One hundred years ago, Joe Knowles stripped down to his jockstrap, said goodbye to civilization, and marched off into the woods to prove his survival skills. He was the reality star of his day. For eight weeks, rapt readers followed his adventures in the Boston Post, for whom he was filing stories on birch bark. When he finally staggered out of the wild, looking like a holdover from the Stone Age, he returned home to a hero’s welcome. That’s when things got interesting.
The real example of courage in this story, however, comes from Portman’s son Will, who is twenty-one years old. Will Portman came out to his parents over two years ago. Imagine what it was like to be a Yale freshman (as he was at the time), coming to terms with your sexual orientation and having to come out to your father, one of the most prominent conservative members of the national political party that has historically been identified with opposing the rights of the group to which you now belong. (I remember how it felt to come out as the gay son of a prominent anti-gay psychiatrist.) Then imagine, after sharing this intimate part of yourself with your parents, watching your father be publicly vetted for Vice-President on the ticket of someone whose anti-gay-rights views were being widely reported on. In his Op-Ed, Portman wrote about learning that Will was gay:
He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he was. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he was gay, but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.
Aujourd’hui, Rob Portman, sénateur républicain de l’Ohio, soutient l’ouverture du mariage à tous les couples. Pourquoi? Son fils Will a fait son coming-out il y a deux ans, comme le raconte le sénateur sur CNN.
With Bea, I just remember how vulnerable she was. She had this gruff exterior. But the truth is, if you told her a sad story, she could be reduced to tears, quickly. She had a lot of emotions inside. And her persona was one of someone strong and gruff. But that’s not who the woman inside was.
Aujourd’hui, dans la mort, son refus du compromis prend un nouveau visage. C’était un idéaliste, et ses nombreux projets —achevés et inachevés— sont un témoignage des barrières qu’il avait mises à bas et de celles qu’il tentait de repousser. C’est l’héritage d’Aaron Swartz: quand il pensait que quelque chose était cassé, il essayait de réparer. S’il échouait, il essayait de réparer autre chose.
Huit ou neuf mois avant sa mort, Swartz fit une fixation sur Infinite Jest, l’énorme et complexe roman de David Foster Wallace. Il pensait pouvoir démêler les fils de l’intrigue et les assembler en un tout cohérent et facilement décomposable.
C’était un problème difficile, mais il pensait pouvoir le résoudre. Comme son ami Seth Schoen l’écrivit après sa mort, Swartz pensait qu’il était possible «d’arranger le monde principalement en l’expliquant soigneusement aux gens».
Ce n’est pas que Swartz ait été plus intelligent que la moyenne, explique Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman —il posait simplement de meilleures questions. Projet après projet, il enquêtait et bricolait jusqu’à extirper les réponses qu’il cherchait. Mais au final, il s’est retrouvé avec un problème insoluble, un système qui n’avait pas de sens.
Bonne traduction d’un bon portrait. C’est marrant ce petit sentiment de malaise qu’on ne peut s’empêcher de ressentir face à l’histoire de personnes comme ça, qui arrivaient à regarder derrière le rideau et qui ont tant fait en si peu de temps. Nous sommes tellement dans le brouillard, mais ceux qui arrivent à voir plus loin le payent tellement cher.
A man named John Atkinson wrote a blog post titled “Why Am I So Upset About Aaron Swartz’s Suicide?” in which he asked himself why the death of someone he didn’t know, and had never heard of until his arrest, had affected him so profoundly, when most tragedies in the news—wars, natural disasters, school shootings—left him cold. “Aaron Swartz is what I wish I was,” he wrote. “I am a bright technologist, but I’ve never built anything of note. I have strong opinions about how to improve this world, but I’ve never acted to bring them to pass. I have thoughts every day that I would share with the world, but I allow my fears to convince me to keep them to myself. If I were able to stop being afraid of what the world would think of me, I could see myself making every decision that Aaron made that ultimately led to his untimely death. This upsets me immensely. I am upset that we have a justice system that would persecute me the way it did Aaron. I am upset that I have spent 27 years of my life having made no discernible difference to the world around me.”
The Academy is supposedly a trade group, and yet it devoted its opening number to degrading a good part of its membership. And who knows what the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus thought that it was doing by serving as MacFarlane’s backup singers, but it’s hard not to wonder what the rhetorical point was meant to be. We saw your boobs, but that’s not even what we find attractive, so you exerted no power in doing so—all you did was humiliate yourself? Maybe that’s reading too much into it. It could be that MacFarlane just thought it would be funny for him to say the word “gay” as often as possible.
Seth MacFarlance était l’hôte des Oscars 2013 et comme je le disais hier, voir des pédés utilisés sur scène pour essayer de nous faire croire que les blagues n’étaient pas sexistes, ça m’a beaucoup gêné aussi. Et le principal problème de ces blagues, c’était bien sûr qu’elles n’étaient pas drôles du tout.
Now, Seth MacFarlane is thirty-nine, and I am—barely—a part of the generation that he’s supposed to be appealing to. But I felt nostalgic last night for the Academy Awards of yore, when I sat on a couch with friends and watched everyone be glamorous and semi-respectable and we got to be gross and snarky. MacFarlane broke through that boundary last night, and suddenly the bitter asshole on the couch was up there on the stage, lost somewhere between a big smile and a sneer.
Ideally, racism online should be countered by real, in-person conversations between the offender and a more enlightened friend, family member, teacher, neighbor—someone, anyone who can explain what’s wrong about hating someone for being different than you. Oftentimes, however, those people don’t exist or aren’t around at the right moment, and the rest of the Internet-using public is all a racist’s got. But that’s not necessarily the worst outcome. Thinking prejudiced thoughts, even letting them slide out into the world, isn’t an unforgivable offense. The real tragedy would be allowing them to go undiscussed.
Dino: Lee, when did you find out about your HIV status? Lee: I was adamant about getting my HIV status checked on a regular basis. On March 16, 2012, I tested negative. Then, in May of 2012 my test results came back positive. I knew it had been my boyfriend who infected me. I later learned he had been HIV positive and was not taking medication and had not bothered to tell me about it. I was advised that I should press charges and, hesitantly, I did. It was the right thing to do.
Dino: What happened to your ex? Lee: He is serving a 5-year sentence. I would have been cool with his HIV status if he had been honest. I don’t have an issue with the disease. I would have known how to protect myself.
Se faire tester n’est pas une mesure de protection contre le VIH, hein. Et visiblement, il n’a pas de problème avec l’idée de faire emprisonner son ex. J’espère qu’il y pensera la prochaine fois qu’il baisera avec un mec sans lui dire qu’il est séropo. Parce que ça va arriver, à un moment ou un autre. On demande aux séropos d’être «out» tout en n’interrogeant pas le stigmate que cela représente, ni par ailleurs l’accès aux soins dans un pays comme les États-Unis. Ce qui n’excuse pas le mensonge et l’absence de protection. Mais je continue à penser que la place d’un séropositif n’est pas en prison.
(Je me demande au passage si le verdict aurait été le même si l’ex avait pris un traitement.)
Even if someone is HIV+ and has sex with someone who is, on trust alone, HIV-, does that person behave in a way that is so willfully negligent, so reprehensibly reckless that he deserves jail time next to pedophiles and rapists? And, where do the legal boundaries exist in establishing this recklessness? Is oral sex enough to satisfy this requirement even though we have not had a single case of oral sex transmission without the coincidence of anal sex, needle sharing, or open wounds in the oral cavity? If someone is on HIV medication, with an undetectable viral load and, thereby, no statistically significant ability to transmit the HIV virus, is he still reckless for not disclosing in excruciating detail to every single sex partner his confidential health information?
Pendant que Susan Rice bagarre, Hillary Clinton fait sa tournée d’adieux. Il n’est pas prévu qu’elle quitte son poste avant l’investiture du 21 janvier (pour autant que son successeur soit confirmé par le sénat), mais le tout-Washington se l’arrache.
— « La diplomatie et le développement ne sont pas toujours prestigieux », a-t-elle dit, en citant Max Weber.
« Voilà un moment qui résume cela pour moi », a-t-elle raconté : c’était en décembre 2009, à la réunion de Copenhague sur le climat. Les négociations allaient mal, les gens s’énervaient. Une nuit, tous les chefs d’Etat étaient serrés dans une petite salle, la séance avait été particulièrement frustrante. Ils se sont précipités dehors à 2 heures du matin. Les dirigeants attendaient leurs voitures qui n’arrivaient pas.
— « Nous étions debout, là, quand Nicolas Sarkozy a levé les yeux au ciel, dans la froide nuit danoise, exaspéré. Et il a déclaré : ‘Je veux mourir’. C’était aussi le sentiment de tout le monde. »
Tout la salle a ri, c’était tellement Sarkozy.
When the videos were over (and as the evening moved on), there was much chatter about what Clinton would do after she steps down from the Cabinet next month—get a haircut; take a few weeks sleeping off jet lag at Canyon Ranch; read the polls and the political landscape; do good works; do good works for the good people of, say, Iowa—and so on. Everyone had a theory of which they were one hundred percent certain. There wasn’t much doubt about the ultimate direction. 2007-8 was but a memory and 2016 was within sight. She’s running.
All kinds of circumstances could intervene between now and 2016 to derail her—politics, health, family matters, a renewed Clinton fatigue—but Hillary’s numbers are enormous, her ambition equal to her capacities, and she was in high political gear.