Lots of interesting things have been making their way through my browser lately:

 

Retirement as Ratzinger’s most progressive legacy.

 

Reconceptualizing the way we think and talk about sex… with a metaphor which actually implies – nay, requires! – the agency and consent of all participants.

 

– As a comedian, I find it enormously tiresome when people claim “BUT IT’S COMEDY!” as a way to excuse all kinds of tired, cliched bullshit.  Bad comedy is very real; in fact, as a comedian, I’d say most comedy is bad comedy, and if the only aspiration comedy ever needs in order to succeed is just to be “comedy” – rather than, say, GOOD comedy – then the shitty comedy will never get better!  So let’s not pretend that, say, Seth MacFarlane’s Oscar hosting job was edgy or transgressive or interesting or anything much more than hacky and pretty lame.  Whether or not the song about boobs was intended as satire or not is pretty much beside the point, because if it was, it was also so poorly executed that it did not succeed as satire, and that’s what actually counts.  Trying to be funny is not the same thing as being funny.  The end.

 

– Sitcoms are exploring some fascinating territory right now about gender and relationships.  Depending on how new developments on “The Office” shake out, there might be a much lengthier post about this down the line….

 

– The story of lead’s use throughout the 20th century is fascinating for all the wrong reasons, and an abject lesson in the dangers of “presumed safety.”  The consequences of America’s error are astonishing.

 

– A better set of problems: food activism is frequently charged with being an incomplete solution; local, organic, small-scale production tends to raise prices, after all, and if there is anything that the captains of industrial agriculture can’t stomach, it’s the idea of a hungry child – or, you know, so goes the propaganda.  There are, of course, many activists out there working on issues of access, and as this story details, the shift towards sustainable farming and eating doesn’t leave systems without any problems – it only presents them with a better, more manageable set of them.  Also: how America’s industrial agriculture policies impede the development of markets in developing countries, are ineffective as foreign aid policies, and cost millions more than local solutions.