Internet highlights – w/c 21st June 2020

27 06 2020

Stupid things people have said and done.

Bible data visualisations.

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – by Suzanne Collins

25 06 2020

When a trilogy has been such a huge hit as The Hunger Games was, both as books and films, then a prequel published a decade later is going to be one of two things – excellent like the originals because the author has waited until they have a good story, or awful and they’ve just written it for the cash. I would say this falls into the former category – I really enjoyed reading this!

It’s set about 65 years before the original books, with President Snow an 18 year old in his final year of school, and following the tenth annual Hunger Games competition. The event is far more primitive than the high tech entertainment we were familiar with in the original books, and is just run in an amphitheatre with a few weapons lying around, though the same revolting basic rule still governs it – last alive wins.

Ten years of the games means it’s ten years since the war, and as yet folk haven’t really got into following the games which were created to remind the Districts who is in charge. The Head Gamesmaker is looking for ways to engage both those in the Capitol and in the Districts more, one way they do this is to have final year students in the Capitol mentor a tribute each, and this is where Snow comes in, mentoring the female tribute from District 12. His family has fallen on hard times since the war, but is trying to keep it quiet for the sake of their position in society, and a good result in the games could get Snow a University scholarship to secure his future.

I won’t give anything away, but even at over 500 pages I flew through it! I have one issue with Snow’s character that I’d like to discuss with anyone who’s read it, but won’t leave spoilers here!! But essentially, if you enjoyed the original books, I think you’ll like this.





Internet highlighhts – w/c 14th June 2020

20 06 2020

Things that are unfortunate.

Mean designs.

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The Color Purple – by Alice Walker

14 06 2020

One of the key things I’ve got out of the BLM awareness the last couple of weeks is the need to educate ourselves better. There have been various books recommended, and this was on a fiction list I saw early on (which I can’t find anymore), and it had been sat on my shelf for a long time, and so it seemed a very sensible time to pick it up.

The book is written as letters, initially from the main character, Celie, to God, (though later on this varies a bit and includes letters to and from her sister). Through these letters she essentially tells us the story of her life as a black woman in the American Deep South between the world wars, and of those around her.

It’s not been the easiest book to read, but for a broad variety of reasons:

  • Because she’s talking to God, there’s a lot of assumed knowledge! She talks about people without explaining who they are, and it takes a fair bit of focus to work out what she’s on about at times, particularly at the beginning when everyone she talks about it new to you.
  • No quote marks for dialogue!
  • When Celie is writing (so, for most of the book), it’s written in the dialect she spoke in, the author has referred to this as “black folk language.” It very quickly becomes normal, but was a bit of an adjustment at the start.
  • Time seems to move along without explicitly telling us. By the end of the book I’d say 30-40 years have passed, but it’s not at all easy to see this happen. Someone might refer to how they now have three more children than when you last saw them, or that someone you thought was a kid is nearly as tall as the adults. Hard to keep track of so I just sort of let it happen!
    A quote which just felt so true of life, especially right now: “Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.”
  • Finally, some of the actual content is upsetting, and could be triggering for some. On page one alone, Celie, aged 14 is violently raped by her Pa.





Internet highlights – w/c 7th June 2020

13 06 2020

Weird things about the British.

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Internet highlights – w/c 31st May 2020

6 06 2020

I’ve split this into two halves this week. There’s a lot of very serious stuff going on, and there’s a lot of silly internet stuff out there. It feels like too much of an roller-coaster and too emotionally confusing to yo-yo between them, so all the stuff relating to the George Floyd situation (directly or indirectly) comes first, followed by all the regular nonsense (some of which is also serious, but still feels like it should be kept separate).

For me, the biggest thing to come out of all the below is the need for us to educate ourselves better. There are books and things suggested, and I am definitely going to be looking for some, but I feel like even reading and watching these posts has been an eye-opener.


An explanation of white privilege.

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Hello 🤍 I asked on my stories if anyone would be interested in some pointers on how people in the UK can respond to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and overwhelmingly the answer was yes. This is just a small collection of ways you can take action. I would like to make it clear that I’m not an authority on this issue and the people to turn to and follow are the people mentioned throughout the post. This is simply a way of summarising small steps you can take if you’re feeling as useless as I am at the moment. We can always do more. These are some of the ways. EDIT: you can email the county office at citizeninfo@co.hennepin.mn.us 🤍 EDIT 2: I included Robin DiAngelo’s book but many people have pointed out that it’s always best to read Black authors’ work on racism before going for a white author. Please bear that in mind! 🤍

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@candicebrathwaite said this to me yesterday and it’s been ringing in my ears ever since. It’s not enough to post on here and go about our lives, business as usual. It’s not enough to talk about reflecting, adapting and learning without doing the work. Tomorrow is #blackouttuesday, and we’ll be having a day of learning at home with the boys. I know a day would never be enough, but it’s an introduction for them. The other day at breakfast Buzz asked why the policeman had hurt George Floyd, and if all policemen are bad. We both knew George had died, but he didn’t use the word. We spoke about skin colour and how some people in the world do horrible things. I saw his fear. My son is white. I cannot imagine having that conversation if my son were black, knowing the realness of what that could mean for his life. I know Instagram rabbit holes are frowned upon usually, but I’ve found myself on many lately – and I don’t feel guilty for a single one. They are hours well spent.

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#blacklivesmatter

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It’s all too easy to ignore the structural racism that is still so prevalent in Britain. This post deals with the justice system – it by no means details the extensive oppression faced by black people in Britain today. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••We’d like to raise attention to the fact that Stephen Lawrence’s name is spelt wrong in this source. Apologies for this mistake – rather than reposting the post and losing all the educational comments that have been posted alongside it, we just want to to draw your attention to this. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/met-police-cressida-dick-no-longer-institutionally-racist-racism-black-officer-a9001176.html Source: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/22/institutional-racism-britain-stephen-lawrence-inquiry-20-years

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Swipe to read // @mnfreedomfund

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Our aim is to share good news, but if you have followed us for a while, you’ll know that The Happy News came from a sad place, personally for @emilycoxhead and shortly after terror attacks in France. We don’t cover over and ignore the bad, we don’t pretend like the world is full of sunshine and rainbows all of the time, because it isn’t. It can sometimes be really really hard to find and see the good, but it’s always there and we want to celebrate that. All of that being said, even when there is a lot of love and hope to be shared there is still a lot of work to be done, a lot of innocent lives being lost and injustice going on in so many corners of the planet. We are aware that an Instagram post isn’t enough, it‘s a start but it’s so much bigger and deeper than that. We are learning, we are making mistakes, we are probably saying the wrong thing at times, but we are wanting to do more and be better. We are here to say that we see you and support you, we are heartbroken and angry seeing yet another black person be killed or threatened with the power of those who *should* be enforcing the law. Things need to change; we have the most incredible community here at The Happy News and I think I can speak for most of us who want to learn and do more, if you don’t then please unfollow. If you have any resources or accounts, you’d like to share, please do in the comments. We want this to be a safe space, please respect that 💛

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This by Scott Woods. RG @laurenlaverne

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In any dark time, we can feel anxious and overwhelmed over how much is wrong or un-mended in the world. We can become weakened by dwelling on what is outside of our reach, what we can not control and what cannot yet be. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, there will be other who will support us, love us, guide us and we will notice them when we see them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Any small, thing that one person can do to help another person, to assist some portion of this suffering world, will help immensely and support the tip toward an enduring good. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring change, justice or peace, but only a determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth storm. Be with it. With righteous rage be with it.

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🤍🤎🖤

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As a privileged white woman, I’ve had moments this week wherein I passionately posted about the injustices of racism. I’ve also had moments wherein I fell silent out of hesitation and fear of “saying the wrong thing.” It’s tension. It’s uncomfortable. It’s embarrassing. But then I realized I can’t allow that insecurity to silence my voice. A friend who is a POC (person of color) enlightened me that my insecurity in posting was a sign that more education needed to be done. If I felt educated enough, I would post confidently. ⁣⠀ I have been learning a lot the past few weeks on how white people can ally in the fight to abolish racism in America. It has been a constant grappling in my mind — of which I am grateful, as this wrestling should have started long ago. ⁣⠀ I have received messages from people saying I’m a basic white girl posting about racism with no action (ironically, 32/33 of those messages are from white people). Those people don’t see my calls to officials or signed petitions or my regular donations to Black Live Matter, because I’m not a white savior looking for applause. But those messages still made me hesitate to post more… ⁣⠀ Because I’m sure many other white people are unsure of what to do or say — simply because they don’t want to “say the wrong thing” — I want to share what I’ve been advised to do by my friends who are POC. I don’t want any of us to stay silent because of that insecurity. Again, we must use that doubt as a red flag that says, “EDUCATE YOURSELF, EDUCATE YOURSELF.” ⁣⠀ My confusion almost led me to stop talking about racism in America. But I’m pressing through that hesitation because I know — deep down — even if my words are picked apart or even if I say something that I need to correct later — speaking up is the right thing to do. White people: Speaking up is the right thing to do. And I hope this helps guide other white people who are unsure of how to be a part of abolishing the very real racism in America along side POC. ⁣⠀ — @elisabethhuijskens, Founder

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• Tell me again how "The UK doesnt have a racism problem anymore" when the prime minister himself has said some of the most horrifyingly racist things and was still elected into power. • Anyone can say that Black lives matter, but it's the actions that you take to prove you mean it that matters. Boris Johnson has not once apologised for the things that he has said in this post unless forced to. People can change, but they need to show it first. • The slides in this post have been taken from Sirena Bergman's article in Indy100 by The Independent, here's a link to read the full story: https://www.indy100.com/article/boris-johnson-racist-keir-starmer-pmqs-george-floyd-black-lives-matter-9546586)

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Black Lives Matter Plaza is now the official name of the road leading to the White House. Mayor of Washington, DC – Muriel Bowser – has renamed the section of 16th street, which has hosted seven days of protests over the death of George Floyd. It follows President Donald Trump ordering authorities to forcibly remove peaceful protesters from a square outside the White House so he could cross the street to take a photo in front of a church. Mayor Bowser said she wanted Washington to demonstrate that "you can bring grievances to your government and demand change". Earlier in the day, with permission from the city, volunteers painted the words "Black Lives Matter" in giant letters on the road. Tap the link in our bio for more. #bbcnews #GeorgeFloyd #Washington (📷: Getty Images)

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Hello. A lot is going on, and I felt the need to say something. Again I wish to reiterate, people aren’t obligated to post on their social media what they’re doing to help the cause – but i know a lot of people who hide behind their excuses because they are uncomfortable. You’re not a bad person for not sharing these things but now more than ever, if you are in a place of privilege, please reconsider using your voice and platform, however small it may be, to help. Spread donation and petition links. Educate. Have these uncomfortable conversations with the people around you. Teach yourself to erase the racism that is built deep inside of you, inside of everyone. Do not be ashamed. Black people are dying. And their lives matter. #BLM #justiceforgeorgefloyd I have tagged some great people on Instagram that have done a really good job at educating and showing us what’s going on. There’s no excuse! LAST SLIDE IS A QUOTE FROM ANGELA DAVIS HERSELF. READ ABOUT HER. EDUCATE YOURSELF. She has an insane amount of helpful books that will completely change your outlook on this situation rn. (EDIT: link in my bio with a full list of resources to educate yourself on how to be a white or non-black ally, and how to actively be non racist, among other helpful readings) // Title page illustrated by the lovely Emmy Hamilton of @cowpetter and @m0mzines.

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As a white person, my parents never had to discuss how to behave around police officers when I was a kid. Growing up I never once thought about what my skin colour meant and what it might mean to others. As a white person, I know I have the privilege of never having to think about this. I know I never had to deal with any of this. But as a white person I have the responsibility, WE have the responsibility to talk about the injustice and to make it right. Why? Because none of us chose the colour of our skin nor did we choose which privileges came with it or those that did not. ⁣ ⁣ The senseless murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd and the unquestionably racist incident that happened in Central Park this week are a few of the stories that made headlines that we KNOW of. Ahmaud should still be breathing. George should still be breathing. Next time we read, watch, listen or witness something we know is not right, we need to speak up and use our voices. Because choosing silence is choosing to be part of the problem. ⁣ ⁣ Check the link in my bio for anti-racism resources: books, podcasts, films, accounts to follow on social media. Anti-racism is what we NEED to be teaching our kids, our students, our friends, family and ourselves. #AhmaudArbery #GeorgeFloyd Video from @cut

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@claraamfo "And I say that with my chest."

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Like many of you, I have been feeling really heavy with everything that we are seeing online and hearing on the news. In the past I have mentioned some personal experiences that were triggered due to my race. More than ever I felt like it was time that I was completely open and honest with you all because finally, the world is awake and people want to listen, help and understand. I'm not doing this video for sympathy or for you to watch and then go about normal life. I'm doing it because enough is enough and hopefully from sharing this we can all do more to understand the racism that takes place. In doing this we are able to approach the bigger issue and break down systemic racism. All we want is equality and justice for our black community. 🖤

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#blacklivesmatter

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Note to self.

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Dis is my ball & i love it 😁😂 @finnyboymolloy

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Little Fires Everywhere – by Celeste Ng

2 06 2020

Yes it’s another of those books that’s been everywhere and then adapted for TV. But my theory is, there’s got to be a reason it’s been everywhere and that someone’s put money into making a screen adaptation. It’s gotta be good.

The Richardsons live in an overly planned suburb of picture perfect houses where everyone seems to live picture perfect lives. Mia and her daughter Pearl arrive to rent a small home owned by the Richardsons, having moved house every few months of Pearl’s life and don’t quite fit in with the ideal, but Pearl quickly forms friendships with the Richardson children.

The book starts with a rather dramatic incident, and then flashes back a year to show us how things got to that point. There are back-stories to be discovered, one of which takes a good 50 pages to tell when we finally get to it!

It’s set in the late 90s, which gave some lovely nostalgic moments.

It turns out, yes there is always a reason books go viral (is that a thing? books going viral? oh well, you know what I mean), because it’s a story that grabs you and keeps you interested.