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McSweeney’s by MarlÉnas Mcmahon-purk - 3h ago

Ring your figurative thoughtful hands around their neck with kindness.

Take a plastic bag of compassion and suffocate them with kindness.

Bury them alive in a coffin made of understanding with kindness.

Benevolently manufacture an agent of biochemical warfare and mail it in a sealed envelope to a local charity of their choosing with kindness.

Considerately ask them about the whereabouts of their loved ones before dismembering them and mailing the leftovers to said loved ones with kindness.

Tenderly take interest in their favorite Tim Burton movie, altruistically learn how to be the best barber on their block, and do whatever it is they do to make the meat pies in Sweeney Todd them with kindness.

Genuinely ask them out of concern about their comorbidities and concomitant medications and then graciously drug them with an enzyme-specific hepatotoxic molecular compound with kindness.

Unselfishly Google “ways to kill people” in incognito mode to write this piece and then defend yourself in court after selflessly turning yourself in — with kindness.

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“Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blamed Friday’s massacre at a high school near Houston in part on ‘too many entrances and too many exits’ on the campus, prompting some to mock his perspective as ‘door control.’” — CNN, May 19, 2018

- - -

Folks, thank you for letting me speak for a few moments about the recent tragedy in Texas. I stand before you wearing my shotgun-patterned necktie to offer my thoughts and prayers to the victims of this horrible event. I also offer all of my powers as lieutenant governor of this fine state to finally do something to end all of the senseless violence in our schools. There is only one path forward. We must remove the doors from every building in this state and then burn all the doors in a giant pyre. That is how we will keep our children safe.

What’s safer than a room with four walls, a ceiling, and no point of entry or exit? Safer building design simply does not exist. And, don’t worry. We’ll be sure to punch a few holes in the ceiling so the children can breathe. Under the new designs my office is proposing, school buildings in this state will only have a single point of entry: a five-foot-by-five-foot chute in the ceiling of the gymnasium that will be open for ten full seconds at 7:30 a.m. and then re-open for ten full seconds at 3:00 p.m. Students can slide down into the chute and climb out of the chute without fear of being attacked by a gunman. Once students are inside the school, they can feel safe knowing that they are trapped in a hot, concrete box for the next seven and a half hours.

Without a door to access, the sort of dangerous person who committed last week’s atrocity will be rendered completely ineffective. These unstable people need doors to carry out their crimes. Take the door out of their hands and they’re just an unhinged person holding a military-style killing machine. We have to pass legislation immediately to control the buying, selling, and use of doors. Simply put, we must limit the access people have to doors. Only trained, qualified people should have the ability to put their hand on a doorknob. This isn’t rocket science, people.

Every single tragedy throughout the course of modern human history has resulted from someone walking through a door. Doors are the gateways to death. 100% of murderers have at one point or another opened a door and walked through it. So what are we doing sitting around when the data is so clear? We’re the only country in the world that puts so many doors in our buildings. Why do you think we also lead the world in school-related shootings? I’m done ignoring the evidence. Doors must be removed from the equation if we want our children to be safe. I am hereby ready to push through any piece of door control legislation that crosses my desk.

I’m even willing to go one step further and also support the banning of windows. Windows are just doors waiting to happen. Our data shows that the second most popular way to enter a building (after using a door) is using a window. I am ready to be the bold and progressive door control advocate this state needs at a time like this. How do you stop a bad guy with a door? You remove the door and leave the bad guy locked out. Or I guess they might theoretically be locked in, with the children. Oh, no.

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- - -

Today we’re happy to share a story by our friend George Saunders, which originally ran in McSweeney’s 4.

- - -
I.
(EXHORTATION)

MEMORANDUM
DATE: Apr 6
TO: Staff
FROM: Todd Birnie
RE: March Performance Stats

I would not like to characterize this as a plea, but it may start to sound like one (!) The fact is, we have a job to do, we have tacitly agreed to do it (did you cash your last paycheck, I know I did, ha ha ha). We have also—to go a step further here—agreed to do the job well. Now we all know that one way to do a job poorly is to be negative about it. Say we need to clean a shelf. Let’s use that example. lf we spend the hour before the shelf-cleaning talking down the process of cleaning the shelf, complaining about it, dreading it, investigating the moral niceties of cleaning that shelf, whatever, then what happens is, we make the process of cleaning that shelf more difficult than it really is. We all know very well that that "shelf” is going to be cleaned, given the current climate, either by you or by the guy who replaces you and gets your paycheck, so the questions boil down to: Do I want to clean it happy or do I want to clean it sad? Which would be more effective? For me? Which would accomplish my purpose more efficiently? What is my purpose? To get paid. How do I accomplish that purpose most efficiently? I clean that shelf well and I clean it quickly. And what mental state helps me clean that shelf well and quickly? Is the answer: Negative? A negative mental state? You know very well that it is not. So the point of this memo is: Positive. The positive mental state will help you clean that shelf well and quickly, and thus accomplish your purpose of getting paid.

What am I saying? Am I saying whistle while you work? Maybe I am. Let us consider lifting a heavy dead carcass such as a whale. (Forgive the shelf/whale thing, we have just come back from our place on Reston Island, where there were 1) a lot of dirty shelves and 2) yes, believe it or not, an actual dead rotting whale, which Timmy and Vance and I got involved with in terms of the clean-up.) So say you are charged with, you and some of your colleagues, lifting a heavy dead whale carcass on to a flatbed. Now we all know that is hard. And what would be harder is, doing that with a negative attitude. What we found, Timmy and Vance and I, is that even with only a neutral attitude, you are talking a very hard task. We tried to lift that whale, while we were just feeling neutral, Timmy and Vance and I, with a dozen or so other folks, and it was a no-go, that whale wouldn’t budge, until suddenly one fellow, a former Marine, said what we needed was some mind over matter and gathered us in a little circle, and we had a sort of a chant. We got “psyched up.” We knew, to extend my above analogy, that we had a job to do, and we got sort of excited about that, and decided to do it with a positive attitude, and I have to tell you, there was something to that, it was fun, fun when that whale rose into the air, helped by us and some big straps that Marine had in his van, and I have to say that lifting that dead rotting whale on to that flatbed with that group of total strangers was the high point of our trip.

So what am I saying? I am saying (and saying it fervently, because it is important): let’s try, if we can, to minimize the grumbling and self-doubt regarding the tasks we must sometimes do around here that maybe aren’t on the surface all that pleasant. I’m saying let’s try not to dissect every single thing we do in terms of ultimate good/bad/indifferent in terms of morals. The time for that is long past. I hope that each of us had that conversation with ourselves nearly a year ago, when this whole thing started. We have embarked on a path, and having embarked on that path, for the best of reasons (as we decided a year ago) wouldn’t it be kind of suicidal to let our progress down that path be impeded by neurotic second-guessing? Have any of you ever swung a sledgehammer? I know that some of you have. I know some of you did when we took out Rick’s patio. Isn’t it fun when you don’t hold back, but just pound down and down, letting gravity help you? Fellows, what I’m saying is, let gravity help you here, in our workplace situation: pound down, give into natural feelings that I have seen from time to time produce so much great energy in so many of you, in terms of executing your given tasks with vigor and without second-guessing and neurotic thoughts. Remember that record breaking week Andy had back in October, when he doubled his usual number of units? Regardless of all else, forgetting for the moment all the namby-pamby thoughts of right/wrong etc etc, wasn’t that something to see? In and of itself? I think that, if we each look deep down inside of ourselves, weren’t we each a little envious? God he was really pounding down and you could see the energetic joy on his face each time he rushed by us to get additional clean-up towels. And we were all just standing there like, wow, Andy, what’s gotten into you? And no one can argue with his numbers. They are there in the Break Room for all to see, towering about the rest of our numbers, and though Andy has failed to duplicate those numbers in the months since October, 1) no one blames him for that, those were miraculous numbers and 2) I believe that even if Andy never again duplicates those numbers, he must still, somewhere in his heart, secretly treasure up the memory of that magnificent energy flowing out of him in that memorable October. I do not honestly think Andy could’ve had such an October if he had been coddling himself or entertaining any doubtful neurotic thoughts or second-guessing tendencies, do you? I don’t. Andy looked totally focused, totally outside himself, you could see it on his face, maybe because of the new baby? (If so, Janice should have a new baby every week, ha ha).

Anyway, October is how Andy entered a sort of, at least in my mind, de facto Hall of Fame, and is pretty much henceforth excluded from any real close monitoring of his numbers, at least by me. No matter how disconsolate and sort of withdrawn he gets (and I think we’ve all noticed that he’s gotten pretty disconsolate and withdrawn since October), you will not find me closely monitoring his numbers, although as for others I cannot speak, others may be monitoring that troubling fall off in Andy’s numbers, although really I hope they’re not, that would not be so fair, and believe me, if I get wind of it, I will definitely let Andy know, and if Andy’s too depressed to hear me, I’ll call Janice at home.

And in terms of why is Andy so disconsolate? My guess is that he’s being neurotic, and second-guessing his actions of October—and wow, isn’t that a shame, isn’t that a no-win, for Andy to have completed that record-breaking October and now to sit around boo-hooing about it? Is anything being changed by that boohooing? Are the actions Andy did, in terms of the tasks I gave him to do in Room 6, being undone by his boo-hooing, are his numbers on the Break Room Wall miraculously scrolling downwards, are people suddenly walking out of Room 6 feeling perfectly okay again? Well we all know they are not. No one is walking out of Room 6 feeling perfectly okay. Even you guys, you who do what must be done in Room 6, don’t walk out feeling so super-great, I know that, I’ve certainly done some things in Room 6 that didn’t leave me feeling so wonderful, believe me, no one is trying to deny that Room 6 can be a bummer, it is very hard work that we do. But the people above us, who give us our assignments, seem to think chat the work we do in Room 6, in addition to being hard is also important, which I suspect is why they have begun watching our numbers so closely. And trust me, if you want Room 6 to be an even worse bummer than it already is, then mope about it before, after, and during, then it will really stink, plus, with all that moping, your numbers will go down even further, which guess what: They cannot do. I have been told in no uncertain terms, at the Sectional Meeting, that our numbers are not to go down any further. I said (and this took guts, believe me, given the atmosphere at Sectional): Look, my guys are tired, this is hard work we do, both physically and psychologically. And at that point, at Sectional, believe me, the silence was deafening. And I mean deafening. And the looks I got were not good. And I was reminded, in no uncertain terms, by Hugh Blanchert himself, that our numbers are not to go down. And I was asked to remind you — to remind us, all of us, myself included — that if we are unable to clean our assigned “shelf,” not only will someone else be brought in to clean that “shelf,” but we ourselves may find ourselves on that “shelf,” being that “shelf,” with someone else exerting themselves with good positive energy all over us. And at that time I think you can imagine how regretful you would feel, the regret would show in your faces, as we sometimes witness, in Room 6, that regret on the faces of the “shelves” as they are “cleaned,” so I am asking you, from the hip, to try your best and not end up a “shelf,” which we, your former colleagues, will have no choice but to clean clean clean using all our positive energy, without looking back, in Room 6.

This all was made clear to me at Sectional and now I am trying to make it clear to you.

Well I have gone on and on, but please come by my office, anybody who’s having doubts, doubts about what we do, and I will show you pictures of that incredible whale my sons and I lifted with our good positive energy. And of course this information, that is, the information that you are having doubts, and have come to see me in my office, will go no further than my office, although I am sure I do not even have to say that, to any of you, who have known me these many years.

All will be well and all will be well, etc etc,
Todd Birnie
Divisional Director

- - -
II.
(DESIGN PROPOSAL)

IT IS PREFERABLE, our preliminary research has indicated, for some institutional space to be provided, such as corridor, hallway, etc, through which the group may habitually move. Our literature search indicated that a tiled area is preferable, in terms of preventing possible eventual damage to the walls and floors by the group moving through the space. The review of published literature also indicated that it is preferable that this area to move through (henceforth referred to, per Ellis et al., as the “Fenlen Space”) be non-linear in areal layout, that is, should include frequent turning options (i.e., side hallways or corners), to give the illusion of what Ellis terms “optional pathway choices.” Per Gasgrave, Heller et al., this non-linear areal layout, and the resulting apparent optional pathway choices, create a “Forward-Anticipating” mindset. Per Ellis et al., the Forward-Anticipating mindset (characterized by an Andrew-Brison Attribute Suite which includes “hope,” “resolve,” “determination,” and “sense of mission”) results in less damage to the Fenlen Space, as well as better general health for the Temporary Community, which in turn results in significantly lower clinic/medicinal costs.

Also in Ellis et al., the phrase “Forward-Anticipating Temporary Community” (FATC) is defined to designate a Temporary Community which, while moving through a given Fenlen Space, maintains NTEI (Negative Thought External Indicator) values below 3 per person/per hour. A “Non-Forward-Anticipating Temporary Community” (NFATC) is defined as one for which NTEI values are consistently above 3 per person/per hour. NTEIs are calculated using the Reilly Method, from raw data compiled by trained staff observing from inside what are termed “Amstel Booths,” one-way mirror locales situated at regular intervals along the Fenlen Space.

For the purposes of this cost proposal, four Amstel Booths have been costed, along with the necessary ventilation/electrical additions.

As part of our assessment, we performed a statistical analysis of the NTEIs for four distinct Fenlen Spaces, using a standard Student’s T-test, supplemented with the recently developed Anders-Kiley outlier correction model. Interestingly, the most important component of the Fenlen Space appeared to be what is referred to in the current literature as the Daley Realignment Device (ORD). The ORD allows for quick changes in the areal layout of the Fenlen Space during time periods during which the Temporary Community is moving through another, remote, portion of the Fenlen Space. The purpose of the ORD is to prolong what Elgin et al. term the “Belief Period” in the Fenlen Space; that is, the period during which the Temporary Community, moving through the recently realigned DRD, fails to recognize that the portion of the Fenlen Space being traversed by them has already in face been traversed by them. Rather, the altered areal layout leads to the conclusion that the portion of the Fenlen Space being traversed is an entirely unfamiliar and previously untraversed place, thus increasing the Temporary Community’s expectation that, in time, they will arrive at what Allison and Dewitt have termed the “Preferable Destination.” At some facilities, a brief oral presentation is made to the Temporary Community shortly before the Community enters the Fenlen Space, during which it is strongly implied or even directly stated that the Community will be traversing the Fenlen Space in order to reach the Preferable Destination, which is described in some detail, especially vis-a-vis improvements in terms of cold/heat considerations, food considerations, crowding/overcrowding considerations, and/or perceived menace considerations. An “apology” may be made for any regrettable past incidents. It may also be implied that the individuals responsible for these incidents have been dismissed etc etc. Such presentations have been found to be extremely beneficial, significantly minimizing NTEIGs and prolonging the Belief Period, and several researchers have mentioned the enthusiasm with which the Temporary Community typically enters the Fenlen Space following such a presentation.

Should Building Ed Terry wish to supplement its DRD with such a pre-traversing oral presentation, Judson & Associates would be pleased to provide the necessary technical writing expertise, a service we have already provided successfully for nine facilities in the Northeast.

In any event, some sore of DRD is strongly recommended. In a study of a Fenlen Space located in Canton, New Jersey, a device which was not equipped with a DRD, it was reported that, toward the end of Day 1, the Temporary Community went, within a few hours, from a strong FATC (with very low NTEIs, ranging from 0-2 per person/per hour) to a very strong NFATC (with NTEIs as high as 9 per person/per hour). Perhaps the most striking finding of the Canton study was that, once the Temporary Community had devolved from an FATC co a NFATC (i.e., once the Belief Period had expired), NTEI values increased dramatically and catastrophically, until, according to one Amstel Booth observer, the NTEIs were occurring at a frequency that were “essentially impossible to tabulate,” resulting in the event being classified as “Chaotic” (on the Elliot Scale), after which the Fenlen Space had to be forcibly cleared of the Temporary Community. In other words, once the Temporary Community perceived the Fenlen Space as a repetitious traversing of the same physical space, morale eroded quickly and, per clinical data, could not be restored. Needless to say, the forcible clearing of a Fenlen Space involves substantial risk and expense, as does the related interruption to the smooth flow of facility operations.

In contrast, since a DRD was added to the Canton facility, no further Chaos Situations have occurred, with one exception, which was later seen to be related to a small fire that occurred within one of the Amstel Booths.

Currently available DRDs range from manually rearranged units (typically featuring wallboard panels with quick-release bolts, which are placed into a floor-embedded grid) to electronic, track-based units which offer a large, practically unlimited range of configurations and are typically integrated using the ChangeSpace computer software package. The design we have submitted for Building Ed Terry includes cost estimates for the economical Homeway DRD6 (wallboard-grid model) as well as the higher-end Casio 3288 DRD (track-based, computer-operated unit). For the Homeway unit, we have included approximate costs for the physical labor involved in the manual rearrangement of the DRD. For the purposes of this proposal, we have assumed seven rearrangements a clay, with four persons required for each rearrangement. This corresponds with a circumnavigation period of approximately three hours—that is, seven rearrangements a day, precluding the possibility that the Temporary Community would inadvertently encounter areal rearrangements in progress, which has been shown (in Percy et al.) to markedly decrease the belief period, for obvious reasons.

Judson & Associates firmly believes that the enclosed proposal more than meets the needs described in your Request for Proposal of January 9. Should you desire further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact either Jim Warner or myself. We look forward to hearing from you, and to working with you on this exciting and challenging project, and on other projects yet to come.

Sincerely, Mark Judson
President and CEO
Judson & Associates

- - -
III.
(A FRIENDLY REMINDER)

WE IN KNUCKLES herebuy request that those of you in Sorting refran from calling the Fat Scrap Box the Pizza Hut Box and refran from calling the Bone Scrap Box the Marshmallow Box and refran from calling the Misc. Scrap Box the Dog Food Box because we think that is insulting to our work and workplace in terms of why do you have to make fun of what we all of us do for a living as if it is shameful. Even though it is true that some of our offal might get used for pizza tapping and mashmallows and dog food we do not like it when you are saying those names in a sarcastic voice. Because new hires can be infected by these attitudes which are so negative and soon they will not be working their best but only laughing at your smartass dumb jokes, so in the future use the correct names (Fat Scrap and Bone Scrap and Misc. Scrap) for these boxes if you feel like you have to talk at all while working although also we in Knuckles suggest you just shut up and just work. For example when one of us in Knuckles throws a Knuckle but it misses the belt you do not have to call it a “skidder” or act like you are a announcer on a basketball show by saying whoa he missed the hole. And also you dont have to say Ouch whenever one of our throwed Knuckles goes too far and hits the wall, it is not like the Knuckle could feel that and say Ow, because it is dead dumbass, it cannot feel its leg part hitting the wall, so we know you are being sarcasmic. And we dont think this is funny because when we miss the belt or hit the wall what do we have to do is we have to put down our knives and go get it which takes time. And already we are tired without that extra walking. Because what we do takes real muscle and you can easily see us if you look huffing and breeching hard all day in the cold inside air, whereas you, although its true you are all hunched over, we never see you breeching hard and you dont even work with knives...

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McSweeney’s by John Warner And Kevin Guilfoile - 9h ago

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T (The Patriarchy)”

“Rock Lobster Domination Pose”

“It’s Draining Men (The Low Testosterone Song)”

“Money (That’s What I Want…You to Send to My Patreon)”

“Jung Americans”

“I Want to Take You Hierarchy”

“Witchy Woman (Not Like a Real Witch, More of a Subordinate Category, Which You’d Understand If You Watched My Videos)”

“Incelebration”

“I’m Hot for Teacher (Who Should Be Forced to Have Sex With Me Forever)”

“She Drives Me Crazy”

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- - -

I never had a bike like Col. Mustard before. He was steel and very handsome. He could take on city streets with aplomb.

Col. Mustard was a Salsa Casseroll single-speed and he was the bike of my dreams. Swooped-back handlebars with cork grips that I lovingly shellacked even though it was messy. A classy saddlebag. A beautiful bronze bell. A Dijon and merlot colorway (hence the name). And he fit me perfectly.

On an October afternoon two years ago, I hopped on Col. Mustard to run a quick errand. But we never made it to our destination. A car broadsided us while we were making a turn, smashing both of us in the process.

As I lay on the pavement bleeding, all I could think about was Col. Mustard. Well, him and “What the hell just happened?!” After the paramedics strapped me down to the gurney, I remember frantically shouting, “Can someone get my bike?”

One of the cops at the scene tossed Col. Mustard in the trunk of his cruiser and dropped him off at my house. After the hospital released me and I got back home, I saw my poor Colonel. He was smashed in three places and the seat tube was severed. For months he sat in my living room, a constant reminder of what I had lost (and what I hadn’t). There was part of me that believed the Colonel saved my life by taking the brunt of the impact.

Some months later, I looked at Col. Mustard and said, “It’s time.” I got out my tools and began to take him apart. I removed the handlebars and the saddlebag, the cranks and the wheels (or what was left of them). I salvaged what I could and threw the damaged parts in the trash.

But before I could let Col. Mustard go, there was one last thing I needed — his head badge. That’s the insignia on the front of the bike that indicates the brand. Because Col. Mustard was made by the bike company Salsa, his head badge was shaped like a chili pepper. I chiseled it off and put it on my key ring.

It’s been more than two years since Col. Mustard’s ruination, but he’s always with me. The head badge serves as a memento of our time together. But more than that, it reminds me that I lived, even if my dear Col. Mustard didn’t.

I think that’s how the Colonel would have wanted it.

- - -

Key Ring Chronicles is a crowd-sourced project that explores the stories behind objects that people keep on their key rings. It was created and is overseen by Paul Lukas, who has kept a quarter with a hole drilled through it on his own key ring since 1987. Readers are encouraged to participate by sending photos and descriptions here.

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"There are too many entrances and too many exits to our more than 8,000 campuses in Texas… Had there been one single entrance possibly for every student, maybe he would have been stopped.” – Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick response to the Santa Fe school shooting.

- - -

1. Doors

2. Video Games

3. Godlessness

4. Mental Health

5. Bitcoin

6. Television

7. Animals Being Jerks

8. Ritalin

9. First World Anarchists

10. Pretty Girls

11. Demonic Spirits

12. Earth Porn

13. Absentee Fathers

14. Shower Thoughts

15. Abortions

16. Harry Potter

17. Black People Twitter

18. Unarmed Teachers

19. World News

20. My Little Pony

21. Music

22. Gay Bros

23. Gifs

24. Guns

- - -
Answers

Republican excuse: 1, 3, 4, 8, 11, 13, 15, 18
Subreddit: 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20, 23, 24
Both: 2, 6, 10, 16, 21, 22

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From now until at least the midterm elections in November, we’ll be featuring essays from powerful cultural voices alongside one simple thing, chosen by the author, that you can do to take action against the paralyzing apoplexy of the daily news. Maybe it’ll be an organization that deserves your donation; maybe it’ll be an issue that deserves greater awareness. Whatever it is, our aim is to remind you, and ourselves, of the big and small things we can do to work toward justice and change.

- - -
The Idea of Reasonable Debate
by Owen King

I commit to take action because the gun-control debate has finally turned the corner and most Americans now clearly support stricter regulations.

The attack at Columbine High School took place almost twenty years ago. The Washington Post recently reported that, in the years since, “210,000 students have experienced gun violence at school.” This is a horrific statistic. But it barely scratches the surface of the way guns have disfigured our American life.

Everytown For Gun Safety tells us that, on average, ninety-six Americans are killed by a gun every day. I’m truly sorry, but I have to ask you to do something appalling: I have to ask you to imagine a gymnasium filled with ninety-six people. Now imagine them being ripped apart by gunfire, every man and woman and child. Now imagine watching that happen—and then, tomorrow, walking through a doorway to the next gymnasium holding ninety-six people who are to be massacred. Day after day after day. This is the grotesque status quo the NRA would like us to accept as a fair price for the freedom to arm ourselves against the threat of a tyrannical government.

My daughter, who is eight and wore her favorite pants with bunny appliqués to school this morning, participates in regular safety drills that train her to hide silently in a corner of her classroom with her friends. This is her share of the NRA’s price.

And if you believe that the connection I’m making between the NRA and all gun deaths is unfair or hyperbolic, then why is there such a disparity between our country’s rate of gun deaths and the rate found in other developed countries? There are 3.61 per 100,000 in the United States versus, for instance, .16 in Australia and .04 in the United Kingdom. The difference is obvious. The difference is the NRA and the lax gun laws it promotes.

There are so many problems in American life: vast economic inequality, systemic racism, the environmental collapse of our rivers and coasts, our antiquated political system, our inconsistent foreign policy, and more. They are all pressing issues and they are all complex. Gun control is also pressing but, by comparison, it is straightforward. We need universal background checks. We need a federal prohibition against military-style rifles. We need limits on magazine sizes. These are sensible regulations and, again, that’s why most Americans support them, including 72 percent of Republicans.

I cannot help feeling that the gun crisis is at the core of everything that ails our country. It defiles our national life. It makes the idea of reasonable debate seem absurd, because what population of reasonable people would consent to live this way, perpetually under fire? If we can deal with this one issue first—if Americans can elect representatives who will pass the gun-control laws that the majority of us want passed—then perhaps all the other deliberations we must undertake can begin in earnest.

- - -
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Owen King is a writer based in New York and the co-author, most recently, of Sleeping Beauties.

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What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses when delivering Kung Pao chicken to an apartment on Manhattan’s upper west side?

How do you handle stress and pressure, while still managing to artificially butcher American English pronunciation and grammar?

Tell me about the last time a co-worker or customer got angry with you. Was it because of your pocket protector or the athletic tape on your plastic frame glasses?

What was your toughest decision in the last six months, which still allowed your sister to keep her honor, even if it involved murdering the white man who sexually assaulted her?

Tell me about the last time you had a disagreement with your Sifu. How did you resolve it without getting your ass kicked by a twenty-seven-year-old dude wearing a white wig, fake white beard, and puffy white eyebrow glue-ons?

In five years, where do you see yourself holding your triad meetings where you can berate your disrespectful son who won’t give up his white girlfriend?

How would other people in the dimly lit forensics lab describe you when you analyze fluid samples on the mass spectrometer, essentially solving the case for the white detectives who get all the credit?

Why should we hire you, when the USS Enterprise has so many other minority crew members to shield us from diversity complaints, serving captains Archer, Pike, Kirk, Decker, Harriman, Garrett, and Picard?

What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement? And did it help your mystical tenets about inner peace and serenity ironically guide the white protagonist to victory in the final fight scene?

Describe a difficult situation you had in which you charmingly saved the beautiful female lead character from a gruesome death. Specifically, how did you keep the relationship frigidly platonic?

What can we expect from you in your first three months of lusting after the female lead while receiving wedgies and getting verbally bitch-slapped by the quarterback in sixth-period phys ed? By the way, the quarterback is the likable hero of the story.

Unfortunately, you’re not a fit for this position. But if you can you refer any white friends who would be interested, CGI is really good at adding Asian facial features.

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So he’s got a couple thousand listens on Soundcloud and the response has given him an excessive amount of misplaced confidence. You have heard the “What’s going to happen to us when I make it big?”-speech a myriad of times in various facets of prose, and you may be thinking, “How long can I stomach all this before the reality of undeniable failure kicks in?” Your martyrdom is less a triumph of the will, and more a test of female complacency, a necessary attribute to maintaining a functional society.

Maybe he has verbally thwarted your credibility as being “part of the corporate malignancy.” But ever since Steve, his best friend from high school, moved back home, Saturdays have become a ritual of carousing that descend into howled “freestyle seshes.” And now the “trill beats” thumping from your basement are keeping you awake at night. You are backed into a corner, desperate and alone. Reason doesn’t work in the eyes of a born-again nihilist. If you speak with reservation, you will be dismissed as part of the “conditioned apathy that plagues modern Americans.” You may look at the man you once loved and feel nothing other than distaste for his new, post-collegiate pubestach and constant misuse of outdated ebonics. Your endurance may be slowly diminishing, but don’t lose hope. Here are some tips to help you through this murky time:

  • His momentary delusion is merely a response to the qualms he has with adulthood. He may have been surfing YouTube for some post-Pornhub humor and found the account of some twenty-year-old, making money just by filming trips of him and his friends to the beach with HD camera equipment. He may have paused to think about the life he could have had if he had been born at the right time of the digital age. Maybe his summer intern dealt him some primo Kush and he started Dark Money on Netflix at 3 AM. The supplemental urge to investigate led him down a rabbit hole of convoluted conspiracy. He may be one of the only willing men left to stop this Orwellian for-profit dictatorship and you have to accept his newly manifested destiny. This, in its entirety, is just a phase.
  • All he needs is a beacon of support. Not a logical, rational analysis of the financial risks and unlikeliness of reward.
  • You will have to accept momentary social isolation. His family, his dear friends, the other couples you go brunching with have all come to disrespect him, but you must hold on. You are the only bridge between his quarter-life crisis and sanity.
  • Acknowledge that as a man ages there will be several cycles of uncertainty. You may be his saving grace in these times of trouble, which also means you will have to stand by his many phases: the cannabis entrepreneurial phase; the furry phase; the “I accidentally did molly at the executive conference this weekend and felt the happiest I’ve ever felt” phase; the lumberjack DIY phase; the Napoleonic war modeling phase; the “I jerk-off to younger pictures of your sister” phase; the home brewery phase; the community paper columnist phase; the “I occasionally fantasize about the new hyper masculine 22-year-old recruit” phase; the drunken Facebook commenter phase; the paleo-cleanse phase; the “I discovered hedonism at Burning Man with my golfing buddies” phase; and, finally, the “I’m on my deathbed so I’ll finally tell you I think you’re an uptight c—” phase.

Right now you can only look at these phases with indulgence. The persistent struggle to rise above mediocrity is a part of navigating the confrontational reality of adulthood. Currently, it is rap music, but his hobbies and side projects will eventually lead to some nice accent pieces in your living room and maybe a lifetime supply of craft beer.

But don’t worry, you are not alone. If you look into the inner workings of societal institutionalism, you will see that America itself was structured to prop up dissatisfied men. Your quandaries will always have a listening ear whether it be your girlfriends, self-help blogs, Twitter hashtags, or simply an associative understanding among the entire female population. Subservience to anomic existentialism is just how modern life functions. Toxic masculinity isn’t the problem, it’s the clearest solution. Don’t resist it! Kick back, open a bottle of chardonnay, and enjoy the parade, because there’s literally no way out.

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