Deipnosophist | Issue 4 May 1
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The art of being in the know

Protests Erupt in Baltimore: Following the death of Freddie Gray (here's a timeline of the events), a string of both peaceful and violent protests began in the city of Baltimore, Md. Conversations surrounding what is happening Baltimore, stem from a larger conversation going on in America over the relationship between minority communities, police enforcement, and race relations in America. Baltimore is not like Ferguson, Mo. Instead, in Baltimore, the police force is comprised of both black and white police officers, with a black mayor. That wasn't so much the case in Ferguson. While the issues surrounding Ferguson and Baltimore are the same, the situations are also quite different. What is happening Baltimore extends to years of tense community and police relations in the city, eloquently written about here. The conversations surrounding the events of Baltimore, include discussion about community-police relations, but also about race relations in America. In instances such as these, I turn to the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates, who often writes on race issues, as the national correspondent for the Atlantic. If you read any commentary on this, it should be Coates'. 

Supreme Court & Same-Sex Marriage Case: On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Obergefell v Hodges, The Court will decide on the whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and whether states are required to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed in other states. It is believed that, much like the Defense Against Marriage case in 2013, that the Court will side in favor of same-sex marriage legalization. However, the verdict is still unclear, as NPR's Nina Totenberg reported this week. Justices Roberts and Kennedy are said to be the key deciding votes on this case, which will be officially decided by June. 

Devastating Earthquake Strikes Nepal: On Saturday, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal which resulted in the death of over 6,000 with the death toll still rising and entire villages being flattened. The UN estimates that 8.3 million people have been affected by the earthquake, and immediate aid is needed. With only one airport, aid to the country is devastatingly difficult to get to as the UN told CNN earlier this week. In the wake of such tragedy, please consider donating just a few dollars to help a slew of reputable organizations that are working to provide food, water, shelter, and immediate aid to the region. Also, peruse this valuable piece from the Guardian on thinking twice before you go volunteer in an emergency disaster. 

Senator Bernie Sanders Announces Presidential Run: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced on Thursday his run for the 2016 Presidential Democratic nomination. This marks the first challenger to Hillary Clinton. Sanders is known for his outspoken-ness, consistent advocate for the middle class, and against big corporations. Many political wonks are already discounting Sanders as a viable candidate, as he will not have as much funding as the rest of the potential Hillary challengers. Yet, as noted in this piece from Rolling Stone, the very fact that individuals are discrediting Sanders as a "viable" candidate is the problem with the current political landscape. 

Women and Children Rescued from Boko Haram: Just days after 300 women and children were rescued from Boko Haram, Thursday an additional 160 women and girls were found by the Nigerian army. In total, 13 Boko Haram camps have been destroyed, proving a positive sign in the fight against Boko Haram. What remains now is to provide post-traumatic stress disorder treatment and provide rehabiliation programs. Yet, the search is still ongoing for the 200 school girls that were kidnapped last year that sparked #bringbackourgirls campaign.

Of Note: How the News Talks About Black People (Video) | Journalists Faced the Most Dangerous Year | Why Americans Should Care about the UK Elections | 60 Minutes Piece on Migrants Trying to Reach Europe (Video) | Goodbye to Freddie Gray and Goodbye to Quietly Accepting Injustices | Baltimore's Real, Untelevised, Revolution | ISIS Looses City of Tikrit | The Movie "Selma" is Coming to a High School Near You | Pakistan Sentences 10 in their Role in 2012 Shooting of Mala |
Do you use emojis? Those cute little images that you can use on your smartphone to express your joy or angst. Learn a little about what researchers have found about what the use of emojis says about how the world interacts with one another. 

New Yorker writer Sarah Lason looks into e-laughter, expressed by "haha" or "hehe" via text messages. Larson delves into what messages the use of haha  and how she has artfully mastered the use of e-laughter in everyday text conversation. 
One of my favorite weekly reads is the New York Times' Modern Love column, submitted essays all dsicussing what that funny word "love" means from poignant to hilarious. Each year, editor Daniel Jones, calls for essay on love by college student. This year's winner is sophomore Jordana Narin with her essay, "No Labels, No Direction." Narin writes on the blurred lines between friend and girlfriend/boyfriend that so often lie within modern relationships among millenials and the fear of "connecting" fully. It's a piece that really resonated with me.
"I’m told my generation will be remembered for our callous commitments and rudimentary romances. We hook up. We sext. We swipe right. All the while, we avoid labels and try to bury our emotions. We aren’t supposed to want anything serious; not now, anyway. But a void is created when we refrain from telling it like it is, from allowing ourselves to feel how we feel. And in that unoccupied space, we’re dangerously free to create our own realities...Without labels to connect us, I have no justification for my feelings and he has no obligation to acknowledge them."
I grew up on Sesame Street with the likes of Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, and the other fuzzy characters that graced PBS' beloved children's television show. Perhaps you did too, or at least recognize Sesame Street for Big Big's appearance on the West Wing. That aside, what is it like actually BE Big Bird? The Guardian this week ran an essay with the puppeteer behind the fuzzy, tall, friendly bird in sequence with a documentary coming out about the puppeteer behind the big yellow bird. . 

A fascinating piece from Al Jazeera with conductor, and cellist, of the Iraqi National Symphony, on why he performed in front of a Baghdad bombsite. Karim Wasfi talks about why culture and music are just as important as food and water. 

And finally, Jon Stewart got fiesty with Judith Miller on the Daily Show on Wednesday, in one of the show's most tense interviews. 
Listening To
So much amazing music is coming out these next few weeks, it's quite a lot to keep track of. However, with this week's releases, I've been obsessively listening to Odessa. Prior to her solo career, Odessa Rose Jorgensen, was the violinist for Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. She just released her full EP and it is simply gorgeous. I've been playing her album on repeat since it got released on Tuesday with the songs "Grow" and "I Will Be There." 

After five years of no new music, we finally have new music from one of my favorite indie duos, The Weepies. Their new album "Sirens" encapsulates everything I love about their music. 

Lastly, a great piece by Hadley Freeman in the Guardian on music festival fashion. When did attending a music festival become a runway, versus a time to soak up some good music? Freeman argues that those in attendance at Coachella seemed both bored and interested in the music they so desperately sought to see. Instead, Freemane suggests that when you go to a festival to just dress comfortably, it's not a runway show. "No one has fun when they are fussing over how they look, or if they’re too scared of getting messy to relax. I love fashion and I love festivals but I do not understand people who go to festivals with specific looks planned. Do these people have fun? Because they don’t look like they’re having fun. They look like they’re thinking about how to look as hot as possible on Instagram, and that, to me, is completely anathema to the festival experience. "
It's time to boogy like the Scooby Doo days because it's FRIDAY! Congratulations, you made it! Now go get yourself a drink, because you're a champ!
Copyright © 2015 Helena Okolicsanyi, All rights reserved.

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