UTERUS VERSUS HIM
Ingrid Paulicivic filed a lawsuit in September against Laguna Beach, California, gynecologist Red Alinsod over leg burns she bafflingly acquired during her 2009 hysterectomy—a procedure that was topped off by the doctor’s gratuitous name-“branding” of her uterus with his electrocautery tool. Dr. Alinsod explained that he carved “Ingrid” in inch-high letters on the organ only after he had removed it and that such labeling helps in the event a woman requests the return of the uterus as a souvenir. He called the branding just a “friendly gesture” and said he did not know how the burns on Paulicivic’s leg occurred.
NOTHING CUTER THAN POST-WAR RECONSTRUCTION BBC News reported in August that government officials in southern Sudan had unveiled a $10 billion plan that would rebuild the area’s major cities (heavily damaged during the ongoing civil war) “in the shapes of animals and fruit.” New blueprints for one state capital, Juba, show its boundaries in the shape of a rhinoceros, and for another capital, Wau, a giraffe, and for the town of Yambio, the outline of a pineapple. Such municipal planning might appear quixotic, especially in view of Sudan’s wartime chaos, but investors can hardly ignore a country that sits on rich oil deposits.
Spousal violence continues to plague India, especially in lower-income areas of Uttar Pradesh state, but four years ago, Ms. Sampat Pal Devi, then 36, formed a vigilante group of females to fight back and has made notable progress, according to a July report on Slate.com. Members of Pal’s group (“gulabis”—literally, “gangs for justice”) travel in numbers, wearing “hot pink” saris and carrying bamboo sticks, and try to reason with abusive husbands to improve their behavior. Originally, Pal imagined a temporary team, in place until women acquired greater electoral power, but the experience in Uttar Pradesh has been disheartening in that, often, the women elected as officials have been just as corruptible and male-centered as the men they replaced.
U.S. and NATO forces in southern Afghanistan have reported feelings of revulsion at the number and ostentatiousness of local Pashtun men who publicly flaunt the 9- to 15-year-old boys that they’ve acquired as lovers. The boys dress (and use makeup) like girls, dance, hold the men’s hands and show off in front of others their age. According to an August San Francisco Chronicle dispatch from Kandahar, locals explain the practice as partly regional tradition and partly a response to Islamic and tribal customs that make young females off-limits to men until marriage (Local saying: “Women are for children; boys are for pleasure”).
A 1997 election law in Brazil makes it illegal to “degrade or ridicule” political candidates or their parties, making that country’s election season not nearly as lively as the U.S.’s. However, in August, one week after a protest in Rio de Janeiro by Brazilian comedians, the vice president of the Supreme Court acquiesced and suspended the law as unconstitutional.
‘F’ FOR EFFORT
Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, feeling under-respected academically, commissioned an in-state firm to create a direct-mail campaign highlighting the many benefits of a Drake education. The pitch to potential students, which was rolled out in September in brochures and on Drake’s Web site, is called the “Drake Advantage” and is graphically represented (curiously, for an academic institution) as “D+.”
In September, the Treviso, Italy, adult doll maker Diego Bortolin (who specializes in lifelike, precisely detailed, fully flexible, anatomically correct models of humans) told reporters that he had completed a special order for a 50-year-old businessman whom he would not name but who paid Bortolin the equivalent of $18,000 (compared to his normal price of about $5,000) to go beyond his generic “young woman”—to create a replica of the very girlfriend who had just recently dumped him. The extra expenses were “because we had to replicate everything, right down to the shape of her nails and teeth”—plus, the man wanted his substitute girlfriend to have bigger breasts.