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Hatred for the Poor

Everyone’s putting up their hot takes of Kevin William’s poor-hating screed in the National Review, and it might as well be my turn. The original piece is paywalled, but that’s OK. Here’s the part that sparked so much outrage, in case you haven’t seen it: It is immoral because it perpetuates a lie: that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces. It hasn’t.

International Women's Day

It’s fair to say that, historically speaking, women have gotten the short end of the stick. Though they have contributed no less than men to the construction and functioning of our civilizations and cultures, they have typically been deprived of any just compensation for their contributions–or even the most basic agency. Things are somewhat better in 2016, depending on who you are and where you live. The world is, overall, a better place for women than it was in 1908, when women marched in New York City for voting rights and better treatment.

Subtle Sexual Harassment

Geobiology professor A. Hope Jahren recently had an article in the New York Times about sexual harassment in the world of academic research. The problem seems all too commonplace: Since I started writing about women and science, my female colleagues have been moved to share their stories with me; my inbox is an inadvertent clearinghouse for unsolicited love notes. Sexual harassment in science generally starts like this: A woman (she is a student, a technician, a professor) gets an email and notices that the subject line is a bit off: “I need to tell you,” or “my feelings.

When the Web was Free

In 2005, Facebook only allowed college students. Twitter didn’t exist, and neither did tumblr. The iPhone hadn’t been created yet–nor the iPad. The idea of there being a mobile app for everything would’ve seemed bizarre. Oh, how times change. A bit over 3 years ago, Anil Dash wrote The Web We Lost, which described how the Web and the Internet had transformed over the preceding years. His points could be summarized thusly:

The Positivity Deception

Do you ever get tired of people telling you to “think positive”? I know I do. There are a lot of little platitudes like this that get foisted on us: * "Be grateful." * "Think good thoughts." * "Life's not fair." * "The world doesn't owe you a thing." These tend to be repeated without much thought, rather than be examined for what they suggest. Well, I’m the kind of person who prefers to examine, so let’s have at it.

Flirts, Compliments, and Catcalls

Every so often I’ll come across some guy lamenting that women just can’t take a compliment anymore, as if what was once a sea of happily receptive women has been hardened into a glacier of frigid ice queens. Nothing I say here will be news to women, who live with the reality every day. My audience here is the hypothetical heterosexual man who is perturbed that he’s not allowed to tell women what he thinks of their appearance.

Trump: From Sideshow to Main Event

Given the outcome of the Nevada caucus, it’s looking more and more like Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for President. A year ago, I would’ve considered it impossible. Six months ago, I would’ve said he was a longshot for the nomination, much less the Oval Office. Now? What should have been obvious all along is finally becoming clear. Donald Trump may or may not be able to win the White House–that remains to be seen–but that a one-man reality show could hijack the Presidential campaign season so quickly and easily, absurd as it may have seemed a year ago, now seems like it must have been inevitable.

Feminism vs. Capitalism

Singer/songwriter Kesha made headlines recently as she attempted, unsuccessfully, to have her music contract with Sony nullified. She sought this on the basis of rape allegations she’d made against her producer, Dr. Luke. If you’re unfamiliar with the case, there’s a good breakdown here. As I often do, I’d like to use this particular case as a springboard to talk about broader issues. Many think pieces were written in response to Kesha being forced to uphold her contract.

The Platform Economy

It’s becoming more and more common for workers to be self-employed using apps like Lyft, Uber, Instacart, Postmates, and others. This transition has been called the “sharing economy,” the “gig economy,” and other optimistic-sounding terms. But what we’re really looking at is a “platform economy”: an economy where the primary beneficiaries are those who own platforms. It must be said that the basic idea of a platform economy is not new.

Reverence for the Recently Departed

Antonin Scalia, one of the judges sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States, died Saturday. To say that his death has provoked many controversial opinions would be an understatement. What concerns me, in particular, is the demand for propriety–respect and reverence–upon the death of a public figure. It is a peculiar expectation, though perhaps driven by an impulse to remind ourselves and each other that the same fate awaits us all.