Moving and distressing in equal measure, Sara Naomi Lewkowicz's powerful photographs and accompanying essay about witnessing domestic violence got linked by just about everyone I follow on Twitter this week, and with good reason. At Time. (Thanks to Jill Heather for calling it specifically to my attention.)
"'It seemed like everyone gets raped and assaulted and no one does anything about it; it's like a big rape cult.'" Sabrina Rubin Erdely's February piece about sexual assault in the military, "The Rape of Petty Officer Blumer," is now online at Rolling Stone. It is also a very difficult read, but a necessary one.
"I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure-cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare." Journalist Alexa O'Brien compiled a rush transcript of Pfc. Bradley Manning's full statement to the court during Thursday's hearing. Posted at Salon. (Via Natasha Lennard.)
At Mother Jones, Julia Whitty chronicles the United States Navy's march towards "'the petroleum off-ramp'" using biofuels and greater fuel efficiency — despite fierce opposition from Congress.
At the Miami Herald, Kathie Klarreich expresses outrage at the United Nations' decision to reject compensation for Haiti's cholera victims, despite being itself responsible for the outbreak. (Via Jacqueline Charles.)
"Scud missiles are so inaccurate that it is hard to imagine that their use in residential areas is intended to do anything other than kill civilians." At The Washington Post, Liz Sly reports on the use of ballistic missiles against residential neighborhoods in the devastated Syrian city of Aleppo. (Via Jim Roberts.)
"As a writer, whether I'm publishing about something as serious as politics, as urgent as climate change, or as seemingly trivial as pop culture, my focus remains looking at race. That's because far too often, it literally marks the difference between life and death." Aura Bogado at The Nation with a deeply personal reflection one year after Trayvon Martin's murder. (Via Christie Thompson.)
"Perhaps rather than ask why people are so angry at The Onion, we should ask why some white men are so invested in the right to slur black children." T.F. Charlton at Bitch Media: "Let Me Explain Why The Onion's Quvenzhané Wallis Tweet Was so Hurtful." (Via Tressie McMillan Cottom.)
This week in Universities Behaving Badly: A student at UNC-Chapel Hill has been charged by a student-run judicial system with an "honor code violation" for speaking out about her sexual assault by an ex-boyfriend, also a student at the university, sparking outrage on campus and beyond. By Jane Stancill for the News Observer. (Via Kate Zambreno.)
Two excerpts from Sarah Carr's new book, Hope Against Hope. At The Atlantic, on the impossibilities facing talented students from New Orleans' O. Perry Walker High School as they try to understand the impenetrable and expensive bureaucracy surrounding the college application process. At Next City, an excerpt about the unbearable toll that gun violence takes on O. Perry Walker High School. (First link via Tressie McMillan Cottom; second link via Sarah Goodyear.)
Thirteen percent pay cut. Benefit give-backs. Longer work days. No seniority. No requirement to employ school librarians or counselors. Unlimited class sizes. Most shocking: "The district would no longer be required to provide copy machines, or 'a sufficient number of instructional materials and textbooks.'" The proposed new contract for Philadelphia public school teachers is an obscenity and a national disgrace. Kristen Graham covers it for Philly.com.
"I became increasingly frustrated with the lack of — and in some cases the low quality of — media coverage, not just of unions specifically, but of work and class and the relationship between a worker and a boss." Another really wonderful interview at The Billfold, where Logan Sachon talks to labor organizer turned labor journalist Josh Eidelson.
"'Do we have frogs with eyes on their butts in the lab?' Levin said. 'We most certainly do.'" Carolyn Y. Johnson at Boston.com, reporting on experiments transplanting tadpole eyes at Tufts University. (Via Amanda Katz.)
"'People with acne had pit bulls on their skin. Healthy people had poodles.'" Eryn Brown at The Los Angeles Times reporting on recent research on the microbiome of human skin.
"When we thought he was on graduate school field trips to California, he was actually in Chad, recording sessions of a pirate radio program." Hend Amry at Voices of Africa remembering a childhood spent as Libyan dissidents in exile. (Via Jenan Moussa.)
Former teenage ACT UP activist Garance Franke-Ruta at The Atlantic on "The Plague Years, in Film and Memory," an affecting essay about how difficult it is to speak about the trauma and power of those years. (Thanks to Els Kushner for sending it my way.)
"I am no longer illegal. In fact, I haven't been for over a decade. I hate the word illegal when applied to human beings. Yet, it's a word that defines me. My incapability to bear children is illegal. It was brought upon me by the State." Wrenching, powerful essay by Flavia Dzodan at Tiger Beatdown about the infertility she suffers as a result of a miscarriage improperly treated while she was being deported by The Netherlands. (Via Sarah McCarry.)
"'I'm tired of people making it out to be a freak show,' she said. 'I'm just a 51-year-old woman who — oh, yeah, had a sex change, big deal. I love the game. You can go to college at any age. Why wouldn't I come out and play basketball.?'" Ellen Huet at the San Francisco Chronicle profiling brave and badass Mission College freshman Gabrielle Ludwig. (Via Nanette Asimov).
At The Awl, Maria Bustillos has a great, informed appreciation of "The Before And After Of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus.'"
"Tina Fey is sitting on top of Maslow's hierarchy with her legs crossed." Nicole Cliffe being both hilarious and vertiginous about seeing Tina Fey speak in New York.
"If you're of the generation raised on technology-enabled perfect pitch, does your brain get rewired to expect it?" Great, depressing piece by Lessley Anderson at The Verge on the ubiquity of Auto-Tune. (Via @PocketHits.)
"Florida suggests you shut up, get into the swamp, get on your knees, pull out a snake, and murder it. Because there are too many snakes." This Florida Gothic piece by Amanda Petrusich at BuzzFeed, on Florida's Python Challenge, is incredibly good. If we're dividing up into Team Orchid and Team Python, I've just joined Team Python — that good. (Via Shani O. Hilton.)
Finally. At the Kenyon Review, Amy Boesky wins the internets for the week with an intense essay about having been both Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield: a graduate student specializing in British literature by day, and one of the most prolific ghostwriters for the Sweet Valley High series by night: "The Ghost Writes Back." (Again thanks to Jill Heather for pointing this out to me, and Els for pointing it out about 30 seconds later!)