Opinion | Karen Attiah: Some private information(letter)


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Good day everybody, and glad Friday! I’m thrilled that so lots of you have got already determined to be part of me on this text journey. In our frantic, overloaded digital lives, e-mail inboxes are our entrance steps. I don’t take with no consideration that you simply’re inviting me in.

It’s solely pure that I, as a Leo, launch my new Friday e-newsletter now, the most popular and laziest time of the yr. August is the Sunday Funday of the calendar, the month when those that can decamp to swimming pools, seashores, lakes and mountains, realizing it gained’t be lengthy until September exhibits up, pumpkin-spice latte in hand, to order us all again to work.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve been considering a lot these days about how our tradition views sleep, relaxation and work. My most up-to-date column was about President Biden testing optimistic for covid-19, just for the White Home to insist — in virtually each tweet, social-media put up and official assertion — that he was working, working, working!

Even in regular occasions, America is allergic to relaxation. So it comes as no shock that our cult of busyness has proved fairly resilient on this time of covid. Final Saturday, after Biden as soon as once more examined optimistic, in a “rebound” an infection, the White Home doubled down, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre showing to snort off the suggestion that the president would have been higher off taking it straightforward.

It’s not a laughing matter. It bears repeating that docs have suggested towards “pushing by” a case of covid, as doing so might weaken your immune system and make your signs worse.

Apart from, relaxation is our birthright as human beings — actually, in truth. Article 24 of the Common Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everybody has the precise to relaxation and leisure, together with affordable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.” Relaxation is as a lot a labor rights difficulty as it’s a matter of well being.

Nonetheless, as David L. Richards and Benjamin Carbonetti famous in a 2012 paper within the Worldwide Journal of Human Rights, the precise to relaxation is among the most routinely attacked sections of the declaration. Relaxation is “not an idle waste of time or a mere absence of, or restoration from, work,” they wrote, “however, reasonably, essential for a lifetime of ‘dignity.’” Exploitation and overwork are affronts to human dignity.

Because the world grapples with the continuing menace of covid, together with scorching temperatures resulting from local weather change, we want extra cultural and systemic allowances for relaxation and restoration — in addition to for individuals who undergo from energy-limiting circumstances. Katie Bach of the Brookings Establishment estimates {that a} surprising 2.4 % of U.S. employees — some 4 million full-time equal staff — are actually out of labor due to lengthy covid. My residence state of Texas leads the nation in warmth deaths. In the US, there aren’t any nationwide protections for warmth publicity on the job.

If we’re to be a nation that’s extra resilient to public well being emergencies and local weather change, we’ll want extra cultural and political activism in protection of the precise to relaxation.

I’ve been studying extra just lately about advocates for resting and leisure, together with the Nap Ministry and the World Group for Leisure. In Britain, individuals are experimenting with a four-day workweek. Perhaps in the future People can step off our exhausting cultural treadmill.

So sure: Take pleasure in your holidays!

Learn my newest right here: Biden working by covid is unhealthy for America’s public well being.

World Radar: Brittney Griner sentenced

Some terrible information out of Russia: On Thursday, WNBA star and Houston native Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9½ years in jail. Griner was detained in February after Russian authorities claimed she broke the regulation by carrying a small quantity of hashish oil into the nation. The Biden administration raised hopes final week {that a} cope with Russia might be made — to swap Griner and one other American, former Marine Paul Whelan, for infamous arms seller Viktor Bout. However proper now the prospects for Griner’s fast launch don’t look good.

My colleague Jason Rezaian, who spent 544 days as a political prisoner in Iran, was spot on when he wrote about growing hostage-taking by authoritarian regimes in his March column “Why I’m so anxious about Brittney Griner.”

I hold coming again to the explanations that many WNBA stars play in Russia within the first place: They only don’t make sufficient cash in America. Griner earned $227,000 as a participant for the Phoenix Mercury; in Russia, feminine gamers can earn greater than $1 million a yr.

On Tuesday, WNBA legend and coach Becky Hammon, who performed in Russia for years, made an attraction for mercy to Vladimir Putin. Different stars who’ve performed in Russia embrace Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury and Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm. Given how a lot male execs earn in the US, we will hope that WNBA gamers might not less than be paid sufficient to not need to complement their incomes in repressive international locations. However as extra People are detained overseas, Jason reminds us of a scary actuality: We’re in a hostage disaster.

Dwelling Entrance: Preserving Black media historical past within the digital age

Like so many Black women rising up within the ’90s, I keep in mind poring over copies of Jet and Ebony whereas on the salon to get my hair permed. The magazines, owned by Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co., had been based in 1951 and 1945, respectively, and have become two of probably the most influential tradition and life-style publications of the twentieth century.

They had been bought a number of years in the past, and finally a bankrupt Johnson Publishing thought of auctioning off the magazines’ photograph archives, which contained some 4 million images and negatives chronicling 70-plus years’ of necessary figures and occasions in Black historical past. Final week, the Getty Analysis Institute and the Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition introduced that they’d buy the archive for $30 million. The plan is for it to be housed within the NMAAHC and to be made obtainable for public viewing.

The acquisition is a win for preserving Black media’s previous, however the state of Black media at the moment is extra troubling. That’s a topic I’ll little question return to in future newsletters.

For the Tradition: Queen Beyoncé’s summer time dance break

Anybody who has learn me for some time is aware of that I’m going to weigh in on the cultural pressure that’s Beyoncé. The shock launch of her 2016 “visible album” “Lemonade” modified the sport; that work was an unapologetic ode to Blackness, feminine empowerment and the magic of the South. Her 2020 musical movie “Black is King” was an inventive embrace of sounds from the African continent, together with Afrobeats and home music. And naturally, “Homecoming,” a dwell album recorded at Coachella in 2018, was a love letter to HBCU tradition, together with her steppers, marching music and homage to Black Greek traditions.

Beyoncé’s newest album, “Renaissance,” appears like simply what we would have liked after two years of pandemic. Many people have missed the power of dancing with one another, feeling the heartbeat of the music and motion of our our bodies. Tracks like the only “Break My Soul” are paying homage to the homosexual ballroom tradition of the ’80s and ’90s. Writing for Pitchfork, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd put it completely: “Renaissance is inherently about our bodies undulating at nighttime, beneath strobes; sexual company; and the Black queer and trans ladies who’re each politicized and the most endangered individuals amongst us.”

We dwell in a time when the bodily rights of trans individuals and girls are being stripped away. However “Renaissance” is reminder that even in periods of oppression, we had been made to expertise pleasure and connection.

Enjoyable Zone: Nandi Bushell, South Africa’s drumming sensation

I grew up enjoying the piano, however I’ve all the time wished to be taught the drums. In the course of the pandemic, I lastly purchased an electrical equipment to show myself. I like to go on YouTube and hearken to drum covers for inspiration. One drummer I’ve been following for some time is the 12-year-old sensation Nandi Bushell. The bubbly South African preteen, who has greater than 800,000 followers on Instagram, went from jamming on toy drums together with her dad to enjoying on levels with the Foo Fighters. I promise you this clip will make your day:

Cat Nook: Meet Artemis!

And final however actually not least: Final February, I introduced residence a kitten that I named Artemis. And my life has not been the identical since! Slightly bit about Artemis: He’s an a 1½-year-old seal-point Birman, and he has this irresistible face:

Artemis is, sure, the identify of the Greek goddess of the hunt and of single maidens (ahem, me). However Artemis’ identify can also be an ode to my childhood love of the Japanese anime “Sailor Moon” — the cat who’s the guardian and companion of Sailor Venus within the present is named Artemis.

Artemis greets me on the door each time I come residence. He loves individuals and will get together with most canine. He additionally has a loyal fan base on Twitter, which rushes to his protection each time he engages in unhealthy habits.

He might be making common appearances within the e-newsletter — and he would additionally like to see your pet pics, too!

Thanks for studying! I’ll see you subsequent Friday.

Do you have got questions, feedback, ideas, recipes, poems, reward or critiques for me? Submit them right here. I do learn each submission and should embrace yours in a future model of the e-newsletter.

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