TIME Culture

National Review Cover Story Calls Lena Dunham’s Rape Revelation ‘Gutless’

National Review

The article raises questions about the potential repercussions on the alleged rapist

The cover of National Review’s Nov. 3 issue quite literally paints Lena Dunham in unflattering terms — the words “cowardice,” “insularity,” “narcissism,” and “sex” are tattooed on her arm in the photo illustration.

This is not the first time those accusations have been leveled at the 28 year-old writer, director and actress. But Kevin Williamson, author of the cover story, “Pathetic Privilege”, takes a new line of attack with his harsh critique of one chapter of Dunham’s new book, Not That Kind of Girl. He turns Lena Dunham’s story about emotional and physical trauma she experienced after realizing a complicated sexual encounter was, in fact, rape into a story about the trauma the publication of Dunham’s story may present for her accused rapist who was identified in the book by a first name only.

Williamson writes that since Dunham was initially confused about the encounter (she was intoxicated at the time), never “felt the need to press charges, file a complaint, or otherwise document the encounter,” and won’t release the “medical records at Oberlin supporting the story,” her accusations are suspect.

He also calls Dunham’s publication of the story “a gutless and passive-aggressive act.” Dunham identified her rapist as a mustachioed Republican named Barry. Williamson writes, “It takes me about two minutes to discover a Republican named Barry whose time at Oberlin coincided with Dunham’s.”

In a web companion piece, Williamson notes that he contacted that Barry who says he never knew Dunham. And while it was one of the “most unfortunate coincidence of [his] life,” Barry doesn’t think Dunham meant to refer to him. (Williamson also suggests that the incident she describes may be completely fictional and thinks using the name Barry was negligent.)

Dunham is presented as the attacker of this anonymous young man’s reputation by accusing him of a crime. The story, which is accompanied by caricatures of a buck-tooth Dunham as well as a photo of her eating cake, is under a paywall. However, the Washington Post does a pretty good roundup of the most important points in the piece — including 10 references it makes about the women in Dunham’s family’s genitals.

Not everyone shares Williamson’s outrage. Others have suggested that complexity and ambiguity of Dunham’s story is why it resonates so strongly with young women for whom these kinds of experiences may be an unfortunate reality. (Since graduating, Dunham has become a fierce advocate for reform of campus sexual assault policies under which few women have reported rapes on campus.)

READ MORE: Lena Dunham’s Story of Rape Is a Must-Read

TIME society

Drive-Thru Casket Viewings Are Now an Actual Trend

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Getty Images

A Michigan funeral home recently opened a drive-thru lane that shows open caskets

A Michigan funeral home recently started offering an untraditional service: A drive-thru open casket viewing.

“As you enter into the drive-thru, you’re going to see a memorial box where you can drop a memorial card or a monetary contribution,” Ivan Phillips, president of Saginaw’s Paradise Funeral Chapel, told the Telegraph. “Once you push the button, the register box will open up. At that time, you may sign your name in the register book… And when you proceed forward, the curtains will draw back and you may pay your respects to the loved one for three minutes from the privacy of your vehicle.”

But this isn’t just for convenience. The funeral home says that it is beneficial to those with physical limitations.

And it’s not even America’s first drive-thru funeral home. In 2011, a Compton, Calif., funeral home introduced the service to the community.

“It’s a convenience thing,” Robert L. Adams Mortuary owner Scott Adams told the Los Angeles Times, explaining that mourners “don’t have to deal with parking, you can sign the book outside and the family knows that you paid your respects.”

The LA Times points out different types of perks:

Seniors don’t have to leave their cars. Those who can’t stomach stepping inside a funeral home don’t have to. Families can avoid the complications of hosting a formal indoor viewing. And the disabled can roll through in their own wheelchairs — as one woman recently did.

The practice has evolved from the drive-thru funeral home visitation services of the 1980’s. Gatling Chapel’s drive-thru only showed viewers a close-up video image of the deceased on a television screen outside. Like a fast food drive-thru window, drivers would push a button and specify what body he or she was there to see to the person in the control room.

“When you go to McDonald’s, you talk into a speaker, but you cant see what you get. Here, you can see what you’re asking to see,” owner Lafayette Gatling said to the Chicago Tribune. “That`s the difference.”

TIME health

Watch These Amazing Kids Talk About Their Real-Life Superheroes

"She flies in the clouds, and she gives us water."

Real heroes don’t necessarily wear tights. But they do have superpowers.

Here’s how kids in some of the toughest places on earth describe their heroes, the aid workers who bring relief from hunger, disease and illiteracy:

“She flies in the clouds, and she gives us water.” “He came and destroyed the mosquitos.” “They did something magical, and the maize grew from the ground.”

For “Superheroes: Eyewitness Reports,” Save the Children sent a documentary film crew to three continents to ask children about the heroes who swoop into their lives. The kids respond joyfully in their own languages making this PSA a sharp departure from more traditional international aid organization spots that feature silent children with big eyes and swollen bellies.

TIME society

The Most Talked-About Celebrity Bangs of All Time

London Celebrity Sightings - OCTOBER 15, 2014
Beyonce Knowles seen leaving a gallery with BANGS Alex Huckle—GC Images

In honor of Beyonce's "controversial" hair cut

Beyoncé got bangs, and people have feelings about it.

Is the super short, Bettie Page-inspired fringe the Bangpacolyspe? “Vintage but not cheesy”? A Blue Ivy art project? Proof that Queen Bey has bad hair days just like us? Absolutely none of our damn business? It’s all a matter of opinion… that will be shared again and again on Twitter.

For whatever reason, emotions run high when it comes to celebrity bangs.”If you’re going with a black eye or bangs, go with the black eye,” actress Kaley Cuoco said after getting skewered for embracing the fringe on a 2013 red carpet. And so, in the name of journalism, we have compiled a list of the most influential — and at times, “controversial” — celebrity bangs.

Bettie Page

Bettie Page Portrait
CIRCA 1952: Pin-up model Bettie Page poses for a portrait Michael Ochs Archives

Here’s the 1950’s pin-up said to have inspired Beyoncé. If you’ve had any impact on Beyoncé, you’re obviously one of the most influential beings on the planet.

Michelle Obama

Children Gather For Kid's Inaugural Concert
The First Lady Michelle Obama with BANGS (2013) Joe Raedle—Getty Images

“This is my midlife crisis,” FLOTUS told Rachel Ray, “jokingly,” in a 2013 interview. And oh, what a bold statement the bangs were. The Wall Street Journal noted: “These aren’t the kind of subtle, side-swept bangs that some women favor, including Duchess Kate. Rather, Mrs. Obama opted for full-on, forehead-covering fringe. It’s a bold move at a high profile time for the First Lady, just days before President Obama’s inauguration.” The Cut prematurely mourned the loss during Obama’s Bowie State commencement speech, but The Daily Beast was quick to assure concerned masses that “they’re still on her head… she just parted her hair differently.”

(The bangs have since retired.)

Kerry Washington

But, “were Michelle Obama’s bangs inspired by Kerry Washington?” The Daily Mail (and others) wondered. FLOTUS does binge-watch Scandal.

Hilary Clinton


Michelle isn’t the only woman in politics to make waves with her choice of bangs. Hillary Clinton’s January 2014 bangs were “oddly controversial,” Bustle noted, as other publications questioned what her “bangs mean for America.” Imagine if Clinton had sported bangs and her infamous scrunchie? Then the Union would have been put in a tailspin.

Zooey Deschanel

The Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences Performer Nominees' 64th Primetime Emmy Awards Reception - Arrivals
Actress Zooey Deschanel and her bangs Imeh Akpanudosen—Getty Images

The New Girl star and hipster icon isn’t just known for her bangs, as Buzzfeed points out, she is hardly recognizable without them.

Tyra Banks

The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Pre-GRAMMY Gala And Salute To Industry Icons Honoring L.A. Reid - Red Carpet
TV personality Tyra Banks, her bangs, and NARAS President Neil Portnow Michael Kovac—WireImage

One word: Fierce.

Andrea Sachs


Yes, Anne Hathaway often sports bangs in real life. But this isn’t about Anne Hathaway. This is about her character Andrea Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada. Andrea was nothing without bangs. Nothing. And after she got them, she became everything, inspiring little girls everywhere to don the haircut that goes hand in hand with being a successful assistant to a high-powered, mercurial fashion editor.

Rooney Mara

84th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Actress Rooney Mara arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards Gregg DeGuire—FilmMagic

The look was created for Mara’s role as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Vogue dubbed this ultra chic individual’s adoption of blunt bangs, “The Rooney Mara effect.”

Audrey Hepburn

Holly At Tiffany's
Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993), as Holly Golightly Paramount Pictures—Getty Images

A classic.

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber Attends 'My Worlds The Collection' Photocall in Madrid
Singer Justin Bieber Carlos Alvarez—Getty Images

A modern classic.

TIME society

Even Michelle Obama Was Awkward and Self-Conscious in Middle School

First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Fashion Education Workshop At The White House
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks during a session of a Fashion Education Workshop in the East Room of the White House Alex Wong—Getty Images

Obama admits to, "angsting about some offhand comment someone made to me in the lunchroom."

No one is immune to the awkward discomfort that is middle school. And that includes First Lady Michelle Obama, also known as the Beyoncé BFF who probably should have won “Best Arms of the Class of 1981″ in high school.

FLOTUS wrote an essay to her younger self in this week’s People that discusses her angst-ridden younger years:

If I could give my younger self just one piece of advice, it would be this: Stop being so afraid! That’s really what strikes me when I look back – the sheer amount of time I spent tangled up in fears and doubts that were entirely of my own creation. I was afraid of not knowing the answer in class and looking stupid, or worried about what some boy thought of me, or wondering whether the other girls liked my clothes or my hair, or angsting about some offhand comment someone made to me in the lunchroom.

I would love to go back in time and tell my younger self, “Michelle, these middle and high school years are just a tiny blip in your life, and all the slights and embarrassments and heartaches, all those times you got that one question wrong on that test – none of that is important in the scheme of things.”

Even though Obama still faces high school-esque antics — including news commentators discussing her weight — she has certainly risen above the lunchroom chatter.

TIME society

Here’s How A.C. Slater Would Act as a Modern-Day Millennial

Saved by the Bell
Mario Lopez as A.C. Slater NBC—NBC via Getty Images

In honor of Mario Lopez's 41st birthday, we imagine the forever-young A.C. Slater doing everything from sexting to shirtless Snapchats

Friday marks Mario Lopez’s 41st birthday. This quasi-milestone got us reminiscing about Lopez’s iconic role as teenage jock A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell – and then got us wishing he were still around today. We wondered: What would Slater’s life look like in 2014? Would today’s technology and culture fit his lifestyle?

Yes, we decided. Yes it would. Here, a list of ways Slater would behave as a modern-day Millennial.

Before graduating from Bayside, Slater would:

1. Develop an unhealthy relationship with his Fitbit. How many steps are too many steps?

2. Binge watch all of ‘Army Wives’ because, as an Army brat himself, he can totally relate.

3. Accidentally like one of Kelly’s bikini pictures on Instagram from 79 weeks ago. Get in a fight with Zack about it.

4. Impulse buy a Corgi. YOLO.

5. Start calling Zack “broseph” instead of “preppy.”

6. Petition the school cafeteria to start serving Soylent.

7. Start a YouTube channel to show off his dances moves; go viral.

8. Have a brief fling with belfie queen Jen Selter. They bond over fledgling internet fame.

9. Audition for America’s Got Talent. Make it to round three.

10. Accidentally group text all his biddies “U still up, Mama?”

11. Get blasted on Jezebel for said group text fiasco.

12. Get caught sexting Jessie during class.

13. Try to get class credit for Crossfit. (Mr. Belding would say no.)

14. Give Mr. Belding a low rating on ratemyteachers.com for the above injustice.

15. Pose as a 20-year-old on Tinder. Quit when he realizes he’ll never do better than Jessie.

 

TIME world affairs

Why Are We Upset About a Dog When Thousands Are Dying of Ebola?

Colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of the Ebola virus.
Kallista Images/Getty Images

3,439 people have died of Ebola in West Africa. But what we all care about is the case of Excalibur the dog

xojane

This story originally appeared on xoJane.com.

It’s hard to break into the New York Times obituaries section, but apparently being the first U.S. Ebola patient to die will do the trick. Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted Ebola by helping an infected pregnant woman into a taxi, is dead. For perspective, though: According to the CDC’s most recent count, 3,439 people have died of Ebola in West Africa, and only a handful of cases are being treated outside the hot zone in Africa.

But what we all care about is the case of Excalibur, a dog belonging to Teresa Ramos, a Spanish nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola and is now in isolation and treatment. Her husband was similarly isolated, while their dog remained at home while officials decided on what to do with him. His close contact with Ramos led the Spanish government to conclude that he should be euthanized, and the world is up in arms. Hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition to halt the dog’s euthanization.

Notably, the Spanish government and health officials already messed up here. Ramos had reported symptoms consistent with Ebola on multiple occasions before she was diagnosed. Before her diagnosis, she was laid up at home with a fever, spending time with her husband and Excalibur. This could have turned into a public health nightmare if she’d been out of the hospital longer or if people in her surrounding community had been exposed to her body fluids (as, for example, if she’d vomited from her illness, as happened to the Texas patient on his way to the hospital).

Meanwhile, Excalibur’s case became another opportunity to ding the Spanish government and appeal to the hearts of dog-lovers the world over.

The problem with Ebola and dogs is that we don’t know much about it. A 2005 study suggested that dogs who had eaten Ebola-infected animals could carry the virus asymptomatically, which would suggest that dogs exposed to the virus could pose a public health risk. Since pet owners handle body fluids from their animals on a pretty frequent basis, they’re especially at risk — how confident are you in the security of your poop baggie?

A precautionary decision to euthanize, under those conditions, doesn’t seem totally unreasonable, give concerns about spreading the virus. Watching the wildfire spread of Ebola across West Africa has illustrated the importance of drawing hard and fast boundaries early in an epidemic to control and eventually eradicate the virus. Yes, the euthanization of an animal that appears to be healthy and happy is a very sad turn of events; but so are thousands of deaths in West Africa, and so is the prospect of spreading Ebola through Madrid.

Yet, people around the world heard only the heartfelt plea for exoneration for Excalibur, a dog caught up in a global public health crisis.

And they responded in kind, because who doesn’t love dogs? Even I, a noted cat enthusiast, have a soft spot for dogs as I do for all animals — and the thought of euthanizing a healthy animal, as occurs in U.S. animal shelters on a daily basis — makes me unspeakably sad. It’s worth noting that 2.7 million cats and dogs are killed in U.S. shelters annually and few people are raising an international ruckus and signing petitions in the hundreds of thousands for them.

The hyperfocus on Excalibur wasn’t just alarming and depressing because it reflected a lack of interest in exploring our own domestic treatment of healthy cats and dogs who’ve only committed the crime of being unwanted.

It also illustrates a horrifying lack of perspective when it comes to the larger Ebola epidemic. 7,492 Ebola cases have been identified by the CDC in West Africa. We may be looking at 1.4 million by the end of January if we can’t control the epidemic, which requires a global public health effort and cooperation from a number of governments and agencies.

We’re looking at trying to treat and control a vicious disease in a region of the world where people are deeply suspicious of Western health care workers, and with good reason — they’ve seen failed public health initiatives, they’re aware of the CIA’s use of vaccinators (notably, those vaccinators didn’t complete the vaccine series they initiated, so not only did they use public health as an excuse to spy, but they didn’t even confer immunity on the people they vaccinated) to penetrate Muslim communities in the search for Osama Bin Laden, and they’ve seen the failure of foreign aid to reach communities that need it.

Already, health workers have been killed for working on the Ebola outbreak. Huge amounts of resources have been expended on shipping people infected with Ebola to industrialized nations for high-quality medical treatment — if they’re Westerners.

Ebola virus disease is a tragedy. In the face of that, the death of a single dog — Excalibur was euthanized in his apartment using established compassionate euthanasia protocol — is a drop in a very sad bucket. The grief his owners are experiencing isn’t to be denied, but it was still the right decision for public health and the good of the commons; it’s a wrenching and awful position to be in, but there it is.

What I want to know is why the world was so wrapped up in the fate of a single dog that it couldn’t even consider the larger issue of the epidemic chewing through West Africa and causing lasting harm to West African communities all over the world who are currently asking themselves which friends and loved ones are infected, dying, or dead. West Africa faces permanent economic damage as a result of the Ebola outbreak, in addition to years of rebuilding and infrastructure development and redevelopment. But sure. Let’s focus on a dog.

The tendency to put a face on serious issues is understandable. People tend to relate to an issue more closely when they find it more accessible, which is why organizations put real human stories foremost when they’re soliciting for funds or attempting to perform public education and outreach.

But the case of Excalibur was different. It turned Ebola into a crisis of the West and specifically into a private domestic drama — the tragic death of a beloved family pet. It was a remarkably self-centered act, one that highlighted the Western indifference to the scope and severity of Ebola.

Maybe Excalibur was euthanized for nothing and he never carried Ebola in the first place, just like dogs euthanized for suspected rabies infection who turn out to test negative. If that’s the case, that’s terribly sad — but that doesn’t mean that health care workers made the wrong choice working with the limited amount of information they had. Sometimes, you have to make tough, terrible choices for the common good, and that’s how it is.

What I want to know is why the West cared more about a damn dog than thousands of people dying of a disease that should be controllable through some pretty basic health care provisions and the development of a more comprehensive health care infrastructure. The spread of Ebola is a direct consequence of the poverty and corruption left behind in colonialism’s wake, not because the virus is some sort of horrible monster that can’t be comprehended and controlled.

And that’s on us.

S.E. Smith is a writer, agitator and commentator based in Northern California.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

College Gives $1200 tip to Domino’s Pizza Delivery Man

Students also gave him gift cards and wrote him inspirational notes

A Domino’s pizza delivery man in Indiana got a bit more than a 20% tip from students at Indiana Wesleyan University this week when they tipped him $1,268 for two pizzas.

The stunt was orchestrated by Keith Newman, the CEO of Residential Education, who wanted to teach his 3,000 students to “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone,” RTV 6 reports.

In that spirit, when driver James Gilpin arrived to deliver the $12.50 pizza order, Newman and a packed auditorium of students presented him with the $1,268 check, gift cards and inspirational notes from the class.

Gilpin says he’ll use his unexpected windfall to buy Christmas presents for his five and six year olds.

TIME Race

It’s Not Racist to Want Your Child to Look Like You

Jennifer Cramblett
Jennifer Cramblett is interviewed at her attorney's home in Waite Hill, Ohio, on Oct. 1, 2014. Mark Duncan—AP

Barbara Spiegel is a certified elementary school teacher, stay-at-home mother and active member of Little People of America.

I was relieved when my first child had dwarfism, but upset when another was diagnosed with learning disabilities

In 2004, when I was pregnant, I was given the wrong information about my daughter’s genetic makeup. We were told she would be “average” height. It took some time to adjust to that information. My husband and I both have achondroplasia dwarfism. The most common of nearly 300 forms of dwarfism, it results in adult height of about 4 feet to 4 feet, 8 inches and disproportionate limbs. Two individuals with achondroplasia pose genetic challenges for having children: there’s a 50% chance the child could inherit the gene from one parent and have achondroplasia, 25% chance there is no presence of the gene and the child would be average size and a 25% chance the child could inherit the gene from both parents, resulting in double dominance and the likelihood that the child is stillborn or lives for a very short while.

By the time I accepted that we would have an average height child, I was told there had been a mix-up and that my unborn daughter would indeed have achondroplasia. I was relieved knowing that my child would bear a strong physical resemblance to me.

In 2008, my husband and I adopted a girl from Russia with achondroplasia. Why adopt? Along with our past experience with genetic testing, we simply felt it would be easier to raise children who are similar to us.

Our second daughter was adopted shortly after her fifth birthday and began kindergarten a few months later. All seemed to be going smoothly, until she was diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities in the middle of first grade. My mind raced. This is not what I signed up for! I was angry, hurt and worried. How would we handle this? What would others think? What would they say? How could we take care of her properly? I know achondroplasia; I have lived with it my entire life. I know what it’s like to be teased because you are short, because you appear to “waddle,” because you cannot run very fast. I know what it’s like to sit on the sidelines as your friends start to date. I know what it’s like to always need a step stool to reach things, to need pedals to drive, to need your clothes altered. I know what it’s like to be called names: shorty, half-pint, mini-me and, most offensive of all, midget.

But I don’t know what it’s like to have a learning disability, let alone multiple ones. Would she understand enough to know wrong from right? Would she ever catch up to her peers? Will she have friends? Will she ever be able to live on her own? How would we pay for all that she needs?

Last week a white lesbian couple from Uniontown, Ohio, filed a lawsuit against their sperm bank for mistakenly receiving sperm from the wrong donor. While raising their mixed-race child, who is now two, Jennifer Cramblett and Amanda Zinkon came to realize how “intolerant” some family members and people in their 98% white town were. As Payton got older, they realized they couldn’t change other people’s mindsets. They don’t want Payton to suffer and are now looking to relocate to a more tolerant area where Payton can feel like less of an outsider, and are seeking redress to do so.

This doesn’t mean they’re racist, ungrateful, unloving of their daughter or financial opportunists. They are trying to right a wrong. There is no denying that the sperm bank committed an error. If they do receive a financial reward, it will serve the family well and also lead such businesses to be held accountable for their errors.

Having had and adopted two children with achondroplasia, I was ready and well-prepared for certain life challenges. Discovering two years later that one has significant learning disabilities was not what I envisioned for my daughter, myself or my family, and if there were someone I could hold responsible for this challenge, I would pursue financial compensation to pay for tutors and testing. Doing so wouldn’t mean I love my daughter any less. All it means is that I want to provide the best support for my children, both emotionally and financially.

Barbara Spiegel is a certified elementary school teacher, stay-at-home mother and active member of Little People of America.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Opinion

IKEA Made A Talking Mirror That Basically Just Tells You You’re Pretty All Day

Stick to the Swedish meatballs?

Meet IKEA’s “Motivational Mirror” — a wall accessory whose only job is to deliver effusive, 100% genuine compliments like “Magnificent beard!” and “Your eyes are mesmerizing!” and “Darling, your dress looks amazing!” (Even though it kind of looks like a shirt… but it’s the thought that counts.)

IKEA

The Swedish furniture retailer put the promotional mirror in a British store last week, “bestowing personalised compliments to provide the nation with a much needed morale boost,” according to a statement.

IKEA-commissioned research found 44% of people in the UK are critical of their appearance and 26% say they feel uncomfortable looking in a mirror. BUT 26% also said that “a kind word” makes them like themselves more. And thus, a Dove-esque empowerment stunt was born.

Except, instead of having consumers come to the conclusion that they are really more beautiful than they think they are on their own, IKEA has a far more reliable source — a mirror programmed with audio — do it for them.

This is actually a familiar trope. Adweek notes, “the inspirational talking mirror idea has been done before—most notably by the all-female Austin band The Mrs., but also by other marketers.

Sure, compliments can be nice, but it is a tad on the creepy side — particularly when a man in a blue button down, showing just enough chest hair, is stopped by the mirror … whistling at him.

IKEA

(Yes, that is an animation of a cat calling wolf).

It’s an odd choice to make unsolicited whistling — street harassment is a very real issue women face on a daily basis— look cutesy, but at least the customer doesn’t seem to mind.

“It was great for me because I never get compliments,” the man recalls, wistfully. “I could have stood there all day, to be honest.”

Still, maybe IKEA should stick to its specialty: flat-pack furniture, ball pits and Swedish meatballs.

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