Days off are as precious as they are rare. It should be surprising, then, that so many of us throw them away so quickly by using them to catch up on yet more work. Cut it out.
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Days off are as precious as they are rare. It should be surprising, then, that so many of us throw them away so quickly by using them to catch up on yet more work. Cut it out.
I find this unbearably adorable.
Remember that movie Calendar Girls where Helen Mirren and other older women got naked for a calendar? This is like that, but 20 or more years older and no Helen Mirren. Residents at Pleasant Pointe assisted living facility in Barberton, Ohio (more like Babe-erton, amirite?) posed for the calendar to raise money for the local Kiwanis club’s Esther Ryan Shoe Fund, donating shoes to area school children. And the models were very excited to be photographed in the all-together.
“The residents were very excited to be a part of this calendar,” said spokesperson Michelle Clapper.
As is apparent when looking at the pictures, Clapper said the sharp-minded men and women are a fun-loving bunch who were eager to participate.
“That morning of the shoot … the residents were like 20-year-olds — giggling, and having the time of their lives. I do not believe the elderly should just sit around staring at each other. I want a fun environment where I challenge them and they challenge me,” said Pleasant Pointe administrator Teresa Morris. “I love supporting their independence and will go above and beyond for each of them.”
Even Grandma and Grandpa aren’t afraid to get sexy for a good cause.
Oh, you saw that?! Damn.
A New Hampshire politician is trying to revive a bill that his colleagues merrily beat to death in front of the schoolchildren who authored it. State Senator Jeff Woodburn says the bill, written by fourth graders to make the red-tailed hawk the new state raptor, shouldn't have turned into a messy beatdown invoking both hot dogs and abortion. You don't say?
“If you have a hundred cats, you’ll live 10 times longer than if you have 10,” wrote Charles Bukowski. “Someday… Read More
Words By Aspektz
Run The Jewels’ new flick for “Close Your Eyes (And Count to F***)” might be one the most important, poignant videos of the decade. Killer Mike, El-P and Zack De La Rocha don’t show their faces for most of it but the visuals illustrate their thoughts quite well. Directed by AG Rojas, this emotional roller coaster provides an unspoken narrative on law enforcement. Plus its subject matter’s prime for dissection as soon as the play button puts it in motion.
Mike and El are evidently mindful of authorities clashing with communities they’re supposed to protect. Their brand of edutainment here shows they have more to offer beyond rapping for sport. So RTJ’s aim, with the help of an anti-establishment legend like De La Rocha, could mold plenty of young minds to force positive change.
However, the same peace MLK demands on his porch and the same calm Obama requests in Ferguson seems hard to command with this track hitting thousands of impressionable ears. One thing remains true to this day from the civil rights movement – the rear-view is always clearer than the windshield.
The stage is yours, gentleman – run it.
Good news, nerds! The long-anticipated Warner Bros. adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One just got a big-name director (and no, it’s not Christopher Nolan).
Considering that The Goonies is one of Ready Player One‘s biggest influences, Spielberg actually seems like the perfect choice to direct the adaptation (although it’s hard to think of another project more suited for Edgar Wright).
What say you, friends?
Please fight. And sweet Jesus, please win. That would brighten my entire week.
It looks like we’ve got another person throwing their hat into the “call out Ronda Rousey” sweepstakes. This time, it’s Houston Texans cheerleader Antonieta Osuna.
She’s not just a cheerleader, though. Osuna, who also goes by “Miss Boxer,” is a former amateur boxer, having won a Texas state title back in 2005.
Osuna recently spoke with TMZ Sports and said she wouldn’t be afraid to step into the ring with Rousey, and she even offered insight into her game plan:
“If I can give her hooks and jabs and prevent her from taking me down, it’s possible that I could get her.”
My advice to Antonieta is pretty simple: Do not fight Ronda Rousey. It’s probably really hard to be a good cheerleader without use of both arms. If the fight does go down, my other advice is to not throw a flying knee at Ronda one second into the fight.
Maybe Osuna will fight Rousey on the same card as Chandler Jones fighting his brother Jon. Make a whole NFL versus UFC event!
Over the past decade, Panama has adopted some of the strictest smoking laws in the world. In 2008, the country banned smoking in nearly all public spaces, indoor and out, as well as all workplaces and sports venues. That same year, it became the first country in the Americas to ban all advertising, promotion or sponsorship of tobacco products. It also requires 60 percent of tobacco packaging to be covered with health warnings.
These efforts helped Panama become the No. 1 nation at cutting smoking prevalence over the past 15 years, bringing the estimated number of smokers down to 191,200 this year, according to a World Health Organization report released Wednesday. The report details estimated smoking prevalence by country every five years starting in 2000, with projections through 2025.8 To figure out which countries had seen the biggest improvements, I calculated the percentage change in smoking prevalence from 2000 to 2015. Panama topped the list, with a 57 percent decline. I also calculated the percentage change projected from 2015 to 2025.
India, though it has more than 101 million smokers, now has 37 million fewer than it did 15 years ago, the largest drop in number of any country (India had the sixth-largest percentage decline in smoking prevalence).
Among the 26 countries that have seen an increase in smoking over the past 15 years, 16 are low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The biggest increase in smoking is in the Republic of Congo, where the WHO estimates that smoking prevalence jumped from nearly 6 percent in 2000 to 22 percent in 2015 and expects that number to climb all the way to 47 percent by 2025. Cameroon, Bahrain and Niger also saw increases of more than 100 percent over the past 15 years.
In East Asia, Indonesia is the only country to see an increase (though given its population, that increase is equal to nearly 30 million people), while in the Americas, Haiti was the lone country with an increase in smoking prevalence.
The 10 countries with the biggest decreases in smoking prevalence span continents and GDPs. Iceland and Norway, wealthy countries with strong public health systems, are second and third for biggest declines in prevalence, while Myanmar comes in fourth. While the WHO projections show Myanmar continuing on a downward trajectory, some inside the country are worried that a recent lift in sanctions is ushering in Big Tobacco.
Meanwhile in Uruguay, which holds fifth place, smoking prevalence dropped by nearly 50 percent over the past 15 years and is expected to decrease to just more than 14 percent by 2025. But the South American nation of 2.7 million is currently embroiled in a battle with Philip Morris, which claims that legislation requiring 80 percent of cigarette packs to be covered with health warnings is devaluing its “legally-protected trademark and brand.”
Uruguay has been getting help from the foundation of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to pay for legal fees in the lawsuit. And soon it may not be the only one; Bloomberg and Bill Gates announced a $4 million fund Wednesday to help developing countries fend off legal challenges from tobacco companies.
People's Opinions! About Science!
Here's some news that might come as a big surprise to you: A baby cookboo called Bubba Yum Yum written by a TV chef, a mommy blogger and a naturopath may not be as safe as previously thought. Sure, it might stop your baby from developing autism, but only because your baby will be dead. (Better dead than neuroatypical, though, right?) (Wasn't that the anti-communist slogan back in the 50s?)
Michael, I am a pregnant lady, I can not deal with shit like this at work.
Your mom is going to die. Your dad is also going to die.
It’s been driving me nuts trying to figure out who old man Sean Penn looks like; finally figured it out Penn has devolved into Al Pacino from ‘Dick Tracy’
It was a typical Thursday night at Smash Burger. My friend was with her two sons who were furiously stuffing sweet potato French fries in their mouths. In the booth behind her, my friend saw a young boy who looked a lot like Justin Bieber. So she called her 16-year-old-niece, Kate (not her real name), a Justin Bieber fanatic since she was 12. Kate owns two life-size cardboard Bieber cut-outs—one with a squiggly black mustache drawn on his upper lip by a mischievous cousin—hovering over her bed.
No one knows yet that Justin Bieber was on a religious retreat in my small New Jersey town, at the home of the new pastor to the stars, Carl Lentz. Justin Bieber was just trying to have a burger in peace for about five minutes.
That all ends once Kate walked in and confirmed that, yes, it really was Justin Bieber. She screamed and fell to the ground on her knees. “She had a total nervous breakdown. Crying, hands shaking. She couldn’t move. I had to walk her to the booth,” my friend says. Kate’s screaming was Bieber’s cue to leave, but by then he was surrounded by a swarm of girls. He signed the autograph of a girl in a wheelchair, took a quick picture, left his uneaten food in the booth and bolted.
Kate cradled his empty soda cup in the booth, which is when my friend started filming her. And there she is, this young girl, her face stricken like she witnessed a shooting or an attack, tears and mascara streaming down her face, an expression society would call “hysterical.” Even the counter guy, who I spoke to a few days later, told me: “The Justin Bieber part was weird, but that girl screaming, that’s what made everything explode.” Kate babbled some half-coherent sentences like, “I’m going to die. Oh my God, Justin Bieber at Smash Burger. This is beyond my comprehension. I’m going to kill myself.” And then the phone rings. It’s Kate’s friend. “Alex,” she says, hiccupping through tears. “I’m holding his cuuuuuuup.”
All I wanted to do was hug her when I heard this story—I’ve had my own nervous breakdowns about musicians. What makes girls from the Beatles to Duran Duran to N’Sync to Michael Jackson to One Direction—full on freak out?
Hysteria has always been a women’s issue. The concept goes back about 4,000 years. In Ancient Egypt, hysterical disorders were said to be caused by “spontaneous uterus movement within the female body;” hysterical women who were diagnosed with a uterus too far “up” inside the body were treated with sour and bitter odors near her mouth and nose. If the uterus was too far down, then the putrid odors were placed near her vagina.
In Greek mythology, the Argonaut Melampus treated hysterical women who refused to honor the Greek’s massive phallic symbols and ran away to hide in the mountains from these Goliath-sized penises. During that time, the giant phallus was a representation of God, life and fertility. Melampus cured these virgins, according to research, by urging them to have sex with “young and strong men” because their uterus was being “poisoned by venomous humors due to a lack of orgasms.”
By fifth century B.C., Hippocrates was the first person to use the word “hysteria.” He took the notion of the poisonous uterus to another level—he believed that the “restless” uterus was because of a woman’s “cold and wet” body (as opposed to a man’s “dry and warm and superior” body). He explains that the uterus is a sickly organ—especially if it’s sexually deprived. Writes psychiatric researcher Mauro Giovanni Carta, “[Hippocrates] goes further; especially in virgins, widows, single, or sterile women, this “bad” uterus—since it is not satisfied—not only produces toxic fumes but also takes to wandering around the body, causing various kinds of disorders such as anxiety, sense of suffocation, tremors, sometimes even convulsions and paralysis.”
By the mid 1600’s, doctors like Thomas Willis and philosophers like René Descartes were explaining that hysteria wasn’t because of “bad” lady parts but as a psychological issue; specifically, a psychological women’s issue. For the next 200-250 years, hysteria was defined as part of female “nature,” a hostile “characteristic,” explains researcher Elanie Showalter in Hysteria Beyond Freud. “As a general rule,” wrote the French physician Auguste Fabre in 1883, “all women are hysterical and…every woman carries with her the seeds of hysteria. Hysteria, before being an illness, is a temperament, and what constitutes the temperament of a woman is rudimentary hysteria.” Meaning: women don’t need a reason to be hysterical. We just are.
By the late 1800s and the early 1900s, Freud took on hysteria, theorizing that some of hysteria had to do with traumatic events, but most of hysteria was because of sexual repression. I asked my therapist about this theory, and she told me that hysteria was treated as if there was nothing neurologically going on. “Doctors would take a woman, put her on a table and stimulate her clitoris to orgasm in hopes that she’d be cured of her hysteria,” she explained.
This wasn’t an enviable job though, historians say; doctors were burdened by the chore of bringing their patients to climax, complaining about how long it took. Husbands didn’t want to be sidled with this job of having to bring their hysterical wives to climax either. That's why the vibrator was invented, writes Rachel P. Maines in her book, The Technology of Orgasm. It was considered a medical instrument “in response to demand from physicians for more rapid and efficient physical therapies, particularly for hysteria.”
It wasn’t until the 1960s that feminists took the idea of hysteria and redefined it—feminist thinkers like Juliet Mitchell believe that hysteria was the first step to feminism, because it was feminine pathology that spoke to and against patriarchy. Hysteria, in other words, has always been a language that women have used to attempt to shut down centuries of mansplaining—and only until the 1960s were they successful at it.
In Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, two girls—9-year-old Elizabeth Parris and 11-year-old Abigail Williams—began having what was described as uncontrollable “hysterical” fits. They were screaming, crying, moaning, their bodies convulsed and they babbled incoherently. A doctor diagnosed the girls of being under the spell of witchcraft and soon, more girls became “afflicted” with the same symptoms. By the end of that year, 13 women and five men were accused of witchcraft and hanged, according to the Salem Witch Museum.
Though there have been a number of theories as to why this happened; some blame ergot (a fungus) poisoning, others say they were rebelling against their social standing, some historians say the fasting and the obsessive prayer rituals caused tremendous stress. Salem was very religious, it was a small settlement described by historians as “rife with anxiety,” a “crumbling providence.” The girls, in other words, did not just become hysterical out of the blue—there was a lot to be afraid of.
But because it spread from person to person like a social contagion, psychologists explain the hysteria in Salem as conversion disorder. Conversion disorder is a physical manifestation of psychological stress and anxiety. Like, say, the contagious hysteria that goes on at a Justin Bieber concert.
I started researching other cases of conversion disorder. In Monroe, Louisiana in 1952, 165 cheerleaders fainted during a football game. In 1998 in McMinniville, Tenneesse, a teacher noticed a gas-like odor and though the school was evacuated, her symptoms spread to 180 students and teachers. In 2007, in Chalco, Mexico, 600 girls became feverish and nauseated. But the most highly publicized case happened in 2012 in Le Roy, New York, when 14 students (13 girls, one boy), developed symptoms of involuntary twitching and clapping, snorting, muscle spasms and even loss of consciousness.
Two books came out this year based on the Le Roy incident: Megan Abbott’s poetic and creepy The Fever and Katherine Howe’s disturbing Conversion. Because Howe, who also wrote “The Penguin Book of Witches,” is something of a Salem encyclopedia, I spoke with her about the hysteria in Le Roy and if there’s a tie between what happened there and the hysteria surrounding pop stars. And though she was hesitant to name a connection, she did say that there seems to be an expression of excitement and release in conversion disorder.
“Here’s this space in which its almost socially sanctioned to release this kind of tension, especially for adolescent girls who are supposed to control themselves. It’s what they’re supposed to master as a teenager, to control themselves,” she said. Hysteria goes against every grain that adolescent girls learn: be good, be better than the next girl, don’t be loud, don’t be promiscuous. There’s an intensity to hysteria that’s significant, Howe says.
In fact, during her research of the Le Roy incident, she found that one girl described the experience as a “build up of tension which was then released by a verbal disorder and that she felt better if she gave into the physical disorder, the tic,” she said. “There’s a thread that connects it to female anxiety and female emotionalism.”
What is this thread, I wondered? I spoke to Jane Mendle, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Cornell University who specializes in adolescent girls. First, she made clear that the hysteria we see with girls in front of pop stars is not the same as what’s happening in conversion disorder. Conversion disorder is a diagnosable, psychological disorder; in the case of girls and rock stars, the term “hysteria” is really a metaphorical description of their behavior. But “that doesn’t mean that the elements of screaming and crying over rock stars and symptoms of conversion disorder in adolescent females aren’t driven by some of the same underlying principles,” Mendle told me. “There is a strong element of social contagion for both of these things.”
When a group of girls develop conversion disorder, it typically starts with somebody who is at the top of the social pecking order; the Queen Bee or someone close to her. But in the case of Bieber or One Direction hysteria, it may be more complex than just social ranking, because fame is more “valued now than it has been in the past,” Mendle says. A few generations ago, when girls were screaming over The Beatles or The Jackson Five, they didn’t have the option to share that experience on Instagram or Facebook. They shared it with each other, collectively, in the moment. Today’s fame component changes everything. “The majority of tweens and adolescents are extremely interested in becoming famous themselves—it is one of their top priorities for their lives,” Mendle says.
I ask her if this means fame alone would inspire hysteria. “To some degree,” she replied, “because fame as a value and considering Justin Bieber as a part of their lives, even though they’ve never met him, is really what has inspired a lot of this.”
What about conversion disorder? Even though it typically starts with the Queen Bee, there’s still an element that seems to be inspired by wanting attention. Mendle agrees. “One of the things that is most noticeable about conversion disorder is that it tends to occur in people who don’t necessarily command a lot of social attention; by social attention, I really mean society’s attention—in that they are not the focus of their society. And historically and traditionally that’s women,” she said. “So when you look to things like the Salem Witch Trials, these girls were by no means a focus of their community until they developed their physical symptoms. And then they became a center of a town’s narrative in a way they would have never have been able to otherwise.”
Doris Day’s “Que Sera, Sera” was number two on the Billboard chart in 1956. The narrative goes like this: A girl asks her mother about her future, “Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?” The mother replies:
Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be.
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera.
The mother isn’t wrong, the future isn’t ours, but when you look at it in the context of women’s place in society the song sums up patriarchal 1950s pretty well. There’s zero agency in it. There’s no question about her passions outside of looking good and being wealthy. Now look at the popular male artists of that same time: the dominators were ultra-macho crooners like Elvis, Frank Sinatra or Dion. As historian Kimberly Cura points out in her paper “The Beatles and Female Fanaticism,” Elvis used his sex appeal and pushy lyrics, Frank Sinatra had his sentimental crooner image and Dion had his womanizing songs like “The Wanderer,” which goes like this:
Oh well, I'm the type of guy who will never settle down
Where pretty girls are well, you know that I'm around
I kiss em and I love em cause to me they’re all the same
I hug em and I squeeze em they don’t even know my name
It’s no wonder girls lost it when The Beatles entered the music scene—they had remarkable differences to these hyper-masculine artists, namely in their lyrics. Adolescent girls went crazy when they heard “She Loves You,” a song that I never really paid much attention to because the chorus, “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah,” was repetitive and annoying. But revisiting the song now and deconstructing it, as well as giving it some historical context, changes it.
She said you hurt her so
She almost lost her mind
And now she says she knows
You’re not the hurting kind
She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, oooh
The Beatles then become this sensitive guy vessel with this song, injecting your stereotypical blockhead male rhetoric with an emotional narrative. Look, you hurt this girl and she knows you didn’t mean it, and she wants to give you a second chance, so why don’t you talk to her, man? “’She Loves You,’ not only speaks of a common real-life dynamic between lovers, but also—and most importantly—places responsibility on the man, not his partner,” explains Cura.
These early Beatles songs created a world where women had freedom from traditional gender roles (like in Doris Day’s “Que, Sera, Sera”). “Women in The Beatles’ songs weren’t depicted as the idealized figures described in typical rock lyrics, but instead were represented fully-formed characters,” writes Cura. This was the key behind the hysteria that surrounded Beatlemania: women and girls were free to express themselves—finally!—because they were understood.
The same has to be said for Morrissey who not only openly embraced a fluid definition of sexuality, but who also wrote from the perspective of masculine sensitivity. His lyrics created a safe place for female fans to scream, to cry, to hand him roses on the stage while he sang. Morrissey reveled and embraced male vulnerability; he exhausted heartbreak. Take the lyrics to “How Soon Is Now:”
You shut your mouth
How can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does
There’s a club if you’d like to go
You could meet somebody who really loves you
So you go, and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home, and you cry and you want to die
In this song, he reveals his insecurity and his isolation—he goes to a club and can’t even be consoled because he’s so lonely. Morrissey sings countless songs like this—take “I Know It’s Over” in which he cries, “Oh mother, I can feel, the soil falling over my head. And as I climb into an empty bed. Oh well, enough said.”
Though Morrissey and The Beatles and Justin Bieber have little in common musically, they have everything in common as vulnerable lyricists; Justin Bieber takes the same page out of the Morrissey handbook, especially during his earlier mall days. In his movie Never Say Never he brings up a girl for each performance of “One Less Lonely Girl” and serenades her.
How many "I told you’s" and "start over’s" and shoulders have you cried on before?
How many promises? Be honest girl
How many tears you let hit the floor
How many bags you packed
Just to take them back
Tell me that how many either ‘or’s’
But no more if you let me inside of your world
There’ll be one less lonely girl
The appeal here, like with Morrissey, is that Justin Bieber talks to his subject as if he understands what true vulnerability and heartbreak is about. (And who am I to say? Maybe he does.) These kinds of lyrics allow girls to feel comfortable and secure, giving them permission to engage in hysteria, most noticeably after the introduction of the Beatles. Cura puts it like this: “The Beatles… was the first widespread outburst during the sixties to feature women—in this case, teenaged girls—in a radical context.”
Though lots of critics at the time wanted to write off the hysteria around the Beatles as yet another example of crazy, hormonal girls, or some kind of “social dysfunction,” or as depressive loners—their collective hysteria was really about them stepping outside of their prescribed identities. “Teen and pre-teen girls were expected not only to be good and pure, but to be the enforcers of purity within their teen society—drawing the line for overeager boys and ostracizing girls who failed in this responsibility,” writes journalist Barbara Ehrenreich.
Has much changed? Girls are still expected to act a certain way—but screaming over a pop star gives them a say. It’s like sexual release that’s allowed. Michelle Janning, a sociology professor at Whitman College, who has written about screaming girls, explains this in an email: “This bodily and vocal sexual expression could have two paradoxical interpretations: either a girl screaming at a concert is defiantly protesting girls’ sexual repression in a highly sexualized society, or she is doing so as an unsuspecting part of the larger project to maintain girls’ sexuality as controlled, quiet, and contained."
But performers like Bieber and Morrissey and The Beatles and Michael Jackson have something else in common: their somewhat androgynous man-boy looks. Adolescent girls see a feminine quality in these kinds of men, sociologists say, that reminded them of themselves. Girls feel safe around more androgynous singers because they’re not pushing the macho stereotype which can be intimidating to a teenage girl. Girls saw the (early) Beatles and Bieber as reflection of themselves, “a phenomenon that would be imitated in the future by androgynous stars such as David Bowie and Michael Jackson,” explains Steven Stark in Meet the Beatles. In the ‘80s, hysteria followed Duran Duran and Adam Ant, as Nina Blackwood, one of the early MTV “veejays” explained in an interview with CBS, “The guys were so beautiful. Not handsome in the classic "movie star" way, but actually pretty— lush lips, cheekbones a mile-high, porcelain skin— and they all knew how to apply make-up better than most women I knew."
It has to be the same reason women lost it around Franz Liszt, a pianist in Germany in the 1800s—so much that German critic Heinrich Heine, deemed it “Lisztomania.” Liszt also had that feminine quality (more so than other men that time who, at least in old-timey pictures, looked sort of inbred and hairy); Liszt was a Tori Amos kind of performer, historians say, in that he used his body liberally while he played, with “wild arms and swaying hips.” Women tore his clothes, pulled out pieces of his hair and one woman, wrote Alan Walker in a biography, picked up Liszt’s cigar stump, placed it in locket and monogramed it with his initials in diamonds.
The woman’s reaction to Liszt isn’t so far off from Kate’s who collected Justin Bieber’s cup. That plastic cup now rests on her bookshelf, sealed in a plastic zip lock bag.
“People started lining up five days ago.”
“I know they love me even though they don’t know me.”
“Because of you, we’re number one in 37 countries”
These are sound bites from the One Direction movie, This Is Us, which is cute and corny with stories about the boys and how they always wanted to be singers, but the primary story is of high-pitched soundtrack of thousands of screaming girls. They’re the screams of pleasure—which is exactly how the neuroscientist Daniel Levitin explains it to the Wall Street Journal. The screaming, he says, is from the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that allows us to feel pleasure—it’s the chemical in our brain that’s released when we eat chocolate, or when a compulsive gambler wins.
But Levitin's research also found something else interesting: because the neural pathways in our brains are forming when we’re teenagers, the music that we like as teenagers then becomes hardwired in our brains. It's not an accident that you still know that pretzel cross-legged move to Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” you studied a million times when you were 14. That’s not nostalgia, according to Levitin’s research; that’s your brain being hardwired to experience pleasure every time you hear that song.
I couldn’t help but think of the music I went hysterical over as a teenager—I wasn’t a Duran Duran girl in the ‘80s. I saved my hysteria for girls, not boys; my heart belonged to Madonna. I was 15 in 1986, the year her album “True Blue” came out—which had some amazing songs like “Live To Tell,” but also some really uninspiring, unremarkable songs like “True Blue.” There was also “Papa Don’t Preach,” which was a departure for Madonna—she changed her whole look from her “Lucky Star”/”Burnin’ Up”/”Borderline” days (which I had memorized the dance moves to as well, though I didn’t completely understand the sexual narrative yet).
In the “Papa Don’t Preach” video she wore boyfriend jeans, had short straight hair, a striped nautical shirt and carried a black motorcycle jacket over her shoulder. My mother called her a Jean Seburg knock-off, but I was mesmerized.
I watched the “Papa Don’t Preach” video on You Tube and remembered those weird arm movements and the dance from that video clearly—then the oddest realization came to me. I’m still influenced by her style from that time, the jeans, the striped shirt, even the motorcycle jacket is currently in my fantasy shopping cart—which, okay, you the jacket has been an iconic staple since Marlon Brando wore it in The Wild Bunch. But then I made another connection. I named my dog, a rescue I just got nine months ago, Trudy Blue. When I started singing the song “True Blue” to her, I couldn’t figure out why—it really bothered me. Why this song?
But now I get it. The dopamine release I experienced as an adolescent girl is still affecting me years and years later. My Madonna hysteria never really waned. When I tell people I follow her on Instagram, they ask me why. And I’m like, “#BitchI’mMadonna,” but the real reason has a lot more to do with chemical engineering.
I wonder what that means for the swarms of Bieber fans like Kate or the One Directioners depicted in their movie. I thought about the years I spent being a hysterical teenage girl, either obsessing over Madonna or later over Morrissey or later REM, or over any of the countless musicians that impacted my life. Science has a great deal to do with hysteria—you can’t ignore the chemical impact of dopamine, but hysteria defined women and girls more broadly than just that; hysteria has been a method of communication in which women have used to separate themselves from men for centuries. I though about that video of Kate in Smash Burger, wondering if she’ll one day look back at it embarrassed, but I hope she won’t. I hope she’ll see it as her individuality shining through, as a way she was able to be true to herself at a very specific time in her life.
Hayley Krischer is a writer living in New Jersey.10 Comments
DUMBASS! a Jack in the Box?!
Staff writer Mallory McDonald reports:
An employee at a Dallas Jack in the Box threatened to jump off of the restaurant’s roof Thursday evening after police arrived to arrest him on an outstanding warrant.
Roman Arellano, 33, was wanted on a warrant charging him with … [visit site to read more]
I'm sure there are plenty of bad bills, but these look great!!
Jimmy Kimmel has come through to provide one of the best entries in the Mean Tweets series to this point. President Obama gets an entire segment to read all of the mean crap that people have posted to Twitter about him (minus the more hateful comments, I’m sure).
At this point in his presidency, Obama is probably ready to limp out of office. He’s had quite a battle for his entire run and some impossible hype to live up to, so it’s cool that he can laugh about it.
I’m sure folks will complain about this and say he’s got more important things to focus on, but that’s old news at this point. They should probably be more concerned about the price of Coors. The person who tweeted that isn’t lying, it’s expensive for a “cheap” beer. Hopefully Obama can hit his price lever in The Oval Office and get things back on track before he runs out of town.
(Via Jimmy Kimmel Live)
A UK family is lucky to be alive after Maria Layton’s husband bought a bunch of bananas from their local Tesco that were infested with Brazilian Wandering Spiders whose venom can kill and/or cause a four-hour erection.
Once again, there are bananas that can do the same thing that Viagra can, but there are other side effects. Please consult a physician if a spider bite makes your dick hard. This is not some Spider-Man sh*t; your ass is dying. Also, consult with the store where you got the dick-hardening spiders, even though that isn’t always a fruitful endeavor.
“Tesco were a bit useless, I was really concerned about the possibility of this dangerous spider and spider eggs in my house and really wanted some helpful advice on how to act. I wasn’t sure if other spiders or eggs had escaped when I ripped the bag open.
“I posted the picture on Tesco Facebook page and they told me to send the wrapper in so they could get the bar code to refund me! I was shocked, they failed to see the potential threat to me and my family and thought I was only interested in having a pound or so back.
“I called Food Standards but they said it wasn’t anything to do with them, I called Trading Standards but they were shut. I spent about an hour-and-a-half ringing round trying to get some help – while I had this potential killer spider in the house.” […]
When questioned if Tesco have a responsibility to the customer to send a pest control expert out to the house, a spokesperson from their customer service department said: “Our policy is for the customer to take the product back to the store where it can be investigated. We don’t have a service whereby someone can go out to the home.”
I used to work at a service desk, and if someone would have dropped a bag of death spiders in front of me and told me, “Ehlo, Guvnah. I rang up the service wankers after being in queue, and they told me to bring these to you.” I would have run so far and so fast while shouting, “KILL IT WITH FIRE!” This is why it’s comical to me that Tesco’s service reps said something like, “Just bring it on down to the store, pip-pip cheerio.” And as far as I know, that’s how British people speak.
As for what happened to the spider-finding lady and her family, I have no clue. The article doesn’t say, but hopefully someone finally took her call and took these crazy-scary spiders off her hands. Also, bananas? Nope.
Via Bristol Post
I recently read an article that said most of the prison population is religious while there are very few atheists in prison. Please tell if this is true for the United States.
Caroline, 44, Philadelphia
Data on religion in U.S. prisons is hard to find and usually comes from biased sources. Back in 1997, a blog post appeared on HolySmoke.org, a now-dormant anti-religion website. Beneath the headline, an author using the name Rod Swift published statistics apparently received from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) showing the religious affiliations of inmates. One number jumped out at Swift: 0.2 percent of the prison population was atheist.
That number became a routinely cited statistic that wasn’t really challenged or updated — until 2013. Hemant Mehta (a writer who, seven years earlier, had become famous for selling his soul on eBay) issued a new Freedom of Information Act request to the Federal Bureau of Prisons asking for updated figures about the religious affiliation of prisoners. Today, those numbers are still the most detailed ones available.
But first, a few caveats. While you may have been interested in the religious affiliation of the 1.4 million Americans being held in state prisons, this data only relates to federal prisoners — of which there were about 216,000 in 2013 (PDF).
The data here is self-reported, so it’s also dependent on whether prisoners were willing to disclose their religion. Seventeen percent of inmates listed “no preference” for their religion, but the Bureau of Prisons couldn’t clarify how that is different from the 3 percent of prisoners who described themselves as “Other,” so I decided to cut it out of the data.
|RELIGION||PRISON POP.||GENERAL POP.|
|Churches of Christ||1.5||0.8|
|Seventh Day Adventist||0.3||0.4|
To answer your question, I used Census Bureau data from 2008 (it’s the most recent we have), but its categories are pretty different from the ones used by the Bureau of Prisons.
Take Rastafarians for example. According to the BOP, 1.9 percent of federal prisoners identify as Rasta, but the Census Bureau doesn’t list Rastafarians as a separate group. Instead, the Census uses one category titled “other religions” that encompasses a whole range of groups including people who practice Santeria (as 1.2 percent of prisoners say they do), along with Scientologists and Druids.51
There are other categories that don’t match up. According to the Census Bureau, 0.6 percent of Americans describe themselves as Muslim. In prison, that figure is 5.6 percent. It’s already a considerable difference, but an additional 1.8 percent of prisoners identified with the Nation of Islam and another 1.2 percent said they were “Moorish” (which the BOP said should also be considered a variant of Muslim). Altogether, the percentage of Muslims in the prison population is about 14 times higher than that of the general population.
There are other noticeable differences: a prisoner is 39 times more likely than an un-incarcerated person to identify his or her religion as American Indian. Conversely, prisoners are far less likely to be Protestant than the rest of the country.52
Most importantly though, Caroline, you appear to be right about religiosity in prison. Overall, almost 1 in every 1,000 prisoners will identify as atheist compared to 1 in every 100 Americans.
So what explains these discrepancies between religious affiliation inside prisons and outside them? I’ll set out a couple of possible theories.
Ed got me thinking: If few prisoners bother to change their religious affiliation in the official data, the theories I’ve described above are more likely to be relevant. But if prisoners are letting officials know about their change of faith (which I’m told by the BOP is relatively easy to do; it can be as simple as mentioning it to the chaplain), then it’s possible that prison conversion is influencing these statistics.
In 2012, Pew Research Center conducted a 50-state survey of prison chaplains of various faiths (they’re state chaplains though, so they don’t work with the federal inmates I’ve mentioned above — sorry, it’s the best data I could find). Three-quarters of the chaplains they spoke to said “religious switching” was common among inmates where they worked. When asked which affiliations were growing, chaplains were most likely to list Islam (51 percent), followed by Protestant and Pagan.
Though almost all of the state prison chaplains describe spending their time organizing religious programs, many suggest that religious influence is coming from elsewhere in the system. Seventy-four percent of the chaplains said that efforts by inmates to proselytize or convert other inmates are either very common (31 percent) or somewhat common (43 percent) in the prisons where they work.
Anyway, you’re right about religiosity in prison Caroline: Atheists are underrepresented. But not all religious groups are equally over-represented. That’s an interesting finding, but it’s a limited one because we don’t know what percentage of inmates change their faith while in prison and why — without those stats, understanding religiosity in prison is a bit of a guessing game.
Hope the numbers help,
I have four of these.
Friend of the Toast (and of self) Sara Cantor just got back from a weeklong vacation in Iceland, and, as is my custom, I engaged her in conversation about her trip.
SELF: Sara! How was Iceland?
SARA: Look at this:
Wonder Woman has a new look, and it’s arguably her most practical one ever. Lasso me a pair of those boots, stat.
Don’t get me wrong; I dig the classic WW look, but I also question its functionality on a basic level. I can barely wear a strapless dress to a wedding without checking my boob situation once every thirty to forty-five seconds let alone fighting hard-core crime in a bustier. I don’t even want to start on the potential wedgie situation she’s constantly facing.
By fitting the tailed corset over a… turtleneck thing, this new outfit retains the traditional Wonder Woman silhouette while still making her look tough as hell and not accidentally revealing any awkward camel toe. She’s even got her lasso! I’m not sure how I feel about the arm-blades, but we can’t win ‘em all.
Wonder Woman’s new outfit will appear for the first time this June in issue 41, but the downside of this otherwise-excellent redesign is that Wonder Woman will still be helmed by the same creative team of Meredith and David Finch. You know, the ones who have taken the book down an infuriatingly sexist road, including infantilizing Diana to the point where she looks like a pouty teenager and has been seen carrying a teddy bear into battle? If DC takes this new Wonder Woman look and appoints a new creative team to Wonder Woman who can use it to make a feminist, forward thinking new Wonder Woman book, then I’ll be fully on-board.
Until then, it’s pretty cool for cosplay purposes.
(via HitFix, cover by David Finch and Jonathan Glapion)
Blocked for me, but want to watch later
Sarah Michelle Gellar. Rapping. As Cinderella. You heard me.
If you weren’t already sold, Whitney Avalon, who writes the raps and appears as Belle in the above video, said “These are silly, short little videos, but I think there is a message of standing up for yourself and being brave in a world where females are still fighting for equality and power and a voice. And it makes me cry with happiness that people are excited about that message.”
Now that’s a princess battle we can get behind.
One of the sad truths of the capital defense business is that some trial lawyers who show up to defend their clients have been known to sleep through their trials, fail to interview witnesses, or are too drunk to do their jobs. And yet reviewing courts almost invariably determine that such lawyers provided perfectly competent defense. As one Texas judge put it in the face of such allegations: “The Constitution does not require perfection in trial representation.” So, for instance, judges in Houston continued to appoint lawyer Jerome Godinich to represent capital defendants even as he missed one filing deadline after another, depriving his clients of crucial judicial review. That there is not really such thing as an ineffective lawyer is one of the cardinal rules of the death penalty machine. But dare to be an effective one? Well, that’s another story.
All other things being equal, the south, parts of the west, and upper midwest are the happiest places in the United States according to a recent study.
For archival purposes
With just about five weeks remaining in the 2014-15 regular season, we present another edition of FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings. How do these numbers work? In a nutshell, each team is ranked according to a projection of its strength over the upcoming week — and the upcoming week only — using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. For more details on the methodology, see our introductory rankings post.
A few observations on this week’s ratings:
TEXAS! Not at all Mississippi.
The last time anyone saw Tim Tebow on a football field it was during the Patriots’ 2013 preseason, where he was eventually cut just before the regular season. Two full seasons have now passed since Tebow has been in the league, but that might change soon. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Tebow is considering attending the NFL veteran combine later this month.
He is currently a college football analyst for ESPN, the results of which have been positive. But he’s apparently trying to catch on with an NFL team again, and quarterbacks coach Tom House has been working with Tebow since he’s been out of the league in order to improve his throwing accuracy. Over that time, House has seen improvement in Tebow’s passing skills, saying “[Tim has gone] from being a little inaccurate and [not throwing] a whole lot of spirals, to throwing very accurate and real good at spinning the ball.”
If that sounds like something a coach of a high school quarterback would say rather than a coach of someone trying to make a living in the NFL, you’re not wrong. Then again, after considering some of his lowlights from his Broncos days, this is perhaps a good start.
The veteran combine will take place in Phoenix on March 22.
IT'S WEIRD HOW HATEFUL EVERYONE IS TOWARD KIM KARDASHIAN, DON'T YOU THINK???
YOUR MIND IS BEAUTIFUL, YOUR BODY STRONG, AND I WANT TO BUY YOU A BURRITO, IF YOU'D LIKE. IF NOT, B-).
SORRY IT LOOKED LIKE I WAS WINKING. I HAD DUST IN MY EYE AND I WAS TRYING TO CHOOSE A FAVE BEYONCE SONG. COULDN'T DO IT!!
DO U LIKE SPIRIT ANIMAL QUIZZES? ME TOO! WHAT'S UR FAVE STEVIE SONG? STEVE NICKS, I MEAN.
I’M SURE YOU'RE BUSY. THIS WILL ONLY TAKE A SECOND AS YOU'RE BIKING PAST: I BET YOU HAVE AN INDOMITABLE SPIRIT.
I HOPE YOU'RE EXPERIENCING DEEP, PROFOUND JOY DESPITE ALL THE BAD THINGS HAPPENING IN OUR SHARED WORLD.
I LOVE MULDER'S ONE-LINERS BUT I CAN'T HELP BUT THINK SCULLY'S THE BACKBONE OF THE DUO. SHE KEEPS THINGS AFLOAT.
WOULD YOU LET ME BUY YOU BBQ? IF YOU ARE VEGAN, I ALSO KNOW OF A VEGAN BBQ RESTAURANT.
IT'S REALLY GOOD.
ISN'T IT STUPID HOW OUR CULTURE SHAMES PEOPLE FOR LIKING FAST-PACED EXCITING BOOKS???
I AGREE THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH ENJOYING ROMANCE IN BOOKS AND MOVIES. IT'S FINE!!!
IF I WERE A FROZEN BEVERAGE, I'D BE A SHAMROCK SHAKE. CARE TO SHARE WHAT YOU'D BE? NO? OK, I HOPE YOU HAVE A NICE DAY!
IF YOU SUSTAINED AN INJURY, I'D CALL TIM RIGGINS AND HE'D CARRY YOU TO THE HOSPITAL.
I'M SORRY IF YOU'RE NOT SMILING CUZ THIS WORLD HAS YOU DOWN. IF YOU'RE JUST THINKING, SORRY FOR THE INTERRUPTION!
HERMIONE IS OBVIOUSLY MY FAVORITE CHARACTER. WHAT ABOUT YOU????
WHO ARE YOUR FAVE FEMINIST THINKERS? I'M TRYING TO EDUCATE MYSELF!
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE BRAND OF WHISKY? IF YOU DON'T WANT TO ANSWER, I UNDERSTAND.
IF YOU WANT TO BE A RAPPER OR A COMIC OR A GAMER, I SUPPORT THAT AND WON'T THREATEN YOU WITH DEATH AND/OR RAPE!
YOU WILL BE A WONDERFUL CAREERPERSON AND PARENT, IF THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT.
I BET YOU LOVE YOUR JOB.
YOU CAN HAVE THIS BAG OF CAPPUCINO LAYS POTATO CHIPS AS I THINK THEY ARE DISGUSTING. BEST OF LUCK.
I DON'T THINK VAMPIRE DIARIES IS STUPID. IT'S ACTUALLY REALLY SMART WRITING.
IT'S WEIRD HOW HATEFUL EVERYONE IS TOWARD KIM KARDASHIAN, DON'T YOU THINK???
ARE YOU AT ALL INTERESTED IN HEARING ABOUT MY FAVORITE UNDERRATED FEMALE HORROR WRITER??
EXCUSE ME, MS, CARE TO SIGN MY PETITION TO GET ALZHEIMERS-CAUSING INGREDIENTS TAKEN OUT OF WOMEN'S DEODORANT?
Emily Henry is a young, adult writer who is a young-adult writer, and she's wearing the same thing as last time you saw her. Her debut novel, THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD, will be available in 2016 from Razorbill/Penguin. She also tweets.
Illustrations by Hallie Bateman.9 Comments
Previously: The Comment Section For Every Article Ever Written About Intimate Grooming and Tipping and Recipes and the Third Trimester. Nicole is happy to report that after not being able to breastfeed Kid One, Kid Two is breastfeeding like a champ. LIFE IS A RICH TAPESTRY.
Breast is best.
Your issue sounds like a tongue tie, go get it snipped.
Three pediatricians have examined him and said he doesn't have a tongue tie.
It could be a posterior tongue tie.
It COULD be a lip tie.
It's obviously a tie of SOME kind. Just start snipping things inside his mouth until the situation improves.