Today in News: Aaron Hernandez, Period Pics and Deforestation

31 Mar

I am trying to get back into my old habit of perusing the news in the morning with my coffee. Lately, I have just not been doing that. I used to pride myself in how up-to-date I was on the goings ons of the world but over the last year or so I have really fallen off. It’s depressing, actually. Maybe my mind has been too preoccupied with all the nonsense that has been happening over the past year and change. Or maybe I am just over-tired from my back-and-forth schedule. Or maybe I have just become intellectually lazy. (I really hope that last one isn’t the case because that would suck.) So, in an effort to combat what has been happening I decided that I would do a little bit of internet surfing. This is the result.

1. Aaron Hernandez

So I read this article in the Times about what is going on in the Aaron Hernandez case. You all might remember Hernandez. Former tight end for the New England Patriots who was accused of killing the semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd back in June, 2013. At the time it seemed like an open-and-shut case but apparently now it isn’t. The prosecution has called something like 100 witnesses to the stand, including Hernandez’s fiance Shayanna Jenkins. The night of the murder, Hernandez called Jenkins from jail to ask her to give some money to this guy Ernest Wallace who was eventually also charged with murder. She apparently drove to Rhode Island, met Wallace, pulled out the maximum allowed $500 from her bank account and gave it to him. She never asked questions. So yea, that’s weird. I mean, I would like to think that if I was dating someone and he called me and he was all,

“Hey, babe, drive to another state, pull out a lot of money from your bank account and hand it to this other dude”

I might be like,

“Hey, babe, why don’t you go fuck yourself I’m busy.”

But then again, to me $500 seems like a lot of money but maybe to the fiance of a pro-football player who had just signed a $40 million contract extension, $500 was like chump change. And maybe she has a really nice car that is fun to drive. I don’t have a car and I also don’t have a lot of money so maybe if I had a boyfriend and he called me from jail (?!) and was all,

“Hey, babe, walk to 9th street and give that guy Joe $20 for me”

I’d be like

“Yea, sure, it’s the least I can do since I you are in jail and all, you dumbass.”

All I’m saying is that it’s all relative, really. Maybe Jenkins regularly took inter-state road trips to deliver money to people. Maybe this was all in a day’s work, you know? Then there’s this other thing which is that Hernandez also asked Jenkins to take a box from their house and dispose of it and told her not to look inside. Or maybe he didn’t tell her not to but she didn’t look inside anyway. Either way she is claiming that she didn’t look inside and people are very suspicious of this. But here’s what I am thinking. So my mom always taught us that privacy is really important. So important, in fact, that when junk mail addressed to me gets delivered to my parent’s house, as it does on occasion, my mother will call me and ask if it is okay that she opens the mail so she can appropriately recycle all the different pieces. You could leave your diary open in front of me and I would never read it. So if someone told me to dispose of a box and told me not to look inside, I wouldn’t look inside. And even if they didn’t tell me not to look inside I wouldn’t look inside. None of my business, you know? But maybe Shayanna Jenkins’ mom doesn’t call her to ask her permission before opening her mail. Maybe Shayanna Jenkins would read your diary if you left it open on your kitchen counter and she happened upon it. I don’t know Shayanna Jenkins so I can’t say. But people are very suspicious because she disposed of this box after Hernandez was accused of murder and she still didn’t open it and I’m thinking, not only would I not open it because of privacy, but I also wouldn’t open it because of plausible deniability. I wouldn’t want to know what was in that fucking box. There could be a finger! Or a penis! (It was a small box.) And also, Jenkins had asked Hernandez whether he had killed Lloyd which to the prosecution makes the likelihood that she didn’t look in the box even smaller but to me it makes total sense. Let’s say, hypothetically, that I was dating a dude who was accused of killing someone and I had asked him whether he did it because I actually thought this was a possible scenario. If that dude who I thought was capable of killing someone told me not to look in a box, there is no fucking way I would look in that box. No thank you. I’m not stupid and, it seems to me, neither is Shayanna Jenkins.

2. Instagram Hates Menstruation!

I have to admit that I also hate menstruation. Shit fucking sucks. I mean, I know that it’s natural and necessary and all that jazz but man is it inconvenient! Every single month I get so sad knowing that for at least one night I will have to wake up once, maybe even twice, to change my tampon or risk waking up to a huge mess in the morning. But, whatever, it happens. And guess who it happens to? A lot of people. People that you know, even.

What does this have to do with Instagram? (My current favorite form of social media because I get to post photos of all the people’s drinks that I have dropped Peeps into at work for my own amusement, #YouveBeenPeeped, if you’re curious.) According to an article on Feministing, Instagram banned a photo that spoken word artist Rupi Kaur posted of herself with a period leak because it violated the app’s community guidelines. Kaur posted the following response to her Tumblr (a form of social media that I think is probably neat and would appreciate my “YouveBeenPeeped” series but just hasn’t made it into my normal rotation):

thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. the girl is fully clothed. the photo is mine. it is not attacking a certain group. nor is it spam. and because it does not break those guidelines i will repost it again. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified…

So here is the interesting thing about this issue for me. I think that Raur should be able to post this photo of herself and I applaud her for doing so. It is important to normalize menstruation. It is a part of life and of growing up and of the continuation of our species and all that shit. But in knowing this, and being supportive of her actions towards this end, I don’t know that I would be able to post a photo of myself with a period stain. I will talk about it. I will write about it. But would I post photographic evidence? Probably not. Is it because that isn’t what I use my Instagram account for? Or is it because I don’t want to offend the people that follow me, despite the fact that there is absolutely nothing offensive about it?

I’ve been trying to do some self-reflection recently. You know, put into practice the things that I believe. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the way that I, despite knowing better, act in a way that supports the misogynist society that I hate so much. All those societal norms that sink into my head from years of being steeped in them and the ways that I reinforce them through my own behavior. Anyway, something to think about. And no, don’t worry, I won’t be posting a photograph of my bloody underwear any time soon…or ever. Just peeps, cats and road trips.

3. The World is Going to Hell, One Deforested Acre at a Time

According to The Guardian, “Brazil and Indonesia spent over 100 times more in subsidies to industries that cause deforestation than they received in international conservation aid to prevent it.”

Ugh.

According to Will McFarland, one of the author’s of the report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) that published the findings,

“By making the cost of producing these commodities cheaper, subsidies increase their profitability and make them more desirable to investors. That in turn artificially inflates their growth, and threatens the rainforests further. With subsides running at over 100 times that of forest aid, we should be urgently trying to reform this system.”

I mean, I don’t know what you guys all took from biology class but for me it was something along the lines of [trees > not trees]. (Science was never my strong suit.) But in all seriousness, what the fuck is wrong with people? Why are we, as a species, so damn short-sighted? And this is certainly not me blaming Brazil and Indonesia. These subsidies are in large part an effort to continue to support massive over-consumption in the North. I know that things have been hard, economically, for a lot of people especially since the recent financial collapse. A lot of people are drowning in all kinds of debt, most notable for my cohorts student loans that are insanely, and I would even argue criminally, high. But we really have to stop putting a price on the irreplaceable. All of these crazy weather events that a lot of people are talking about are absolutely related to deforestation. And there just has to come a point when we realize that things just can’t be as inexpensive as we would like, and that buying things cheaply does actually come at a cost and just because that cost hasn’t always been monetized doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter. As it turns out, money isn’t the only thing that’s important. We can’t put a price on everything and things that don’t have a price are not necessarily less valuable.

It makes me think about messes. Like, let’s say you hypothetically decide to pour some beans into a cup and then you stupidly leave the cup on your kitchen counter and go for a run and then you come back and your cat has decided it would be REALLY FUN to see what happens if he knocks the cup off the counter and onto the floor. In short, the answer is beans everywhere. So now because you were hypothetically short-sighted, you have to spend like 20 minutes cleaning up the beans, knowing full well that you will be discovering errant beans for the next 6 months. That’s like trees. It takes moments to be a short-sighted asshole and cut trees down, but decades for new trees to come and replace them. And trees are way more important than beans. I mean, beans are delicious but they do not help us breath. (I know that was a piss-poor comparison but I really wanted to complain about my cat.)

Anyway, that’s all I got. But in case you just skimmed over portions of this because you were like what the fuck is she talking about here is a brief summary:

1. Aaron Hernandez probably did kill Odin Lloyd but it’s not actually that surprising that Hernandez’s fiance Shayanna Jenkins followed orders without questioning them;

2. We should be able to post period pics if we want to but also I need to do some self-reflection about my own role in the continued dominance of misogyny within our culture;

3. If we don’t all want to die from massive weather-related events we should probably stop subsidizing large-scale deforestation. Also, recycle.

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