TIME Sexual Assault

Mariska Hargitay: ‘Society Continues to Misplace Blame on Survivors’

Courtesy of Mariska Hargitay

Mariska Hargitay is the founder and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation and stars in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Despite the progress we as a nation have made in the movement to end sexual violence, much work remains.

Society continues to misplace blame and shame on survivors—both women and men—on college campuses and everywhere else. That has to end. We must confront the myths and excuses that help perpetuate sexual assault. We must speak about these issues, boldly, thoughtfully and often, because criminals thrive when we are silent, when we are reluctant to engage, when we insist that these issues are too murky to sort out.

I may not see the end of this violence in my lifetime, but I am committed to doing everything I can to bring it about.

(You can read more opinions in TIME’s special report: Ending Campus Sexual Assault and get the full story in this week’s cover article by Eliza Gray: The Sexual Assault Crisis on American Campuses.)

TIME society

Anarchy Conference Suffers Outbreak of Irony

The 5th annual Law and Disorder conference descended into screaming and shouting, leaving the gathering in a state of total... well, you get the idea

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An anarchy conference at Portland State University experienced great success last week, after a panel in the 5th annual Law and Disorder conference broke into screaming, swearing, and general… um… anarchy before it even began.

Although the reason for the protest against panelist Kristian Williams was unclear in the video (something about sexual assault? so much screaming!), attendees could be heard chanting, “We will not be silent in the face of your violence.” They weren’t silenced, although according to the You Tube user who posted the video, police were reportedly called.

[Metro]

TIME society

Hell Yes! Swearing Is Good For You, Study Says

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Getty Images

Apparently it's just "a harmless emotional release"

Great news for all you pottymouths: a team of researchers have found that swearing is actually good for you. @!%# yes!

Psychologists at England’s Keele University say cursing is a harmless, creative emotional release that can make you feel stronger, the Daily Mail reports. Basically, they argue that profanity is often used as a coping mechanism and can help us feel more resilient.

Participants of the study were asked to play aggressive video games. After their sessions, they could recall a wider variety of curse words.

“The video games made people feel more aggressive so their language became more emotional and they swore,” senior lecturer Dr. Richard Stephens told the Daily Mail. “We want to use more taboo words when we are emotional. We grow up learning what these words are and using these words while we are emotional can help us to feel stronger.”

Okay, so this might not be the most credible or logical study, but we’re going to go ahead and believe that people who swear are creative, beautiful, emotionally intelligent geniuses.

TIME society

Dating Show Contestant Reveals He Murdered Wife And Mistress, But Is Still Looking For Love

Ladies, he's single

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When it comes to looking for love, maybe skip the dating shows and hitch a ride on the hook-up truck instead.

While honesty is usually the best policy, Sefer Calinak, a man looking for love on a Turkish dating show, missed his chance to meet a potential wife when he got a little too open and honest too quickly.

The 62-year old shocked the audience of Flash TV’s The Luck of The Draw by admitting — on air — that he had murdered his first wife and later killed a lover with an axe during an argument.

Calinak said he killed his first wife, a cousin, when they were both 17. As is common with young love, things didn’t work out. Less common, Calinak killed her and was sentenced to 13 years in prison, serving four before being released due to an amnesty.

He then started an affair with a married woman and when she refused to leave her husband for him, they argued and he “accidentally” killed her with an axe. “I killed her after she tried to kill me,” he said according to Hurriyet Daily News. “She was accidentally killed when I swung the ax.” He then served another six years in prison, before heading to the bright lights of television to look for love.

According to USA Today, the show’s producer knew that Calinak had murdered someone, but he was allowed to appear on the show because he had served his legal sentence.

In the game show’s defense, the host did ask Calinak to leave after he confessed to the second murder.

As for us, we’re sticking to that cupcake on Tinder.

[Via USA Today]

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TIME society

Five-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Stars In Her Own Katy Perry Music Video

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation

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Five-year-old Addy, who was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer last year, got to fulfill her dream of becoming a pop star with her own Katy Perry-inspired music video. Now in remission, Addy would spend time during her hospital visits practicing her singing and dancing, according to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, who helped put the video together.

Addy chose to sing Katy Perry’s hit “Roar” because KP is her favorite artist and because the lyrics inspired her throughout her battle with cancer.

TIME

Police: Naked Man Doing Push Ups in the Street Hit and Killed by Car

A naked man doing push-ups in the middle of the street in Portland, Oregon, was struck by a car and killed, according to police.

Portland Police began receiving reports about a naked man running down the city streets around 4 a.m. on Sunday, according to a news release. While the police were on the way to respond to the call, they received another alert that the man had started doing push-ups in the middle of the lane of traffic on Columbia Boulevard in north Portland.

By the time they arrived on the scene, they had received a third call reporting that the man had been hit by a car.

The driver, who, according to police, was not impaired by alcohol or drugs, remained on the scene and was cooperative with the investigation, police said.

Police said the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy, including a toxicology report, to determine contributing factors to the pedestrian’s death.

(h/t The Oregonian)

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MORE: WATCH: Man Does Napoleon Dynamite Dance Perfectly 100 Days in a Row

TIME viral

Watch a Dramatic Reenactment of Lawyers Arguing about Photocopiers

Lawyers are not like the rest of us

Back in 1998, when President Bill Clinton was knee deep in grand jury testimony concerning allegations that he had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, the law-school-educated leader reached new heights of word-parsing when, in response to a question, he said: “That depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” The response is an example of how lawyers have a different understanding of the English language than the rest of us mere mortals.

This week, The New York Times produced a dramatic reenactment of a legal deposition in Ohio in which a lawyer hits a seemingly insurmountable hurdle when the man rebuts his line of questioning with another question, “When you say photocopying machine, what do you mean?”

Everything goes downhill from there, as the lawyer is dumbfounded by opposing counsel’s attempts to justify the fact that his client has no way of knowing what a photocopier in an office setting looks like. As the Times put it, the result was “a 10-page argument over the semantics of photocopiers.”

The debate was part of the Ohio Supreme Court Case 2010-2029, which had to do with the Cuyahoga County Recorder’s Office wanting to stop making digital files of their records. People would have to pay $2 per page for copies, and companies that collect public information would have been hit hard by this policy.

After two years and many depositions, the case never went to trial, and the court decided a $1 CD of the records should be made available. But now it lives on in this hilarious video:

 

LIST: Top 10 Unfortunate Political One-Liners

TIME society

How Conformity Became a Crime

The phrase "Basic Bitch" is the newest name for trend-followers, but why do we have so much contempt for fitting in?

Note: If you don’t like to read the “b-word,” you will not like this post.

Ten years ago today, somebody in the movie Mean Girls said “I saw Cady Heron wearing army pants and flip flops, so I bought army pants and flip flops,” and the “Basic Bitch” concept was born.

Nowadays a Basic Bitch would never be caught dead in army pants or flip flops, because alas, trends have changed, and a Basic is always on trend. The phrase doesn’t appear anywhere in Tina Fey’s 2004 cult classic and didn’t even show up on Urban Dictionary until 5 years after the film was released, but Mean Girls is the closest thing we have to a Basic Bitch origin story.

A Basic Bitch is a conventional girl who conforms to what all the other girls are doing, but doesn’t know she’s doing it. To be called “Basic” implies that you have made a gross miscalculation of your own specialness, that in fact you are not a twinkly snowflake, and your boringness is obvious to everyone. And in a social media climate that is all about self-branding and distinction, there’s a particular humiliation in being indistinguishable. Conventional girls have always existed, but they used to be called Cling-Ons or Wannabes. The naked contempt for trying so hard – the Basic Bitch – is something new.

Twitter’s on it:

How can you spot a “Basic Bitch?” She Instagrams her pumpkin-spice-latte with #caffeine. She bought a neon croptop from NastyGal to wear to Coachella. She takes quizzes to find out which guy from Sex and the City would be her perfect match. She’s “obsessed” with Taylor Swift and scented candles. She and her brethren are probably planning a Mean Girls-themed party to celebrate the anniversary tonight. In other words, a “basic bitch” is just your normal, conventional high school girl, except now she’s all grown up.

We’ve always had “Wannabes” who try to get into the “popular crowd” by wearing the same clothes, saying the same catchphrases, and liking the same music as all their friends. Rosalind Wiseman, who wrote Queen Bees and Wannabes (which inspired Mean Girls) says that most of this kind of conformity comes from teens being afraid to stand out. “When we’re being conventional, we’re doing it because we’re afraid of the consequences for being original,” she says.

But why have we gone from tolerating trend-followers to publicly shaming them?

Because the trend-following that was almost necessary in high school has become deeply uncool, even embarrassing, in adulthood. Most teenage Wannabes grow out of their desire to fit in. Basics don’t. They continue to resist originality in the pursuit of cool, which means they missed the memo that originality is cool.

The phrase first started appearing in hip-hop and rap lyrics in 2010 and 2011 to describe a particular kind of “fake” girl who loves imitation designer handbags. But in the last few years it’s expanded to become an umbrella put-down for a conformist girl who wears Uggs, ends her emails with inspirational quotes, and sends texts with lots of extra letterssssssss.

Of course, this whole “basic bitch” phenomenon is all about aesthetics. Basics wear conventionally popular clothes (PINK-brand sweatpants, NorthFace fleeces,) drink conventional drinks (lattes, Diet Coke, SkinnyGirl cocktails) listen to conventional music (Taylor, Miley) and do predictable things like Instagram their all-girls brunch.

But what’s so bad about having a tattoo of your astrological sign and then Instagramming it? All your friends are doing it after all.

And that’s exactly the problem. This CollegeHumor video gets it right; there’s nothing more pathetic than a grown woman who still wants to do only what all her friends are doing (ie eating scooped-out bagels and watching Teen Mom.) Or, as Kreayshawn put it in her 2011 hit “Gucci, Gucci, “basic bitches wear that shit so I don’t even bother.”

Wiseman says that the contempt for Basic Bitches makes it even harder for girls to walk that fine line between fitting in and standing out. “The irony of the ‘Basic Bitch’ thing is that it says ‘you’re trying too hard because you’re buying certain brands,’ but we’re all being told constantly to buy those brands,” she says. “There’s a fine line between being cutting-edge ‘cool’ and cutting-edge ‘you’re a freak.’”

And even out of high school, calling someone “Basic” comes with its own social power. “It’s like saying, ‘you think you’re so special but you’re not, you’re nothing,'” as Wiseman puts it. “‘And I get to determine and name that.’”

But even though Basic Bitch is a sneer at trend-followers, some people are actually trying to re-claim the term in a positive way, and start a whole new trend. The Guardian and VICE have published essays defending the Basic Bitch, poet Nicole Steinberg has written a poem about being one, and even Spiderman star Emma Stone has begun to jokingly refer to herself as “The Bland Basic Bitch,” because someone called her that online.

Of course, actual Basics would never be self-aware enough to joke about the term, because one of the qualities of Basic-ness is a complete lack of irony. So will Basics ever reclaim the term and become the new Plastics? Probably not. But they can keep trying.

TIME society

All MIT Undergrads Will Get Bitcoins When They Start This Fall

Bitcoin
A photo illustration of a model Bitcoin in Berlin on April 25, 2014. Thomas Trutschel—Getty Images

Just stay off the deep web

The MIT Bitcoin Club — because of course there is an MIT Bitcoin Club — has a very important announcement to make. Come fall, all 4,528 undergraduate will be treated to $100 in bitcoin to spend however they please with the goal of creating a functional cryptocurrency ecosystem on campus.

“Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the internet era,” sophomore Jeremy Rubin said in a statement. He and MIT Bitcoin Club president Dan Elitzer (all hail) raised a whopping $500,000 to bring this project to life. Most of the cash came from an MIT alum who works as a high-frequency trader on Wall Street.

Although there are currently only two restaurants in Cambridge that accept bitcoin, the hope is that more businesses will find ways to start accepting the currency. The idea is that the more people use bitcoin, the higher the likelihood that it will survive as a viable payment model.

“We’re trying to seed an ecosystem and see what emerges,” Elitzer told VentureBeat. “That’s how startups work.”

TIME Food & Drink

Restaurant Tries to Make Dining Alone Less Awkward by Seating Patrons with Giant Stuffed Animals

Much less conspicuous

Ever feel self-conscious eating out alone? Moomin Café in Tokyo has recently gone viral because gigantic stuffed animals are seated across the table from solo diners in an attempt to reduce any discomfort.

Waiters enthusiastically pair parties of one with characters from a Finnish picture book series.

While a dining partner that looks like a hippopotamus certainly won’t make your table any less conspicuous, will you really be worried about other people’s opinions when you have this punim resting over your pancakes?

Some of the meals appear to be inspired by the stuffed animals, too:

This restaurant might even be more magical than the cat cafe that opened in New York.

(h/t: First We Feast)

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