“In Daniel Tosh’s world, rape is a shortcut to a punchline he’s too lazy to make. In the real world, rape is violent, it’s painful, and it’s among the worst physical and psychological attacks that anyone can endure, whether the perpetrator is one acquaintance or a group of soldiers sexually torturing women as a weapon of war. It happens every two minutes in America. It is, in its own way, a form of terrorism. Yet “for most male comics,” recovered-rape-joke-teller Johnny Marbles wrote, rape is “basically abstract, something that only happens in your darker police procedurals and never to real people… Never to people you know. Never to audience members, one in four of the women in the room, for whom the idea isn’t quite so absurd.”—Jennifer Pozner (via azspot)
There is nothing like an actual monstrous act to demonstrate the silliness of our tendency to reduce one another to caricature. Shortly after the shooting, the website of the late Andrew Breitbart published speculation, quickly hyped by conservative internet maven Matt Drudge, that the suspect in the the shooting was a registered Democrat. With no apparent sense of irony, the website later published an “exclusive” press release from a Tea Party group criticizing ABC News’ Brian Ross, who made the outrageous decision to speculate publicly that the suspect might have been involved with a local Tea Party organization. I don’t know Ross’ political views, so I can only describe his actions as inexcusably reckless. (ABC later apologized.)
To look at the the frightened eyes of the survivors in Aurora, and see only our own intrinsic goodness, and our political enemies’ implacable evil, is the most impenetrable vanity. It’s not politics, it’s just tribalism. And it’s grotesque. But we shouldn’t mistake this kind of pettiness for politics itself, which is far too important an arena to cede to those who are incapable of seeing a tragedy and wondering, above all, what it says about themselves. We should be talking about why this happened, and what, if anything, can be done to prevent it from happening again.
National tragedies are political. They’re too important not to be.
Corn sex is complicated. As Michael Pollan observes in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” the whole affair is so freakishly difficult it’s hard to imagine how it ever evolved in the first place. Corn’s female organs are sheathed in a sort of vegetable chastity belt—surrounded by a tough, virtually impenetrable husk. The only way in is by means of a silk thread that each flower extends, Rapunzel-like, through a small opening. For fertilization to take place, a grain of pollen must land on the tip of the silk, then shimmy its way six to eight inches through a microscopic tube, a journey that requires several hours. The result of a successfully completed passage is a single kernel. When everything is going well, the process is repeated something like eight hundred times per ear, or roughly eighty thousand times per bushel.
It is now corn-sex season across the Midwest, and everything is not going well.
Opening to “The Big Heat” by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker. Chilling (no pun intended). Scary. Necessary. It’s short. Read it. (via changetheratio)