• As the Southwest’s drought intensifies, Native leaders like Stephen Lewis are steering sustainability efforts to revitalize the region’s lakes and rivers. Rachel Moore has the story for the New Yorker:

In the United States, water law is founded on the principle of “first in time, first in right”—whoever first put water to “beneficial use” can claim the right to use it now and in the future. In the 1922 compact, though, tribal nations are mentioned only in passing. “The Colorado River Compact basically just assumed that tribes were going to go away, the United States was going to figure it out, nobody had to care,” Jay Weiner, a tribal attorney from Montana, told me. Instead, in recent years, as the worst drought in more than a thousand years has seized the Southwest, the region’s tribal nations have been asserting their legal rights to the contentious, increasingly scarce commodity of water.

  • Yes, TikTok is actually getting worse (it’s not just in your head!). Cory Doctorow explains why, coining the fitting term “enshittification” to illustrate this process:

This is enshittification: Surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they’re locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they’re locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle.

This is why—as Cat Valente wrote in her magisterial pre-Christmas essay—platforms like Prodigy transformed themselves overnight, from a place where you went for social connection to a place where you were expected to “stop talking to each other and start buying things.”

  • People Make Television, a new exhibition at London’s Raven Row Salon, illuminates how the overlooked series Open Door shook up 1970s British media with episodes on immigration, racism, and education, writes Sean O’Hagan for the Guardian:

Black Teachers was one of the first programmes featured in a series called Open Door, which remains Britain’s most radical experiment in public access television. It was created and produced by the Community Programme Unit (CPU), a small department within the BBC headed by Rowan Ayers, a legendary figure within the corporation for his democratic approach to programme-making. For each episode, the CPU provided a studio, camera crew and technical assistance to various activists and groups who had, as the corporation put it, “voices, attitudes and opinions hitherto unheard or seriously neglected”. To the horror of many traditionalists within the corporation, the producers of Open Door also gave these previously marginalised voices complete editorial control.

  • The Los Angeles Times staff shared a poignant memorial in honor of the 11 people who were killed in the Monterey Park shooting last month, collecting stories from family, community members, and loved ones:

Tom loved to dance, her family said, and was doing just that on her last night — ringing in the Lunar New Year with friends at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.

“Diana Tom was a hard-working mother, wife and grandmother who loved to dance,” her family said in a statement.

“To those who knew her, she was someone who always went out of her way to give to others,” her family said. They asked that people honor her legacy by donating to the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Victims Fund, launched by the Southern California branch of Asian Americans Advancing Justice and several other organizations supporting the Asian American Pacific Islander community.

  • After Atlanta police killed forest defender and activist Tortuguita in January, Julia Conley reports, over 1,300 climate justice and social advocacy organizations called for the city’s mayor to resign:

Nearly two weeks after the fatal shooting of the 26-year-old activist and medic—known as Tortuguita—Dickens “has still failed to condemn the killing,” said the groups, and has instead opted “to condemn protestors and parrot the rhetoric of extreme right-wing governor Brian Kemp.”

Tortuguita was shot and killed on January 18 when a joint task force including Atlanta police officers raided an encampment at Weelaunee forest. The forest is the site of a proposed $90 million police training facility known as Cop City.

  • For Curbed, Lane Brown investigates the idea that rent in New York City skyrocketed after the pandemic’s peak because city residents came back in throngs:

In late 2021 and early 2022, when demand for apartments was supposedly accelerating from trickle to geyser, New York was still besieged with COVID-related troubles. Return-to-office plans had been quashed by the Delta variant, then Omicron. Tourism was way down, and unemployment was twice the national rate. Crime was reportedly surging — people were getting shoved onto subway tracks — and outdoor dining had emboldened rats to live freely and openly among humans. Had all of the people who had presumably moved to escape these very concerns really come flooding back?

With every rise in the city’s median gross rents, my skepticism grew. I had lived happily in New York for more than two decades, through many disasters and rebounds, and I wanted to believe the story of its glorious post-COVID recovery. But why did it seem like all of the people telling it were also trying to lease me overpriced apartments?

  • A few days ago, a loose boulder plummeted through a home in Palolo, Hawaii. Thankfully no one was injured, but it seems the cause wasn’t natural, as development in the area is disturbing surrounding rock formations:
  • In a paw-sitively brilliant move, data journalist Wouter van Dijke decided to make ChatGPT feline and give you a chance to exchange “meow”s with an AI cat bot, Victor Tangermann writes in Futurism:

“ChatGPT is boring,” he wrote on his GitHub. “I want a cat to answer my questions. So I built CatGPT!”

CatGPT, as its name suggests, allows you to ask a “pawtifurcial intelligence” pretty much anything you’d want to ask a real-life cat.

What you get in response is a series of “meows” — since, well, cats can’t speak English.

  • White Lotus Season three setting contender?
  • If you’ve spent time with a Wharton MBA grad, this won’t come as much of a shock:

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

The Latest

Avatar photo

Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

Avatar photo

Lakshmi Rivera Amin

Lakshmi Rivera Amin (she/her) is a writer and artist based in New York City. She currently works as Hyperallergic's editorial coordinator.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *