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2019 Weekly Recap: Week 2

This was the first full week of the year, so I get the sense that “back to work” was the theme of many people’s lives. For me, it also marked my return to Berlin, and with that came an exceptional amount of busywork. I’m only here for a short time before heading off to my next project for a bit, but I wanted to get some things in place this week. Between running errands and meeting up with friends whom I hadn’t seen in weeks, I hardly had time to breathe. I didn’t get as much done as I’d like, but given how busy I was, I am shocked by how much I accomplished.

I’ve decided this year that to try writing brief weekly summaries about what I’m doing, reading, working on, etc. The purpose of these posts is just to get myself into a bit of a rhythm of writing and spending more thoughtful time doing things that are meaningful to me. I’ll try to publish these on Saturdays, but that will be modulated by my work/travel/energy levels.

What I’ve read

This is a fun piece about how the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ Spanish-language announcers call the game. It’s an excellent look into how language works and how making things accessible to people is a benefit for everyone involved. I am particularly delighted by the way Riviera describes a scrum where the puck is at a player’s feet:

“I couldn’t figure out how to say that the puck was in the middle of their skates, and the players were trying to dig it out. So I would say they were ‘chopping onions and cilantro and tomatoes,’ just to make a reference to how it looked when they were trying to get the puck out of the corner,” said Jesus Lopez, who calls Vegas Golden Knights games in Spanish on ESPN Deportes (1460 AM).

I remember studying Spanish and playing hockey in high school. We’d have assignments to write about things that we did over the weekend or things that we enjoyed, and there were few resources available for how to translate phrases. Lopez translates a check against the boards as a torta de jamón, or a “ham sandwich,” and I think that’s delightful.

Having lived in multiple foreign countries now, I am shocked at how many English language words and phrases make it into native conversation. I’m surprised that these announces do go so far to describe the action in Spanish; hockey is better when it can be for everyone.

The APA has finally made official what us feminists have known for years: there is a toxic brand of masculinity that damages men just as much as it damages other people, and men have been long needing a specific set of guidelines to deal with these behavioral traits before they become harmful.

The article is not an indictment of masculinity, although many reacted to it that way. It calls out male privilege as a “double-edged sword;” in our ‘SJW’ parlance, we’d say, “patriarchy hurts men, too.”

“Men who benefit from their social power are also confined by system-level policies and practices as well as individual-level psychological resources necessary to maintain male privilege,” the guidelines state. “Thus, male privilege often comes with a cost in the form of adherence to sexist ideologies designed to maintain male power that also restrict men’s ability to function adaptively.”

Men overwhelmingly commit violent crimes, including mass shootings and acts of terror. There are entire subcultures of masculine ideology built around entitlement, poisoned by the hatred that entitlement breeds. These guidelines should be seen as a step towards serving them, but it will be a hard sell for a culture that has built its identity around those toxic principles.

About time. Bordentown Township police chief Frank Nucera Jr. was indicted on Federal hate crime charges. This is extremely rare by itself, but the way he was taken down is even more stunning.

Sergeant Nathan Roohr had been secretly making tapes for months because he felt Nucera created a toxic work environment, and he found the chief’s remarks about minorities offensive. The FBI investigation revealed that at least nine other officers were using hidden recording devices, as they reportedly shared Roorh’s concerns.

It’s seldom that we see police officers turning on their own, but it should go as no surprise that a racist cop who creates a toxic work environment also gives his command all the tools they need to subvert his authority. Nevertheless, this will be a hard case to win because the standard is almost impossibly high to begin with.

Federal excessive force prosecutions are relatively rare because the government must prove an officer specifically set out to deprive a victim of his or her constitutional rights, per a 1945 Supreme Court decision known as Screws V. United States.

Intent is often hard to prove and it’s even harder to prove a specific intent when the wrongdoers are aware of the many ways to avoid leaving that evidence. It will be interesting to watch how the case unfolds.

What I’m reading

The week ahead

I’ll be bouncing around Berlin this week trying to get things settled in my flat for when I return from my next trip. I have a few countries to go between here and there, though, so it’ll be a busy one. I have a couple pieces I’m writing, one that will be published soon and one that is an internal piece for my company. I’ve also got some blog posts in development and a bunch of conferences to prepare for and organize. No rest for the wicked, I guess. Bis später!

Author

EG

Emily is a data scientist and activist. The opinions shared herein are her own.