Perhaps you hadn't heard, but apparently there is some sort of global sporting event taking place this week? People have things to say about it. For myself, I can only say that a small part of my 14-year-old self died when "Going Underground" was blasted to a billion people around the world. At the LRB, Jenni Diski deconstructs her depression following the opening ceremonies. At Colorlines, Jamilah King takes a closer look at the small group of athletes who marched without a country, under the Olympic flag. At the Guardian, Heidi Moore excoriates the American carrier of Olympics coverages for #NBCfail.
Some of the women athletes displayed not only grace under pressure but the ability to kick misogyny where it counts. In Salon, Mary Elizabeth Williams recounts American weightlifter Holley Mangold's flip and perfect response to jerky behavior by Conan O'Brien. (Particularly moving and infuriating are the contrasts between Holley Mangold's fortunes and the fortunes of her similarly built brother, who plays in the NFL.) Even better, British weighlifter Zoe Pablo Smith responded to Twitter-haters with a fabulous blog post: "what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive?"
At Jezebel, "What Do Gymnastics, Orthodox Judaism and Feminism Have in Common? Me," an excerpt from a book by Dvora Meyers.
Wonderful interview at Deadspin in a series about the ends of athletic careers by Rob Trucks, who is, you know, not a woman. But the words are all those of 1984 swimming gold medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar, and they are fascinating: from child swimming prodigy to rape survivor to gold medalist to Title IX activist and beyond.
Oddly, some people remained interested in something other than athletics this week. Like Elisabeth Bumiller at the NYT (use your free articles wisely!) on American drone pilots who spend their days in suburban video-screen rooms, monitoring and killling people thousands of miles away. At The New Inquiry, Lea Rosen explores the brief history and future prospects for drone use within the USA and concludes, "The sky is about to get super weird."
At the Guardian, Amy Goodman writes about how the Obama Administration killed an international treaty that would do nothing to change domestic American gun laws — but might affect the business models of American arms manufacturers, the world's largest producers and exporters of weapons. Shame!
Via Jamilah King at Colorlines, another knock-out investigative piece by Cindy Chang at New Orleans' recently decimated Times-Picayune: "Louisiana state prisons appear to be dumping grounds for doctors who are unable to find employment elsewhere because of their checkered pasts, raising troubling moral questions as well as the specter of an accident waiting to happen."
At Techcrunch, which is… not an URL normally cited around here (because it is, shall we say, not overly endowed with women's bylines), Susanna Burke has a piece
about playing dumb with tech moguls (and mogul moguls) at a resort. "To virtually guarantee success, I brought something I knew would be a conversation starter. No, not my boobs. I carried an enormous bright blue hardcover book that I planned to open and actually read."
For those of you who've met her in real life, enjoy playing "spot Liz Henry's purple hair" in this upbeat article by Julianne Hing at Colorlines reporting from a Black Girls Code event in San Francisco.
Not so upbeat: Roxanne Gay at Salon on Jonah Lehrer, the tropes of white male genius, and the inevitability that the system will find a way to hand him redemption. Bonus points for a link within the article to a 2002 Atlantic Monthly piece by Marjorie Garber.
Carole Cadwalladr at the Guardian writes a long, absorbing piece on Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist punk collective who have become the symbol of Putin's repression since three of its young members were arrested and face seven years in prison after an in-your-face prank performance flouting gender restrictions at a Moscow cathedral.
Happy Free Birth Control Week, my fellow Americans-who-are-not-actually-fellows! Katherine Harmon at SciAm describes the happy event as it affects those of use who are privileged enough to be covered by the new rules.
Also at SciAm, a moving post by Kate Clancy on how we talk about miscarriage — and how prevalent it is.
A truly horrifying story about the death of an improperly trained research assistant, and the dirty tactics being used by the chemistry professor responsible for the laboratory in defending himself against felony charges of violating occupational health and safety standards. By Deborah Blum at Wired.
"Fish with Melanoma." Your depressing environmental degradation story of the week, by Christie Wilcox at SciAm.
Not depressing! And it involves duct tape! At Discover, Veronique Greenwood describes how scientists investigate "How the Elephant Makes Its Rumble."
At the Paris Review, Amie Barrodale is having adventures in Indian hotels and pharmacies. Friends, don't ingest potassium parmanganate!
Don't ingest anything except kale! "The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater," by Erica at Northwest Edible Life. Alas, I cannot remember where I saw this little gem linked, but, whoever you are, thank you!
I had the bad fortune to grow up in a town where the daily newspaper could never bring itself to carry Doonesbury for very long, not even on the editorial pages instead of the comics. But still this made me happy. Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress: "Alex Doonesbury Succeeds Her Father as 'Doonesbury's Main Character.'"
This is fun: Annalee Newitz at io9 arguing that "Remakes Are One of Our Greatest Achievements as a Civilization."
"'Mommy, why is the door locked?'" Megan Stielstra with an entry in the "Where I Write" series at The Rumpus.
Lizzie Skurnick at The Awl answering the age-old question of "Why We Hate-Search."
And, finally, in our tearjerking heartwarmer spot this week! At the Washington Post, Petula Dvorak on a gay couple's adoption story.