SundayReads_OK

Sunday Reads: Why the ‘OK’ Hand Sign is a Trap!, The Horny Guys Who Love the Splits and So Much ‘Joker’ Content

It’s Sunday, which means it’s time for me to continue working on my New Year’s resolution: To learn how to do the splits. 

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s no longer resolution season, but it’s even worse than that, because it’s not even this year’s resolution — I’ve been working on doing the splits for a decade, if not longer. I first made the splits my goal because I was taking dance lessons, and many of my peers were far more limber than me. Later, though, I just wanted a cool party trick. Why? Probably because I need therapy. Plus, everyone finds them dead sexy, even if they find it difficult to explain why.

Must Read

The ‘OK’ Hand Sign and the Hate Symbol Trap
“The internet is a game of making sure your opponent seems outraged, whereas you’re having fun.” So writes Miles Klee, who argues that to get “mad online” is to lose the contest. Nowhere has this been truer than with the “OK” hand sign, which was back in the news this week, making progressives mad and alt-right trolls laugh. Newsflash: It’s a trap, designed to distract us from the truly hateful and racist shit happening in the background — and we’re all falling for it. READ MORE

The Week in Features

America’s Hidden Abuse Problem
Without a doubt, domestic violence is as big a problem as we have in this country, the rates of which have increased heavily over the last 20 years. But what do you do when the abuser is your own child? Adolescent-to-parent violence has been dubbed “the most hidden form of family violence,” but one that accounts for 30 percent of violent offenders in juvenile detention facilities, according to one study. Even more disconcerting: The vast majority of victims are mothers.

What’s In A Name?
Color us confused that an expectant couple can gleefully give their child embarrassing-ass rich-people names like “Fanny,” “Humphrey,” “Mortimer” and “Edwina,” but as soon as you opt for “low-class” names like “2nd,” “Yeah Detroit,” “Keenan Got Lucy” and “4Real,” entire governments get their panties in a twist?

Hainanese Chicken Soup for the Soul
Videos of people in rural Chinese communities preparing local cuisine don’t just offer an educational peak inside China’s massive and delicious culinary culture — they’re also strangely calming

The Tragic Lives of Sex-Crime Investigators
LAPD Detective Nadine Hernandez was as close as it gets to a real-life Olivia Benson, and among the top cops in one of the nation’s most elite sex-crimes units when she took her own life at the age of 44. Though her suicide was a shock to her loved ones, it highlighted a troubling reality for women in her line of work: Female police officers are four times more likely than women in the general population to die by suicide. 

‘The Great Depresh’
Comedians and depression have long walked hand-in-hand. But few have devoted much time to discussing the process of crawling out of that depression. After all, therapy, antidepressants and psychiatric hospitals just don’t seem that funny. They definitely can be though. Gary Gulman’s new HBO special is proof positive.

On Tweeting Through It 

Marvel’s Evil “Nice Guy”
Before Thanos became the supervillain who wiped out half of humanity, his villainy leaned more in the “Nice Guy” direction. In the comics, in fact, Thanos is portrayed as sort of a proto-incel, constantly being creepy to the women in his life. Per MEL contributor Brendan McGinley, “If you had to summarize ‘The Thanos Quest’ in basic Nice Guy terms, it’s a book about a guy who thinks a woman’s affections automatically unlock after a certain amount of due diligence.” Basically, toxic sexual politics dictate the Marvel Universe

Love That ‘Joker’

‘Joker’s Todd Phillips Problem
Making Joker in this current political climate is somewhat concerning in and of itself, but somehow, the dark origin story manages to be a terrific, thought-provoking film about violence and mental health. And yet, there’s still something holding it back: Director Todd Phillips. Best known for comedies like The Hangover and Old School, Phillips’ usual fare rarely deals with the types of subject matter that Joker attempts to dissect. And so, he’s a bit in over his head when attempting to articulate what exactly his film is trying to say.

The ‘Batman’ Barometer
Batman might be the beloved big-screen, small-screen and comic-book hero of Gotham, but it’s always been Batman’s arch-nemesis, the Joker, in his equal number of iterations, who’s best reflected our cultural consciousness. Noel Murray argues that, from pop-art prankster to post-9/11 conscience pang to incel violence inciter, the clown prince of crime has (almost) never failed to reflect our times.

‘Joker’s’ IMDb Heroes
Before anyone outside the film industry could have possibly had the opportunity to see Joker, men have been defending the movie, even rating the film 10/10 on IMDb. Why exactly do they feel so devoted to a movie that they themselves haven’t even watched? Miles Klee dissected the phenomenon of guys clamoring to maintain the good name of the Joker

Five Things We Learned This Week

  1. The first army men toys were neither green, nor were they plastic. In fact, they weren’t even toys — they were lead figurines, often used by actual military commanders to plan battles. 
  2. As much as you’d probably loooove to celebrate your anniversary at the club, strippers would be much happier if you didn’t. They have their reasons, so maybe go somewhere else on your date?
  3. You might think watching behind-the-scenes footage from your favorite movie will spoil the actual film, but it can actually make it better. That’s not just, like, our opinion, man — your brain makes it so.
  4. When the people who make artificial flavors design, ya know, flavors, they often have versions that taste a lot more like the IRL version than what you’ll end up tasting. You really think the reason “banana” tastes nothing like banana is a mistake?
  5. NBA point guard Damien Lillard is also a rapper, and unlike many of his rapper-player predecessors, he’s pretty good. At least, according to his many stans.

Quote of the Week

What it’s like to be the spouse of a hoarder? As hard as you’d imagine, and even worse when kids are involved, per the husband of the hoarder Quinn Myers talked to:

But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It