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Sunday Reads: Peak CBD, the Anime-Girl Audio Economy and the Ongoing Horror of Mass Shootings

Back when CBD was just some newfangled trend creeping into the mainstream, my mom called me up. “Maggie, have you heard of that see-bee-dee stuff? I think they should put it in popsicles,” she told me. 

At the time, I thought she was crazy to suggest that some weird weed byproduct that didn’t even get you high belonged in a child’s idea of dessert. But it turns out I was the crazy one. I mean, CBD is now in everything — lube, hummus, toothpicks, and yes, even popsicles. Heck, the other day, my Lyft driver pitched me a freaking CBD pyramid scheme. 

America in the Crosshairs

Mental Health Laws Won’t Save Us From Mass Shooters
Mass shootings innately seem like acts of psychosis, because most of us can’t imagine plotting to murder indiscriminately. But the reality is that mass shooters are no more mentally ill than the rest of us. And so, the president’s favorite cure-all for such atrocities — stronger legislation around mental health — won’t have nearly the impact he and his supporters think. READ MORE

What Do We Do About the Violence of Lonely Young Men?
You don’t need to be a sociologist to see that the killers committing the country’s most violent acts of domestic terror are almost exclusively troubled, lonely young men. And while it’s important to talk about tangible ways to fix mass shootings via gun control, it’s also important that we consider our epidemic of loneliness — and the story of young men who kill in order to feel seen. READ MORE

There Is Nothing Left To Say
Another weekend, another senseless tragedy at the hands of a disturbed person with a gun — scratch that, two. Yet with each new shooting, politicians and the media resort to the same tired rhetoric, the same empty promises and the same bullshit condolences, always searching for some new spin to explain what happened. But as Miles Klee writes, we don’t need a “conversation” about guns anymore, because there’s nothing worth saying that hasn’t already been said. All that’s left is revolution. READ MORE

The Week in Features

That’s No Moon
You know the theory that director Stanley Kubrick conspired with NASA to film the moon landing in a Hollywood studio? Amateur hour. Any moon truther worth their salt knows that the moon doesn’t even exist, and what we perceive as the “moon” is actually a giant alien spaceship. Zaron Burnett III interviewed paranormal investigator and “alternative moon theory” expert Rob Shelsky about the merits of the Spaceship Moon hypothesis, and how some of organized religion’s most hallowed texts might actually be accounts of humanity’s interactions with these aliens.

The Loli Voice Economy
On VRChat, a virtual reality community, it’s easy for guys to appear like their favorite anime girl — they simply change their avatar. But sounding like a cute anime girl is trickier when you’re hooked up to a real-life microphone. To solve that problem, men are hiring teen girls on Fiverr to make recordings using their best “loli” (short for Lolita) voice. While it’s mostly just a troll, it’s a potentially harmful one, veering into the decidedly not-cute worlds of pedophilia and transphobia.

The Delight of Citizen’s Arrest Fails
The citizen’s arrest was originally conceived as a means of detaining criminals in regions with little to no police force. Today, despite living in what amounts to a surveillance state, some people still consider it their moral duty to invoke their right to attempt a citizen’s arrest — even for the most inconsequential of crimes. Hilariously, though, these power-trippers usually end up awkwardly failing. And while these fails are totally cringe-worthy, they’re a helluva lot of fun to watch.

Anti-Immigration Immigrants
You might think that those who have experienced America’s harsh immigration policies firsthand would be sympathetic to the plight of others trying to make their own way into the country. But that’s not always the case. Andrew Fiouzi investigates the phenomenon of recent immigrants who also happen to be anti-immigration.

The Sad Songs of Superman
Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster to be an icon of hope. But judging by the music made about the superhero, he might as well be an icon of sadness.

You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers

Q: Who decided it was cool for every man working a deli counter to call every male customer “chief”?
A: It was the French. Here’s even more origin stories of every popular dude-ly nickname.

Q: Should I be more concerned about the string of ants lining my kitchen counter, or the errant cockroach in my bathroom at night?
A: Definitely cockroaches. But there are even worse bugs likely scurrying around your house to worry about.

Q: How did Facebook groups, even wholesome ones like ‘Dads With Daughters,’ become so toxic?
A: Blame Facebook’s own TV spots, and the men’s rights activists that saw them.

But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It…