When you need to stop an asteroid, you get Superman. When you need to solve a mystery, you call Batman. But when you need to end a war, you get Wonder Woman.
Gail Simone, Wonder Woman: The Circle
Why is it that people are willing to spend $20 on a bowl of pasta with sauce that they might actually be able to replicate pretty faithfully at home, yet they balk at the notion of a white-table cloth Thai restaurant, or a tacos that cost more than $3 each? Even in a city as “cosmopolitan” as New York, restaurant openings like Tamarind Tribeca (Indian) and Lotus of Siam (Thai) always seem to elicit this knee-jerk reaction from some diners who have decided that certain countries produce food that belongs in the “cheap eats” category—and it’s not allowed out. (Side note: How often do magazine lists of “cheap eats” double as rundowns of outer-borough ethnic foods?)
Yelp, Chowhound, and other restaurant sites are littered with comments like, “$5 for dumplings?? I’ll go to Flushing, thanks!” or “When I was backpacking in India this dish cost like five cents, only an idiot would pay that much!” Yet you never see complaints about the prices at Western restaurants framed in these terms, because it’s ingrained in people’s heads that these foods are somehow “worth” more. If we’re talking foie gras or chateaubriand, fair enough. But be real: You know damn well that rigatoni sorrentino is no more expensive to produce than a plate of duck laab, so to decry a pricey version as a ripoff is disingenuous. This question of perceived value is becoming increasingly troublesome as more non-native (read: white) chefs take on “ethnic” cuisines, and suddenly it’s okay to charge $14 for shu mai because hey, the chef is ELEVATING the cuisine.
One of the entries from the list ‘20 Things Everyone Thinks About the Food World (But Nobody Will Say)’. (via crankyskirt)
Humor is an antidote to — or at least an analgesic for — a condition we’re all suffering from. I would call this condition clarity, not depression; humor and depression are two different, but not mutually exclusive, responses to it. I know we’re told to regard depression as a disease, its victims no different from people who succumb to cancer or diabetes. But because it’s a disease whose symptoms take the shape of ideas, it can get hard to parse out pathology from worldview. The Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert once told me that “there are people who have no delusions; they’re called clinically depressed.” Depression’s insights aren’t necessarily invalid; they’re just not helpful. Depression uses clarity as an instrument of torture; humor uses it as a setup. Comedy tells us, “But wait — that’s not the good part.” Depression condemns the world, and us, as hateful; laughter is a way of forgiving it, and ourselves, for being so.Tim Kreider on the death of Robin Williams (via austinkleon)
Far fewer articles describe the other constitutional violations taking place on the streets of Missouri, and those violations are every bit as urgent as the infringements on speech and assembly. We’ve seen very little coverage of the use of tear gas and rubber bullets as constitutional violations. But the due process clause bans the police from using excessive force even when they are within their rights to control a crowd or arrest a suspect. And tear gas is in a category all its own. Not only is unleashing it into a crowd an unconstitutional exercise of excessive force, but its use is banned by international law. That’s one of the reasons Amnesty International sent a team of investigators to Ferguson. Similarly, the use of rubber bullets under the circumstances is also unconstitutional. Some kinds of rubber bullets are more unconstitutional than others, because certain types are more likely to injure and maim.
But excessive use of force is only the beginning. Pulling people out of the crowd and arresting them without probable cause (or for being 2 feet off the sidewalk) violates the Fourth and 14th Amendments, particularly when those arrests are disproportionately of black protesters. The general arrest statistics in Ferguson reveal what looks to be a stunning constitutional problem. According to an annual report last year from the Missouri attorney general’s office, Ferguson police were twice as likely to arrest blacks during traffic stops as they were whites. Emerging reports about racial disparities in Ferguson’s criminal justice system and the ways in which the town uses trivial violations by blacks to bankroll the city (and disenfranchise offenders) all represent constitutional questions. Why don’t we characterize them as such? These are not just violations of the law or bad policy. These are violations of our most basic and fundamental civil liberties.
Of course, probably the biggest potential constitutional violation of all—and eyewitness testimony suggests this as a real possibility—is the alleged use of excessive force by the police in shooting an unarmed 18-year-old at least six times. Under the law, each of those bullets must be separately justified, as necessary, even if one believes the officer’s story that Michael Brown rushed him. To be sure, the news media has covered this, but very few of us talk about the shooting as a potential violation of the Constitution. Remember, the Constitution is the foundational bargain between the people and their government, the framework on which our legal order rests. When we fail to talk about the arrests, searches, racial profiling, and government brutality in constitutional terms, we are failing to capture how profoundly the state has betrayed its promises.Ferguson’s constitutional crisis: First Amendment violations are only part of the story. (via dendroica)