We need to talk about Brandon
Good morning gorgeous! It's so lovely to see you on the first day of spring. We made it! It's all vitamin D from here, baby save for the one last snow storm we all know is coming. Damnit, Canada. Before we get into the meats, I want to chat a bit about partying. Surprised? Let's do it.
A couple of months ago my coach gave me a serious prescription. She sat gently on her white couch, leaned in and prescribed me... to party. Seriously, a trained professional told me to go party until 2 am. She had to tell me that because, well, I forgot. For anyone who knows me, you know that a night of Catan, Roots sweats, wine, and an early bedtime is my jam. I’m not a heels at 3 am style human, I just don’t have the calves for it.
She was right, of course. A dance party is good for the soul. We work so hard setting goals, getting up early, remembering to eat kale, and squeezing our brains for every drop of productivity so we can become some future version of ourselves, that we forget the now. We forget that the only way we can make the most of our lives is by living the hell out of them, today.
The Killers came on at a club last week in Nashville, 30-year-old-me knew that 15-year-old me required an emotional, intense, hand-flailey dance party, immediately. My friends agreed. The early 20 somethings at the bachelorette to our right did not. They frowned at their phones and shot us judging looks.
I just can’t look, it’s killing me.
I get it, I was there once. In my early 20s going to the bar was a performance, and one I found exhausting. I mostly didn’t have fun those nights. It was all uncomfortable shoes and creepy dudes buying you bad drinks you’d have to guard with your life. The only good part was the 2 am McDonald's.
I felt for them. I wish I could tell them to just let it go. That you have to stop worrying about what other people think in order to let yourself feel. That silly is more fun than sexy. That your early 20s are hard, and your self-esteem will grow to a point that you won’t need the heels and the hair extensions unless you choose them. That dancing is fun, old emo music is the best, and we should all lean the fuck into this awesome moment.
If you know someone who needs to hear that, let them know for me ok?
Now let’s go have ourselves a morning emo dance party.
It's contest time. Refer friends, get books.
The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Bossypants by Tina Fey
To enter, head to wntta.co/ambassador to grab your link. The wntta-er with the most referrals will be announced next week. The winner will get all three books in the mail.
We're all tired of talking about this (but we have to)
On Friday, 50 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. The shooter targeted two mosques and used a semi-automatic weapon and a shotgun to carry out his hate crime. He’s now in custody. The attack was gut-wrenchingly awful, fueled by white nationalism and stoked by online extremist groups.
Following the attack, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern led with strength, love, and grace. Because we collectively forgot what leadership looked like, everyone was talking about it. Ardern is refusing to use the name of the shooter and we’ll follow suit because, fuck that guy. He doesn’t deserve any of the perverse celebrity he craves.
A name we should remember is Abdul Aziz, the man who fought off the attacker at the second mosque. He chased him to his car and threw a shotgun through his window. He scared the shooter enough that he drove away instead of heading back into the mosque to continue shooting. Aziz saved lives, and we should all speak his name.
Quick stats: 63% of all mass shootings in the US are committed by white men, and they make up 31% of the population of the US. 98% of extremist killings in the US last year had ties to radical far-right groups. In all ways horrible for humanity, white men have outdone themselves. Speaking of which, Trump has deprioritized counter-terrorism efforts against far-right extremists and slashed budgets for the departments who oversee them. American friends, tell your congressperson to protect counter-terrorism efforts against right-wing extremists.
We need to talk about the internets
The internet plays a huge role in the spread and radicalization of white supremacists, which has been on a sharp incline since 2017. *scratches head*, what happened then?
The Christchurch shooter showed a clear understanding of how the internet is used to spawn new alt-right extremists. He designed his attack for the internet, starting his video with a reference to a popular meme that's been co-opted as a racist dog whistle. He used scum of the earth channel 8chan to publish the link to the live stream he used for the attack. He live-streamed the attack on Facebook. Facebook then left it up for 24 hours, and it was viewed over 4000times before it was taken down because of fucking course it was. FB, you were cool in 2006, but now, like a high school ex-boyfriend posting racist shit on his wall, we’re over it.
The shooter understood a fundamental part of creating spreading internet fascism— YouTube. He knew his live stream would be recorded and reuploaded to YouTube constantly, inspiring a new wave of hateful youth into his movement. Here's the thing, YouTube has an algorithm like any social network. It's designed to keep you on YouTube so you see more ads. The way to do that is to show you content like the content you're watching, but more intense and exciting, so they keep your eyeballs. For budding right-wingers, that means starting with an innocuous political video and entering a wormhole of increasingly scary videos designed to keep you watching. This is how someone goes from right-leaning to Richard Spencer, real quick.
Social networks profess to be "platforms" agnostic to the content posted on their sites, but these platforms are being used to profess, indoctrinate, and radicalize young men to commit horrific acts of terror. Facebook and YouTube need to own the part their tools play in creating extremists and take the necessary steps to undo their harm. Right now.
Something to make you laugh
Garfunkel and Oats have what it takes to be men.
Something to give you the feels
An 8-year-old Nigerian refugee living in a homeless shelter won a New York chess championship. He’s the best.
Something too relatable
Are you ready to play March Sadness? There are no winners. We are all losers until April. But we and our bad skin are in it together.
Something to help
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh experienced their own terrorist attack on their synagogue in October of 2018. Now they’re helping the Muslim Community in New Zealand recover from their horrific attack by raising a relief fund. You can donate here.
Thank you for popping by today, friend. It was lovely to catch up. Please consider sharing the letter with a few friends today, (remember, there is a contest going for some great books too!). I'll keep writing if you keep showing up to the campfire. Have a beautiful Wednesday.
P.S wntta is on Insta, she's still pretty new so come say hi :)