Farmer protests in India, delicious daal, three identical strangers, and more.
Digest #24 - February 21st, 2021
Hello lovely readers,
How was everyone’s week? Mine was… stressful! For those who don’t know, I’m really proud to lead global marketing and comms for this super cool program, headquartered in London. (We just released our 2020 Annual Report! 5.8 million lives reached by accelerated delivery and impact of digital humanitarian assistance #shamelessplug).
It’s currently our peak busy period, as the UK financial year ends in March. This is nothing new, it’s my fifth year in a row doing this, and yet the overwhelming nature of it all somehow always surprises me! But I’ll be on the other side soon… and the cycle will continue.
I’m a little sapped in terms of my ability to read and write… but I’m showing up here authentically with you, as I always try to. I hope you enjoy this week’s list, though the blurbs are more concise than usual. I’m humbled that so many of you are interested in my thoughts and find value in these recommendations.
Also remember to enter the February book giveaway, two copies of James Baldwin’s wonderful novel Another Country are up for grabs.
Farmer protests in India
One of the largest civil rights movements in global history has been unfolding in India. Over 250 million people have gathered in India’s streets to protest three new laws passed in September. Many fear that corporations are being given too much power, and that they will lose their livelihoods and slip deep into poverty.
“Although they are being called the "farmer protests," the collective protest by millions of Indians — cutting across religion, caste and income lines — is about much more than any agriculture legislation. It is a coming together of desperate people to resist being subjected by their government to increased economic vulnerability.” - Supreet Kaur, assistant professor of economics, University of California, Berkeley (read more)
Right now as I write this, the Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, is hosting protesting farmer leaders at a lunch to discuss the three contentious Central agricultural laws and other related issues.
You can support the farmers, and this movement, by sharing information with those in your life, and on on social media. You can also follow hashtags such as #StandWithFarmers and #FarmersProtest.
In an effort to make sure our son Leo’s library reflects as many different kinds of people and experiences as possible, we have deliberately purchased an extremely wide range of narratives. I don’t want to even rely on the term ‘diversity’ here, as I see it as more of aiming for a holistic reflection of humanity. In our isolated COVID-bubble, it’s quite lovely to visit all of these story characters living very different lives to us whenever we open a book. One of Leo’s favourite books is called Bilal Cooks Daal, a story about a six-year-old boy introducing daal to his friends. It has a recipe in the back, so I made it (using this recipe) and showed him all of the ingredients. Daal is now Leo’s favorite food, and he scoffs it down unlike any other dish. Coincidence? Probably. Who knows. But I can’t say I’m mad I have a toddler with a decent palate. Daal is never a mistake.
Three Identical Strangers
This description is a really tricky one to even approach. My colleague Kimberly recommended this documentary film to me, following a conversation about Leo that led to a nature/nurture heritability/environment discussion. On the back of this, she refused to tell me anything about the film when I asked, remaining stone faced and simply insisting I see it and that it was incredible. I found this kind of annoying (ha - hi Kimberly), but it turns out it was completely the right approach. The storytelling method is one that drops in new pieces of important information one after the other, so the less you know going in, the more amazing the entire tale is. If you’re happy to watch a documentary on nothing but my blind insistence that you should, please do. If you need more, Google it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you when your viewing experience is less special because of it! It streams on Hulu in the US.
This is one of my favorite songs, from one of my absolute favorite bands, Unknown Mortal Orchestra (I wrote about this at length in The Sunday Chew last week). I used to think the video for this song was a bit boring. Watching it now, in a travel-free pandemic-ridden world, I can’t help but think it’s just perfect. I want to experience a simple moment like this, one of these ones that I used to take so completely for granted. The video offers a vicarious escape. Join me, and imagine for a few minutes that we are somewhere else. Sitting in this train window, watching the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand pass by, with a book in our hands and this song playing in our earphones… what could be better than that?
As we have almost reached the penultimate episode of WandaVision, I have to comment on how great this show is. For any fans of the MCU, it was always going to be mandatory viewing. But I love seeing how well they’re translated the big-Hollywood-action thrills to the small screen. The way that the show bounces through decades and references tv classics is all kinds of brilliant, campy, and genius. It starts out kind of creatively insane, so if you’ve gone through the first couple of episodes and you’re confused, stick with it. It becomes less obtuse, and those big risks from the opener pay off. I’m so glad it hasn’t disappointed, and after this last major twist, I can’t wait for the last two episodes of series!
The Outer Worlds
People are somehow surprised when they find out I’m a gamer! I’m not a hardcore gamer and I’d never claim to be, mostly because I suck at combat and always play in story/casual mode. But I love a well-constructed world and lore, and am a sucker for a great story. Games can have incredible narratives, on par with the best films and tv shows (I’m currently playing my way through the Mass Effect series which is the ultimate example of this - but more on that later). Last year I played The Outer Worlds, which was absolutely excellent sci-fi fare. I find myself thinking about the game’s storyline sometimes, and wish I’d have done every side quest and hadn’t burned through to the end so quickly. I’m waiting to forget enough of the plot that I can play it again and find delight in all the little details all over again. If you’re looking for something to play that has a brilliantly developed concept, landscape, and gameplay… you’ve found it. The hype is true.
What’s 1 trillion to the 10th power?
This is just fun. I also want to replicate this… I don’t use Siri but, does Alexa do this? On tomorrow’s investigation list!