Magazine roundup

Three things that came to my eye recently.

For an item about Gabby Douglas, Us Weekly went the euphemism route:

GABBY’S SAD PAST
Before Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, 16, won gold, she nearly quit the sport because of bullying. In 2010, she says, a staffer at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach told her to get a nose job . . .

I believe that kind of bullying is called “racism.”

In The New Yorker, Lana Wachowski explained why it’s none of your business what she has in her pants:

“I know that many people are dying to know if I have a surgically constructed vagina or not, but I prefer to keep this information between my wife and me.”

There’s also a moving passage about what happened when Lana (formerly Larry) came out of the closet to her mother. I swear this almost made me tear up.

Sensing that something was wrong, Lynne Wachowski flew to Australia the following day. The morning after her arrival, Larry told her, “I’m transgender. I’m a girl.” Lynne didn’t know what he meant. “I was there when you were born,” she said. “There’s a part of me that is a girl,” Larry insisted. “I’m still working at that.” Lynne had been distraught on the plane, worried that she might lose her son. “Instead, I’ve just found out there is more of you,” she said.

I found it interesting that Ta-Nehisi Coates, in his superb “Fear of a Black President” article in The Atlantic, explicitly names white supremacy as the undergirding principle of American politics:

For most of American history, our political system was premised on two conflicting facts—one, an oft-stated love of democracy; the other, an undemocratic white supremacy inscribed at every level of government.

[In a discussion of the constraints on Obama’s public discourse about race.] And hence Barack Obama’s insisting that . . . name-calling among children somehow has the same import as one of the oldest guiding principles of American policy—white supremacy.

I particularly like the second quote, because the term “white supremacy” appears in a dependent clause. It’s like Coates is making it clear to his readers that, in order to understand his article, they need to understand and accept that America has a white-supremacy culture. To me this on-the-table imperative was the more impressive for appearing in a mainstream magazine.