Yesterday, I scrolled through my Instagram feed and instead of the usual IG fare of selfies, food, weekend scenery, art, and fashion, I spied a plethora of videos in which people dumped ice water on their heads to raise money for ALS. Now if you don’t know about the ice water bucket challenge, it has gripped social media like crazy, garnering popularity and 15.6 million in donations in less than a month, all in the name of ALS research and awareness. Celebrities have really taken to this challenge, with powerhouses like LeBron James, Oprah, and even Joseline Hernandez and Stevie J participating.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, however, is different, because it’s not going away. The challenge started in July, at least in its present incarnation, but it wasn’t until Aug. 13 that the ALS Association put out its first press release about the phenomenon. The charity tallied $5.7 million in donations in the two weeks between July 29 (when my friend John Carney took the challenge) and Aug. 13; it boasted that “everyone from Ethel Kennedy to Justin Timberlake” had participated.
Will: I started going to the gym regularly in high school, but looking back on things I just kinda dicked around the gym for a solid five years. There was always some “lifting” involved but it was mostly cardio/ metabolic-conditioning based. I tried a bunch of different routines and approaches but I simply saw so results. I figured I was doing something wrong but I just didn’t know what.
Noam Chomsky, the renowned socialist intellectual, believes that human society will eventually transition to vegetarianism due to concern for animals. Chomsky’s academic influence is hard to overstate. According to the Chicago Tribune, in 1993 he was “the most often cited living author. Among intellectual luminaries of all eras, Chomsky placed eighth, just behind Plato and Sigmund Freud.”
I am half--Canadian and half--American. I grew up mostly in Canada and thus have always had public--run health care in my life. I knew nothing about health insurance companies and all of their fine--print and evil until recently. Since coming to the US, I have not yet come into close contact with the American system since I have been mostly healthy aside from a baseball--related injury here and there.
All of the above are heinous and insidiously intertwined manifestations of a dominant culture constructed on the foundation of privilege and hierarchy… but only one of them is directly responsible for the murder of 53 billion land animals per year. Only one of them is directly responsible for deforestation, topsoil depletion, overfishing, water pollution, corporate control of the food chain, unspeakable animal cruelty, and so much more.
This is a glimpse into a process of investigation into ourselves and each other. It’s neither the beginning nor the end and so it’s open to change. It’s never static. For now, at least, it’s the culmination of a year of conversations around what it might look like to be part of a movement that cultivates an environment of collective and self-care, support, revolutionary love and self-determination. The opinions that will follow are my own but i will use the word ‘we’ throughout this piece to reflect that these ideas were inspired by others and created through conversation and dialogue. I take responsibility for them but am open to suggestions and the possibility that they will change where better versions replace them.
I was born in 1953, the year that Guy Debord wrote “NEVER WORK!” on the walls of Paris and the dictator Stalin died, leaving some people with the illusion that the so-called socialist paradise really existed.
There’s been an exhibition dedicated to Guy Debord at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) ever since 27 March and, from the distance of sixty years, I can see how Debord and his art of war (Carl von Clausewitz) have influenced me as a dermatologist in my battles against skin disease.
Forty years ago today, March 1, 1973 I became a vegetarian. I was 16. There was no glorious last supper before my truce-ifixion with non-human beings – my farewell to flesh was a leftover bologna sandwich.