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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Tis the Season, The #metoo Season

Just about all women I know have gone about their dailies, walking down the street, talking to a colleague at a conference bar, filing some paperwork, and had an anvil fall on their heads: I am not a person. I’m a collection of parts to be used by others. I am breasts and a vagina, and sometimes also an ass.

My deepest wish for this chaotic #metoo season is that our culture finally understands the depth of trauma sexual harassment incurs. That we stop making women feel like they should, if they’re strong and good and right enough, shake it off, suck it up, and hold it in. That their violation wasn’t as bad as other women’s, so they don’t need to demand their right to bodily autonomy, nor loudly protest its abrogation. Continue reading

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Roxane Gay Believes in Love

Readers may already be familiar with Roxane Gay’s primal story: A bookish, awkward 12 year-old girl, obedient daughter of Haitian immigrants, biked with her sexy, controlling, popular boyfriend to a deserted cabin in the woods where he and his friends raped her. She hid this trauma from her family for years and protected herself by doggedly making herself huge, maintaining her size through fat camps, parental distress, and professional peregrination.

She has told and retold this story through her increasingly prominent books, both fiction and nonfiction: An Untamed State, about a Haitian-American woman kidnapped by Haitian dissidents; Bad Feminist, a collection of cultural and political criticism; short story collection Difficult Women; and, most recently Hunger, a memoir that only ostensibly addresses her trauma and its lifelong effects more directly than her other work. Continue reading

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Facticity Plasticity

The New York Times has apparently told its reporters they can’t tweet anything partisan.

If only the Times had called me (hey Baquet! call me!). I’d have reminded them that, as they surely know, facts themselves are now partisan. The fact of transgender/genderqueer/nonbinary children and adults. The fact of climate change. The fact of resurgent neo-Nazi rhetoric. The fact of white privilege. The fact of the legacy of slavery persistently restricting opportunity for black people.

Lefties tend to refer to these phenomena as factual because they are. And righties tend to dispute the nature of such facts. Because anything from a liberal is biased and therefore untrue. Continue reading

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Pay Up, Dude

People are apparently concerned about the proximity between Harvey Rapist Weinstein and Democratic donors. Dude can’t use his fundraising capacity and history (coughcoughHRCcoughcough) as any kind of credibility for anything. But. Dude can pay the F up. He can pay and pay and pay and pay. He can pay to improve economic justice. He can pay to expand health care services for women. He can pay to end gerrymandering. He can pay to elect lefty women to office.

Can he pay to get more women of color into executive and starring roles in film and TV? Without raping or attempting to rape them? Without their sexuality being any part of their professional, creative contributions to works of art? Yes. He can.

He can pay and pay and pay. And pay. He can’t pay enough. Let him pay.

Let’s also maybe jail him too. Thanks.

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Conspiracize!

Conspiracy theorists take note! An actual conspiracy! A shadowy cabal of zealots using money and power to change the most intimate details of our lives to strengthen their own power. A cluster of old white men controlling whether we live or die. Operating a the highest levels of government but trickling down into the muddle of everyday schmoes, trying to get health care. After being shot at a concert.

The NRA, y’all.

NRA lobbyists successfully eliminated medical research into preventing and treating gunshot wounds. Because almost all science and medical research is either federally or Musk-funded, ER doctors are using fucking oral tradition to save lives.

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