Lunchtime Photo

In Greek myth, Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Hades fell in love with her from afar and—correctly judging that Demeter would never consent to give her up—eventually kidnapped Persephone to become his wife and queen of the underworld. Demeter was distraught, causing the harvest to fail disastrously. Finally, in order to keep everyone from starving, Zeus persuaded Hades to let Persephone leave, but Hades first offered her six pomegranate seeds to eat. For some reason, Persephone went ahead and ate them even though she knew that if she ate anything she’d have to stay in the underworld. This led to some god-level negotiations, and long story short, those six seeds meant Persephone had to spend half of every year in the underworld and half the year with her mother, which is why we have seasons. Or maybe a third of the year in the underworld. It depends on who you believe.

None of this makes much sense. Why did Hades care if everyone starved? Seems like it would be good for business. Why did eating anything mean Persephone would have to stay in the underworld? And having carefully not eaten anything during her captivity, what caused her to lose her mind right on the brink of her departure and eat the pomegranate seeds? Are they really that irresistible?

Beats me. But I learned this in fourth grade and it’s everything I know about pomegranates. I’ve never eaten one, but I guess the takeaway from the myth is that they must be pretty tasty indeed.

September 26, 2018 — Irvine, California

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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