Tag Archives: news

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.”


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.

The World is Fucked.

24 Aug

Alright so here’s the thing.  I have not one but two degrees in International Affairs.  I don’t say this to brag, especially given that I was bartending before my second degree and I am bartending after so when it all comes down to it I am just an over-educated drink-slinger, as many of us are it seems.  I say this because considering that I have two degrees in International Affairs you would think that I would be up on the news.  On any normal day you would be correct.  I like to read the news, I like to listen to the news, I like to talk about the news, I like to laugh about the news, but more than anything else I like to get angry and sad about the news.  That is because on any normal day the news is mostly really upsetting.  I long ago lost track of how many days I started crying about a third of the way through catching up on the news because goddamnit people are assholes.  Really big assholes.

These last few weeks, though, I have been mostly avoiding the news altogether.  It’s just like, too much.  The other day I woke up to a text from a friend that read “I just watched the beheading” and it’s like, of course you did.  You know why?  Because the world is totally fucked.  The world is so fucked that my friend watched a video that was made available on the internet of an innocent journalist being beheaded in the name of god, or that was the reason given by ISIS by what I can tell.  The world is so fucked that the family of this journalist has to go through life knowing that millions of people saw their son beheaded and my friend has to go through life having seen the last gruesome moments of a man’s death documented and uploaded.  It’s just…I don’t even have words.  I just decided to read an article on the beheading to make sure that I am not making shit up and found this little gem:

“Earlier this year, (Abdel-Majed Abdel) Bary posted on Twitter a photograph of himself holding a severed head with the comment, “Chillin’ with my homie or what’s left of him.” But (Raffaello) Pantucci said that he appeared to have simply picked up and posed with one of many severed heads after a mass beheading by ISIS in the Syrian town of Raqqa. Posing with a severed head is common enough among ISIS fighters, he said, that the Twitter post alone does not point to any connection to Mr. Foley’s later execution.”

Can we just, you know, reflect on this for a second?  This dude, a 24-year-old rapper who just moved home to Syria from the UK, simply picked a severed head up off the ground because there were so many of them lying around where he was with the other ISIS guys and then he posed with it.  Like, yea, this looks like a good severed fucking head.  I think this goddamn severed head I found just sitting in the dirt here will really get my point across.  Seriously.  What the ever living fuck?  It’s like, our 20-somethings take selfies with their dogs and ISIS 20-somethings take selfies with severed heads.  I shouldn’t generalize.  That’s not nice or smart or any of the things I try to be but like, what. the. FUCK?!

Just as an aside, this is not me mocking or making light of anything.  This shit is really serious and really, debilitatingly upsetting.  This is just me writing my internal dialogue.  This is what utter sadness/confusion/disbelief/anger/disgust looks like when I take out the majority of swear words and throw it on a page.  This is the only way that I can express where my brain has been at the last few weeks.  It’s been like white noise in there because I just cannot deal with how completely and totally fucked everything is.  I am experiencing total shutdown of my capabilities to comprehend what is happening.  Shall we continue?  Okay.

So, Ferguson.  The other day I ran into my friend Ashlie on the train and we were talking about Serious Things which is something we always do.  And so we started talking about Ferguson.  And I said that I have been having a hard time reading about it, that I had been largely avoiding it, because I just didn’t think I could actually go about my day productively if I started reading about it.  And she said one of the most poignant and accurate things she has ever said, and she says a lot of them because she is insanely smart.  She said “maybe we shouldn’t be able to go about our day productively.”

That is exactly right.  We shouldn’t.  What happened in Ferguson was appalling.  Mike Brown woke up on Saturday morning, August 9th, thinking he was just going to have a normal day and he ended up dead.  For no goddamn reason.  And then his body was left for 4 hours in the middle of the street in the middle of the day in front of friends, families, neighbors, and community members while blood flowed out of his head and through the street.  Four hours.  There is literally no excuse for that.  None whatsoever.  And then to see images of police officers with assault rifles pointed at protestors?  Assault rifles.  Tear gas.  Riot gear.  As a result of Ferguson there has been movement in Washington to address the degree to which local police forces are armed in preparation for a terrorist attack, even though terrorist attacks on US soil are incredibly rare.  In response, Republican Representative Peter T. King of New York, who is on both the Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees (oh, great news!), said basically that there was no evidence that giving this sort of heavy weaponry to police officers worsened the situation in Ferguson or elsewhere.  He then continued by saying that he disagreed with anyone who might say “that somehow the police are the cause of what’s wrong.”

He disagreed that the police are the cause of what’s wrong.  I am a girl in Brooklyn who has been avoiding the news because my brain cannot handle the injustice and the sadness and the hopelessness and the evil that seems to be fucking everywhere.  Representative King is a man in Washington with access to information and yet he somehow thinks that the police are not at all the cause of what’s wrong?  Who is the cause?!  Who is the fucking cause in this case?!  Tell me!  I am dying to fucking know and understand who the fuck is the cause of a police officer shooting yet another young, unarmed, black man if it isn’t the police officer!  And I am dying to know who is the cause of leaving that body on the street for all those hours?  And who is the cause of local police forces having military grade weaponry when they don’t get military grade training?  And who is the cause of men and women in uniform, fingers on triggers, pointing assault rifles at protestors?  Who?!  I just cannot fucking handle it.

Cry break.

And then there’s Eric Garner.  And the Ebola outbreak.  And methane seeping from sea floors all along the east coast.  And Ray fucking Rice and the stupid NFL.  And INS detainment centers.  And Israel.  And Gaza.  And the Ukraine.  You guys it is just too much and I am angry and confused and it doesn’t actually even seem right that it’s beautiful outside.

Why do we keep doing this to each other?  It is just so totally fucked.