Profiles of the Orlando victims (being updated as we know more):
On his way to the Pulse nightclub, Stanley Almodovar III laughed and sang, posting to Snapchat while a friend drove.
“I wish I had that to remember him forever,” said his mother Rosalie Ramos, 51.
She expected he would come home hungry. She had whipped up some tomato and cheese dip and left it in the refrigerator for him.
Dave Cullen is a great, great journalist (his Columbine book is one of the best works of non-fiction I’ve read) and this one is personal:
If you think that’s just a club that happens to be gay, you may well have been in one, but it’s highly unlikely you’ve come out in one. This is the place, for most of us gay guys, where we go to quit pretending. God, what a weight off that was. In high school they were always counseling us to “be yourself”—how the hell were we supposed to know what that was? Gay bars are the place we got to try ourselves out.
But we’re sitting ducks in there. We advertise where to find us now, all rounded up together in a remarkably vulnerable space. Most big clubs have several rooms, often several floors, and hundreds of people or more packed into tight little spaces on Saturday night, elbow to elbow, where it can take five minutes to squeeze your way to the bathrooms or the bar 30 feet away. The music is often so loud that you have to put your mouth right up to a buddy’s ear to say something, and partygoers often resort to bits of improvised bar sign language. If someone were shooting on the next level or next room, how would anyone even know?
Matthew Vines is excellent, always:
It might seem odd to some to describe a nightclub as a sanctuary, but gay clubs have long provided a unique place of refuge, comfort and solidarity for LGBT people. That’s part of what made the news so appalling to wake up to on Sunday morning. One of the very few places carved out for us to feel safe had been violated in the worst way. And as we’re learning today, most of those who died were queer people of color, who have even fewer places of safety than white LGBT people.
It didn’t help that we were faced with the news of the slaughter on a Sunday, a day that already serves as a reminder of how unwelcome we are in most traditional sanctuaries. For the nearly 50% of LGBT Americans who are Christians, as I am, it only compounded the pain to have our faith leaders either ignore the massacre, qualify their condolences in ways they never would for other victims, or simply omit the fact that LGBT people were targeted for death because of who they are.
Randy Potts on searching for his gay uncle:
I remember him the way you might remember the way the sky was lit on a great day 20 years ago: brightly yet faintly. In my sole memory of him, he was sitting in my grandmother’s den, but to my chagrin he wasn’t smoking. I asked him, “Uncle Ronnie, why aren’t you smoking?” I was only five years old, maybe six. He laughed: “It’s bad enough I walk into your Munna’s house with this beard, kid. I’m not going to smoke in Munna’s house, too.”
That’s all I have: one memory of a man who was dead by the time I was seven.
I blocked Twitter from my desktop for 72 hours because post-tragedy-social-media is a nightmare, so now roughly every twenty minutes I try to go to Twitter and see “SHOULDN’T YOU BE WORKING?” Then I realized it still works if I open an incognito window.
I also deleted my Facebook which I have been meaning to do since 2004 and finally did. I have no regrets about that one.
Ahmed Ali Akbar on prayer:
So much of my life feels meaningless and random — the time and place I was born, the privilege I inherited when others did not, the people I love who have died. Prayer helps me connect to something outside of all the things I did not choose.
On my best days, I empty my mind and try to focus on the fact that I am just human and will not be here forever. That life is beyond my control and one day I will die. That generations before me and after me made these same movements, and they too died. And that maybe, when that happens to me, I’ll go into some ungraspable beyond and know that someone or something was receiving my desperate missives. I feel terrified of losing this habit, of growing arrogant and entitled. But that’s why it’s a ritual — so that I reiterate it until the meaning inhabits itself.
I always tell myself, One day. One day you’ll pray five times a day. When I’m an adult, is the conceit — but of course, I’m nearly in my thirties, and all I’ve accomplished is walking to 29th Street to pray once a week. For now, it’s enough.
Music and Lyrics was on TV yesterday morning and I knew it was Music and Lyrics within a SINGLE FRAME and then I watched the rest of it, bc I kind of love it and it made me feel better.
Kendra James on watching Shuffle Along with white people and black people and what discomfort reveals:
From the 1840s through the height of vaudeville, black performers performing in blackface was fairly standard practice, and often the only way they were allowed to appear onstage in front of white audiences. Lowbrow, self-parodying buffoonery was expected of black performers. In fact, it was so expected that, in 1903, African-American actors Bert Williams and George Walker were scolded by white critics for no longer being “black enough” when they suggested that their audiences should read a book for historical context before coming to see their show In Dahomey. Expectations of black actors were so affected by the damaging stereotypes blackface promoted that, to this day, Hollywood has yet to fully recover.
The cultural aftershocks of blackface performance could certainly still be felt in my ‘90s childhood. Boxes of Aunt Jemima pancake mix lined (and continue to line) supermarket shelves, as if her name and image weren’t derived from a black mammy character often played by white men in blackface on the minstrel circuit. I watched Looney Tunes on TNT, where occasionally I’d catch an unedited cartoon like Fresh Hare,which featured Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd singing in blackface in its original ending. I loved old musicals, and the Shirley Temple and Bill Robinson movies on TCM played on the same stereotypes that blackface acts helped to popularize. Even Disney movies like The Jungle Book, Dumbo, and Fantasia were rife with big-lipped, subservient, and marble-mouthed representations of black people.
How DARE YOU, sir:
During a comedy set last week, Ilana Glazer shared a story about a friend of a friend who went out with a guy claiming to be a Broad City writer. The con was so elaborate that the guy (whom Glazer calls out by name) sent her a photo of himself with Abbi and Ilana that he had taken at a comedy show back in 2014, as well as a photo purportedly taken on set that day. He also told her “writing in the room this season was weak,” which probably should have been a red flag.
“No men work on Broad City,” Glazer warns. “Don’t fuck a dude cause you think he works on Broad City.” Words to live by!
Zebrafish are good for science:
Another major benefit of studying zebrafish is the very low marginal cost: With many other research animals, housing ever-more specimens would lead to greater and greater costs. Not so with zebrafish: Adding an additional zebrafish doesn’t significantly increase the total cost of caring for them all. “Once you have a certain infrastructure, having the aquaculture set up and having the fish manually fed twice a day, there’s a very good scaling factor,” Sirotkin says. “The cost of maintaining 1,000 fish is not much less than having 20,000 fish, whereas with rodents every cage requires considerably more work and expense.”
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.