The Sunday Post for February 11, 2018

Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that’s your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.

My Own Alternate Universe

Kristen Peterson’s piece on working at a convenience store in Las Vegas is a rare example of the “I took a low-paid job” essay that’s thoughtful and respectful — the viewpoint of a resident of the job, not a tourist.

Gas stations are convenience stores, a title that’s taken literally by customers who need to be somewhere else five minutes ago. Every emotion is on display here. They’re vulnerable, captive to our abilities, bound to expectations that don’t always play out as smoothly as expected. All you do is ask a customer to reswipe their card and you’d think from their expression that you just told them their best friend has drained their bank account. Bewilderment and anger collide in their minds as they stare at you.
I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories

My favorite phrase from Ed Yong’s detailed account of his two-year project to balance representation of men and women among the sources for his reporting? “Anyone can do this.” If you’re looking for a how-to, this is a great place to start — and excellent debunking of the standard-issue reasons not to.

We don’t contact the usual suspects because we’ve made some objective assessment of their worth, but because they were the easiest people to contact. We knew their names. They topped a Google search. Other journalists had contacted them. They had reputations, but they accrued those reputations in a world where women are systematically disadvantaged compared to men.
Maybe There’s Nothing Natural About Motherhood

It must be exhausting, supporting a collapsing ideological industry put in place to protect your power and privilege on the basis of what other people do with their bodies. I so very much hope it is exhausting, and worse. Here’s the fabulous Leni Zumas on the politics of conception and who really has skin in the game.

In the first draft of this essay, I described Denfeld as “the mom of three adopted kids.” The word “adopted” here may seem neutral — purely descriptive — but is it? The fact of their being adopted follows soon enough. I deleted it from the introductory line because, once I thought about it, it seemed to reinforce a pecking order in which one’s biological children are standard and need no explanation.

Historically, who has benefited most from appeals to what is “natural,” “normal,” “as God intended”?

White people. Abled people. Rich people. Cishet men.

How Not to Die in America

Molly Osberg inhaled the wrong kind of bacteria and watched her world fall apart — “watched,” in this case, meaning “lived through in an nightmare blur of medically induced coma, emergency surgery, and negotiations with the health care system about whether she was too expensive to save.” Read it, then read the short piece she published a week after the original ran, with stories from people across the country of the hopelessness of America’s health care system.

Sherry Glied, the dean of New York University’s school of public service, put it a little more bluntly: Under even the lowest Affordable Care Act tier, she says, I’d be paying the out-of-pocket maximum — a little over $6,000 — and perhaps I’d be limited to in-network doctors. (The hospital I visited has maintained a relationship with an Affordable Care Act-affiliated insurance provider since 2014.) But depending on an individual hospital’s policy, and my credit score, and where I happened to land, whisking me to a second hospital with a dedicated lung surgeon to be treated by some of the country’s best infectious disease doctors might have appeared to be more trouble than it was worth.