We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.
March for Life on Washington
On the heels of the Women's March on Washington, the March for Life takes place today in the U.S. capital. While this year it may make more headlines than usual, it isn’t a retaliation march against the Women’s March, which took place this past Saturday; this year marks the forty-fourth year that pro-life supporters have marched around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. While past marches have included remarks from such presidents as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush speaking remotely by phone, this year's rally will include Kellyanne Conway, counsel to President Trump, and on Thursday, vice president Mike Pence announced he will attend as well.
This week some pro-life feminists told us what it was like marching at the Women’s March from which they were officially excluded. Despite the flurry of controversy surrounding their participation in the Women’s March, the March for Life will no-doubt have a warmer reception for them. —Mary Rose Somarriba
If Mia Were Rose and Sebastian Were Jack, Oscar Nominations Are Here
Move over, Titanic, there’s a new star in town. The musical for a new generation, La La Land was recognized with fourteen nominations by the Oscars, a record previously held by Titanic and All About Eve. Other nominees include Moonlight in eight categories and Arrival, starring Amy Adams, also receiving eight nods. In contrast to previous years’ outrage over a lack of diversity in the nominees, this year seems a far cry from the #OscarsSoWhite of awards shows past. The academy presented its highest number yet of black nominees. Among them are Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Viola Davis (Fences), and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures). Despite controversial sexual assault claims against him, Casey Affleck also received recognition for his role in Manchester By The Sea. The mastermind behind Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda pulled in a nomination for his original song “How Far I’ll Go,” featured in Disney’s Moana.
The Oscars will be broadcast on February 26 and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. In the meantime, catch up on all those movies that have won in the past that you never got around to seeing. Here’s what’s streaming now. —Megan Madden
Viral Video Says Thanks to Culture of Crudeness, Trump Is #ExactlyOurPresident
A short video has been making its rounds on social media this week. Using the medium of spoken word poetry, the poet (who does not name himself but manages a Facebook page called J.ournal and a YouTube channel of the same name) verbalizes an aspect of the election that has not been widely addressed: that perhaps the choice of presidential candidates this election cycle is a reflection of what our society currently values, at least in pop culture.
He points out that “presidential candidates come from the same vulgar, sexist, violent, sex-obssessed, locker room society that we’ve curated,” going on to claim that we should not be surprised at the “crude” comments of our current president, as his behavior is reflected in the kind of entertainment we are immersed in: “Every must-see show on HBO must indulge in sex or violence, or better yet, both. And every skit on Saturday Night Live sounds like every obscene leaked Trump conversation, perpetually scraping the bottom of the barrel for cheap laughs.”
Instead of making a political statement, the poet explained in a Facebook post from Monday, his point is to highlight the larger social ills of which Trump’s crude comments are indicative. The poet finds a problem with facts such as, “Today the average teenager thinks that not recycling is more immoral than pornography,” which frequently shows male aggression against women. The underlying challenge the video issues is that in order to change society, we must start with ourselves, and the entertainment we are consuming. Do our choices promote the dignity and value of the human person, or the opposite? Definitely food for thought. —Lindsey Weishar
RIP, Mary Tyler Moore
The beloved Mary Tyler Moore passed away at age 80 this week, after being hospitalized in Greenwich, CT. Moore suffered cardiopulmonary arrest after she had contracted pneumonia. Her rep Mara Buxbaum told the Huffington Post that she died “in the company of friends and her loving husband of over thirty-three years, Dr. S. Robert Levine.” Buxbaum also went on to describe her as “a groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation… a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile.”
Moore was just that—a visionary. She was most renowned for her roles as Mary Richards in the 1970s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960s. But even former first lady Michelle Obama, just months before Moore passed, spoke of the influence she had on her growing up. “She was one of the few single working women depicted on television at the time,” Obama told Variety. “She worked in a newsroom, she had a tough boss and she stood up to him. She had close friends, never bemoaning the fact that she was single. She was very proud and comfortable in that role.” Although she will be dearly missed, her legacy will surely live on. —Mary Brodeur
Laurie Hernandez’s Book Comes Out, While She Continues on DWTS Tour
American gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez released her new book, I Got This: To Gold and Beyond, this past week. She shared some insights from her book with us this week about facing challenges and dealing with setbacks, and the three little words she uses to get it through it all: I got this. “My family, my coach, and all my life experiences have taught me to pursue my goals, to never let doubt hold me back, to take the first step . . . and then the next,” she writes. “There will be setbacks and disappointments—there always are—but there will also be lots of rewards.”
Soon after Hernandez returned home from Rio this summer, she went on to compete on Dancing with the Stars, dancing alongside partner Val Chmerkovskiy, and win the Mirrorball Trophy. The two are now on tour through mid-February as Hernandez celebrates the release of her book. —MB
The Case for Baby Boxes
New Jersey is taking a cue from Finland as the state makes strides toward reducing the infant mortality rate. On Tuesday The Baby Box Company announced that it has teamed up with the state of New Jersey to provide new parents with baby boxes. The innovative program originated eighty years ago in Finland to decrease the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which is one of the highest contributions to the abnormally high infant mortality rate in the U.S. Baby boxes supply parents with all the newborn essentials, such as diapers, onesies, wipes, and nipple cream for breast-feeding. Not only that, but the durable box the supplies come in doubles as a safe bed for the baby for the first few months of life. The program expects to provide about 105,000 baby boxes for parents in 2017 thanks to a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. To sign up, parents must register online, take a short class, pass a quiz, and decide whether they want to pick up the box themselves or have it sent to them. We love seeing more practical support for new moms in this big life transition! —Katie Faley