Tag Archives: health care

Sunday Scraps 104

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1. MUSIC: The sign-language interpreter steals the show at this Wu-Tang performance (Gawker). 

2. DATING: If you’re familiar with the sniveling “Nice Guys” who are very upset that their “niceness” doesn’t make girls want to sleep with them, you might enjoy this bit of satire from Insert Literary Reference.

3. HEALTH: Why is a colonoscopy 26x more expensive in the U.S. than in Canada? It’s complicated, says Mother Jones. 

4. BRO: What exactly is a bro? Venn diagrams to the rescue! And who is at the middle of it all? Lochte, of course.

5. VOWS: I thought nothing would top the wolf wedding announcement, but I was wrong.

6. BOOKS: Publisher’s Weekly explains some big name books in pie-chart form.

Related Post: Sunday 102 – Founding father pin-ups, rich kids of Instagram, authors annotating their first editions.

Related Post: Sunday 101 – Soldier portraits, cartoons about depression, Rihanna’s hairdresser

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Filed under Art, Books, Gender, Hollywood, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People, Sports

Sunday Scraps 99

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1. TAVI: 16-year-olds have no right to be so cool and self-assured. This kid says everything I figured out ten years later about media, feminism, stereotypes, yada yada yada.

2. HEALTH: This American Life is on a roll. Killer piece about the huge upward trend in Americans filing for disability. Why? When? How did this happen? Better question, what do we do it about?

3. ADVERTISING: Sociological Images uses the interesting case of Rolling Rock beer to discuss the appropriation of working class iconography by upper class cohorts for the purposes of “seeming real.”

4. ROMANCE: Nick Offerman + Megan Mullally = Forever. THEY ARE THE BEST, and lucky us, NYMag compiled a history of their love.

5. POLITICS: Just for kicks, cats that look like politicians. Or politicians that look like cats?

6. LGBTQ: Really thought-provoking essay for BuzzFeed about the importance of gay porn, by gay porn performer Connor Habib.

Related Post: Sunday 98 – Marriage in China, mean girls, George Saunders and his editor, etc.

Related Post: Sunday 97 – Writing with a gender neutral name, Cindy Gallop, Anita Sarkeesian, etc.

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We Have to Go Deeper Than Gun Control

I grew up with a psychologist for a father. From a very early age, we heard stories about mental illness and substance abuse (the overlapping occurrence of which was his specialty) at the dinner table.

We learned early on to think about mental health treatment as a toolbox, a long list of therapies, programs, medications, incentives, and support mechanisms that seeks to ease the burden of mental illness even when it can’t eradicate it. Psychology and psychiatry were never viewed as magic pills or a perfect solutions, only as the best bets for improving the quality of life of people who were suffering.

In the wake of James Holmes’ killing spree in Aurora, I saw this cartoon, and I thought about my dad. He has worked with many violent people over the years. People who made threats to themselves, their families, even to their therapists.

Cartoon by Nick Anderson (The Houston Chronicle)

Mentally stable people don’t murder a dozen movie-goers. That seems obvious, but much of the post-Aurora conversation has been centered around gun control and how Holmes’ crimes could have been prevented with better gun laws.

I do absolutely believe in restricting gun access in about a zillion different ways, but we’re deluding ourselves if we think that the James Holmeses of the world wouldn’t find other ways to carry out their plans. Gun control is addressing one very small slice of the problem, a problem whose roots, in my opinion, begin with mental health.

And David Brooks agrees with me, so I must be on the right track:

Looking at guns, looking at video games — that’s starting from the wrong perspective. People who commit spree killings are usually suffering from severe mental disorders. The response, and the way to prevent future episodes, has to start with psychiatry, too.

Yes, we need to limit guns. Yes, we need to make it as hard as possible for the wrong people to get them. But much like getting guns of the streets of Chicago doesn’t solve deeply ingrained sociological inequalities, limiting gun access doesn’t undo years of untreated mental illness and psychological distress. If we believe that healthy, stable people with options don’t seek to commit violence (which I do), the we have to be addressing the causes of instability, not the tools with which people express their outrage and frustration.

Related Post: How I defunkify myself when I’m feeling funky.

Related Post: My thoughts on some of Chicago’s violence issues.

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Filed under Chicago, Education, Media, Politics

Of all the hateful things Rush has ever said…

Rush Limbaugh has said a lot of appalling things. Terrible, horrible, no-good, racist, sexist, homophobic batshit crazy things. Remember the Michael J. Fox impression from a few years ago? Yeah, he’s hateful, bigoted, shameless human being. This much we know.

So why now, of all the horrible things, is the Sandra Fluke “slut” comment the thing that riles the internet into action? I think the key is in the words of Carbonite CEO David Friend when he announced Carbonite would be pulling their ads on Limbaugh’s show:

“No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency.”

The thing about homophobia is that there are still millions of Americans that have never met a gay person (that they knew was gay…). Same with Jews, or Muslims. In many parts of the country, de facto segregation leads people to spend their entire lives in the company of people who look like them. This unfamiliarity breeds suspicion, which quickly turns to contempt, and allows people like Rush to spew the horseshit he so enjoys spewing. People do not step to the defense of the “other.” I’m not condoning this, of course, only pointing out why Limbaugh’s other egregious comments are more readily ignored by the media and the public.

Women are not “other” to anyone. Everyone has a mother, daughter, sister or wife. While many people might have political disagreements about health care mandates, most of those people are not comfortable with the idea of labeling women as “sluts”. It’s too much of a slippery slope. Sandra Fluke, whatever you think of her sexuality, is just not that far a stretch from the average young American woman. If she can be insulted on national radio, it’s not that hard to imagine women you know being in her place. That familiarity is what makes David Friend’s comment so powerful. He is a father of daughters (Just like the President, who also cited his daughters). Who knows what his views on sex are, or how he’s raised his daughters to behave, or how they actually act when he’s not watching. He’s smart enough to recognize that Sandra Fluke is just a stand-in, and condoning a personal smear campaign against a woman who could very well be his daughter is not something he wants to be a part of.

My friend’s mom was recently inspired to print up her own bumper stickers. This is what they look like:

There are legitimate debates to be had about public policy. We can have real conversations about who should pay for health care and how much. We can ask what happens when the safety net falls apart. We can discuss what should and shouldn’t be covered. I’m all for these conversations; they are essential to creating a comprehensive, efficient, effective national policy on health care. How much sex someone is having, and whether or not you approve, should occupy zero percent of this conversation. We have more important things to discuss.

Related Post: I met a Republican!

Related Post: Here’s where the conversation breaks down…

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Filed under Gender, Media, Politics, Sex