Though Edward Snowden is by now a household name and the Keith Alexander-led National Security Agency (NSA) is under siege following disclosures of its sinister mass information collection programs, this piece stood out to me both for its particular topic, cell phone location tracking, and the care with which it was arranged.
As a reforming smoker, Kelly Quirino’s essay about smoking and the potent emotional associations that keep many addicts in a holding pattern with addiction spoke familiar, lonely truth.
2013 was a year that, like all before, it saw the callous and consistent stereotyping and devaluing of black women’s experiences. This piece, by Black Girl Dangerous’ Mia McKenzie, specifically targets one of the year’s more egregious offenses in this domain: Lily Allen’s unimaginative “Hard Out Here” music video. Allen set out to make a “feminist anthem,” but BGD didn’t play that shit (along with everybody else), and rightfully gave the singer a lesson on satire, power imbalances, and white feminism. Read Mia McKenzie.
Feminism always exists as a fight at the margins. In 2013, that meant that one front line again fell at the feet of sex workers and the popular movements seeking to “save” them. Unfortunately, those seeking salvation by criminalization frequently don’t seek or acknowledge ideas from the women their laws will effect, meaning these “antis” deny SWs a voice in policy and legal changes that can endanger their safety . Here, an interview with writer Melissa Gira Grant on the contours of this particular war against women.
Though this article from trendy socialist magazine Jacobin is from calendar year 2012, I for sure referred to it dozens of times this year so I’m putting it on. It asks, “What takes the place of profit for a non-capitalist economy?” Intuitively, its human need, but even then, how to make it work? This article is long and sometimes laborious, but the premise is worth it, and even the boring parts can be ammo for talks with the capitalists in your life (if that’s your bag).
Expanding on the theme of including works not quite from 2013, this article is 9 years old. Considering intellectual property through a feminist lens, it might be the most important and is definitely the most enjoyable law journal I’ve read since joining the unholy fold that is the legal education system. Society treats the male experience as default, and nowhere is that more true than within the legal system.
An important and somewhat underlooked Supreme Court development this year was Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, which, settled—for now—a fight years in the making over whether companies may own patents on genetic code. In ruling these patents ineligible, the court took a step to make access to medicine—like the previously $3,000+ tests for breast cancer likelihood—more accessible and affordable while smoothing by removing exclusive control over testing for a once patented gene. The court also removed the incredibly creepy proposition of a company’s owning part of your DNA… for now.
Wondermark comics are the weird, sarcastic, and wickedly funny creation of David Malki ! (the exclamation mark’s being the artist’s preferred honorific). Here, a sober re-imagining of Bruce Wayne’s Batman on a year when many heroes seemed reconsidered. http://wondermark.com/939/
The world can be an awful place, and here are three stories mocking three particularly ripe pieces of awful. Salon.com’s Alex Pareene may be the world’s greatest (and funniest) takedown artist—when he gets going, it’s a thing to behold.
Maureen Tkacik blessedly takes the New Yorker’s George Packer down a peg or two with her review of his fawned-upon, and apparently unreadable novel, “The Unwinding.” Read Moe Tkacik.
*Next, an ongoing project rather than a single story—Friedman for her. This tumblr succinctly and hilariously critiques the work of perhaps the most infuriating of all white American Blowhards, the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman. Great for not at all fictional taxi rides with your not at all fictional and conveniently ethnic taxi drivers! Updated periodically. Wild jumps of logic and optional blowharding sold separately.
Anne Trubek presents a compelling argument for the merits of tweeting as an would-be-writer, and takes well-calculated jabs at Jonathan Franzen and Dave Eggers, titans of the American literary field, calling them “the new old men” of literature, for going gramps with a ‘get off my lawn’ for all those young and old turning to the web as a means of creative expression. Trubek’s piece is a great argument for Twitter as a tool for writers’ careers and as way to upset the established order.
Dan Massoglia (@jujueyeball) is a law student, journalist, and activist in Chicago. He honestly thinks dogs are people.