Sometimes People Get Sick

Eliot Kukla wrote a beautiful meditation on the ways that our vulnerabilities and weaknesses define us.

Approximately 0.6 percent of American adults identify as transgender, just under 0.2 percent of the world population is Jewish, and 100 percent of us will get sick, yet it is being chronically sick that makes me feel like an outsider. That’s how much our society fears and rejects the core human experience of being ill, of having a body that gets sick, that ages, that is not controllable.

The United States’ mandate to be forever strong and self-sufficient belies the reality of human experience: we are neither.  Continue reading

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Single Payer NOW!

Kaiser Health News sent an intrepid reporter to uncover just how utopian, on a scale from the Trump White House to Star Trek: The Next Generation, Canada’s single-payer health care system is.

Turns out it’s about Gilmore Girls utopian: some obvious inequities (where’re the people of color in Rory’s Yale??) but, in general, a heartening collective belief in shared values.  Continue reading

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That CDC Orwellian News

Daniel Engber wrote a clarifying response to the panicmongering about the Center for Disease Control (CDC) self-censoring certain flashpoint words like “evidence-based” and “vulnerable” from their internal documentation. Engber suggests (based on National Review reporting) that CDC employees are circulating rhetorical tips on bolstering the chances that their program funding will survive. Paranoid public health officials are telling each other to replace certain snowflake boogeywords with GOP-friendlier jargon.

A government Pee-Yew-rocrat myself, I buy this argument. We have to sell our programs to hostile electeds, so we’ll use whatever tricks we can. “These are not the general fund line items you are looking for.”   Continue reading

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I Have Thoughts on “Cat Person”

Some New Yorker fiction about a bad date went viral, in part because many content-absorbers thought it was non-fiction.

Much of the online fretting about the story focuses on the morality of the characters, the nature of the “consensual but unwanted” sex, the relative relatability of the characters (women relate to the woman, many men hate her, and also hate the man, inversely relating to them both, enraged as if she were a real woman person who dissed their dicks, as if they were Weinstein destroying Mira Sorvino’s career), the backlash about how relatability isn’t the point of fiction, and then defensiveness about how, actually, relatability is quite difficult to accomplish. Continue reading

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I Believe Dylan Farrow

Dylan Farrow wrote another op ed, this time in the LA Times. Please read it.

Even bad reviews of this man’s movies are press. Get Wonder Wheel off of all screens. Delete all references to it. Cancel his production deals. Replace him with one of any number of visionary women directors whose talents have gone too long ignored.

Sever him from our collective consciousness.

As I said, rape culture is rapists making our culture.

Get Woody Allen out of our culture.

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Peter Thiel’s Herpes Problem

A medical researcher dying of cancer, William Halford, couldn’t get institutional approval to run trials on a herpes vaccine that he designed. So he got cash from anti-government bully Peter Thiel to run rogue experiments in St Kitts. A year later, many participants in these trials are sick, possibly from the experimental vaccine. One participant believes that instead of curing the herpes he had, he contracted an entirely new strain of the disease. But they have no clear legal recourse because the experiment happened outside any system of regulation. And Halford died in June.  Continue reading

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