MONDAY, JANUARY 6 This week of fatal fitness, justice-seeking Juggalos, and glorious sports-related triumph kicks off with a teachable moment on television. Our source: the Katie show, the daytime talkfest hosted by Katie Couric, who today welcomed as her guests transgender model Carmen Carrera and transgender TV star Laverne Cox. As Katie McDonough at Salon.com writes, "[Carrera and Cox] sat down on Monday with Katie Couric to discuss their careers, upcoming projects, and their experiences as high-profile transgender women using their platforms to bring issues of trans justice to national attention. But Couric, it seems, was mostly interested in talking to both women about their genitalia, in order to 'educate' others who may not be 'familiar with transgenders.'" Happily, the pushback to Couric's questioning was immediate, with Carrera shooting down genital/surgical questions with a sentence ("I don't want to talk about it; it's really personal") and Cox responding with an address so eloquent it soon went viral. "I do feel there is a preoccupation with that," said Cox to Couric. "The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don't get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people's lives is that so often we are targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average, and if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don't actually get to talk about those things."
After the broadcast, Cox was rightly celebrated, while Couric was somewhat unjustly vilified. (How long ago were many of us ignorant about using "transgender" as a noun?) And once again, Cox made sure the emphasis was where it belonged. As Cox will write on her Tumblr on Thursday, "It is my dream that by highlighting the deep humanity of trans people's lives in the media, elevating actual trans voices to speak the truth of our lived experiences in ways that don't sensationalize and objectify us, those human voices and stories can be a part of the disruption needed to end the disproportionate injustices that threaten so many trans people's lives, particularly the lives of trans women of color. It is a state of emergency for far too many trans people across this country. The stories of women like Islan Nettles and CeCe McDonald are far too commonplace in our community. I look forward to engaging in more dialogues about the complicated intersectional issues around these injustices and ways to make them a thing of the past. I am so grateful to Katie Couric and her show for the opportunity to highlight these important issues."
TUESDAY, JANUARY 7 Meanwhile in Oklahoma, today brought the modern mythology-ready story of the man accused of killing his stepfather with an "atomic wedgie." Details come from the Oklahoman, which identifies our suspect as 33-year-old Brad Davis of McLoud, who told police that his stepfather—58-year-old Denver St. Clair—had invited him over on December 21 for drinks and then "came at him," after which the men began exchanging blows. "Davis told investigators that he hit St. Clair's head, causing him to lose consciousness," reports the Oklahoman. "Then, Davis said, he grabbed his stepfather's underwear and gave him an 'atomic wedgie' by pulling the underwear over his stepfather's head." Authorities arrived to find St. Clair dead with the waistband of his underwear around his neck, with the cause of death determined to be blunt force trauma to the head and asphyxiation. Tonight, Davis was arrested and booked in the Pottawatomie County Jail on suspicion of murder.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8 The week continues in Michigan, where the goofball rap-rock act Insane Clown Posse is preparing to fight the US Department of Justice and the FBI over their classification of the band's fans—known as Juggalos—as a criminal gang. "The gang designation had its roots... in a 2011 report from the FBI's National Gang Intelligence Center, which described the Juggalos as a 'loosely organized hybrid gang,' and cited two incidents in which 'suspected Juggalo associates' or members were involved in violent crime," reports the Guardian. "In a suit filed [today], the Michigan rap duo claimed the decision to classify the Juggalos as a gang was 'unwarranted and unlawful' and had led to fans being harassed." Joining ICP founders Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler and the Michigan branch of the American Civil Liberties Union in the suit are four of the band's fans, who claim they've been subjected to police harassment and punishment because of their status as Juggalos. "Mark Parsons, from Nevada, said he was detained by Tennessee state troopers for displaying an ICP insignia on his truck," reports the Guardian. "Scott Gandy, from North Carolina, said he had spent hundreds of dollars having Juggalo tattoos covered with other tattoos after being told he could not join the army with 'gang-related' body art." Stay tuned to Last Days for all things ICP vs. FBI.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 9 In creepier news, the week continues in New York City, where tonight in Times Square, a man dressed as the Toy Story character Woody was arrested on a variety of sex charges. "José Vasquez, 44, who was wearing a costume of the lovable character Woody, was hauled into the Midtown North station house by two plainclothes cops in an unmarked car at about 8 p.m.," reports the New York Post. "He faces raps of forcible touching and sex abuse involving 'numerous girls' in Times Square, the sources said." Exacerbating the creepiness: Vasquez is only the latest Times Square character to be arrested while posing for photos with tourists, following the man dressed as Cookie Monster who was arrested last June after allegedly shoving a toddler, the man dressed as Spider-Man who was arrested last February after allegedly punching a woman in the face, and a man dressed as Elmo arrested in 2012 for allegedly shouting anti-Semitic slurs.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 10 Speaking of bad influences on children, the week continues in Alabama, where today 48-year-old Joyce Garrard was denied bond on a charge of capital murder after allegedly forcing her 9-year-old granddaughter to run until she collapsed and died. "Prosecutors say Garrard made the girl run for three hours as punishment for lying about eating candy," reports the Associated Press. "The child collapsed and died at a hospital three days later." Having pleaded innocent to the charges, Grandma's trial is scheduled to begin in June.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 11 Nothing happened today, unless you count the Seahawks' noisy and glorious triumph over the New Orleans Saints.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 12 Nothing happened today, unless you count the Golden Globes, where lots of gorgeous people won things and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were hilarious.
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