August 4, 2022

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The Edge

Purebloods: The Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy of the Anti-Vax Movement

In September 2021, an assemblage of TikTok users anointed themselves “Purebloods” for their repudiation of the COVID vaccine. This was one month after the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the first major life-saving intervention of the pandemic.

The social media trend spread like a virus, catalyzed by conservative TikTok personalities such as Lyndsey Marie, who declared: “From now on, I refuse to be referred to as #unvaccinated. I want everyone to now call me Pureblood.”

What followed, as professor and author Jennifer Spitzer writes, was an even more extreme movement of right-wing vaccine resistance, mingling popular culture references like Harry Potter with fascist ideology and Nazi eugenics.

Read Spitzer’s full commentary on The Edge.

Professors Are the How

In the otherworldly landscape of the pandemic campus, faculty, students, and administrators seek a collective purpose. Where is discussion and debate? Where is our community?

Through asking these questions, professors Brad Hougham and Patricia Zimmermann examine the implications of the popular higher-education mantra “students are our why.”

At first a helpful reminder for professors to engage students with their relationships to knowledge, it has “been derailed and weaponized against faculty as an anti-intellectual war cry, eroding morale and productivity.”

Hougham and Zimmermann identify this attitude as part of a broader trend toward consumerist practices: “Higher education must have at its core the transformation of students, faculty, disciplines, and the world through discussion, community, and debate. In its decline, it is now about transactions.”

Read Hougham and Zimmermann’s full commentary on The Edge.

Post-Roe ‘Dirty Dancing’ Memes Lose the Thread

“I was in a Zoom meeting when I got the Variety news alert about Roe v. Wade being overturned. Given our current moment, this constellation of virtuality, entertainment, and mortally devastating news felt depressingly familiar,” writes Leah Shafer, Chair of the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

“Also familiar was the disorienting experience of opening Facebook soon after to find my timeline flooded with images of Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in ‘Dirty Dancing.’ When I looked for information about where people would be gathering to protest the Supreme Court’s decision, I found instead movie stills from the popular dance film set at an early ’60s Catskills resort.

“Two versions of this slacktivist meme were predominant in my timeline in the hours and days after Roe was overturned,” and both buried the abortion story in the same way the film does.

Read Shafer’s full commentary on The Edge.


“We believe that the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion that overturned Roe v. Wade is a logical culmination of policing that surrounds and defines so much of everyday life in the United States.”

Authors and scholars Angela Davis, Zillah Eisenstein, and Chandra Talpade Mohanty, alongside several others, have co-signed a letter calling for organization to “codify the right to abortion, access to abortions, and quality reproductive healthcare,” and to “continue to fight for the abolition of an unjust state and criminal system that perpetuates and reflects the carceral logics of control and punishment.”

They ask for further signatures from the public in support of their letter, and state, “The end of Roe now permits states to criminalize all people … We condemn this decision and use this moment as an opportunity to organize for liberation.”

Read and co-sign their statement on The Edge.

In Other News

1. Walmart is cutting 200 corporate jobs as profits fall with inflation | The Independent

2. Alex Jones Can’t Pretend His Way Out of This Reality | The Atlantic

3. Secret Service Considers Disabling Texting On Agents’ Phones Amid Missing Records Fallout | HuffPost

4. Shell staff get profits bonus as energy bills soar | BBC

5. Breonna Taylor death: four Louisville police officers charged | The Guardian

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The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.