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Open toes, the end of hope and the king of camming

There’s no delicate way to describe the police killings that occurred in Baton Rouge and St. Paul this past week. Two more black Americans dead because of minor or imagined infractions — and because they were black. One was a father; the other a beloved employee at a school cafeteria.

Writer Alex Gray reflected on how it feels to be black in America today. “I used to think if I acted a certain way around cops, that I would perhaps stay alive… But it seems as though no matter how polite I am, there’s nothing I can do to appear less of a threat to those conditioned to be threatened by my appearance.”

Read his essay here.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Yes, men’s feet are often vile, but is that why so many people insist they should always avoid flip-flops? Alana Levinson investigates whether and when it’s okay for guys to show a little toe.

Check out the full article here.

THREE QUESTIONS

Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe explicitly ban raising money for “the defense or support of anyone alleged to be involved in criminal activity.” So there’s not much in the way of financial or political support to keep LGBTQ people out of prison, where they are disproportionately subject to violence. That may be about to change. Activist and writer Grace Dunham, along with collaborators Blaine O’Neill and Rye Skelton of the web agency Jodie, recently announced plans for a crowdfunding tool that will serve LGBTQ prisoners raising money for bail or other expenses. MEL caught up with them to learn more about the project they’re calling Support.fm.

Where did this idea come from?

Grace: I had noticed a lot of close friends and people that I’ve been connected to through organizing putting up campaigns which were shut down a day later. Or putting up campaigns and then the next day being like, “Fuck. We raised $5,000, but you took it down and we’re screwed.”

It seems like part of the project is about educating people about the fact that prison issues are LGBTQ issues. Is it hard to make that connection for people?

Blaine: People get caught up on individual cases sometimes and I think we’re trying to create this blanket statement that in the prison system, gender is not respected the way it should be, that these individuals are marginalized and we need to help them get bail.

A lot of tech companies have a narrative about wanting to change the world. How do you riff on that while making it authentic?

Rye: Having been in that culture for a while, it’s pretty male-dominated. I think with Grace having that political dialogue — in conjunction with the organizations and the tech background that Blaine and I have — we’ll sort of avoid falling into that bro-y tech trap. That’s just not us as people.

Read the full interview here.

MEL FILMS

On our way to shooting a story about a woman whose job it is to watch porn all day, we captured the essence of Sofia, Bulgaria and picked up a decommissioned Soviet Missile for $53 in an antique shop.

Watch our video-postcard here.

Things We Found Out About When an Animal Attacks…Your Penis

A few notes from our latest research hole.

  1. Naturally, we begin with a snake. In late May, a 10-foot python crawled from 38-year-old Atthaporn Boonmakchuay’s squat toilet in his home in Thailand and latched onto his penis. There are conflicting reports about what happened next.
  2. In at least two cases, the amputation occurred in male infants — one was 5 months old (he was bitten by a dog, with no details as to how or why); another was 9 months old (he was mauled by a street dog). For both of them, once the wound was properly treated, doctors recommended “feminizing genitoplasty” (i.e., gender reassignment surgery).
  3. But why end on a downer? After all, there’s one kind of insect bite that might actually be good for you dick — that of the Brazilian wandering spider. “[An] erection is a side effect that everybody who gets stung by this spider will experience along with the pain and discomfort,” an expert in the spider presented to the American Physiological Society back in 2007.

Check out the rest of the list here.

COMIC RELIEF

Check out some of our other post-presidency retirement options here.

THREE MORE PIECES TO KEEP YOU RELEVANT

Into the Black: How an Air Force Engineer Paid off His and His Mother’s Debts

Jason Lowery tackled his debt with a Muhammad Ali quote and one hell of a spreadsheet

Whither Professional Cuddling?

The industry is thriving, but some businesses are blurring the line between snuggles and sex work

Why Do People Stay in Toxic Relationships?

Research supports the idea that miserable relationships are bad for people, but breaking up is hard to do

FROM THE MEL ARCHIVE

Brock Lesnar is headlining UFC 200. In May, we interviewed one of the three men who beat Lesnar in a wrestling match back when they were at the University of Minnesota.

Check out the interview here.

CLOSING SHOT

Not all cam boys are created equal. Read how Brett rose to the top here.