So I’m working on three, possibly four, things, but none are yet ready for public consumption. Hopefully tomorrow for one, maybe Friday or Monday for another? I’ve been out of town dealing with family things, and reporting is going slowly this week. But since so many of you dear people were so generous last week, I thought I’d go ahead and shoot this out tonight, instead of attaching it as an addendum in a future email, in case you happen to be looking for a way to kill time this evening.
This is the first installment of an occasional segment of things I have read/watched/listened to lately that I thought were well worth the precious time. (This will always be, when I do it, in the free emails, but it will not be in every email by a long shot.) Your mileage, as always, may vary.
Why everyone is not watching and/or talking about The Last O.G. on TBS, I don’t know. I will watch Tracy Morgan in almost anything, it is true, but this show is so well done and soooooo funny. The premise is that Morgan is released from prison after a drug arrest (15 years earlier) into an entirely unrecognizable gentrified Brooklyn. It turns out his ex-girlfriend, played by Tiffany Haddish (hilarious as usual) had his twins but never told him, and she’s now married to a white Brooklyn hipster. The first few episodes of S1 are slow to get off the ground, as sitcoms often are. But by S2, currently nearing its end, I have been laughing so loudly each and every episode that I’ve regularly had coughing fits. (This is RARE.) The show is an honest exploration of the challenges facing felons recently released from prison and growing up black in America, yet it still brilliantly satirizes and skewers gentrification and food culture. And as someone who knows, let me tell you the food culture satire is SPOT ON and funny as hell. Thankfully, the show was just renewed for a third season. Get on it and watch this.
I have not yet read Emily Bazelon’s book Charged, which is partially about what a terrible D.A. Shelby County has, but her companion podcast with the same title is worth a listen. It highlights the other section of her book, which is about the gun court in Brooklyn, and how an ostensibly well-meaning attempt at gun control has resulted in imprisoning almost entirely young black men, some of whom had only purchased a gun for protection, so that word would get out they had one. It’s more complicated than this, but it’s a great explainer for the people out there who have no clue how convoluted the justice system can be — and yes, it does include the prosecutors’ side of things.
In a similar vein, Running From COPS is an in-depth investigation of the show COPS (and similar other shows like Live PD). It lays bare the unethical production and pro-police propaganda involved in the shows and makes it so very clear that these shows are so very bad and the utter worst type of exploitation. The host (who did the exploitative Looking for Richard Simmons but has come a long way, apparently) really does have a genuine fondness for COPS, too. This is not like watching The Daily Show bash the show — there is actual real reporting involved, and it’s eye-opening.
Dahlia Lithwick is, as usual, very smart on SCOTUS and the bad abortion bills:
Vinson Cunningham on Tracy Morgan is damn great profile-writing. I love every sentence. And there are sharks!
Housekeeping notes: Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who actually gave me money last week. I will make sure you all get free or discounted subscriptions, depending on the donation amounts, and once I get that part all sorted, I will be in touch with each of you.
If you new subscribers (so many of you!!!) also want to throw money my way, I’m on Venmo @cgervin until I get things fully organized. More importantly, if you want to throw tips — the reporting kind, I mean — my way, then you can reply to this email, DM me on Twitter, or message me on Signal or Confide. (Email or DM me if you can’t pull me up on the latter or don’t already have my cell number, which I am not posting on a website for all to see.)
I have a lot in the works, and the words of support I have gotten mean so much more than anything else. More actual news tomorrow, fingers crossed …