumping on in a large way.

  2. I just wore my wedding ring for the first time since February. Not that I'm anti-wedding ring, but I barely leave the house to go into a public setting. But you know what? Rachel's right. I am a hot piece of ass and so even though I hit the grocery store but once a week, people still need to know I'm taken.

  3. I also drove on the highway for the first time since Feb/March. I feel like driving the weekly grocery store-booze store-pharmacy loop has been hard enough—MOTOR SKILLS!—but the stupid-ass Dallas highway system was not friendly to me.

  4. While we're talking about "firsts," the first and only time I've worn a belt since February was a few weeks back, when I went golfing with the Burg Town boys. The golfing was great. I will probably wear shorts that don't require a belt next time out.

  5. Why does the ranch that pizza places give you hit so different?

  6. My 5 year-old nephew saw my Nintendo Switch on Friday and ran to it asking "what's that?" He knew it looked like... something he'd be interested in. I said "it's a thing I have to use for work," thinking that might throw him off. But then he said "but why does it have these," pointing to the joysticks. I said that they were for a special kind of work and he sort of took my word at that point. But also, in the back of my mind, I thought: is this when it happens? Is this the moment I explain to him how much of a crook Tom Nook is but also how wonderful it is to just spend a Friday night taking care of the land, fishing and catching a bug, here-and-there? I mean, I built a soccer field on my island. It looks dope.

  7. I used to be very anti-celery, but I am getting down with it as a vessel for other things like sauces, dips, etc. Progress.

  8. I made an absolute UNIT of a breakfast sandwich yesterday. Breakfast sandwiches have been one of my bright spots during the quarantine (the quarantine that appears to be "over" for a lot of fucks around the country, from Dallas to Detroit, with zero shits given for... well... other people?). Anyways, I love making breakfast sammies. I made yesterday's using butter: butter to coat the pan before cooking the eggs, butter on the bread that I toasted in the oven (we don't have a toaster). I mean, look: it turns out that butter is still undefeated. Good lord does it make shit taste good.

  9. The Atlanta Solidarity Fund deserves your support.

  10. I love you all.

OK!

That's it!

🌎 Greg's Newsletter Talks Internet [No. 073]

The past week: the good, the bad, the weird.

First off, thank you to everyone who responded—with action and with $$$—to my last newsletter. We've raised a bunch of money so far, which rules. I can match a few more donations for the next 12 hours. Send me your receipts and I'll reply to you with mine. I'll share out the final total, but let's go.

Now, back to some of the conversations that this newsletter set out to cover in the first place: how technology and social media intersects with society and communication. And hooooooooweeeeeee there is no shortage of stuff to talk about against the backdrop of, first, the quarantine but especially now, with anti-racist and police brutality protests and, and real activism driving change locally and globally.

Defunding the Police + Minneapolis Mayor

The city of Minneapolis announced plans to defund the police department, and start a new approach from scratch. As the epicenter of the George Floyd murder protests—and given how "defund the police" went from fringe rallying cry to something demanded en masse—it shows the power of what those protests can accomplish. But I can't help but think the videos of Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey had a small part. Protesters literally booed him out of their demonstration after he said he wouldn't commit to defund the police. Watch his body language. Feel the energy being directed at him. Have you ever seen a high-ranking elected official... look like that?

The Minneapolis City Council got the memo, though.

K-Pop Stans Rally

K-pop fans are known for showing up in random, high-trafficked social media posts and posting fancams, which are "a video closeup filmed by an audience member during a live performance by a K-pop idol group." Those of you in marketing/social media know that on basically any search you ever do on social media, especially trending topics, you have to exclude popular K-pop hashtags. Or, like, in general: maybe a random MLB players is trending because it's his birthday. Rest assured that the BTS Army WILL show out on that players' hashtag.

It's annoying. BUT! K-pop fans have been rallying for good this time. First, Dallas police put out a call for people to narc on protesters and send them tips on "illegal activity." A viral tweet called for the K-pop community to submit fancams to Dallas police instead and they spammed the app so hard, they disabled the app.

Then there was a Trump campaign tweet asking fans to submit personal Happy Birthday video messages. K-pop stans immediately jumped in. Then they took over the #Wh*teLivesM*tter hashtag in spectacular fashion. K-pop supergroup BTS donated $1M to #BlackLivesMatter and organized their fans to contribute to a matching offer.

Chef's kiss.

Doomscrolling

The term "doomscrolling" has entered our collective lexicon and, if you're like me, you immediately knew what it meant when you first read it. It's when you (and definitely I) spend too much time on social media/on your phone, scrolling through grim news. It's simultaneously mindless, depression/anxiety-inducing, and too much information for our brains to absorb. I'm trying to chill on it but damn if our social apps, mobile devices, and the algorithms powering them aren't absolutely wired to keep us addicted.

Witches for BLM

Last week, a TikTok user started the #witchesforblm, which now has over 10 million views. The goal? To unite the witches of TikTok (yes, I typed that) to cast protection spells for protesters rallying against racism and police brutality. I mean, it's pretty straight forward. A sample hex: use a black candle to burn a piece of paper with officer names on it, and let the candle burn. Voila.

Google Docs as a Protest Tool

I shared an excellent resource for dismantling racism on Sunday, that is one of many resources popping up, using the Google Doc suite. Here's a 22-page document compiled by a 17 year-old. Here's a checklist for UK residents and how they can support BLM. Between easy collaboration, publishing, editing, and sharing, Google Docs are a crucial resource. And that started before the ongoing protests, as we were on lockdown. There were virtual escape rooms, social distant comedy shows, and more.

As the article I linked to notes, however, Google Docs as a shared resource for activism comes with its own set of risks. When you host sensitive information on a 3rd party platform, you can always be at the whim of their policies—especially as it relates to requests or directives from government agencies.


OK, that's it for today. If you liked this, why not share it with a friend? Also, subscribe to my running weekly playlist on Spotify—new tunes every Tuesday!

Greg

💸 Greg's Newsletter Matches Your Donation [No. 072]

Fuck racism. Defund the police. Fund action.

There are a lot of organizations, groups, and funds that that are trying to dismantle racism. And they need money. You, my mostly white readers, should be doing everything in your power (your literal power) to fight racism in your day-to-day lives, but you can take meaningful action right now as you're reading this and quickly donate.

If you send me a screenshot of your donation, I will match it and send you a screenshot right back. Email or text me.

And if any of you feel like joining me in the matching, let me know. If we could amplify the donations 2 or 3 or 4 times the original amount, that would be fucking awesome.

The list below includes places I've already donated to, but you can find a number of organizations and funds to support at Patia's list of resources for how to dismantle racism.

Now, GO! And send me those screenshots.

Reclaim the Block

"Reclaim the Block began in 2018 and organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety."

ACLU (national or state-level)

"Black people are over-policed, overrepresented in jails and prisons, and disproportionately subjected to police brutality. In the wake of the countless Black lives lost at the hands of police, we’re demanding justice and fighting for a reimagined vision of policing in America — one that limits the scope, power, and responsibilities of police. Valuing Black life doesn’t just mean spending less on police — it means investing more in Black communities. To create a world where “we the people” truly means all of us, we must dismantle systemic racism and work to repair centuries of harm inflicted on communities of color."

Know Your Rights Camp

"Our mission is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders."

Dallas Next Generation Action Network Protest Bail Fund

"The Next Generation Action Network in Dallas, TX has established a fundraiser to cover bail and other legal expenses for protesters arrested in Dallas, TX in connection to protests against George Floyd's murder by Minneapolis police, along with general police brutality. At last count, more than 84 protestors were arrested. We expect that number to rise — processing appears to be unusually slow at the Dallas County Jail."

Greg's Newsletter Calls a Fascist a Fascist [No. 071]

Trump is a fascist.

Trump is a fascist.

Our country was founded on, and continues to have, racism embedded in every ounce of its being. In people. In institutions. In our leaders. In our government. In law “enforcement.”

And now, here we are. Chaos sewn by a fascist and his enablers—his administration and the people who voted for him. State-sponsored violence and the promise of military rule.

Call our situation what it is. And call him what he is.

🌎 Greg's Newsletter Goes Intergalactic [No. 070]

Plus 5 good albums from 2020.

I was on an evening stroll last night, thinking about what I wanted to publish today while listening to my algorithmically-created “Discover Weekly” Spotify playlist.

As I do every week, I hoped that there are at least a few tracks or artists that I connect with, but it turns out last night was about a song—and an album—from back in the day.

I was served up “I Don’t Know” by the Beastie Boys. It’s slow, acoustic song with MCA singing instead of a typical, rambunctious Beastie track. And it took me the fuck back to middle school when I obliterated my CD copy of Hello Nasty. So I decided to put the album on for the first time in… 20 years?

My god is it good. It’s long and takes you on an interplanetary journey (ahem, “Intergalactic”) and so all over the place, in the best way. All the lyrics came back to me like it was yesterday.

So that was my big (re)discovery of the day. As for new stuff? Here are five albums from 2020 that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

That’s all today. Talk soon!

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