friday five 6.2.17

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1. speaking in fascism's tongues

A really interesting piece about how language shapes our perception of the world, like the use of "salvaged" in exchange for tortured or killed under martial law in the Philippines. It's a good reminder of the necessity of shock and outrage in tumultuous times, the importance of not normalizing oppression. Especially with the English lexicon, which changes rapidly along with the pace of our culture, we may dismiss it as insignificant, but it's subtle changes like these that allow countries to remain under dictators for decades.

When norms shift, one of the first things to change is language. In a fascist world, shocking neologisms become everyday speech.

2. police are allegedly sleeping with sex workers before arresting them

Absolutely disgusting. I think as police corruption is splashed into the American consciousness, we become aware of exactly how much authority figures can get away with. The sex worker industry is especially controversial, because while there are people who participate in it voluntarily, there are many who are forced into it out of desperation. And the fact that these people are taken advantage of like this, with so little regard for human dignity, is maddening.

3. food photography: over the years

I always say that in another life, I'd be a food stylist. It honestly brings me so much joy. It's like the modern-day equivalent of flower arrangement. But it's also amazing that something so presumably trivial or frivolous can be so highly technical and have such a significant cultural impact.

4. pain, satin and paper towels: what it takes for ballerinas to dance on their toes

People made fun of the Washington Post's new tagline for being melodramatic ("Democracy Dies in Darkness"), but it's one of those newspapers right now that I feel really gets it. And this is just a really gorgeous piece of quality feature writing. I love hearing about peoples' passions, and what kind of work goes into their day-to-day in order to pursue those passions. Dance is particularly amazing, because it's about training your body to do very unnatural things for the sake of art and beauty.

5. ray spencer didn't molest his kids. so why did he spend 20 years in prison for it?

Memory is one of my absolute favorite things to talk about (this Friday Five may as well be called the "Things I Am Really Passionate About Edition"). I'm not even joking. I think it's so crazy, especially false memory. The rationalization power of the human brain is so strong that we can literally create events that never happened. And it's wild that memory is something that we use on to define our experience and shape our personalities, but it's so easily manipulated or falsified. And our reliance on it reveals the very flawed nature of our justice system, when it's mistaken, which it often is.