I’m tardy in preparing for tomorrow’s Nose culture panel which will feature Theresa Cramer, James Hanley and Irene Papoulis. I’ve had a very busy week, and the panel started batting their own topic choices around.
They got especially revved up about this article objecting to the way people (and by people I mean of course Caitlyn Jenner and Larry Summers) suggest that the brain has either male or female wiring.
“You can’t pick up a brain and say ‘that’s a girl’s brain’ or ‘that’s a boy’s brain,’ ” Gina Rippon, a neuroscientist at Britain’s Aston University, toldThe Telegraph last year. The differences between male and female brains are caused by the “drip, drip, drip” of the gendered environment, she said.
I had a hard time with this article because it kept using “gendered,” a word I hate and am convinced does not really exist. I’m also a little wary of it because last week’s Nose totally got its Caitlyn on.On the other hand, I can see where it goes new places, because vaginas!
Let me get this right: The word “vagina” is exclusionary and offers an extremely narrow perspective on womanhood, so the 3.5 billion of us who have vaginas, along with the trans people who want them, should describe ours with the politically correct terminology trans activists are pushing on us: “front hole” or “internal genitalia”?
Is it just me or is the next Meghan Trainor hit song sitting right there in that sentence?
There have been rebuttals. (I don’t like it when the pieces keep getting longer.) So should we talk about this? Think about it while I watch this.
Ooh, wait. Could I tie Burkett into this piece about why the bros in the “Entourage” movie seem outdated and diorama-worthy?
Like it or not, awareness is in. It’s not that bros have disappeared, but it’s no longer possible to swagger your way to widespread success fueled on testosterone alone. The successful bros—the Chris Pratts, the Channing Tatums, the Zac Efrons—are successful because of their sensitivities, not in spite of them.
Me, I noticed a repeated trope: “I’m breaking up with my Fitbit/Apple Watch/ Ring of Power.” Google some version of that, and you’ll see what I mean. When people ditch that stuff, they use the phrase “break up.” (I stole the LOTR reference from this nifty piece of writing.)
That was also when the Fitbit left its role as just a fitness tracker and a Bentham-like device with which we could see who was walking the dog and who wasn’t. It became an eye of Sauron of sorts, if Sauron cared whether your beagle got her daily exercise.
And here’s the Apple Watch version.
First everyone wanted to know about it. Then they wanted to try it. Then they made certain assumptions about me.
Which, frankly, I would have made about any woman like myself walking around with a big black box on her arm.
She had a lot of other objections, all of which totally convinced me. Anyway, I’m mainly intrigued by the “breaking up” trope. We have reached the moment of entering into relationships with machines. People never broke up with their TVs. They stopped watching them.
Now what? Well, ordinarily, I would say the McKinney TX story has dragged on too long to work on the Nose, but I do like breaking off the part of it that is the swimming pool .
Every part of this incident—from the setting of a private pool in a predominantly white suburb to the angry neighbors and eventual violence—is informed by this fraught history of race and swimming. Whether they realize it or not, each participant—from the kids to the residents to the police—was playing an old part in an even older story of anger and confrontation.
It’s why all of our halcyon attachment to summer seems a little class-specific. Summer sucks if you’re poor and if you can’t cool off. It’s also why a high percentage of black Americans don’t learn how to swim. Because there’s Jim Crow and Jim Fish.
For decades, white swimmers feared sharing a beach with black people because they worried about catching disease, yet hired blacks to cook their food or nurse their children. Mr. Thurmond rallied against race mixing and yet, after his death, it was revealed that he had a daughter with a black woman who had worked in his family’s home. There’s a strange intimacy in racism, and water exposes the inevitability of this intimacy. Water touches me, then touches you.
I do think the image of the girl in the bathing suit will be iconic.
This will not be on the Nose, but I just want to say goodbye to kuru. It was a thing I knew about, and now it is mercifully ending. We’ll always have scrapie. I mean, not me personally. I do not have scrapie.
I dunno. I feel we’re still a few bricks shy of a Nose. What topics are we missing?