Weekly recommended reading this week includes a surprising proportion of tech stuff, a little political stuff, and then a story by Calvino. I’ll start with the most important thing, then the story:

What Jews Of Color Hear When You Say Gal Gadot Isn’t White

by Mark Tseng-Putterman and Rebecca Pierce

Last, as black and Asian American Jews living and organizing in the United States, we are struck by the utter exclusion of the perspectives of Jewish people of color in the conversation. Despite our active engagement and prior writings on the topic, the discourse surrounding Gadot has been primarily white Ashkenazi Jews talking to one another. As Jewish people of color who necessarily understand the intersections of anti-Semitism and white supremacy based on lived experience, we question the centering of white Jews as experts on issues of Jews and race. Meanwhile, the vitriolic response we have received when we have shared our voices — including being likened to Holocaust deniers — reflects the realities of racism within the Jewish community. If white Jews are people of color, what does that make us? The combined exclusion and vitriol directed toward our voices and perspectives reminds us that, ironically, there is no room for Jewish people of color within a white Jewish racial frame that casts itself as nonwhite.

This might be the most important article so I’m putting it first (despite my stated intention), at least for a lot of my peers (probably two of the five of who you read this blog, according to my analytics) who grew up in a primarily white, ashkenazi Jewish community, with a wildly one-sided education about the state of Israel and the state of the Jews post-WWII. Please read it.

The Adventure of a Skier

by Italo Calvino

They wouldn’t have been able to explain why, but this was what held them spellbound: all her movements were as simple as possible and perfectly suited to her person; she never exaggerated by a centimetre, never showed a hint of agitation or effort or determination to do a thing at all costs, but did it naturally; and, depending on the state of the trail, she even made a few uncertain moves, like someone walking on tiptoe, which was her way of overcoming the difficulties without revealing whether she was taking them seriously or not—in other words, not with the confident air of one who does things as they should be done but with a trace of reluctance, as if she were trying to imitate a good skier but always ended up skiing better. This was the way the sky-blue girl moved on her skis.

Yay, fiction!

Okay, here’s the thing: I take issue with Calvino like I take issue with Bellow and so many others: the (only) female character in the story is more an object of the adolescent male-gaze than a proper character. Manic-pixie-dream-girl all over again (by which I mean, some decades prior). That said, it was a decent story, and his prose is delicious. That said, that they drag things like this up all the time is the reason why I don’t (often) read the NYer.

One Weird Trick to Lose Size

by Ben Sandofsky

Pick the Right Battles Halide has about 15,000 lines of Swift. This includes a realtime video processor, a slew of custom controls, and our platform controlling AVFoundation. What’s interesting is the the code I didn’t write.

Okay, so I’m not an app developer, but this was still interesting as hell to me, especially since I rock the cheapest version of the iPhone that you could buy (long story) which has very little storage.


by John Gruber

As for why dickbars actually decrease site usage, I think the answer is obvious: when people see user-hostile fixed position bars at the top and/or bottom of their display, especially on phones, they’re annoyed, and the easiest way to eliminate the annoyance is to close the fucking tab and move on to something that isn’t annoying.

I really like Daring Fireball. And I really hate those things. With a passion.

We desperately need a way to defend against online propaganda

by Annalee Newitz

And that’s pretty much where we’re at with fake news more generally. There have been weak efforts by Facebook and Google to label news as “disputed” if it might be fake. But we need more than that. We need to fundamentally change people’s expectations when it comes to what they’re reading online.

Beginning our transition from tech to politics (see what I did there?), this article I strongly recommend, because it’s both a nice description of where we’re currently at (and why), and also offers a surprisingly hopeful solution for the future. Literacy, and specifically tech literacy, is important.

How a Rising Minimum Wage Affects Jobs in Seattle

by Noam Scheiber

But Mr. Zipperer was skeptical that the control is valid. He argued that there is, in effect, only one Seattle in the state of Washington — only one large city with a booming labor market. As a result, the control may not be much of a control at all: It does not illustrate what would happen absent a minimum-wage increase in a booming city like Seattle. It illustrates what would happen absent a minimum-wage increase in a city that is not booming.

I remember having this argument the summer after my first minimum-wage job with my staunchly conservative (but brilliant, inspiring, etc.,) high school history teacher. He was ABD (all but dissertation) in economics, and I was 17: clearly I was outgunned. That said, I think this article presents (as best as I’m going to expect out of the NYT) a good case for a higher minimum wage, because though, yes, you’re going to lose some jobs in some sectors, in markets where there is so much competition already (e.g., Seattle), people aren’t going to be really losing out on jobs because of hiring, but instead people who do make minimum wage will have a better quality of life. So… yeah. And anyway that UW study sounded like bullshit.

Trumpcare is Bad News for Freelancers

by Andrea Tsurumi

Before Obamacare, most freelancers either did without insurance or they paid a lot of money for individual plans that covered less.

Great comic. I was lucky in that I was still <26 and so could stay on my parents’ health plan when I was freelancing as my sole source of (small, very small) income, but even that was due to O-care. Healthcare is fucking important, man! Also, go hit up your reps during the recess. Apparently McConnell ain’t got shit.

Socialism’s Future May Be Its Past

by Bhaskar Sunkara

Stripped down to its essence, and returned to its roots, socialism is an ideology of radical democracy. In an era when liberties are under attack, it seeks to empower civil society to allow participation in the decisions that affect our lives. A huge state bureaucracy, of course, can be just as alienating and undemocratic as corporate boardrooms, so we need to think hard about the new forms that social ownership could take.

I know I rag on the NYT a lot, but also it’s hilarious that they’re publishing the publisher (title) of Jacobin all the time now. Anyway, this was a great article, and made me laugh because it reminded me of this ad Jacobin did (which apparently is no longer on the Internet) to this song: