ROCK PAPER RADIO is a dispatch for misfits & unlikely optimists by your favorite hapa haole, beet-pickling, public radio nerd. It’s a weekly email newsletter that shares three curiosities every Thursday - something to hold on to (that’s the ‘rock’), something to read (that’s the ‘paper‘), and something to listen to (you guessed it, that’s the ‘radio’). Themes include but are not limited to: rebel violinists, immortal jellyfish, revolution. Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word.
It hasn’t been a great week for the ladies - a man known for dad sweaters and raping women he drugged was freed but Britney was not, and a 30-year-old French woman has been arrested after crushing the dreams of dozens of Tour de France cyclists when a lead rider crashed into the sign she was holding up for a television camera, causing a massive pile-up. According to the NYT, her sign read, “Allez opi-omi!” which means she was cheering for her grandparents who are probably following Mariah Carey’s lead by claiming not to know her today.
And so! For today’s ROCK PAPER RADIO, all of our stories are either by or about women and non-binary creatives who are not having the worst week ever. Because balance! This is how we keep our unlikely optimism afloat, folks.
SOMETHING TO READ
Little League season just wrapped, which means my family is just on the other side of my kid and wife running, hitting, and sliding through a springtime crush of practices and games that do not follow any kind of predictable schedule or emotional arc.
I am a spectator here, as I am not a “sports” person. I just learned recently that a “pickle” is not only a beet I soaked in rice vinegar for a week, but also some kind of frantic third base scurry that ends in cheers and heartbreak. So. I am an emerging sports person. Because I have to admit, that scurry was super exciting and my kid, who plays third base, looks so cute in his team’s outfit.
This essay is for my fellow emerging baseball fans, but it’s also for anyone who has ever come to embrace something they previously had no interest in because love makes us do weird things. Here it is from Hobart: The Field by Maureen Mancini Amaturo.
SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO
Contrary to countless movies and superhero stories, people living with disabilities are not actually magical, tirelessly heroic, or in a constant state of plotting the downfall of their enemies.
Case in point: My 94-year-old BFF (who happens to be my grandmother) has been using a wheelchair since 1950 when she was paralyzed after the boiler in her apartment building exploded. Although she is in fact my hero, and more than once I have gone to her to harness her good witch powers, she’s also a regular person with an entire identity that has nothing to do with the way she physically moves through the world.
And so, it was with the ears of my grandmother’s granddaughter that I listened to and loved these 15 minutes from KUOW’s Seattle Now podcast, produced by Diana Opong: The disabled community was way ahead on the WFH thing. It’s funny! And angry! And there’s WFH fashion commentary at the end that you think you’ve heard before, but YOU HAVE NOT.
Also this—around 12 minutes in there is an absolutely stunning Radio Moment between host Paige Browning and guest Jae Kim. Kim is nonverbal and uses an ACC device in the interview. After Kim explains that she feels invisible when people talk to her like a baby, or don’t include her in conversations once they realize she has a disability, Browning thanks her and then responds, “I’m not sure what to say.” It was a powerful moment of honesty and exasperation from Kim, followed by an equally powerful moment of humanity and empathy from Browning. Pay attention, public forum hosts—this is how it’s done. This is how we see and honor our guests’ anger, and then keep the conversation going. Enjoy and please share!
SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO
Just because Climate Change Summer has us already dealing with boob sweat and cold cut dinners, doesn’t mean we can’t also look amazing while worshiping a moment of relief in front of the open refrigerator.
Need some style inspo for your July lewk? Look no further, because Dapper Q is here with the list we’ve all been waiting for: 100 Most Stylish DapperQs 2021.
Some personal faves: Alok at #5 rocking a 5 o’clock shadow and a deranged Easter sweater with bell bottoms. Angelica at #24 sitting like a boss and offering us a bouquet of roses in a floral skinny suit. Fatima Khalique at #85 killing it with my wife’s haircut and a jumpsuit that looks like what an astronaut would wear on a jog in 1990. Warning: be sure to have a cold glass of water near by before you click.
THAT’S A WRAP
That’s a wrap for issue 48, friends. Thanks for reading, listening, holding on.
And just FYI—I’m taking a little break from social media these days. The best way to keep up with all things ROCK PAPER RADIO and to be the first to know when I start a new project against the good advice of my wise life partner, is to make sure you’re subscribed right here.
See you next Thursday.