“Man becomes, as it were, the
sex organs of the machine world, as the bee of the plant world, enabling
it to fecundate and to evolve ever new forms. The machine world
reciprocates man’s love by expediting his wishes and desires, namely, in
providing him with wealth”. – Understanding Media (1964), p. 46
In 2002, a tall and skinny 14-year old girl competed in a dance contest in Vancouver, Canada. There she encountered a modeling agent, who asked her to consider going out for modeling jobs. Today, the 22-year-old Coco Rocha is celebrated as a “supermodel” (however little of its glamazon power the term retains these days), appearing on covers of Vogue and i-D magazines, on catwalks from Marc Jacobs to Prada, and as the star face for Dior, H&M, and Chanel. You might not recognize her name, but the chances are you’ve seen Coco Rocha in the past few years.
Killed, aborted or neglected, at least 100m girls have disappeared—and the number is rising
IMAGINE you are one half of a young couple expecting your first child
in a fast-growing, poor country. You are part of the new middle class;
your income is rising; you want a small family. But traditional mores
hold sway around you, most important in the preference for sons over
daughters. Perhaps hard physical labour is still needed for the family
to make its living. Perhaps only sons may inherit land. Perhaps a
daughter is deemed to join another family on marriage and you want
someone to care for you when you are old. Perhaps she needs a dowry.
Life is often hard for internal migrants in China, especially those from Henan and the north-east
Apr 11th 2019
started to vomit. Some fell unconscious and were whisked into hospital.
Angry parents demanded an explanation. The food-poisoning scandal
quickly lit up Chinese social media. A kindergarten teacher in the
central province of Henan was detained—accused of adding sodium nitrite,
which can be toxic in large doses, to the meal boxes of at least 23
pupils late last month.
Most comments online have focused on the evil of the act and have expressed sympathy for the parents. But a surprising number have noted the alleged perpetrator’s home province. “I’m not surprised. Henan people would stoop to anything,” says one commentator on Baidu Tieba, a social-networking site. “Apart from wicked, I can’t think of another word to describe Henan people,” chimes in someone with more than 50,000 followers on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, who identifies himself as a financial journalist.
If you’ve ever cried at work, you may be able to relate to the recent Saturday Night Livesketch “PowerPoint.” In it, a pair of receptionists played by Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon burst into tears in front of their colleagues at a Microsoft training session as soon as their mock PowerPoint presentation appears on the projector screen. The presentation is, to be fair, not very good. The first page features nothing but layers of empty squares and the desperate lowercase missive, “help.”
so sorry,” Bryant sobs as the befuddled Microsoft instructors attempt
to reassure them. “We made trash, sir,” McKinnon chimes in. “We’re going
to be fired and slapped.”