Cognoscenti

Bake sales for women’s rights?

Planned Parenthood is benefiting from bake sales to protect women’s reproductive healthcare. A wine bar in Somerville is offering $12 glasses of rose to underwrite abortions in Alabama, where the uterus is apparently now in the public domain. Am I supposed to celebrate or pull out my hair? The answer is … yes. It’s crazy…

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Three cheers for television

Face-to-face conversation is a basic human need. It’s how we learn to speak and think — how we form and maintain relationships. When practiced by consenting adults with courtesy and curiosity, it is one of life’s great pleasures. Conversation has been practiced and refined for centuries: from salon, to coffee house, to cocktail party, to…

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Reverse the Curse: Red Tent/Real World

Recently, I read a story about a young woman in rural Nepal who burned to death because she was having her period. Partabi Bogati was following the ancient Hindu practice of chhaupadi (from a word that means “impurity”), which sees menstruating women as bearers of disease, disaster and bad luck; they are barred from handling…

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Women of the 116th Congress: Looking Good

I can’t stop looking at the New York Times special feature, “Redefining Representation: The Women of the 116th Congress.” This gallery of 130 — of the 131 — female senators and representatives is a celebration of racial, ethnic, religious and geographical diversity. It’s full of firsts: first Native American women (plural!), first Muslim women (plural!),…

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Walking the dog, winter edition. Brrrrr

I am outside and the app on my phone tells me it’s only 20 degrees. I haven’t had any coffee yet and I forgot one of my gloves, or maybe it’s lost; I lose a lot of gloves. The commuters sprint by, hoping to make it to the streetcar before it pulls away, lest they…

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Post-Kavanaugh: We have only begun to fight

The week before the vote, I said good morning to my neighbor, who answered, “He’s not going to be confirmed is he? I said, “Yes, he is.” She looked horrified. I was equally horrified, but I didn’t doubt the outcome. The old bulls (as Dan Rather called the old white men who defend power and…

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Free-for-All: The students arrive in Boston

The sidewalk in my Brookline neighborhood is a free-for-all – literally. The students are coming and more to the point, the students are going and leaving behind mountains of stuff: cat-shredded couches, chairs missing legs or seats, and a million giant garbage bags stuffed with the flotsam of student life: clothes, pillows, half empty jars…

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