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A Trump-Endorsed ‘Pyramid Scheme,’ The Faux Feminism of ‘Dark Phoenix’ and Sweat, Baby Sweat

Dang, not being able to sweat sounds like a real bummer. But when you consider what’s actually in sweat, maybe less of the stuff isn’t half bad? Which is to say, welcome to Sweat Week! Things are liable to get a bit moist around here over the next few days, and I’m not just talking from the weather.

I’m talking about your nether regions.

Must Read

“These British South Asian Men Got Screwed by a Trump-Endorsed ‘Pyramid Scheme’”
On its website, the American Communications Network, or ACN, describes itself as a “home-based business without risk” selling “essential services that people already use and pay for.” But don’t get it twisted — ACN is a scam masquerading as a multi-level marketing business, and business is booming. Strangely enough, though, ACN has found that the demographic most likely to buy into its barely legal scheme aren’t Americans, they’re foreigners, particularly South Asian men in the U.K. And after they’ve paid the exorbitant up-front cost to get started, they’re finding that ACN’s products aren’t “essential services” — the products are them. READ MORE

A Film Critic On… ‘Dark Phoenix’

On what it is: “Jean Grey (played by Sophie Turner) is infused with a power that starts to change her personality. She becomes increasingly powerful, and because Jean can’t control these powers, she’s now a looming danger [the other X-Men] can’t contain. And so, they may have to destroy her before she destroys the planet.”

On ‘Dark Phoenix’s ‘Is this feminism?’-meme mentality:Dark Phoenix gives us a Jean who quickly becomes a symbol rather than a person. She represents lots of things — amorphous ‘female empowerment,’ mostly — but as conceived in the film, she’s not a particularly interesting character.”

On the film going for ‘woke,’ but coming up broke: “It’s bitterly ironic how much the mighty X-Men get all ‘Women be shopping!’ as soon as they can’t control the normally docile Jean.”

On trying to say something profound about female empowerment, but ultimately coming up short: “Jean gets to be a completely toothless hero who saves the day without ever disrupting the status quo.”

On three words to describe the movie: “Well-intentioned,” “misguided” and “patronizing.”

To read Tim Grierson’s review of Dark Phoenix, click here — including why he’s had enough of the “traumatic car crash” trope; why Jessica Chastain’s theory about her character makes the film at least 15 percent better; and a brief story about the emergency alarm that went off during the last 10 minutes of his screening.

I Wanna See You Sweat

Sweat: What is it? Conventional wisdom suggests it’s mostly water, and from the taste of it when it annoyingly drips down into your mouth, salt, but is that it? Nay:

Lol at “carbohydrates” and “protein,” those nebulous byproducts your body can’t figure out what to do with, so it pushes out your pores instead. What I’m more worried about is “urea,” which sounds suspiciously like what comes out of your weiner when you pee.

Speaking of Sweat…

…have you ever thought about what might happen if you couldn’t sweat anymore? Sure, sweating can be uncomfortable and humiliating, but those drawbacks pale in comparison to the world of hurt you’d be in if your body simply decided, “Nah, I’m good on that whole ‘sweating’ thing.

Press “F” to Pay Respects

Last week this nation solemnly celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when 150,000 Allied soldiers invaded Europe and began a campaign that, in concert with the Soviets’ own push in the East, would end World War II — or, so it appears. What we were really doing was perpetuating an ongoing dick-measuring contest over the proper way to honor our nation’s soldiers. It’s a deranged form of patriotism you may know as “respecting the troops,” and it’s so pervasive it’s practically become a meme.

A Father and Son Who Eat Soup Together, Stay Together

There’s a Korean saying that “age is measured in bowls of soup.” So it’s only natural that soup — in this case, a bowl of catfish soup from a small-town Mexican restaurant — would become the dish that bonded Korean-American Eddie Kim with his hardworking father. Kim recounts how the spicy stew became his most indelible memory of his dad, and why he hopes to share a bowl with his own son one day.

As American As Apple Pie

The “midlife crisis” isn’t this newfangled byproduct of an overworked, underpaid workforce saddled with too much student loan debt and not enough avocado toast — it’s far older than that. No, the midlife crisis is a result of a collective identity forged more than 240 years ago. In fact, you could argue that men in this country don’t have midlife crises because of unhappy marriages or shitty jobs, but because of our long-standing heritage of pursuing the “American Dream.”

Ow! My Sciatica

Quinn Myers knows a thing or two about chronic pain; he’s drank many a bottle and popped many a pill in the search for relief from the three herniated discs in his back. But chronic pain isn’t just physically debilitating — it’ll weigh on your mental health, too. Myers reached out to three men with stories similar to his to find out how they get through it.

P-P-Pet It Real Good

On its surface, the sole purpose of the Can You Pet the Dog? Twitter account appears to be to inform gamers of which new titles have li’l floofers you can play with.

In reality, however, there’s a higher purpose to the account: Fighting for fair labor practices in the video game industry. That’s because behind every pettable dog, there’s a developer who might have had to work extra unpaid hours to make it happen. Magdalene Taylor spoke to the anonymous account owner about abusive employer practices, the necessity of unions under capitalism, and of course, doggos.