Culture Dose | Hope in The Dark | McQueen | Strict Scrutiny

What to Read, Watch and Listen to Now

We have been on a mission to rediscover hope.

“Critical thinking without hope is cynicism, but hope without critical thinking is naivety,” the Bulgarian writer Maria Popova recently remarked

And Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, early on described the movement’s mission as to “Provide hope and inspiration for collective action to build collective power to achieve collective transformation, rooted in grief and rage but pointed towards vision and dreams”.

It is important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and destruction. The hope I am interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act…You could call it an account of complexities and uncertainties, with openings.

Rebecca Solnit

So writes Rebeca Solnit in Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities. For grief and hope co-exist; the one often driving the other. It’s been feeling dark these days, as the Supreme Court tips over the scales of justice, destroys its legitimacy, leaving many of us angry, other’s numb. So we pulled out the well-thumbed, thoroughly marked-up 2016 revised edition of Hope in the Dark. It’s as compelling an argument for radical commitment to act as you will find.

Echoing and expanding on Howard Zinn’s unwavering belief that “small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can change the world”, Solnit’s arguments seem more necessary today than ever.

And a bonus listen: Rebecca Solnit made a playlist to go with the book. Only on Spotify

(Re?)Watch: McQueen

Staying on the theme of the radical –if venturing slightly afield from films about this moment of crises– is this McQueen documentary by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui

Tortured. Visionary. Outrageous. An artist with a staggeringly beautiful vision while profoundly troubled… This film might not be the final word on McQueen yet makes a case for him being a true disruptor.

When the Met showcased his outsized oeuvre in their exhibition Savage Beauty, we went again and again and each time brought awe and joy. While the show has long closed, this film gets at what made him McQueen and this moment might just be ripe for a sojourn into the sublime.

Free with Hulu, for rent on Amazon, HBOMax

Listen: Strict Scrutiny “Smashing Precedents and Making Up Facts

From the Washington Post – an interactive explanation of the Supreme Court by Ann Telnaes

In a poll out last week, it became clear that many Americans are utterly unaware of what the Supreme Court does. And what that’s meant towards the continuous unraveling of our rights, our aspirations, the very air we breathe.

Strict Scrutiny is about the Court and the legal culture that surrounds it. The show’s hosts, Leah Litman, Kate Shaw and Melissa Murray, are all law professors who have known the Court in their professional lives. But they’re also swimmers, mothers (of humans and dogs), and celebrity gossip enthusiasts.

Collectively they have a different POV than many podcasts –one that celebrates the contributions and opinions of women and people of color. They provide intelligent and in-depth legal analysis alongside their unvarnished, respectfully irreverent takes. So if you’re looking for a window into the Court’s decisions, as well as its culture, personalities, and folkway, make this pod one of your favorites.

And as a follow up, one of the single best discussions on the horror happening now is between Kate Shaw and Ezra Klein (there’s a transcript for those who prefer the subway read).

–KL Dunn

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