Mixed Media

Stop Asking Why the Women Accusing Jian Ghomeshi Didn't Go to the Cops

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 3:01 PM EDT

In the past two weeks, nine women have come forward with stories about getting beat up by Jian Ghomeshi. Now, thousands of people are asking what on earth took them so long.

The confused disbelief seems genuine to me. Why on earth didn't they rush to the nearest police station? Or call 911? If he hurt them, didn't they want to stop him from attacking more women? 

Plenty of people have already done a great job of explaining why. They've posted the depressing stats on rape convictions, explained how the justice system often retraumatizes victims of sexual crimes, patiently detailed the horrible abuse Ghomeshi's past accuser had to bear.

But after hearing all these reasons and more, a lot of people still won't let Ghomeshi's accusers off the hook. And as frustrating as this is, I think it's because to varying degrees, people need to believe that the world makes sense. It just doesn’t make sense that this beloved, artsy, liberal, talented public radio star with the Flock of Seagulls haircut and the cool jeans allegedly has a weird thing going on involving a teddy bear and punching women in the face till their ears ring and forcing his cock into their mouths until they nearly vomit.

Just like it doesn't make sense that the beloved fatherly comedian who reminds you of sweaters and pudding pops has been accused over and over of drugging women and sexually assaulting them. Or that the beloved all-American champion football coach is a serial child molester. And so on, and so on.

It's depressing, it's confusing, it's awkward, and it's like, life is already complicated enough.

Ergo the wishful thinking that if these nine women had just dialed three numbers long ago, this confusing ugliness, if true, would have been neatly trapped in a box where it could never hurt anybody else ever again. 

But the inescapable reality is that they didn’t make the call. So do we chalk it up to these nine women being a bunch of lazy, dumb, overly paranoid, weak, sisterhood-betraying fools? 

It's either that, or we have to run through a bunch of not-fun mental exercises. We have to face the possibility that in this world, the only one we've got, a woman who says she was attacked by a powerful man can't necessarily expect justice and protection if she goes running to the law. That if she tells, her home address and telephone number will probably be splashed across the Internet where demented ragey misogynists will use them to terrorize her. That she's not crazy to worry her relationships with her parents, her partners, her friends and colleagues will be forever altered if they hear about it, because lots of people just aren’t emotionally equipped to deal with a loved one going through something like this.

"So why didn't I do anything?" says Reva Seth, the latest woman to come forward with a story about being attacked by Ghomeshi. "This is the part that I think is so important to understand if we are ever going to change the context in which rape culture and violence against women is perpetuated. I didn't do anything because it didn't seem like there was anything to do...And even if I had wanted to do something, as a lawyer, I'm well aware that the scenario was just a "he said/she said" situation. I was aware that I, as a woman who had had a drink or two, shared a joint, had gone to his house willingly and had a sexual past, would be eviscerated. Cultural frameworks on this are powerful."

So either these nine women are all irresponsible dummies—doesn't sound like it—or they did what tons of people in their shoes would do. They didn't tell, because telling can be more painful than not telling. This is depressing, confusing, and awkward, but it's also what happened.

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Ruth "Baby" Ginsburg Is Absolutely Crushing Halloween This Year

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 12:48 PM EDT

For those in the need of any last minute Halloween inspiration, look no further than Ruth "Baby" Ginsburg, quite possibly the most adorable tribute to the badass Supreme Court Justice herself we've witnessed.

The perfectly oversized glasses! The dainty jabot. Just perfect.

Book Review: Beijing Bastard

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 6:30 AM EDT

Beijing Bastard

By Val Wang

GOTHAM BOOKS

In her drifter memoir of leaving home in order to find it, Chinese American author Val Wang struggles between head and heart as she tries to make a living—and a life—in Beijing, burdened by the expectations of her forebears yet buoyed by the spirit of youth. In the process, she shows us a China full of contradictions: at once glamorous and grungy, ancient and modern, ambitious and loafing.

Silly String Is Illegal Here—But Only on Halloween

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

Halloween is finally here! It's time to celebrate macabre mischief, ghouls and gluttony, and of course, tricks and treats. But there's one scary alliterated substance you should steer clear of—especially if you are in Hollywood. On the streets of Tinseltown, getting caught with Silly String is considered a serious offense—but only on Halloween.

Signs have been posted across Hollywood Photo taken by Gil Riego

Generically called "aerosol string," Silly String is basically brightly colored plastic propelled from an aerosol can. Like confetti but for terrible people, its primary purpose is to annoy or to instantly reveal who the most obnoxious person at a party is. Both sticky and slimy, it is hard to clean up, is bad for the environment, and—surprise!—can be dangerous if you eat it.

As awful as Silly String is most days, it is apparently more awful on Halloween. That's why, in 2004, Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge sponsored an ordinance to outlaw the stuff for one night only. City officials were sick of cleaning it up, and dealing with the brawls they said were provoked by Silly String sprayings. More than 100,000 people flock to Hollywood to celebrate Halloween and the Silly String remediation costs were said to exceed $200,000.

So, starting at midnight last night and extending until noon tomorrow, should you happen to cross the threshold into the LAPD's Hollywood Division's jurisdiction, you better not be packing any String.

Specifically:

No Person, as defined in Municipal Code Section 11.01(a), shall possess, use, sell or distribute Silly String at, within or upon any public or private property that is either within public view or accessible to the public, including, but not limited to, public or private streets, sidewalks, parking lots, commercial or residential buildings, places of business, or parks within the Hollywood Division during Halloween.

The ordinance comes with a pretty heavy set of un-silly sanctions. Just carrying a can of Silly String could get you charged with a misdemeanor, slapped with a $1,000 fine, and jailed for as long as 6 months. That's a stiffer penalty than you'll get for misdemeanor pot possession ($100 fine), breaking into a zoo enclosure ($250 fine), bicycling or hunting while drunk ($250 and $500, respectively). It's more on par with petty theft, and more severe mayhem like being disorderly while drunk or getting minors drunk.

So while you are free to spray away in most places today (litter ordinances permitting), why not do everyone a favor and take a hint from Hollywood? Just keep it in the can.

Watch Anita Sarkeesian Explain Gamergate's "Attacks on Women" and Convince Colbert He's a Feminist

| Thu Oct. 30, 2014 12:35 PM EDT

Anita Sarkeesian, the feminist critic at the center of the Gamergate controversy, appeared on The Colbert Report last night to explain the sexual harassment issues rampant in the gaming world and why women aren't going to just accept a "separate but equal" community.

"Women are perceived as threatening because we are asking for games to be more inclusive," Sarkeesian said. "We are asking for games to acknowledge that we exist and that we love games."

But as recent disturbing events have shown, many gamers are not pleased with Sarkeesian's work and have been launching extremely violent messages against her and her supporters via social media. Earlier this month, Sarkeesian was forced to cancel a speaking engagement after an anonymous email threatened to stage the "deadliest mass shooting in American history" if she spoke.

Speaking to Colbert on Wednesday, she went on to reject the defense that Gamergate is actually about ethics in video game journalism.

"That is sort of a compelling way to reframe the fact that this is actually an attack on women," she said."Ethics in journalism is not what's happening in any way. It's actually men going after women in really hostile, aggressive ways. That's what Gamergate is about. it's about terrorizing women for being involved in this industry."

For more a deeper dive into the Gamergate controversy, check out our excellent explainer.

Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously quoted Sarkeesian in the headline. This has since been corrected. 

Let a White Man Walking Around NYC Show You Just How Glorious Life Can Be

| Thu Oct. 30, 2014 9:03 AM EDT

Think women are the only ones subjected to relentless, demeaning catcalling? You're wrong. The young white men in this world have it equally tough. After all, with so many unsolicited job offers, free Chipotle, and genuinely well-intentioned high-fives being forced onto men, how could anyone even suggest the notion of privilege these days? See what we mean below:

(h/t Funny or Die)

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Book Review: Faster, Higher, Stronger

| Thu Oct. 30, 2014 6:30 AM EDT

Faster, Higher, Stronger

By Mark McClusky

HUDSON STREET PRESS

Speed-skating super-suits, motion-tracking cameras, the 10,000-hour rule—it's all covered in Mark McClusky's engrossing look into how athletes use science to avoid injury, train smarter, and shatter rec­ords. McClusky, the editor of Wired.com and a former Sports Illustrated reporter, digs into vaguely familiar terms like VO2 max and the oxygen deficit to suss out what separates champs from near-misses while introducing a roster of entertaining characters: a Soviet hammer-throw guru, a Wall Street analyst turned cycling star, and even a British physiologist pursuing hyperfitness back in the 1920s. The book has useful lessons for weekend warriors, but ultimately, McClusky writes, "the greatest athletes are born, and then made."

Film Review: Life Itself

| Wed Oct. 29, 2014 6:31 PM EDT

Life Itself

KARTEMQUIN FILMS

There's a scene early in Life Itself when a hospitalized Roger Ebert, missing his lower jaw after multiple surgeries for thyroid cancer, needs his throat suctioned. The camera holds steady as Ebert winces through the procedure, but then an email box pops up on the screen. "great stuff!!!!!" types Ebert, no longer able to speak. "I'm happy we got a great thing that nobody ever sees: suction." Director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) blends an intimate end-of-life story with Ebert's wide-ranging biography: precocious college newspaper editor, recovering drunk, screenwriter of the schlocky Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, friend and critic of Hollywood's biggest names. But for all of Ebert's exploits, it's the private moments James captures, like his increasingly brief email responses as cancer slowly wins out, that endure.

Book Review: The Secret History of Wonder Woman

| Wed Oct. 29, 2014 6:24 PM EDT

The Secret History of Wonder Woman

By Jill Lepore

Alfred A. Knopf

If Wonder Woman's status as a feminist icon was ever in question, Jill Lepore's deeply researched tribute puts that to rest. Lepore, a New Yorker staffer and Harvard historian, delivers a trove of private documents belonging to the character's creator, William Moulton Marston. Her discoveries shed light not just on Marston's notable life—Harvard scholar, failed lawyer, co-inventor of the polygraph—but on the rich history of women's rights and how it plays out in his colorful panels.

An Unmanned NASA Rocket Just Exploded After Liftoff

| Tue Oct. 28, 2014 6:39 PM EDT

NASA's Antares rocket was supposed to resupply the International Space Station but it exploded shortly after liftoff tonight.The rocket was unmanned, thank God.

Here's video from the live stream:

The rocket was owned by Orbital Sciences but was contracted by NASA to stock the space station. The company told the Associated Press that no one was believed to be hurt and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities."