In the News 06.15.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 06.15.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 06.15.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 06.15.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Misogyny Is Boring As Hell

Carmen Maria Machado’s critically acclaimed debut collection of short stories, Her Body and Other Parties, was published just two days before news broke that Harvey Weinstein had been preying on Hollywood starlets for decades and getting away with it. As the world began to pay attention to women’s stories of abuse, her queer, liminal stories held a flickering candle to the subtle forms of cruelty that continue to go undiscussed. In one, an epidemic turns women invisible, and nobody cares. In another, a woman who gets bariatric surgery is haunted by the ghost of what the doctor cuts away. Anyone who grew up with a copy of Alvin Schwartz’s 1984 collection of scary children’s tales, In A Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories, will recognize the kicker of “The Husband Stitch”: a woman’s head falls off when her husband unties the green ribbon around her neck. In Machado’s telling, the husband is “not a bad man.” It’s a case of murder by microaggression — a thoughtless gesture with devastating consequences.

It is impossible to know how Machado’s stories would have been received in another era, but in this one, they have reverberated among readers with the prophetic force of a soothsayer’s divinations. “The way she arcs so gracefully from gothic romance to comedy to horror, feels true to me of how we live our lives,” the author Karen Russell, a fan, told me in an email. “A life story is multi-genre, and in the course of a day your love story might turn into a horror story, or vice versa.” Machado’s knack for capturing the mundane horrors of female existence has brought her attention — from the New York Times, which included her in a feature on literature’s “New Vanguard,” praising her depictions of “everyday” misogyny, and from dozens of Hollywood producers. This spring, Imagine Television optioned her work, with Gina Welch, a writer on Feud and The Terror, pitching it around as an anthology series, a sort of feminist Black Mirror. Samie Kim Falvey, the president of Imagine Television, told me in an email that Machado’s stories “capture the intense, unspoken psychology of inhabiting a woman’s body today.” The series, she predicted, will “undoubtedly be a force in the conversation about gender.”

Read the rest of this article at: Lapham’s Quartley


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In 1849, after hearing Ralph Waldo Emerson deliver the lecture “Mind and Manners in the Nineteenth Century,” Herman Melville, in one of his bouts of enthusiasm, scribbled a letter to a friend. “I love all men who dive,” he declared. The first time I read that declaration, I pictured Ralph Waldo at the end of a diving board wearing a swimsuit—a full-body swimsuit, perhaps, of the sort that might have been fashionable at the time—and maybe an oilskin swimmer’s cap, a pair of goggles made of, I don’t know, isinglass. This is pure fancy, of course. The high dive had not been invented in 1849. Nor had Americans yet learned to chlorinate water or domesticate the swimming pool. Water in 1849 was for ablutions and baptisms; for drinking; for irrigating fields and powering mills; for harvesting in its various phases—vapor, liquid, ice; for traveling over in boats. Keep reading Melville’s letter and it becomes clear that he’s picturing a different sort of diver. He’s imagining Emerson as a kind of philosophical whale, sounding the depths.

At the time he wrote that letter, wagon trains were leaving Missouri, heading west. A year later, in 1850, when Melville began work on Moby Dick, he included in its opening chapter a meditation on the metaphysics of water with some dubious advice for the pioneers: “Let the most absentminded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries—stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region.” Perhaps thinking of Emerson, he adds: “Should you ever be athirst in the Great American Desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as everyone knows meditation and water are wedded for ever.”

Read the rest of this article at: Lapham’s Quarterly

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
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A Theory Of Animals

I try to avoid listening to Donald Trump’s voice, but on a Wednesday in mid-May, I watched the video of a statement he made during a roundtable discussion about California’s sanctuary state policies. His exact words were:

“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in—we’re stopping a lot of them. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

Immediately, both conservatives and liberals jumped to his defense on the basis of context, because he had previously been talking about the MS-13 gang. These justifications are hollow. Criminals are human; I grew up Catholic, then evangelical, so I can tell you I learned that one from Jesus. It’s also fruitless to analyze the words of a man who speaks in non-sequiturs, whose brain apparently functions at the level of images that remind him of other images. Coming from the person who has said repeatedly that immigrants are rapists and criminals, the “people coming into the country” are the same person. They deserve the same treatment. Animals, all.

I’ve spent the past couple of years writing a book about undocumented immigrants around the United States. I tell the stories of undocumented second-responders after 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, day laborers on street corners and worker centers, South American housekeepers who came to feminism in middle age. I write about immigration because I think almost everyone who writes about immigrants gets it wrong. I’d know. My family is undocumented. I came to the United States when I was five years old and was undocumented until recently, when I became a permanent resident.

Read the rest of this article at: Jezebel


How Russia Won The World Cup

On 8 June 2010, three days before the kickoff of the World Cup in South Africa, envoys from Russia and England stood outside a meeting room in Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre, nervously waiting to make their pitch to host the 2018 tournament.

Their audience: elected representatives of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, or Concacaf. Fifa’s 208 member associations, each governing soccer in their countries, were split between six confederations. Concacaf, with 35 member associations under its umbrella, was one of them, and it, in turn, reported up to Fifa. Its territory stretched from Panama in the south to Canada in the north, and included the US, as well as all of the Caribbean and the sparsely populated South American countries Suriname and Guyana.

With the possible exception of Mexico, the confederation’s members were not considered particularly formidable on the soccer pitch – but in the cutthroat field of international soccer politics, Concacaf was a powerhouse.

That influence was largely due to Jack Warner, Concacaf’s Trinidadian president. Wiry, with glasses over a deeply lined face, he made a point of reminding people that he was a black man who had risen from abject poverty. He was also a born politician, able to whip all of his confederation’s member nations into a reliably unified voting bloc at Fifa’s annual congresses. That unrivaled discipline gave Concacaf an outsized influence compared with other, larger soccer confederations, which struggled with internal strife and factionalism, splitting their votes, sometimes several ways.

It also made Warner, 67 years old at the time, one of the most powerful and feared men in soccer. His position was rarely, if ever, challenged. In exchange for the generous disbursement of money that spilled down through him from the highest reaches of the sport, he expected his member associations to vote exactly as he instructed.

Read the rest of this article at: The Cut

My Boyfriend, My Husband, And Me


Rob and I were together for 12 years before we decided to open our marriage. It happened not that long after we had our last child. For most of our relationship, I’d been very focused on my career and then motherhood, without much time to think about my sex life. Once we were done having kids, my sex drive came roaring back. We loved each other very much but we’d never been a perfect match in terms of sexual compatibility. I told him that I didn’t think our marriage was big enough for my new sexual curiosity. I wanted to explore. Rob was very receptive, but we wanted to take things slowly. We read all the books on non-monogamy, did a lot of talking and negotiating. Both of us were fully onboard.

I think it’s important for me to say that by this time, Rob and I had already been talking about alternative living. I’d always been interested in communes, and we had joined a co-housing group, the kind of place where you have your own house or apartment but where there’s shared responsibility for rearing children, assisting with the aged, addressing ecological concerns. That was a huge investment of time and money, and taught us a lot of things about how to communicate with one another about hard stuff. It taught us how to ask for what we needed without blaming someone for not having given it to us. So that was useful when we became non-monogamous, and none of this was as odd to us as it might be to others.

We were also primed for it by watching Big Love. It’s definitely melodramatic, but we loved the idea of sharing parents, and sitting down at a table with your partners with a calendar and making a schedule for the domestic labor. Scheduling is as much a part of non-monogamy as sex, though sex is what monogamous people tend to focus on when they hear about non-monogamy.

We were very open about what we were doing with everyone, including our kids, who were 4 and 8 at the time. We sat down with them and explained that some people think when you’re married to someone you can only love that one person, but that we didn’t believe that; we thought you could love more than one person at the same time. Our oldest child thought about it for a moment then said, “Well, right, like I love you and I also love Dada.” And I said, right, and that was the end of the conversation. Children are naturally very tolerant about these things. We teach them our intolerance.

Read the rest of this article at: The Cut

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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