I consider myself a bit of media junkie . . . but then again, aren’t we all? So I thought it might be fun to share some of my recent favorites, and of course, ask you to share some of yours. Yes?
I recently began working on a master’s degree in evolutionary biology, which means I spend a lot of time reading primary literature. And . . . it’s dry.
My dream, now, is to be a science writer. Did you know that? Dreams always seem to sweep out and away from us, and then somehow to circle back. Or, at least mine always seem to do that. Like this one did, and I find myself just where I was 6 years ago, dreaming of writing popular science. Of taking those stodgy, sterile scientific papers and breaking them down, synthesizing them, so that this fantastical, magical world of science feels approachable for anyone and everyone. But in order to be a brilliant science writer, you first have to read the brilliant science writers.
Enter Carl Zimmer.
I first fell in love with Zimmer as an undergrad, during the summer between my transfer from community college to university. I read his breakout book, Parasite Rex, because I was going to be working in a parasitology lab at the university, and focusing my studies on parasitology. Not only was the book an awesome introduction to the the truly incredible world of parasites, but an entire chapter actually profiles the lab where I worked! Which was super cool.
So that’s when I fell in love with Zimmer, but my deep and undying devotion was truly sealed once I discovered that he was the curator of the online “Gallery Of Science Tattoos”. Coolest dude ever, right?! The gallery is now defunct, but you can catch some highlights, here, if you’re interested.
And these days, I’m reading Zimmer’s popular science take on my current subject of study. Ive only just begun it, but so far Evolution: The Triumph Of An Idea is absolutely delicious, with all the usual wit and charisma that Zimmer brings to his work. If you’re looking for something that’s cerebral, but with charm, Evolution definitely has that delightful je ne sais quoi that transforms typical science writing into scientific poetry.
Or, you know, go straight to Parasite Rex and prepare to have your mind completely blown!
My god, this movie just so completely surpassed my expectations.
This independent documentary, by filmmaker David France, chronicles the work of radical activists at the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and into the 90s. And honestly? This is one of the most inspiring, empowering, and deeply moving films I have ever seen in my life. The things that these brave men and women did were absolutely incredible, and demonstrate what power the people can have when they’re willing to put it all on the line. I lived through this, I actually lived in the Bay Area when all this was happening, but I was too young and I just had no idea. And now, I’m so grateful that this story is being told, and so beautifully.
Here, seriously, watch the trailer:
I watched this film with tears streaming down my face, with my mind racing. My heart was broken and also full of hope. Because what they did? It changed the world.
After I watched this film, I posted on my Facebook page:
If the vegans and health/food activists of today could unite and mobilize with the same passion and power as the radical queer activist of ACT UP in the 1980s, the world might be a very different place.
Those men and women quit their jobs, gave up everything, devoted their entire lives, and didn’t let ANYTHING stop them. They became their own experts, their own media, their own scientists, and they made themselves heard everywhere by being loud, being brave, and being willing to lose it all. They got arrested and they got in trouble.
And, they got the ear of the public and more importantly, of the government. They FORCED change. And it worked.”
If you’re an activist of any type, whether it be in the streets or just in your heart, please watch this movie. You won’t be disappointed.
It’s available on Netflix and also free on YouTube. You can visit the website for the film, here.
Citizen Radio is basically everything that I’ve ever wanted. Ever.
A political podcast that’s left of left of left, that’s smart and subversive and really, really fucking funny. That’s not afraid to criticize liberal leaders, or to call out all of us – all of us – on our shit. And I just dropped that “fucking” and that “shit” on purpose, because if that makes you balk a bit, then this is definitely not the podcast for you, haha (Which is also totally okay! Different strokes for different folks, and variable messaging for the variable masses. Right?).
Citizen Radio is the project of a husband-wife team of badass brainy jujitsu-armed (yes, really) vegans. And if that doesn’t sell it, I just don’t know what will. They talk a lot about the stuff that mainstream networks are too cowardly to face, like racial politics (real ones, not the pretend ones), about sexism and misogyny, and about cultural appropriation. They will call you out on your privilege! And it’s awesome. I’ve learned more from listening to this podcast than I ever learned from NPR, Air America, MSNBC, or any political or sociology class I ever took in college (truth!)
And, I laugh all the way through it.
Please listen, please share, and please support independent media! I signed up to be a sponsor and I’m thrilled to throw them what little support I can. You can listen for free on iTunes or your pod-catcher of choice, or on their website.
Alright guys, I showed you mine, now please, please, I would LOVE to see yours! Let me know what you’re Reading // Watching // Listening to in the comments below. It could be anything – wherever your interests lie. We’re an eclectic community, which is what makes us so awesome! So let us have it.