This week, BIG’s sustainable lilypad city, Germany’s new dog laws, the Ghent Altarpiece upclose, white museum docents, Vincente Fox’s Trump troll, and more.
- Let’s start on a light note with this story out of Germany about a new law that is going to require dog owners to walk their dogs at least twice a day for an hour in total. Everyone is wondering how they could possibly enforce it:
The German agriculture minister has announced she will introduce a controversial new law that will require dog owners to walk their canine friends at least twice a day, for a total of at least one hour.
The rules would also forbid owners from tying up dogs for long periods of time or leaving them alone all day. Around one in five German homes has a dog; over 9 million dogs are kept as pets in the country.
“Pets are not cuddly toys — and their needs have to be considered,” Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner said Monday. She said her ministry was acting in accordance with “new scientific research about dogs’ needs.”
- There’s a new website devoted to the Ghent Altarpiece, the famed 15th-century altarpiece by painters Hubert van Eyck and Jan van Eyck, and it includes very detailed images of the work post-restoration.
- Is the fact that most museum docents at US museums are white part of the problem?
That June day, one of the museum’s volunteer guides was leading a tour of four school-age girls. Three of the girls were Black, says Shaw, and one was South Asian. The girls were asking the guide questions about the art, which included collages, large-scale installations, works made from found objects, and photographs, many of which dealt with racism, identity, and history. “What’s Black Power?” one of the girls inquired. The guide, an older white woman, was clearly struggling to give answers. At one point, Shaw says, she compared Afro-textured hair to different kinds of animal fur. “She knew what she was saying wasn’t quite right. But she didn’t really know how.”
It wasn’t the first time Shaw, who is Black, had witnessed a guide saying something racist, unwittingly or not. So she decided to speak to her supervisor. The response she got, she says, was along the lines of “I hear you, and we can do more training, but there isn’t that much we can do, because it’s a volunteer position.”
- Media columnist Margaret Sullivan takes aim at some of the weak apologies by news organizations:
A faulty story may appear on a printed section front or an online home page or a prime-time network program. A correction will be hidden on an inside page or at the bottom of the online version of a story, or will be mentioned in passing at the end of a show. (Some publications put important corrections at the top of online articles, not the bottom, as with the Washington Post article mentioned earlier.)
- Vincente Fox’s Trump troll is really good:
- Why are there so few movies by African American directors in the Criterion Collection? Kyle Buchanan and Reggie Ugwu of the New York Times write:
Criterion’s blind spots have extended to the most recent generation of African-American filmmakers. Though the collection features the directorial debuts of multiple generations of white auteurs — including Gus Van Sant, Noah Baumbach, David Gordon Green and Lena Dunham — it has no African-American directors born after 1957.
…The director Ava DuVernay, who founded a distribution company, ARRAY, focused on the work of people of color and women, said that Criterion had contributed to “cinema segregation in the art-house circuit.”
“There are all these gates that are closed to Black filmmakers,” she said. “It’s a minimizing of the Black film canon. But also it’s a minimizing of the audience, to think that they wouldn’t be interested in Haile Gerima’s ‘Sankofa,’ or ‘Ashes and Embers,’ or would not want to see all the work of Julie Dash, or Kathleen Collins, or Charles Burnett, and on and on.”
- One of my favorite New Yorkers, Jeremiah Moss, pointed out something on Twitter that made me think: namely, what happened to all the yellow cabs that are normally driving through the streets of New York? Things are dire. First of all:
Industry-wide, working drivers saw their earnings reduced to less than half.
“A job that I used to work and make $600 to $700 a day, drop off to $50 a day, for nine hours, I’m not even making $10 an hour,” says Leconte, who owns a yellow cab medallion.
The strength of the yellow cab sector of the taxi industry came from the monopoly of hail pickups below 96th Street in Manhattan. Now, without tourists, theatergoers, or business people, that advantage might become its curse.
“Very dark situation, very, very dark situation,” says Mohammed Mahbub, another yellow cab driver and medallion owner..
- Elisabeth Spiers writes about Evangelical Protestant redemption, and ties in her own history growing up in a fundamentalist community. The details are fascinating:
All the while, I was—to use a word evangelicals like to misapply to any sort of secular education—“indoctrinated” by teachers, family, church staff, ministry organizations, and other members of the community to view everything I encountered in the world through an evangelical lens. If I went to the mall and lost my friends for a few minutes, I briefly suspected everyone had been raptured away except me, a particular brand of eschatological fantasy that we were taught was perpetually in danger of happening. Even my scandalous moments, which, do-goody overachiever that I was, were few and far between, were colored by the church. My first real kiss, at fourteen, was an epic make-out session on a sidewalk during a mission trip to a suburb of Orlando, with an eighteen-year-old assistant youth pastor named Matt.
I was ten or eleven when I was baptized—or in Southern Baptist parlance, “born again”—and part of this process involved constructing my own redemption narrative: I lived in sin and would be saved by Christ. I recently rediscovered my own handwritten testimony on a visit to my mom’s house. In a child’s rounded, looping handwriting, I had confessed that I used to “cheat at games,” something I don’t remember doing at all. The likely explanation for this is that because sin is such an important prerequisite for redemption, my ten-year-old self had to fabricate one to conform to the required convention (never mind that such a falsification would be sinful itself).
- This is really awful:
Immigrant rights advocates say that Muslim detainees at a Florida facility are being served meals that include pork in violation of their religious beliefs.
- Everyone was wondering what went on with the FBI this week when they tweeted out the debunked and antisemitic Protocols of Learned Elders of Zion. This is a clear explanation:
This is useful:
Required Reading is published every Saturday, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.