• Is conservative Christianity itself bad for marriage? The research says yes. Michelle Goldberg lays out the facts:
Ironically, the very practices meant to shore up marital security in conservative communities end up sabotaging it. By promoting abstinence until marriage, these communities encourage people to marry young. Poor sex education and limited access to contraception for teenagers lead to unintended pregnancies and shotgun weddings. Gender-role traditionalism leads to single-earner families with precarious finances.
See also my earlier post, “The Price of Abstinence“.
• While the U.S. shivers under a polar vortex, XKCD speaks truth, pointing out how common frigid weather like this used to be. Our shocked reaction to subzero cold is a sign of how far global warming has already progressed.
• Rarely has the term “mansplainer” ever been more apropos than when it’s applied to Mike Huckabee. And as a bonus bit of hypocrisy, Huckabee himself, as governor of Arkansas, signed a contraception mandate even stricter than the one in Obamacare which he now thinks is the worst thing in the world.
• “How to Write about Africa“: Hilarious, stinging satire from Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina, who’s just come out as gay in a brave stand against African conservatives who insist homosexuality is a Western invention.
• I hadn’t written before about the tragic story of Marlise Munoz, a legally dead woman whose pregnant body was being kept on life support against her wishes and the wishes of her husband by repugnant Texas anti-choice laws. This tragedy finally came to an end when a judge ordered the machines to be turned off.
• The schadenfreude rained down like manna from heaven this week, with criminal charges for three of the nicest guys you could imagine: Hunter Moore (“revenge porn” king who ran a site dedicated to explicit pictures of non-consenting women), Dinesh D’Souza (far-right-wing pundit and Christian apologist, for campaign-finance law fraud), and Bob McDonnell (Virginia’s former “Governor Ultrasound“, indicted in a lavish bribery scandal).
• “Alive Inside“, a documentary premiering at Sundance, showcases the astonishing and seemingly magical effect of music as therapy for people with late-stage dementia. Even a few minutes with an iPod can have dramatic results on nursing-home patients who were mute, unresponsive, nearly comatose: restoring them to wakefulness and awareness, kindling the fading embers of self back into flame, even if only for a little while. Warning: This clip will make you cry.