Here’s a thought experiment: let’s say you need to buy a car.
Now, let’s say you go to the car dealership, and your salesperson shows you several large cardboard boxes. Aside from the guarantee that each object within each box meets the most basic definition of a car — a person-sized frame surrounding an engine and four wheels — no additional information is given about the status, characteristics or condition of the motorized vehicle inside. Outside of the box are listed prices of differing amounts. You must decide on your purchase before you open the box.
Which box do you pick?
It only took the US Senate 13 months.
Dr. Vivek Murthy was nominated by the Obama Administration in November 2013 to replace acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, who held the position from July 2013 in the wake of former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin’s resignation. Murthy, who holds both an MD and an MBA, was born in Huddersfield, England to parents hailing from Karnataka, India; the family moved to Miami, Florida when Murthy was three years old. Murthy earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his medical degree from Yale School of Medicine in 2003, and was one of the founding members of Doctors for America — a group of physicians supporting comprehensive healthcare reform. In addition to this group, Murthy has founded several other non-profits and organizations aimed at improving healthcare in this country.
Murthy is everything one might look for in a surgeon general: a physician committed not just to his medical practice but also to political advocacy, all focused towards improving healthcare access. So why is it took over a year for the Senate to approve this highly-qualified nominee?
Of course: Republicans.
This is going to be an unpopular opinion: I believe that consuming news obtained through the recent hack of Sony Entertainment is wrong, and I’m refusing to do it.
Late last month, hackers calling themselves “Guardians of Peace” hacked Sony Entertainment servers and threw their findings online, launching the likes of TMZ and Entertainment Weekly into a state of orgasmic glee with a virtual deluge of juicy gossip. Leaked emails between major Sony executives contain all sorts of salacious details regarding a process both mysterious and seemingly relevant to the everyday American: what goes into the business side of movie-making, and who are the shadowy backroom figures that make these decisions?
Thanks to the hack of Sony Entertainment, we now know that these people are, for the most part, raging superficial assholes.
Last week, attention returned to Mark Wahlberg‘s 1988 attempted murder and contempt of court charges relating to a series of hate-related attacks targeting Vietnamese American and Black victims after the actor submitted a request to have his criminal record expunged. Yesterday, the Daily Mail published an interview with one of Wahlberg’s two 1988 assault victims, wherein the middle-aged Vietnamese American husband and father forgives the actor for his wayward youth, and supports the pardon request.
Yesterday, I expressed that I appreciated and respected Trinh’s forgiveness, but wondered whether there was more room for Wahlberg to be — as he says — a leader, and not a follower on community service.
I suggested that perhaps Wahlberg could pay restitution to Trinh and his other victims — who are named in the criminal complaint — as compensation for the physical and emotional damage he inflicted upon them in relation to his bias-related assaults. I suggested also that he could donate some of his Hollywood salary to the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) and to the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the two advocacy groups that solicited his original 1993 apology for the assaults. CAAAV, in particular, could use the funds: the group is focused on (among other campaigns) organizing vulnerable multi-racial and multi-ethnic communities of recent immigrants living in low-income housing in New York City, and are doing so on an annual operating budget of roughly $300,000/year. That’s less than 2% of the money Wahlberg earned for starring in Transformers.
Or, here’s another great idea: Mark Wahlberg should finally — after 21 years — agree to make that anti-racist public service announcement commercial he promised he would make in 1993.
In 1988, Mark Wahlberg plead guilty to assault for two related incidents wherein the actor attacked two Vietnamese American men while yelling anti-Asian slurs. As a teenager, Wahlberg spent 45 days in jail relating to the racialized assaults. Last week, the actor submitted a pardon request asking to have his criminal record expunged of that conviction.
Today, the Daily Mail published an interview with one of Wahlberg’s assault victims. Hoa “Johnny” Trinh tells the paper that he wasn’t aware that his 1988 assailant was a Hollywood celebrity, and he forgives Wahlberg for the attack.