Terrifying (Excellent) Long Read: “The Night the Lights Went Out”

Via Dave Fahrenheit’s twitter feed, for Deadspin:

All I remember is waking up in a fog with a bunch of tubes sticking out of me and thinking it was the morning after the awards. I also remember thinking that I was in the hospital because I had somehow gotten into a fistfight and lost. Someone—I don’t remember who—informed me that this was not the case. Then they gave me a topline summary of my injury, along with the day’s date. I found myself first in disbelief, and then morbidly amused. I may have even chortled.

But now that I know more details about what happened, I am less amused and more extremely freaked out. I wasn’t awake for all the scary parts of my injury, but everyone I loved was. When I finally came to, I could see the fear and terror still in their eyes, even after the worst had passed. I could see it in the eyes of my poor mom and dad, who sat vigil at my bedside every day after surgery, praying for me to wake up. I could see it in the faces of my brother and sister, who did likewise. I could see it in the faces of my friends and of my co-workers, who quite literally saved my life and were then informed that I would likely be hospitalized for months before I could walk out into the light of day. Not a single month, as it turned out to be. Months.

… I find myself in a strange situation where people I love were traumatized and devastated by what happened to me, but I—the dude who actually suffered the injury—fell into a two-week time warp before waking up strapped to a gurney: emaciated, woozy, confused, and irritable. I’m left to reverse engineer my own trauma by talking to my loved ones, poring over dry-ass medical charts, and checking notes that my wife kept throughout the whole ordeal, notes that I can’t bear to read. For as long as I live on, I owe it to my family and friends and colleagues to fully appreciate the fact that I somehow didn’t die, and that they saved me. I feel shitty that they had to go through that. I feel bad that I let my brain explode. When I recounted my injury to a nurse practitioner at the MinuteClinic the other week, her jaw dropped. “You’re so lucky you’re alive, you have no idea.”…

I cheated death, and now the Reaper has a chit for my head that he can cash in any time he likes. I now know firsthand that he doesn’t always telegraph his arrival. I was blindsided. When I was young, I thought nothing could kill me. I know I’m old now because I believe that everything can kill me, including just going to a work shindig. I have the receipts to prove it.

There may come a day when I can recover some of the memories I lost from this whole episode, but I’d prefer that day never come. I try not to think about what happened to me, but I do every day…








To the Repubs, Women Aren’t People

(Support the artist / get your swag here)

The only tiny sliver of consolation is that the GOP may have ham-fisted themselves firmly into ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ territory. Dahlia Lithwick, at Slate“SCOTUS was all teed up to quietly gut America’s abortion rights. Then Alabama happened”:

There are easy and near invisible ways for the high court to end Roe. That has always been, and remains, the logical trajectory. As Mark Joseph Stern has shown, when Brett Kavanaugh came onto the court, with his dog whistles and signaling around reproductive rights, it became clear that he would guide the court to simply allow states to erect more and more barriers to abortion access (dolphin-skin window coverings on every clinic!). The five justices in the majority would do it all while finding ways to say that such regulations were not an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose. The courts and state legislatures could continue their lilting love songs to the need for the states to protect maternal health and to help confused mommies make good choices, and nobody need dirty their hands by acknowledging that the three decades’ worth of cumbersome clinic regulations and admitting privileges laws were just pretexts for closing clinics and ending abortion altogether.

But the state of Alabama runs now to the Supreme Court with its mask of tender solicitude for women and their health askew. The briefest look at the debate as Alabama on Tuesday passed the cruelest and most punitive abortion regulation in modern American history shows exactly how much concern they have for the health of pregnant women or the suffering of future children…

Why, then, do I feel sorry for John Roberts? Because what keeps the Supreme Court in business is often the polite subterfuge of complex legal doctrine. We don’t so much suppress minority votes as protect the dignity of the states. We don’t so much enable dark money to corrupt elections as invite free speech. And we don’t so much punish women for bearing children as celebrate God and babies. This is all the kind of democracy-suppressive language the justices can get behind. It’s why Americans don’t riot on the streets…

Just as President Obama’s election exacerbated, and exposed, the ugliest racist undercurrents of modern America, Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote in 2016 unleashed the never-very-hidden misogyny and sexual terrors of entirely too many of our fellow citizens. Sunlight is not the swiftest disinfectant, but we can’t cure the rot until we can see how deeply it’s embedded.
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Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Good Choices

Of course the NYTimes is sniffy about this — how dare those Democrats presume to defend themselves?!? — but I’m feeling pretty good about donating to Rep. Davids last year.

Desperate to maintain their one perch of power in Washington, House Democrats are moving aggressively to defend their majority. Incumbents, under intense pressure from the party to begin their campaigns, raised a record $11.6 million in the first quarter of the year and are moving quickly to protect the 31 seats they hold in districts where President Trump prevailed in 2016.

“We have a solid operation,” said Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, who runs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to the House. “We are investing in field operations already — we have never done that this early — and we know how we are going to spend our resources. Everything is front-loaded.”…

And a little update on best business practices….

I took Ms. Sanders aside and politely suggested she leave. She agreed, equally politely. She may or may not have expected this day would come, but she never showed any sign of outrage, or even much surprise. We’d drawn a line; she’d accepted it…

When I awoke the next morning, social media was on fire. The incident had gone from a Facebook post to a tagged tweet to nationally trending news with the whoosh of lighter fluid to a flame…

When we opened after a 10-day hiatus, our dining room was full. In the following weeks, people who had never been to the Shenandoah Valley traveled out of their way to eat with us. Hundreds of orders for our Red Hen spice blend poured in. And the love spread far beyond our door, as supporters sent thousands of dollars’ in donations in our honor to our local food pantry, our domestic violence shelter and first responders.

After nearly a year, I’m happy to say that business is still good. Better than good, actually. And besides the boost to our area charities, our town’s hospitality and sales revenue have gone up, too.

Our haters may have believed that there were more of “them” than of “us,” but it turns out we have more than enough to keep us cooking. And to everyone who might be fearful about taking a stand, I say don’t be. Resistance is not futile, for you or your business.








PopCult Open Thread: Endgame of Thrones

I’ve never watched Game of Thrones, mostly because as I got older I decided to give up on the concept of ‘keeping up’ with Intensely Popular Fantasy Sagas that didn’t pique my interests but would take great swaths of time & attention. (Haven’t read or watched the Harry Potter series, either.) But you can’t pay attention to social media — well, any media — and not pick out some of the general outlines. Couple concepts I thought were interesting:

Alyssa Rosenberg, in the Washington Post“What would a feminist ending for ‘Game of Thrones’ actually look like?”

[A]s the final two episodes of the long-running fantasy series approach, debates about the show’s gender politics and a host of assorted questions are heating up with all the force of dragonfire. What is the line between depicting sexism and endorsing it? Should the characters be judged by the norms of the fictional world in which they reside or our own? And perhaps most of all, what would a feminist ending for the series actually look like?…

And a long twitter thread on the difference between the written and filmed stories (click on any of the tweets below to read the whole thing)…









Sunday Evening Hate-Read Open Thread: SALT in Our Wounds


 
It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.” — George Carlin

In the Washington Post (which should know better by now), “Anthony Scaramucci was fired from the Trump White House after 11 days. Now, he’s convening A-listers for bipartisan healing”:

Scaramucci, fired from the White House in 2017 after a disastrous 11-day tenure, convened a parade of other jettisoned Trump administration figures, including Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions, Corey Lewandowski and, most remarkably, Gen. John F. Kelly, the former White House chief of staff who axed him.

They mingled in the Bellagio meeting rooms with Obama-era figures such as Jarrett, former national security adviser Susan E. Rice, former CIA director David Petraeus and Adm. William McRaven, the former Special Operations chief who orchestrated the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Scaramucci appeared onstage with Kelly, in their first public appearance together since the firing, to talk about their newfound friendship. Then he sat beside Jarrett for another panel, in which they discussed topics including climate change and gun control and agreed as much as they disagreed.

“I think what they are trying to tell us is that it’s okay to be together,” said Robert Wolf, the Fox News commentator who moderated the discussion. “It’s okay to respectfully disagree. And it’s okay to agree on things we should agree on.”

Many in the crowd of nearly 2,000 investors, hedge fund managers and entrepreneurs applauded that kind of political diversity…

Discussions ranged from the future of private equity to business opportunities in the cannabis industry to how artificial intelligence is changing investing.

But permeating much of the conference was the lament that political dysfunction in Washington was bogging down economic opportunities in the real world…

The Daily Beast, which has a better nose for the difference between business and bullshit — “The Mooch’s Hedge-Fund Festival Where MAGA Has-Beens Are Great Again”:

In the past, SALT has drawn big names on both political and cultural planes, counting Joe Biden, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, as well as Al Pacino, Kobe Bryant and will.i.am among its guests. One night over drinks, a 10-year SALT veteran whose chest hair burst from his Hawaiian shirt, boasted it had been “the greatest hedge fund conference in the country.”

But the line-up this year reflected the degree to which Donald Trump has become the center of the cultural solar system, around which everything and everyone else orbits. Instead of titans of finance and bigwigs of industry, the conference was dominated by former Trump officials—fired and resigned: #MAGA hangers-on like TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk and almost-Federal Reserve Board appointee Stephen Moore; and an assortment of other miscellaneous politicos, like former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and Democratic presidential contender Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). The whole thing was MC’d, of course, by the archetypal ex-Trump official: The Mooch…
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