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Saturday Links: Remembering Dr. King Edition

Plus early Simpsons sketches, thoughts about ethical journalism, and CANNIBAL RATS.


Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. Most of us know MLK’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech: Its oft-quoted line, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” is so uncontroversially hopeful that only a monster borne of true evil could disagree with it. King has historically been held up as a “reasonable” civil rights activist in comparison to, say, the Black Panthers or Malcolm X. But as beautiful and rallying as that speech is, MLK was so much more than the sanitized, everyone-hold-hands-and-pray symbol of peace that he has become in many people’s eyes.

When I saw people on social media posting his “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” as republished in the Atlantic Monthly 50 years ago, I thought, Aw, HELL NAW, because that version conveniently edits out the part where MLK rips liberals (specifically, white liberals) who say they want justice for people of color, but don’t act, a new one:

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the…great stumbling block in [the] stride toward freedom is…the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice…. Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

You can read the unedited letter in all of its radical urgency here. After a year like last year, it still rings true. So does his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, which was excerpted on Democracy Now this week—I come back to it every year, and what he says about America valuing profit over people never fails to chill me to the core:

If we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives, and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Although he’s been gone for almost 50 years now, there’s still so much that Dr. King can teach us, and this is a great week to either acquaint yourself with his work and speeches for the first time, or pay them a respectful visit. Here’s a good list of places to start.

Amy Rose

This week, we learned about the heartbreaking, maddening story of one journalist’s refusal to treat a trans* woman he was writing a story about with humanity, and the fallout from his lack of respect for her. The woman, Dr. V, was the inventor of a new type of golf club. She agreed to speak about that with Caleb Hannan, writing for Grantland, on the condition that his story be about her work, not her background. It wasn’t, despite his assuring her that he would honor her wishes, and the consequences of his invasion of her privacy were devastating—the last thing that Hannan heard from Dr. V before his piece was published, which she may have been afraid would out her, was that he was “about to commit a hate crime.” Then she killed herself. Hannan’s article is unbelievably flip about this fact, and the reaction to it has been immense, but outrage isn’t enough. His piece reveals an ignorance about trans* issues not only on the part of its author and editors, but in our culture by and large, and is a good reminder to all of us to stay aware and informed about the everyday lived experiences of trans* people—including the disproportionately enormous ways the trans* community is affected by suicide.

Anna F.

Dylan's illustration for this Rookie piece about getting yourself employed.

Dylan’s illustration for this Rookie piece about getting yourself employed.

We’ve run a few pieces on Rookie about how to find a job, and this cray-helpful Teen Vogue story about the big questions you should be asking once you start earning your own income is a good follow-up read. It’s really helpful if you don’t know much about financial concepts like taxes, figuring out vacation time, and retirement plans, so read up and get that money, Rooks.


Homer going buck in a candy world, via Twitter.

Homer going buck in a candy world, via Twitter.

I love these early sketches from The Simpsons that one of the show’s lead animators and directors, David Silverman, posted on Twitter earlier this week. He unearthed so many gems, like the storyboard of a gleeful Homer skipping through the Land of Chocolate, and the sketches from one of my favorite episodes ever, the first “Treehouse of Horror,” which features Bart as the eponymous Raven from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem and Marge as a very tall-haired Lenore.


My girl Chloë Sevigny is starring a new crime show coming out in March, and be forewarned: The trailer is not for the faint of heart. It’s called Those Who Kill and is based on a Danish show and series of crime novels by Elsebeth Egholm. The trailer looks super creepy and dark, like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Killing. Ahhhhhhh, I can’t wait.

GUYS, THERE’S ACTUALLY A SCIENTIFIC REASON I CAN’T REMEMBER WHERE MY LIP BALM IS. Did you know that the simple act of walking through a doorway can trigger your brain to forget things? Researchers from the University of Notre Dame discovered this effect and say it’s because, in any/every new situation, we create a kind of mental map of important facts/patterns, and then we expect that pattern to repeat every time we’re in a similar situation. But when confronted with a new setting, like a different room, we discard our event models, because they’re not likely to be important anymore. And it’s not just physical space that can do this—other things can cause us to change our event models, too, like the phone ringing. THANKS, BRAINS.

Caitlin D.

How thrilling it is when professional sports pageantry touches on something I actually care about! The Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman turned a post-game press conference into a opportunity to discuss racially coded language in the press. A reporter asked Sherman what he thinks about the use by many commentators of the word thug when describing him. The Compton native and Stanford graduate, who has held the media’s attention with both his brilliant on-field play and his exuberant trash-talking, responded, “The only reason it bothers me is because it seems like it’s the accepted way of calling somebody the N-word nowadays,” putting journalists who typify him that way firmly in their place. Touchdown.


My friends Brad and Nicolette put together a fundraiser in response to Jezebel’s hunt for unretouched photos of Lena Dunham in Vogue. All the proceeds are going directly to Step Up Women’s Network, a nonprofit which funds career-boosting programs and resources for girls and women like after-school programs, professional mentorship, and financial support. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, Nicolette wrote an awesome essay about it for xoJane.


KEEP THIS RAT SHIP THE HECK AWAY FROM ME. Ghost ship stock image from J. Schelkle/Shutterstock.

KEEP THIS RAT SHIP THE HECK AWAY FROM ME. Stock image of a ghost ship from J. Schelkle/Shutterstock.

“Should we be concerned?” asks this Salon piece about the possibility of a ghost ship filled with disease-ridden CANNIBAL RATS that might be the unidentified object picked up by radar off the coast of Scotland. How could we not be concerned about a ship pirated by cannibal rats?! The “ghost ship,” a term which refers to a boat without human passengers, disappeared somewhere between Canada and its destination, the Dominican Republic, where it was to be sold for scrap material. No one really knows where it is now, or what the rats that might have been on board have been up to for the past year, but whatever the case may be, this is creepy as hell! I agree with the Irish Coast Guard dude who said, “We must stay vigilant.” In all seriousness, can someone PLEASE make a movie out of this scenario? CANNIBAL RATS!! ♦


  • Maude January 25th, 2014 2:14 PM

    All rats will resort to cannibalism when there is no food available. Which is pretty common in many species of animals, not just rats.Plenty of people have eaten their shipmates when lost at sea, too. My dad and I were talking about this when he saw an article about it the other day.

  • yuki January 25th, 2014 2:18 PM

    I’m confused about the use of the term “trans*”. From some sources I’ve read that it is a trans phobic term that shouldn’t be used, and from other sources I’ve read the asterisk is necessary. Would someone mind clarifying?

  • MegW January 25th, 2014 2:37 PM

    Stephanie’s story reminded me of a piece we read in 7th grade English called “Three Skeleton Key.” I never thought that story could be real!

  • saramarit January 25th, 2014 3:20 PM

    My link of the week that I’ve been kind of obssessed with is this new interview with Thora Birch. I think there’s a good amount of love for the Ghost World film amongst Rookie readers and I thought of it when I read this http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/jan/23/thora-birch-hollywood-darling-disappeared

    You guys should totally do an interview with her!

  • Courtney T January 25th, 2014 5:32 PM

    i’m a niners fan but some of the comments i’ve seen on richard sherman’s interview were incredibly subtly racist. i can’t say i’m surprised though, people on the internet suck.

  • whateveryazmine January 25th, 2014 6:55 PM

    I learnt so much about Martin Luther King this year in my Civil Rights class and really wish we had MLK Day in Australia! Also, how cool are The Simpsons sketches???

  • mangointhesky January 25th, 2014 7:14 PM

    Martin Luther King was one of those guys that I’m always going to use as inspiration.


  • rhymeswithorange January 25th, 2014 8:35 PM

    As a huge Arcade Fire fan I just wanted to say how much I love today’s background! :)

  • Sophii January 26th, 2014 8:23 AM

    That story about Dr. V is so, so sad. I gasped out loud when you said that she killed herself. So tragic and so wrong and unnecessary and cruel of Hannan to behave that way.

    Those Who Kill looks amazing! I can’t wait for it to come out.


  • Sopho January 26th, 2014 9:27 AM

    I just had a ~vision~ as I lay in bed trying to get to sleep, of all the rookies in like 30 or 40 years. We’d all be powerhouse women and we’d still want to read Rookie so there’d have to be Rookie for middle aged women and it would be called ‘Aunty’ or something (:S ..Or ‘Old hand’), and the articles would be like “How to deal when your life partner is intimidated by your success” or “Don’t Worry! It’s just menopause”. It would be tasteful though! It’d be great!

    Other fave articles “Life skills 5001: Applying for the pension” and
    “My Teenage daughter doesn’t spend enough time on the internet!”
    …’My teenage daughter’ would be the title of the Sunday comic.
    But the titles would be from songs and stuff so like “Incontinence: Never say never.”
    or “Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before: How to deal with the loss of your memory” (That would be much later)

    This is basically all inspired by the First Wives Club.

    (I’m gonna submit this comment, but please know that it’s very late at night where I live, so I don’t know if this is rational. It seems like a good idea right now though!)

    • thebrownette January 26th, 2014 4:55 PM


    • Anaheed January 26th, 2014 7:54 PM

      I could not love this idea more and am hereby applying to be the mascot of Auntie Magazine.

      • Sopho January 26th, 2014 8:45 PM

        Yayy! Of course! You can be the mysterious figurehead known only as Auntie.

    • taratwinkle January 26th, 2014 8:35 PM

      This is brilliant!

    • Violet January 26th, 2014 8:46 PM

      Omg ABSOLUTELY !!!

      btw I've always been wondering about the split in age group of Rookie readers.
      And at the same time I don't want to know, because the quality of dialog is so amazing regardless of anybody's age.

      • whiskeytangofoxtrot January 27th, 2014 6:56 PM

        You could make it a play on words, and use “anti” instead…har har!

  • Sopho January 26th, 2014 9:34 AM

    Just looking on the internet dictionary to come up with that ‘Old hand’ gag and saw that rookie is a synonym for babe! …and punk!

  • Isabellla January 26th, 2014 6:33 PM

    ewww that rats one!! After reading ‘the rat chapter’ in american psycho i CANNOT stomach rats (don’t talk 2 me about rats).

  • Violet January 26th, 2014 8:43 PM

    Thank you Amy Rose for posting about Dr.V.
    I thought the letter of apologies from the editor in chief of Grantland was a good read too.
    Thanks Rookie for being so good at reminding us to be sensitive to such issues.

  • Skotty January 26th, 2014 11:34 PM

    Sounds like Three Skeleton Key… Is that a truly real story that actually happened this past year or…?

  • Salomeq January 27th, 2014 1:59 PM

    I’m kinda disappointed with these links… yeah some of them where good but I was expecting something about Ukraine and Kiev and all the stuff that has been going on there…