The Activist

a competition show

Listen: Perra by J Balvin

So I’m technically out this week but there’s too much wacky news to skip an issue so here we are with a BONUS. I’m still trying to make it quick, though, so forgive me for not saying much about the new J Balvin single. You already know it’s going to be good— listen if you haven’t.

Who Wants To Be An Activist

Hope we’re all putting our application materials together for The Activist, a competition show that pits “six inspiring activists” against each other “to bring meaningful change” to health, education, and environment. The winners are determined by social metrics in addition to the whims of judges including Julienne Hough, who appeared in blackface as recently as 2013 (literally dressed as Uzo Aduba in Orange Is The New Black). The public response has been such that CBS has already had to issue a statement saying, “This is not a reality show to trivialize activism.” If you have to say it…

But corporations are good at activism

Remember when Corporate America decided to show up for racial justice? The Washington Post has been tracking how all those big-money donations are going, and it’s about as impressive as the CBS release. Of $49.5 billion that America’s 50 biggest companies pledged after Floyd’s murder last May, more 90% — $45.2 billion — “is allocated as loans or investments they could stand to profit from, more than half in the form of mortgages… Meanwhile,$4.2 billion of the total pledged is in the form of outright grants. Of that, companies reported just a tiny fraction — about $70 million — went to organizations focused specifically on criminal justice reform.” As we suspected.


You’re saying we have to decide for OURSELVES who’s doing the good work? In the far-flung instance that the CBS show doesn’t air, let’s give a preliminary award to Emily Atkin of Heated for her headline, “The NYT stopped shilling for cigarettes. Why won’t it stop shilling for fossil fuels?” I had exactly this thought when I heard a beef lobby ad on The Daily being like, “we interrupt your news to bring you this other news on how emissions from cows are actually not that bad!”

Times journalists are held to the strictest ethical rules to produce All The News That’s Fit To Print. Juxtaposing propaganda designed to read like news kind of maybe undermines that integrity, wouldn’t you say?

Thank goodness history bends toward justice on its own.