We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
Ryan Reynolds Gladly Takes on the ‘Dirty’ Work of Fatherhood
In a cute moment on Late Night With Seth Myers, actor Ryan Reynolds gave some refreshing advice on teaming up with his wife and actress Blake Lively caring for their daughter, James. “Just do the dirty work, man,” Reynolds said. “You gotta do the diapers, you gotta do the middle of the night thing. A human being will exit your wife. She’s done enough.”
It’s at once inspiring and underwhelming that this made headlines; one would hope teamwork during new parenthood is a given. But it isn’t. Personally, it took having another child for my husband to learn that him changing a diaper at 2 a.m. makes all the difference in everyone waking up happier and better rested. Reynolds’ latest film, Deadpool has been a surprising success and 14-month James is already a fan: reportedly she exclaims, “Dada, Dada, Dada” whenever she sees an ad of him in his costume. Suffice it to say the dirty work is well worth it! —Krizia Liquido
Some Employers Are Outsourcing Data Companies to Guess If You’ll Get Pregnant
In other parenting news, this creepy report just in from the Wall Street Journal: Some employers are quietly using big data mined by third parties they’ve hired to track employee pregnancies and potential pregnancies. "To determine which employees might soon get pregnant, Castlight recently launched a new product that scans insurance claims to find women who have stopped filling birth-control prescriptions, as well as women who have made fertility-related searches on Castlight's health app."
Even creepier: "That data is matched with the woman's age, and if applicable, the ages of her children to compute the likelihood of an impending pregnancy, says Jonathan Rende, Castlight's chief research and development officer. She would then start receiving emails or in-app messages with tips for choosing an obstetrician or other prenatal care. If the algorithm guessed wrong, she could opt out of receiving similar messages."
While this is legal, is it ethical? The jury is still out, but we imagine there will be a lot of interesting commentary bubbling up on the pros and cons for employees and employers alike. —KL
Taylor’s Grammys Acceptance Speech Addresses Kanye’s Latest Insult
It looks like Kanye West’s infamous awkward public shaming of Taylor Swift isn’t completely a thing of the past. “Famous,” a track from his newly released album, overtly refers to the singer in the insulting line, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex, I made that b— famous.” After claiming that he had personally called Taylor to check the line with her before he went ahead with the song, Swift’s rep contradicted him: “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined, and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric.”
Of course, as many people have pointed out, this is hardly the first misogynistic lyric that Kanye’s songs have contained, but that doesn’t make it any better. As we reported earlier this week, Swift herself had a great message for ladies everywhere when she accepted the award for Album of the Year for 1989 at the Grammys on Monday night. “I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” she said, going on to add “if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going, you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world. Thank you for this moment." And thank you, Taylor, for being an example of how to stand up for yourself. —Sophie Caldecott
Also at the Grammys . . .
By the way, in case you missed it, there were some pretty amazing new voices at the Grammys this year. Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes, Andra Day, and Tori Kelly, to name a few. Read up on what you missed from the best performances at the Grammys this past Monday. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Death of a Supreme Court Justice
Last Saturday, news broke that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had died. Among his many legacies, he left behind an example of true friendship, the most famous of which was with fellow Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While the two disagreed on many issues, their friendship flourished over the years as they worked alongside each other. As Jo Rush wrote for Verily this week, this is a lesson for us all to not just be friends with those who think like ourselves. “My personal resolution is to take my example from the friendship of Justices Scalia and Ginsburg and try to better understand those who disagree with me. Not to scroll past the controversial statement or cut out the opinionated friend, but to seek out conversation with those that think or act or vote differently than me to understand where they're coming from, because it will sharpen my mind and enrich my life.” May we all be so open minded. —Diana Stancy
Pope Francis Visits Mexico
The increasingly popular pontif didn’t disappoint during his recent five-city tour of Mexico. President Enrique Pena Nieto gave Pope Francis an official state welcome to the National Palace. This is all very significant since Mexico and Mexican politicians in particular have had a complicated relationship with the Vatican for most of the past century.
True to form, Pope Francis gave poignant speeches regarding the well-known corruption and subsequent violence not only to gathered dignitaries but to assembled cardinals and bishops at the Metropolitan Cathedral, another stop on the tour. In a spectacular visit, the pope celebrated Mass with tens of thousands of indigenous people dressed in stunning traditional clothes and apologized for centuries of abuse and discrimination suffered at the hand of the church.
Perhaps his most poetic admonishment of the tour came during his tough-love speech given at the Metropolitan Cathedral: “Do not place your faith in the chariots and horses of today's Pharaohs, for our strength is in the pillar of fire which divides the sea in two, without much fanfare." —Hannah Allen
Crackdown on Police Who’ve Sexually Abused Vulnerable Women
The Los Angeles Police Department is no stranger to scandal, but on Wednesday prosecutors charged two officers with felony charges for crimes that might shed some much-needed light on the national conversation surrounding police conduct and abuse of powers.
Officers Luis Valenzuela and James C. Nichols, both narcotics officers, stand accused of raping multiple women over several years. These women all had prior arrests for drug and prostitution charges and were allegedly told by the officers that if they refused to comply they would be taken to jail. This includes one woman who was sentenced to seven years in April 2011 for possession of cocaine with the intent to sell, after she was promised lessened charges in exchange for sex, which she submitted to.
According to the complaint, the offenses date back to at least 2008. They were reported by multiple women, but the rapes allegedly continued unchecked as an internal investigation floundered for years. It wasn’t until one of the women filed a lawsuit against the officers in 2013 that their fellow LAPD officers moved in, seizing phones and computers belonging to Valenzuela and Nichols. The accused officers have spent the past two years on unpaid leave.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck expressed his disgust with the two officers Wednesday. “These two officers have disgraced themselves, they’ve disgraced this badge, they’ve disgraced their oath of office,” he said during a news conference. “I am extremely troubled by what they’ve done.” Worst of all was that the two officers “preyed on folks that are sometimes reluctant witnesses, reluctant victims,” Beck said. The two officers now face a combined thirty-two charges. If convicted, they could each face life in prison. A sobering reminder that denouncing brutality and misconduct is not the same as being “anti-police.” —HA
Sports Illustrated Unveils 3 Covers for This Year’s Swimsuit Issue
This year, Sports Illustrated magazine is changing things up with its annual swimsuit issue: Instead of one, three women will grace three separate covers, one of whom is plus-size model Ashley Graham. This is the first time that SI will place a plus-size model on its cover, and the magazine hopes to capitalize on that, calling it “history in the making” and a reminder that “beauty is not cookie cutter.” Additionally, SI maintains that its magazine has always been about the models and that each of them is “cover-worthy.”
Hold up. Maybe for SI this choice is revolutionary, but we need to look at the bigger picture here. As Verily’s Baleigh Scott points out, SI is extremely late to the game in realizing that all kinds of beauty exist. “There is no doubt that all three of these women are beautiful,” Scott writes. “But I didn’t need to see them on the cover of Sports Illustrated to know that because Sports Illustrated is not the supreme judge of who is or is not beautiful. The fact that they seem to think so is rather offensive. The reality is that SI is simply one of many magazines that has, for a long time, used female sexuality to make money, and this issue is no different.” Amen, sister! —DS