The North Star has dropped its paywall during this COVID-19 crisis so that pertinent information and analysis is available to everyone during this time. This is only possible because of the generous support of our members. We rely on these funds to pay our staff to continue to provide high-quality content. If you are able to support, we invite you to do so here.
In These Tweets is a weekly cultural dive into trending topics on Twitter. A collection of snapshot analyses on a variety of moments impacting our world. Sometimes serious, sometimes light, always substantive. We outchea, #InTheseTweets.
I’ll try to keep this brief: Donald John Trump is a pathological liar. Lying is his thing. He’s not necessarily good at it as most of his lies can be easily debunked, but that never has stopped him from opening his mouth and letting fake news spill out. So when the lowercase ‘p’ president of the United States tells you that he has been regularly taking hydroxychloroquine as a means to avoid contracting the coronavirus, he is most likely lying. And if he is most likely lying about using this drug as a means of combating the contraction of COVID-19, then we have to ask ourselves: what is his motivation for advocating for its effectiveness? Well, back in early April, Politifact provided one highly likely reason: Trump having a financial stake in the French company that makes the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.
The danger of Trump pushing this miracle drug narrative should be obvious, but in the event it’s not, let me spell it out: HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN TO UNEQUIVOCALLY BE A TREATMENT FOR CORONAVIRUS. Therefore, if a lying president with potential stock in a company is getting on television in front of millions of viewers and telling you to take a medication that research has not verified its effectiveness, it is probably not in your best interest to gamble on it. But, y’all grown so take whatever you choose of that.
Recently The New York Times reported about mail-forwarding requests used to see where wealthy New Yorkers migrated to as a means of safeguarding themselves from the American epicenter of COVID-19. Per The Times report, “in March, the United States Post Office received 56,000 mail-forwarding requests from New York City, more than double the monthly average. In April, the number of requests went up to 81,000, twice the number from a year earlier. Sixty percent of those new requests were for destinations outside the city.”
Far be it for me to demonize anyone who is able to get out of harm’s way of a virus that has wreaked exceptional damage on the city, as I’m sure their intent was merely to keep themselves and their loved ones protected. But I would be remiss to not mention the socioeconomic inequities that allow the city’s wealthiest escape and place its (primarily) Black and Brown essential working class directly in harm’s way. As it’s been said, a thousand times over, this pandemic did not create these inequities but it certainly exacerbated them. This wealth-driven migration is another example of American survival being class specific.
New York Magazine music critic, Craig Jenkins, tweeted a pretty plain observation in regards to how folks took to the shutting down/reopening of the country. I, for one, cannot detect the lie in his statement. From armed protests in government buildings to privileged folks co-opting activist rhetoric to articulate their frustrations, this pandemic, if nothing else, has highlighted the spoiled nature of Americans all over. I am not talking about folks with economic anxiety or folks whose well-being and safety has been compromised due to social distancing, I’m talking about people whining about not being able to frolic about while scientists and doctors are attempting to quell an infectious disease that has stolen nearly 100,000 American lives.
Can we really be any more simple?
American racism is structural, foundational and not the trademark of any specific region. Twitter user @Blike_Dante clarified anyone’s confusion about who holds the reins of racism by using a popular GIF to respond to those who are glad their state isn’t “racist like the south”. Yes, the South is the home turf of slavery, Jim Crow and the primary battleground of the Civil Rights movement. Yes, the images of the Confederate flag and Confederate monuments are seared into the collective consciousness of those outside the region with respect to where American racism resides. But what if I told you that the structure for what we come to know as Jim Crow, began in the north? Or if I told you the current site of the New York Stock Exchange was one of the nation’s largest slave markets and that the economy of slave trading built what we know as Wall Street? And if those examples feel like ancient history, consider modern examples of racially charged riots in metropolitan cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Or the fact that hate groups have grown by 55% during the Trump era and that growth has been spread across the country.
As a lifelong resident of Louisiana, I know southern racism is embedded in the soil. I also know the grass is not greener on any other side, as this nation’s claim to exceptionalism is firmly rooted in the subjugation of nonwhites who built all parts of it.
A huge reveal that came from the 10-part documentary, “The Last Dance,” was that the legendary ‘flu game’ where Michael Jordan battled through sickness to score 38 points against the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals was not a triumph over the flu after all. Jordan’s flu-like symptoms were attributed to a bad serving of pizza he got from a Utah pizzeria the night before the Game 5 finals heroics. And with all the nostalgia The Last Dance brought about, one of the most bittersweet revisits of the era was the late Stuart Scott’s breakdown of Jordan’s performance in the ‘flu game.’ Scott, who had a knack for infusing hip-hop slang into his commentating, colorfully described Jordan’s seemingly indescribable fortitude in a clutch situation. It can be said that Scott himself displayed indescribable fortitude in the last years of his life as he battled cancer while remaining a revolutionary figure in the world of sports journalism.
Rest easy, money.