Protest and Media

Here’s what was important this week…

Are women being infantilized or endangered in the Olympics?

Also, the Olympic medal count gets more interesting depending on whether you look at it in terms of total medalsnumber of gold medals, or medals per capita.

In world news, protests in Ukraine that have been going on for a few months have escalated as the government ramps up its violent response. Just today (overnight for us in the US time zone) a deal was signed between the government and the protestors. Hopefully it will hold. That article (CNN) provides a good overview of the violence, but essentially the protests started as the government aligned itself with Russia, while many citizens wished for more of an EU alignment. Photos (some graphic) of the violence were collected yesterday by In Focus, and the New Yorker is wondering if this protest is the final straw: Will Ukraine Break Apart?Like many of the protests in recent years, the protests have been named somewhat with the square in which they’re occurring. Tahrir, Zucotti, Gezi, and now the Ukrainian protests, combining the word for “square” and the crux of the protests, european integration, to make euromaidan. You can watch four simultaneous live feeds of the park if you like. (The current president of Ukraine also ran for president in 2004 and was “elected” but forced to concede to his opponent after accusations of electoral fraud. One of those protesting the election results also happened to be the sign language interpreter for the state run news channel.)

Continue reading

(Mental) Health, Poetry, and Media

Here’s what was important this week…

The Super Bowl was this past weekend, as you probably know. With the Olympics starting it’s old news, but one of the big topics in journalism in the lead-up to the event was how football (both the sport and the NFL) handles concussions. Football isn’t the only sport with a concussion problem– hockey and soccer are two other notables, and many more can be assumed (rugby, anyone?). But what makes football different is both its presence in the American consciousness–it’s a truly American sport–and the prominent deaths and deteriorations of former stars. In the LA Review of Books, a devoted football fan reflects on the sport and injury risk, while an essay in The New Inquiry sheds light on the reactions of the NFL. At one point, the essay sardonically quotes a co-chair of the NFL Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee (MTBI):

““Anecdotes do not make scientifically valid evidence,” he stated, thus reducing evidence of CTE in former football players to the status of that story you tell about your cat. “

Both essays draw heavily from the “League of Denial” documentary and book, but they take slightly different perspectives and analyses, and are both worth the read.

Continue reading

Life, Living, and Death

Here’s what was important this week…

I killed a six day old tamagotchi today. I wasn’t attentive enough, and the next time I checked on him there was just an angel floating on the screen, instead of an adorable duck waddling back and forth. The experience reminded me that I’m too busy for a pet, and as my coworkers tell me often, that children are even more work than a pet.

I’m privileged to live in an age and country where having children is a choice, but with that choice comes its own rationality–or lack thereof.

“I didn’t choose to have a child. Not if “choosing” means something rational—weighing pros and cons, coming to a conclusion. I tried that process but ran away from it because, even though I wanted a child, it seemed to me that creating a whole new person was such an enormity that no one could rationally decide to do such a thing. There is so much at stake, and so little certainty about the outcome.”

“Choosing to have a child involves a leap of faith, not a carefully calibrated rational choice. “

Even after you choose to have a child, if you use enhanced fertility methods like in vitro fertilization, a choice becomes even more powerful:

“The embryos are our responsibility, but not our possessions. Fatherhood and motherhood happen in the space, the gaps, between these children and me. I mean this literally: The motion of a spoon from bowl to mouth and back again; pushing toy cars around on the floor; saying no and snatching a small hand away from a cat’s tail; saying no and pulling a child back from the other child she’s hitting; saying no and listening to sobs of protest as I close the dishwasher; but most of all, saying yes. That is how they got here, these children. Because we kept saying yes.”

Continue reading