Katie Couric is a supreme fucking asshole. Also, I fucking LOOOOOVE Laverne Cox.
On Monday, transgender model Carmen Carrera and Orange is the New Black actress Laverne Cox made a daytime TV talk show appearance on the ABC show Katie hosted by Katie Couric. What was advertised as a platform for these two talented and charming ladies to talk about the projects they are working on and transgender issues, quickly devolved into an awkward inquisition about their genitals led by the host. Both women stepped up to the challenge, though, and turned the interview into a triumphant verbal parade by both Carrera and Cox on what it’s like to be trans, what it’s like to have people ask you about your genitals on a regular basis and what issues are really important to the trans community.
Things started to seem a little odd when the viewers kept being reminded about Carrera’s transition by being shown pictures of her in bandages and mentions of her transition at every chance. Later when Couric introduced Carerra, she said that “she was born a man and that’s why she’s on our show,” making it very clear that she’s only interesting because of her transition. Couric continued to focus on that part of Carerra’s life when she said that after being on Rupaul’s Drag Race, Carrera “realized she was done acting like a woman and wanted to become one.” However, the real trouble started when Couric started to ask Ms. Carrera if transitioning was painful because of all the surgery that she had to go through. Carmen looked a little confused and responded by talking a little about her nose job and breast augmentation and that’s when Katie pounced. She immediately asked if Carmen’s “private parts” are “different now” and if she’s had that surgery yet. Carmen Carrera responded perfectly. First she literally shushed Katie Couric, trying to get her to stop asking such a private thing. Then she told her “I don’t want to talk about it, it’s really personal” and she told Katie that there’s a lot more to get than her genitals. She said, “after the transition there’s still life to live, I still have my career goals, I still have my family goals.”
After the break, Couric brought on Laverne Cox who, at first was talking about her role on Orange is the New Black. They talked about her character Sofia Burset and how her twin brother played pre-transition Sofia on the show. Cox was absolutely killing it, saying she doesn’t see herself as a “role model,” she prefers the term “possibility model” (a term I’m totally going to steal). She says that she’s not arrogant enough to think that people should model their life after her, but she likes the idea that she is showing other people that it’s possible to live your dreams.
Unfortunately, that’s when Katie got back on the surgery track. Couric explained that she just wants to be educated and that a lot of people are curious because they’re “not familiar with transgenders.” She told Cox that Carrera had “recoiled” when asked about surgery and said that cis people are preoccupied with “the genitalia question.” Couric wondered if Cox felt the same way about that question and about cis people’s attitudes towards trans women. As soon as Cox started telling her that, yes, she keeps her private parts private and that cis people do have an obsession with trans women’s genitalia, she really started picking up steam. Cox said that the preoccupation with genitalia and transition objectifies trans women and distracts us from the real issues.
Cox was absolutely brilliant as she brought up how trans women, and specifically trans women of color, disproportionately face violence and discrimination, even compared to other LGBTQ people. She brought up the case of Islan Nettles, a black trans woman who was brutally murdered after the men who were cat-calling her realized she was trans and beat her to death. There is still no justice for Nettles, as the charges against her murderer were dropped. Cox brought up the facts that trans women face absurdly high lives of homelessness, violent crime, discrimination and poverty. Then Cox hit it out of the park when she said, “by focusing on bodies we don’t focus on the lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination.”
Throughout all of this, both Carrera and Cox remained ridiculously charming. They both appeared to be so happy to be on the show and to be able to talk about the work that they do. They were completely tactful and kept on talking about how much they love each other and are proud of the things the other is doing. It was great seeing two successful and thriving trans women of color showing so much love for each other and then completely bringing it when they were asked inappropriate questions about their bodies. I’m extremely tired of every story about trans women focusing on their transition, so when both Carrera and Cox spoke out against that line of questioning, I was cheering at my TV. Hopefully, as more and more resources are available, people won’t feel so comfortable asking strangers about what surgeries they’ve had and what their genitals look like. Trans people are more than just our bodies, and these two women showed that in the absolute best way possible.
Tearing up about how awesome these two women are. Also, fuck Katie Couric.
If the sea’s a-hummin’, don’t go a-thinkin’ about it too hard.
#7. A Fish Orgy Likely Terrorized a Small English Town
Earlier this autumn, the unsuspecting citizens of Hampshire, England, were the victims of a nocturnal, pulsing hum that proved so annoying that residents escaped their homes to find some decent shut-eye. Scientists fingered a curious culprit — tons of horny midshipman fish, whose courtship rituals require the males to boldly out-hum their sexual competitors.
Paloma Noyola: The Face of Mexico’s Unleashed Potential
When a report emerged in September 2012 that a girl from one of Matamoros’ poorest neighborhoods had attained the highest math score in Mexico, some doubted its veracity. It must be fake, they said.
But it wasn’t fake. Her name is Paloma Noyola, and what most reports failed to mention is that almost all of her classmates also scored very high on the national math test. 10 scored in 99.99% percentile.
Paloma and her classmates also scored in the top percentile in language. Something special was happening at José Urbina López primary school in Matamoros, and Wired went to take a look.
The high test scores turned out to be the work of a young teacher who also came from humble beginnings. Sergio Juárez Correa was tired of the monotony of teaching out of a book and wanted to try something new to help engage his students when he came across the work of Sugata Mitra, a UK university professor who had innovated a new pedagogy he called SOLE, or self organized learning environments. The new approach paid off.
Although SOLE usually relies on unfettered Internet access for research, Juárez and his students had very limited access. Somehow, he still found a way to apply Mitra’s teachings and unleash their potential.
From the beginning, Paloma’s exceptional abilities were evident:
One day Juárez Correa went to his whiteboard and wrote “1 = 1.00.” Normally, at this point, he would start explaining the concept of fractions and decimals. Instead he just wrote “½ = ?” and “¼ = ?”
“Think about that for a second,” he said, and walked out of the room.
While the kids murmured, Juárez Correa went to the school cafeteria, where children could buy breakfast and lunch for small change. He borrowed about 10 pesos in coins, worth about 75 cents, and walked back to his classroom, where he distributed a peso’s worth of coins to each table. He noticed that Paloma had already written .50 and .25 on a piece of paper.
As Mr. Juárez implemented more of Mitra’s teachings in his classroom, Paloma continued to stand out as an exceptionally gifted student:
Juárez Correa was impressed. But he was even more intrigued by Paloma. During these experiments, he noticed that she almost always came up with the answer immediately. Sometimes she explained things to her tablemates, other times she kept the answer to herself. Nobody had told him that she had an unusual gift. Yet even when he gave the class difficult questions, she quickly jotted down the answers. To test her limits, he challenged the class with a problem he was sure would stump her. He told the story of Carl Friedrich Gauss, the famous German mathematician, who was born in 1777.
When Gauss was a schoolboy, one of his teachers asked the class to add up every number between 1 and 100. It was supposed to take an hour, but Gauss had the answer almost instantly.
“Does anyone know how he did this?” Juárez Correa asked.
A few students started trying to add up the numbers and soon realized it would take a long time. Paloma, working with her group, carefully wrote out a few sequences and looked at them for a moment. Then she raised her hand.
“The answer is 5,050,” she said. “There are 50 pairs of 101.”
Juárez Correa felt a chill. He’d never encountered a student with so much innate ability. He squatted next to her and asked why she hadn’t expressed much interest in math in the past, since she was clearly good at it.
“Because no one made it this interesting,” she said.
Although this Wired piece focuses mostly on Sugata Mitra, it does once again highlight the story of Paloma Noyola. Unfortunately, after a brief spurt of media attention, little on Paloma was ever mentioned and, as was pointed out by Wired, nothing was ever said of Mr. Juárez.
As with most stories in the Mexican press — and with in the middle-class — things suddenly become very important once it’s featured in a gringo publication. Which is a very sad commentary. We hope, however, that this story pushes those in the press, state and federal government to look not to the United States for validation but to Mexicans like Sergio Juárez doing good work in places like Matamoros.
The clear message in this story is that there are thousands of Paloma Noyolas going to school in Mexico who, just like her at one time, are not being challenged and therefore aren’t very interested in school. This story can, if we want it to, raise enough awareness to shift the discussion from poverty to opportunity.
Paloma truly personifies both Mexico’s challenges and unleashed potential.
Read the entire Wired story here: How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses
Editor’s note: As an addendum, Wired provided information on helping support Sugata Mitra and his School in the Clouds project, and although they donated school supplies and equipment to José Urbina López School, we’re interested in seeing if we can help set up a similar fund for Sergio Juárez, the teacher featured in this story.
Also, $9,300 was raised to help fund Paloma’s education last year. We going to follow with the economist who led the fundraising campaign to see how she’s doing. Stay tuned for updates.
Orgullo mexicano es una sequía bien mala, en especial a nivel educativo. Esto es bellísimo!
This is such a compelling story!
Also note that this story is about one teacher implementing creative teaching methods. Teachers in the US can’t do this if they’re busy teaching to the test and teaching within the refines of a constrictive curriculum. Good teachers everywhere need this kind of freedom.
THE LAST EARBENDER
Sokka&Katara as arctic hares, Aang as mini lop, Zuko as rex, Toph as lionhead.
I regret nothing.
BUNNIES! AVATAR! BUNNIES! AVATAR!
they kind of look like the hares & rabbits from this kids cartoon i used to watch as a kid. again i feel old as probably no one remembers this.
Was it “Animals of the Farthing Wood” maybe?
DAT AANG THO
Rape has become endemic in South Africa, so a medical technician named Sonette Ehlers developed a product that immediately gathered national attention there. Ehlers had never forgotten a rape victim telling her forlornly, “If only I had teeth down there.”
Some time afterward, a man came into the hospital where Ehlers works in excruciating pain because his penis was stuck in his pants zipper.
Ehlers merged those images and came up with a product she called Rapex. It resembles a tube, with barbs inside. The woman inserts it like a tampon, with an applicator, and any man who tries to rape the woman impales himself on the barbs and must go to an emergency room to have the Rapex removed.
When critics complained that it was a medieval punishment, Ehlers replied tersely, “A medieval device for a medieval deed.”
- Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof
REBLOGGING THIS. x1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
A medieval device for a medieval deed - yes.
Stephen on the depiction of class warfare in The Desolation of Smaug.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, March 2013 Live Event Excerpt