Inspired | May 2020

Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in May: making meaningful change, photographs of confinement, the importance of the Doctor, the failure of productivity, and more.

(Articles marked with ($) may be behind a paywall.)

Save the Tears: White Woman’s Guide by Tatiana Mac: “Black and brown people are protesting for their survival, and you’re a white woman who isn’t sure how to help. What now?”

Here’s Why Some Professional Photographers Are Making Their Instagram Accounts Private by Kate Bubacz: “Nancy Del Pizzo, the outside counsel for BuzzFeed, said, ‘If you’re a photographer and you’re going to be putting your stuff up, and you want to preserve your rights, you ought to care about the terms and conditions. It’s part of the due diligence of being a photographer.’”

Through my lockdown lens: 11 leading photographers capture their confinement by Killian Fox, Tim Lewis and Lisa O’Kelly: “Acclaimed photographers from around the world share a single image reflecting on their experience of the coronavirus outbreak”

The Character of the Doctor Is More Important to Me Than Doctor Who Will Ever Be by Emmet Asher-Perrin

We watch the show because we need the Doctor. We need the Doctor because their existence, their kindness, their belief in us makes it a little easier to be in the world. There aren’t many fictional figures who fill that need, who offer that manner of comfort, and certainly not with this longevity.

Hardboiled World: Four Creative Noir Traditions From Around the Globe by T.R. Napper: “The narrative template of noir, with its origins in the hardboiled and disillusioning interwar period, offers a mood, tone, and critique of power that resonates across cultures and time.”

Productivity Is Not Working ($) by Laurie Penny: “The idea that hustling can save you from calamity is an article of faith, not fact—and the Covid-19 pandemic is starting to shake the collective faith in individual striving.”

I Don’t Feel Like Buying Stuff Anymore by Anne Helen Petersen

This might, of course, be a misguided proclamation coming from the inside of a pandemic. But in addition to the actual risk (to oneself, to others) of buying things, the pandemic has afforded many Americans, whether in isolation or out of work, with something they haven’t had in years: time and mental space to actually think about the way we spend and its effects on others.

Inside the Flour Company Supplying America’s Sudden Baking Obsession ($) by David H. Freedman: “It was as if half of America had decided all at once that they needed to bake. A lot.”

Stewed Awakening by Navneet Alang

Only whiteness can deracinate and subsume the world of culinary influences into itself and yet remain unnamed. It’s a complicated little dance of power and desire: The mainstream is white, so what is presented in the mainstream becomes defined as white, and — ta-da — what you see in viral YouTube videos somehow ends up reinforcing a white norm, even though the historical roots of a dish or an ingredient might be the Levant or East Asia. You might say whiteness works by positing itself as a default. You might also say that this sucks.

The Haunting of Girlstown by Daniel Hernandez

The students carried the girl into the classroom. She was 12 years old, very thin, and her lower body was rigid, as if she were paralyzed. The classroom was beige, with a crucifix on the wall and a collection of empty desks. The students navigated the girl to a chair, lowered her down, and retreated. A group of nuns waited outside, leaving her alone with the government psychiatrist.

What’s the most interesting thing you saw online this month?