Sunday, April 29, 2012

Links for the week ending 29 April 2012

In our Big Issues spot at the top of the list this week, Mona Eltahawy's piece on misogyny in the Arab world for The Sex Issue (oy) of Foreign Policy, "Why Do They Hate Us?" An avalanche of response followed, including this one from Sherene Seikaly and Maya Mikdashi at Jadaliyya; this one by Ayesha Kazmi; and this one by Nesrine Malik in the Guardian. Good summations of the arguments for and against the piece (and its questionable photo-art) were presented at Foreign Policy itself. (Links via Aaron Bady, who, as men go, seems like kind of a mensch, so if you run out of things to read, you should check him out.)

That wasn't the only notable thing in Foreign Policy this week, though. Rebecca MacKinnon pulls no punches about the degree to which American corporations are providing the tools — and receiving the profits — for total online surveillance of populations in, among other places, Syria and Bahrain.

This week the Supreme Court has heard arguments on Arizona's anti-immigrant "papers please" law, SB 1070. Julianna Hing at Colorlines puts a human face on the issue with this report on the case of an undocumented Argentine father who faces deportation after worried onlookers called for an ambulance while witnessing him go into what is likely to have been diabetic shock. The cops came instead.
“I know Obama has said that he’s going to stop the separation of families but what happened? We’re a family, real humans. It hurts to be pulled apart just because of not having documents. We’re still humans. We are still a family. We have the same values as any other family.”

Even if you have your papers, diabetes takes Six Years Off, writes Erin Fitzgerald at the Rumpus: "On Paula Deen, or Why Putting This Essay Online Guarantees I Will Not Qualify For Private Health Insurance In My State." Related: very long, but very powerful testimony from a physician who once directed managed care restrictions:
Our claims to the "best health care system" in the world is beginning to have a cynical truth. We certainly do the business of health care better than anyone else. As a result, we have entered a dire phase others should avoid. We have created a monster system, one in which among other transgressions, a physician can receive a high income for doing the reverse of the profession. Instead of delivering care, a physician can be significantly rewarded for denying it. What matters if individual patients are harmed or killed, if the professional is true to a higher mission for society?

Powerful essay by Martha Culver at The Hairpin: "Vignettes From a Hospital Overnight."

Friends, do you sometimes wish there was more accurate information on the internets about what science knows or doesn't know about the variations and vagaries of menstrual cycles? Please add Kate Clancy to your feed reader, then. This week she re-posts an oldie but goodie: "Why We Shouldn't Prescribe Hormonal Contraception to 12 Year Olds." Fascinating.

I must confess that I have trouble choosing from the vast array of articles released in any given week about how we've broken the oceans and stuff. Would you like the more apocalyptic news about "Big Changes in Ocean Salinity Intensifying Water Cycle" (by Julia Whitty at MoJo)? Or would you like your despair on a smaller scale, like "Mounting Evidence Suggests Sharks Are In Serious Trouble" (by Christie Wilcox at SciAm)?

At The Atlantic Cities, Sarah Goodyear reminds us that our streets were not always ruled by cars, and that the process that made it so was (as are so many other supposedly inevitable processes) paid for by the industries with the most financial interest in the change: "The Invention of Jaywalking."

This is a terribly moving story about how even the most privileged are cut down by tragedy. I am not generally overburdened with sympathy for the demographics involved here: sorority girls, wealthy white Southerners, people published by Oprah Magazine (Jonathan Franzen is chortling at me as I type that, and I deserve it). But I needed a box of tissues while I read: "We Thought the Sun Would Always Shine on Our Lives," by Paige Williams.

At The Last Word on Nothing, Ann Finkbeiner has another wonderful essay this week, on the hobbyists who scan the skies for secret spy satellites. Where did I put our binoculars?

Timely piece by Irin Carmon on "The rise of the Mormon feminist housewife."

Also timely: E.J. Graff on the history leading up to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's recent rule-change extending employment discrimination protection to transgender and gender-queer employees.

In general I try not to link to anything at the Newspaper of Record (or to anything else where access might be limited by a paywall), but this article by Maud Newton is worth one of your ten freebies this month. "My Son Went to Heaven, and All I Got Was a No. 1 Best Seller" is, like all of her reflections on her own very evangelical upbringing, thoughtful, sympathetic, and devastating.

Speaking of Maud Newton, she interviewed Alison Bechdel this week for Barnes and Noble Review, and I can't recommend it highly enough. But I say that about the entire embarrassment of interview riches this week. There's this marvelous interview at Paper Darts with Roxanne Gay , but there's also an interview with (we are not worthy) LYNDA BARRY (at The Rumpus). And then there was an interview this week in The Guardian with cookbook author and food historian extraordinaire Claudia Roden.

I swear it really is worth it to read one more piece on Mike Daisey, if the piece is this one by Annie Strother in Full Stop.

These people write the code that guides our online lives. That's… depressing. At MoJo, Tasneem Raja recaps the phenomenon of "brogrammers" in start-up culture.

Then there are the people who make money by selling guys instructions on how to create power imbalances when looking for a date: Kelly Bourdet writes about the business of online pickup advice.

I didn't watch Sex and the City when I was the right demographic for doing so, and thus I feel completely excused from watching Girls, given that I'm officially Way Too Old to be doing so. But! Lindy West's "A Complete Guide to 'Hipster Racism'" is a very funny read even if you, too, have not watched a TV show since My So-Called Life was canceled after one season [sob]. (If you have read too many articles on Girls even though you are not watching it, you could take Nicole Cliffe's advice and read some books instead. Especially because she recommends Mary McCarthy's The Group, which I myself only recently read, and OH MY GOD, that is some excellent reading there, and I say that as someone who is entirely Team Authors-Who-Hated-or-Were-Savaged-by-Mary-McCarthy.)

Before we get all self-regarding about how we are clearly not hipsters, I at least must admit that I could not click on this link fast enough. Tell us, oh The Billfold (which is one of The Awl's best ideas yet, and that's saying an awful lot), "Is Whole Foods Really That Much More Expensive?" News you can use, people. You're welcome.

Timely for me, at least, since my kid had to play a Loyalist in a history-class debate this week: a history lesson by Jane Kamensky in the Boston Globe on the painter John Singleton Copley, who created some of the most iconic images of the major figures of the American Revolution — but never stopped thinking of himself as an Englishman.

An appreciation of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Molly McArdle at the Rumpus. This is another book that I read at an embarrassingly advanced age, and wished I'd known it my whole life.

Finally, a moving meditation on spring and infertility at Orion Magazine: "The Art of Waiting," by Belle Boggs.