A Body, Only a Body. And Nothing More

[I came across Mr. Nygard’s ode to human endurance three years ago while beginning research on a novel about a woman who can’t die, and watching that video allowed me to experience something close to life extension. As Mr. Nygard compared himself to Leonardo da Vinci and Benjamin Franklin while dancing with a bevy of models — or as a voice-over explained, “living a life most can only dream of” — nine minutes of YouTube expanded into a vapid eternity, where time melted into a vortex of solipsism.

But men who hope to live forever might pause on their eternal journey to consider the frightening void at invincibility’s core. Death is the ultimate vulnerability. It is the moment when all of us must confront exactly what so many women have known all too well: You are a body, only a body, and nothing more.]


Respecting Certain Selves as Worthy of Defending

“Self-defense” throughout American history has never been an equal-opportunity recourse. Instead, pious abstractions about a supposedly universal right to employ violence in defense of one’s person have, from the start, reflected chauvinistic calculi of which persons are deemed valuable or disposable in the first place. From the colonial era to the Civil War, to the frontier to modern suburbia, some lives have mattered more than others. And for all the lofty rhetoric to the contrary, our courts and norms have only really respected certain selves as worthy of defending.”

White Defenders | The New Inquiry

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

One thing Mr. Trump has been consistently doing the last few months is not challenge this country’s sensibilities, ideals or democratic convictions. Mr. Trump stands defiantly upright, proud and stubbornly in the middle of the room, seemingly uninvited, like a thorn under the foot -infected- being a crystal clear, non-distorting mirror.
And looking at ourselves in that mirror after a 300-year orgy with street hookers, expired pills and moonshine, hangover, blackout and all, seems like encountering an intruder. Pants down.

And without a gun.

[George Erasmus, an aboriginal leader from Canada said, “Where common memory is lacking, where people do not share in the same past, there can be no real community. Where community is to be formed, common memory must be created.”]

The Problem the Republican Party, and now the Nation, has with Donald Trump


Hipsters and Vacant Gestures | Lumbersexuals and White, Heteromasculine Pageantry*

Lumbersexual masculinity is certainly an illustration that certain groups of young, straight, class-privileged, white men are playing with gender. In the process, however, systems of power and inequality are probably better understood as obscured than challenged. Like the phrase “no homo,” hybrid configurations of masculinity afford young straight men new kinds of flexibility in identities and practice, but don’t challenge relations of power and inequality in any meaningful way.

Read the full article | The Society Pages

Also: The Lumbersexuals are Here to Chop Down Metrosexuals | The Bold Italic


A Massacre in the Family | My Great-Great-Grandfather and an American Indian Tragedy

[As dawn broke over the eastern Colorado prairie on Nov. 29, 1864, a hastily assembled regiment of volunteer U.S. cavalrymen approached their target: a peaceful village of Cheyenne and Arapaho wintering on Sand Creek.

Somewhere in the ranks rode my great-great-grandfather William M. Allen.

His commander, a fiery former Methodist preacher, reminded the men of previous Indian attacks against settlers. “Now boys,” he thundered, “I shan’t say who you shall kill, but remember our murdered women and children.”

Over the next nine hours, the troopers slaughtered up to 200 people, at least two-thirds of them noncombatants, then mutilated the dead in unspeakable fashion. The Sand Creek Massacre scandalized a nation still fighting the Civil War and planted seeds of distrust and sorrow among Native Americans that endure to this day.]  Read the full article | Wall Street Journal


Gender-Based Pricing | Or, the Invisible Women’s Tax | The Case of France (and USA)

A campaign organized by the women’s group Georgette Sand found that products such as shampoo and razors that are advertised as “female” cost more than identical products marketed to men. They have called on stores, such as the chain Monoprix, where many examples of the gendered pricing was found, to get rid of what they call “invisible women’s tax.” Monoprix has argued that the gap exists because there are additional manufacturing costs involved in women’s products.

France’s secretary of state of women’s rights, Pascale Boistard, supports the campaign and tweeted, “Is pink a luxury color?” in response to the pricing gap.

According to the European Commission, French men earn 14.8 percent more than women. The Business and Professional Women Federation, however, says the gap is closer to 28 percent. Either way, French women are paying more for some products while earning less.

France, of course, is not alone. In the United States, women regularly pay more for basic services. In 1996, the state of California found that women pay about $1,351 more a year than men do thanks to gender-based pricing.

On average, women pay about $200 more for cars than white men do; the number only increases for non-white women. Before the Affordable Care Act prohibited making women pay for the same insurance coverage as men, women who did not smoke had to pay 14 percent more for health insurance than men who did.

Read the full article | THINKPROGRESS

Public Prisons, Private Profits

Read the full article here | TRUTHOUT

Handling prisoner accounts is not the only service that has been privatized. Across the country, jails and prisons have been contracting with private, for-profit companies to provide medical services to people inside.

In Alabama, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal suit against the state’s prison system for ignoring the medical and mental health needs of its prisoners. (Corizon provides medical care only. MHM, another private company, holds the contract for mental health care.) Unlike its contract with New York City, Corizon’s 34-month, $224 million contract with Alabama requires it to pay for any legal work in the event of a lawsuit, even if it is not named in the suit.

Arizona recently settled class-action suit Parsons v. Ryan. The suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2012, charged that the state ignored the basic needs, including medical needs, of people in its prison system for years. Corizon took over the state prison’s health care system in March 2013 after the state terminated its contract with private health care provider Wexford.

PRISONSPrison systems have contracted with private companies to handle money sent by family members to their loved ones inside. In the federal prison system, the contract was awarded to Bank of America. In 32 state systems, the contract belongs to private company JPay.