HelenWongOnline

Cannibals and Hannibal

Growing Pains

The show raises questions about cannibalism actually being evil; there are a lot of not-so-subtle rationalizations that Hannibal Lecter thinks up to justify his decision to murder and then eat people like it’s no big deal. Eat the rude. Why? Because they’re pigs, apparently, and the best way to deal with the rude is to turn them into filet mignon or chateaubriand or whatever other near-unpronounceable dish that Hannibal feels the need to eat, because he’s clearly incapable of preparing anything that can’t be categorized as high-class food porn. Read More…

Berkeley Tenants’ Union weighs on affordable housing

As James Chang said at the Tenants’ Convention on July 13, “Student issues are community issues, and community issues are student issues.” It is imperative that we have a vibrant Berkeley Tenants’ Union to address issues at City Council, the Zoning Adjustment Board and the Planning Commission. Together, our voices will be heard. We also need to work in November and beyond to support rent board candidates and city council candidates and make sure that other elected officials know of our concerns and will respond to them. Our collective presence can be very powerful, and we are now only tapping into its potential. You and I, and she and he, can make a difference. Let’s begin that work. Read More…

Build for Telegraph’s sake

Telegraph Avenue is historic, colorful and homely. The city of Berkeley has mounted several efforts to clean it, light it and attract business to it. No small effort with balloons tied to it is going to be enough to improve the image of a street that is still dotted with burned-out buildings and darkened storefronts. The initial period of construction will be noisy and ugly, but these are only the growing pains of improvement. For this trouble, local businesses can expect improved foot traffic and better curb appeal in the neighborhood. Read More…

Legalize prostitution now

Prostitution has always existed and will likely always exist. Despite a societal emphasis on monogamy or polygyny, and despite the criminalization of the industry, the profession persists all over the world. In the places where prostitution is legal, sex workers have more rights. They can expect the cooperation of law enforcement when they are the victims of robbery or assault. They are regulated by laws that require their regular medical testing for public safety in many countries. They can even unionize. Read More…

straus

Give us this day our daily method

Two Steps Forward

I know and care about many people whose closed-mindedness is hurting or killing them. Parents of close friends refuse to change their fat- and sugar-laden diets, even after diagnoses of heart problems or diabetes. Every single smoker I know is aware of how damaging the habit is, but most never Read More…

Microbes matter more than you think

Safe, Sane and Consensual

I was pissing blood — like I’d eaten beets, except I hadn’t. A tiny demon was sitting in my abdomen, twisting my organs into knots while stabbing them with knitting needles. It wasn’t my period. That was all I knew. I searched for “pissing blood pain abdomen,” and Google told Read More…

Stacey-Nguyen-full

Cruel and Unusual

Anxiety shook me when my fifth-grade teacher assigned us a paragraph on what we thought about Stanley “Tookie” William’s death sentence. Williams, a former leader of the Crips charged with several accounts of first-degree murder, was put on death row in California. In prison, he began writing anti-gang and anti-violence Read More…

The Albany Bulb homeless problem has not been solved, merely relocated

As the rich of the Bay Area get richer, the poor only become more vulnerable. As we struggle toward a more equitable minimum wage and affordable care, we must keep in mind that the lower classes are often a single disaster away from prolonged camping, living in a vehicle or street-living homelessness. The people of the Albany Bulb were not all cheerful nomads nor lifelong outcasts nor any kind of outliers. Some of them are simply people who fell on hard times and have become living harbingers of the difficulty ahead. Perhaps the real nuisance is that they make our economic divide impossible to ignore. Read More…

straus

The Trouble with Dogma

This view of Christians as morally superior to others is all too common. Native Americans were slaughtered and raped by generations of European settlers. Never mind that they had lived sustainably on the land for millennia; never mind that their retaliatory violence was an attempt to protect their homes; never mind that they could have contributed so much more than maize to the settlers’ lives. They believed in animalistic nature gods and, therefore, were little better than animals themselves. The Crusades were a centuries-long bloodbath borne of the belief that everyone should be Christian. Judeo-Christian values have wrought the fruitless, zero-sum blood feud between Israel and Palestine: complete unwillingness to compromise, bolstered by years of gruesome violence on both sides, backed by each group’s unyielding belief that they are the chosen people. Read More…