pop culture

Internet Things I’ve Been Reading and Thinking About This Week

Every so often, depending on how much downtime I have, I like to link to the things I’ve been reading and thinking about in a given week and provide a (very) little commentary about them. These are the posts that got me thinking this week:

The Kids Are Not Alright: How Opioids are Destroying American Families (Mother Jones)

This is a really excellent piece about the opioid epidemic in America, and how tied up it is in poverty, politics, and more. Focusing specifically on a poor county in Ohio, the article looks at the number of displaced children as a result of parents who are addicted to heroin and other opioids. It’s heartbreaking, and fascinating, and delves into the lasting damage a parent’s substance abuse can have on a child:

Mongenel asked questions like, “Do you have enough to eat?” and “Do you like where you’re staying?” and “Do you know what drug use is?” She didn’t say she had just visited Lisa’s house and found Lisa’s father strung out on heroin in the bedroom they share. Lisa’s bed was a pink sleeping bag on a piece of foam surrounded by pill bottles.

Children in Lisa’s situation are subject to incredible psychological stress…But there’s also the long-term impact. Dozens of studies have found that kids who undergo traumatic events early in life are more likely to suffer mental and physical repercussions later on, be it substance abuse, depression, heart disease, or cancer.

Finding a More Inclusive Vision of Fitness In Our Feeds (New York Times)

This short, simple article examines the surge of health/fitness gurus on Instagram, and how the online world allows people to find niches they wouldn’t find in the real world. One part in particular made me snort-laugh with recognition:

Stanley said she was able to find an audience online that would have been hard to build offline: ‘‘There was a niche community of people waiting for a yoga book written by a queer, fat, black person. It was just about finding the means to reach them.’’ But as much as Stanley credits her successes to social media, she noted that the performativity and stylization popular on the internet can quickly get out of hand. ‘‘It can create molds and archetypes that become bigger than the activity itself,’’ she told me. She gave the example of an Instagram cliché: a handstand at sunset on a beach. ‘‘It’s so idealized, like, your life must be perfect if you can hold a balance posture on the beach,’’ she said. ‘‘But the actual practice of yoga isn’t about that at all. The image isn’t important. The practice is.’’

Anything good you read this week? Let me know in the comments.



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