TIME Magazine Ruined Herpes Journalism. Here’s How To Fix It.

Ella Dawson

coverIn 1982, TIME Magazine published a very special cover story: “The New Scarlet Letter.” In five dense pages full of salacious personal anecdotes and some incredibly horrifying doctoral testimonies, TIME set the standard for herpes journalism. I read the entire piece with my friend (and this site’s editor) Gabe Rosenberg so that you don’t have to. Because you shouldn’t. It’s really bad.

Special shoutout to my dad, who found an original copy of the publication on eBay for my birthday. The article is available online behind a paywall here. I’m including scans of sections of the article to provide context.

Ella: What’s your initial reaction to this bad boy?

Gabe: That whoever wrote and researched this piece (COUGH MAUREEN DOWD COUGH) has some great hatred for the “sexual revolution” and wanted to make it seem like herpes was God’s great reckoning for women’s sexual freedom. You see that in the…

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Amy Winehouse Stories

the literate lens

Amy Winehouse doing what she did best. Photo by Yui Mok/PA Amy Winehouse doing what she did best. Photo by Yui Mok/PA

The death of singer Amy Winehouse in 2011, at the tragically young age of twenty-seven, was big news. I remember hearing about it and being shocked, and having a friend tell me about the “27 Club” to which Winehouse had the dubious honor of gaining entry. The name refers to the fact that many hugely talented musicians—including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain—also died at twenty-seven, an age at which many people are just getting their careers off the ground.

Four years later, Winehouse is having a cultural moment. A documentary about her life, simply called Amy, is on wide release and has been getting a lot of press. Meanwhile, an exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, Amy Winehouse: A Family Portraitopens an intimate album on Winehouse, allowing us to view…

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OCD and I

Ellen's OCD Blog

OCD and I.

For as long as I can remember, you have been a part of my life. No matter the time, the location or the season, you were always there, instilling negativity and horror with every step I took. I was haunted by your ever growing existence, yet I clung onto you as if my life depended on it. You influenced my every decision, I couldn’t function without your presence. Yes, maybe I could walk down the left side of the pavement without the inevitable consequence of my loved ones dying, but you would slowly trickle those all too familiar thoughts of doubt into my mind. Infecting every corridor of rational thinking and slowly poisoning that small, sacred part of independence I had left. Then whispering those all too familiar words, echoing through my being. “What if Ellen, what if.” My internal dialogue screaming at you to stop, but…

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The s-word

Guts of a Beggar

Corbyn2

Once upon a time, not so long ago, it was perfectly respectable to call oneself a socialist. It was a badge that one might wear with pride alongside the likes of Albert Einstein, George Orwell and Bertrand Russell. Nowadays, for reasons we’ll come to in a moment, to call oneself a socialist is to risk being perceived as some sort of cartoon amalgam of Arthur Scargill, Wolfie Smith, Derek Hatton, and Rik from The Young Ones. I have a neighbour who thinks it hilarious to tell people as a matter of routine that I am a fan of Joseph Stalin. Happily, I know that you’re not that stupid, so here goes.

I am a socialist. By that I mean that I believe in the socialism of Bevan and Beveridge, the socialism that gave us nationalised utilities, the NHS and the welfare state. Over the past couple of decades, since…

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Who I Am, Who I Am Not

radical eyes for equity

I am not Howard Zinn.

That likely is unnecessary to state, and may seem a passive-aggressive statement of arrogance, but recently several people have challenged black men’s work and perspectives (notably Ta-Nehisi Coates) by noting “he is not James Baldwin.”

My relatively recent personal/professional blog presence is named the becoming radical based on Zinn’s central claim about his role as teacher/activist:

When I became a teacher I could not possibly keep out of the classroom my own experiences. . . .Does not the very fact of that concealment teach something terrible—that you can separate the study of literature, history, philosophy, politics, the arts, from your own life, your deepest convictions about right and wrong?. . .In my teaching I never concealed my political views. . . .I made clear my abhorrence of any kind of bullying, whether by powerful nations over weaker ones, governments over their citizens, employers…

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The Effort of Not Wearing Makeup

BINARYTHIS

article-1041224-0228AC4600000578-286_634x942 Makeup brushes are the worst. So. Much. Work.

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with a skin condition called melasma and an eye disorder called ocular rosacea. What this amounts to is having brown patches of skin, and red bloodshot eyes. It’s fair to say that 2015 has not been a great year for my face.

The melasma has meant I’ve had to coat myself in serums and sunscreen everyday, leading to vampirically pale skin. The rosacea has also meant I’ve had to stop wearing makeup altogether. Of course I can still wear lipstick, but not if I want to kiss my girlfriend often, which I do (this is another femme dilemma for another time). I’ve gone from someone who used to wear smokey eyes at breakfast, to a blankly pale-faced person.

The whole thing has been quite unsettling. But it’s also taught me a few lessons about my relationship to beauty…

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Jon Stewart, Meet Me At Camera Three

American Nomad

Like many fans and critics, I’ve been preemptively nostalgic about the impending end of Jon Stewart’s tenure on The Daily Show. When Jon announced his retirement, I was astonished and moved. From my adolescence until now, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show was a constant, a salvo, an adult version of a bed-time story. Particularly in the Bush years, but equally today, it has been an oasis of sanity in an ever-darkening geopolitical climate and an ever-sensationalized media landscape.

For someone who came of voting age just eleven months after 9/11 and who came into the workforce during the Great Recession, it has been reassuring to hear a voice of truth and humor cutting through the bullshit and the darkness and telling me: “You’re not alone. There is still sanity somewhere. As long as we all know this is fucked up, and we acknowledge it, all is not lost.” …

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The Scab of Grief

A Pict in PA

Six years ago today, I gave birth to my fourth son.  It was one of the worst days of my life.

Today is my baby boy’s sixth birthday.  As he was stillborn, today is also the sixth anniversary of his death.

In the immediate aftermath of his loss, I wondered how I could ever face moving forward, aching with emptiness as I was.  But life does go on.  As much as I felt an overwhelming compulsion to never leave home ever again, the weight of grief sitting so heavily on me, I had three other children to take care of.  I had to pick up and get on with it.  I had to keep going for them.  My living children were the life that goes on.  Life is to be lived for the living and that is what we do.  Our lost baby is very much a part of our family:…

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Jack the Ripper, ‘interesting history’ and masculine violence

Lauren Johnson

The revelation that a museum promising to be ‘the only dedicated resource in the East End to women’s history’ is instead opening as a Jack the Ripper Museum – telling the story of a Victorian serial killer – has rightly sparked outrage and astonishment. But eschewing social history in favour of misogyny and murder is far from uncommon in our public historical storytelling. One of those behind this museum, Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, explained his decision to change its focus:

‘We did plan to do a museum about social history of women but as the project developed we decided a more interesting angle was from the perspective of the victims of Jack the Ripper.’

(You can read more of the original planning application here.)JRM pic

This project is only the furthest extreme of a general trend in historical presentation, which takes ‘interesting history’ to mean ‘violent and masculine’. I had…

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The adblocking revolution is months away (with iOS 9) – with trouble for advertisers, publishers and Google

The Overspill: when there's more that I want to say


The thing about print adverts was that they stayed where they were. Photo by Bethan on Flickr.

TL:DR: when Apple’s iOS 9 comes out in September, there’s going to be a dramatic uptake of ad blockers on iOS – and it’s going to have far-reaching effects not just on websites and advertisers, but potentially also on the balance in mobile platforms and even on Google’s revenues.

Now, the longer version.

Remember newspapers?

In the old days, adverts appeared in print, on the radio and on the TV. Most ad-supported news organisations that have shifted to the internet began in print.

Ads in print were straightforward. Advertisers bought space, and editors could turn them down, or sometimes decide not to run them if a story broke that would bring about an awkward juxtaposition of, say, the advert for a shoe store on page 3 and the big breaking story now…

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