Too often we do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done. We don’t stop and think about whether our politics, our love lives, our parenting makes any sense; rather we continue down the path of least resistance. That’s not how OZY rolls. As part of an ongoing feature, we regularly hit our readers with “immodest proposals” — the name is an homage to Jonathan Swift — that are provocatively designed to make you think differently about something you thought you knew. As it turns out, a lot of our past proposals look pretty darn prescient right now. Today’s Daily Dose explores how the minds at OZY have tried to rethink our world. Reply to this email to tell us what else needs a shake-up.
1. Things COVID-19 Should Permanently Kill
The pandemic has been a truly terrible time of death, economic suffering and anxiety that we will be dealing with for years to come. But it’s not all bad. We could go ahead and ditch some of the things that have been put on hiatus during our quarantime. We’ll start by permanently putting an end to cruises, boring dates, huge weddings, commuting and voting in person.
The dominant form of social media expression — to the point where people spend money on sticklike contraptions for a better shot — the selfie is a scourge. Posting one should result in a one-week social platform ban, to spare us all.
Cutting the grass, trimming the hedges, trying to keep up with the Joneses’ killer crocuses and the Lópezes’ lush fairway of a lawn is the worst. You should let it go — but not out of laziness or a simmering sense of suburban failure, but because it’s better for the environment! Allowing grass to grow to a healthy height and fostering the return of native species will benefit the ecosystem, and spare the world the disastrous pesticides that make lawn care even more harmful on the whole than agriculture is.
Rumor has it that some celebs make their sexual partners sign nondisclosure agreements before they do the deed, for fear of a leak to the press. But perhaps the NDA is the next phase of safe sex for all of us. Given the ubiquity of cellphone photos and video that could prove damaging down the line, it’s best for all parties to stay protected — with a lawyer’s expert guidance.
It’s hard to stay in shape, have a great mindset and find support — especially during the holiday season. That’s where Noom comes in. Noom is a health program that uses psychology to teach you how to make the best choices for you and your body. The goal? To help you form a healthy, stress-free, sustainable lifestyle. Noom provides a support system of online groups and a trained personal goal specialist. That’s how you stay motivated, encouraged and accountable to your health goals, so you can achieve lasting results. Let Noom help you achieve wellness today.
“What’s your biggest weakness?” just doesn’t cut it anymore. In the quest for finding great talent, canned questions are insufficient, so it’s time for employers to create improv scenarios as interviews. This isn’t a jobs program for comedians, mind you. It’s about finding people who are willing to try something new, commit to something scary and embrace creativity. You know, the kinds of qualities you want in a good hire, rather than the ability to artfully describe how their biggest weakness is caring too much.
We know that women are paid less than men for the same work, but have you thought about the extra costs of simply being a woman? Take workplace attire and a beauty regimen, throw in the $18,000 a woman spends on her periods over the course of her lifetime and, yeah, the scales are imbalanced. So it’s high time employers be mandated to pay women more than men. Or, failing that, for the federal government to institute a 25 percent working-while-female tax credit.
It would be silly if your real-life mailbox were stuffed with letters just saying “OK” or “thanks,” so it’s time to declutter our inboxes by charging a penny to send each email. It’s not much, but it will make you think twice before hitting Send, and considering all the productivity and mental anguish spent on monitoring email, we’ll all be better for it. It’s time our inboxes were reduced to the essentials, like glorious OZY emails.
Is this proposal merely a populist rallying cry for the working stiff? Not at all! We’re here to make the green-eyeshade case to all the CEOs in the room. Dear Boss, we’ll have that report in your inbox by EOD but check this out first: One study finds that companies lose $5,000 in productivity per year for each shut-eye-deprived employee. So pay us — er, them — to nap, and you’ll only improve your bottom line.
We wrote way back in 2015 how it was time to do away with the office, and thanks to a global pandemic, now all the cool kids are doing it. We did not immodestly propose that everyone should invest in Zoom stock, though. Our bad.
Abortion is considered a woman’s right to choose what happens with her body. But what if the man wants out? Politicians in Denmark and Sweden have floated the idea of a legal abortion for the father: He signs some paperwork and thus loses all rights — and responsibilities — of fatherhood, including child support. Consider it a more bureaucratic form of ghosting.
Women do a disproportionate amount of the work to have and care for a child when you take just biology into account, much less societal pressures. So why do only 4 percent of kids have their mother’s last name? Names matter as a signal to the world, and hyphenated last names are weak sauce: It’s time to flip this absurd tradition and put the mother’s name in its rightful place.
How much human suffering would be eliminated if we could get rid of unwanted pregnancies? Turns out, it could be as simple as giving all young males an antibody that would make their sperm unable to swim. If they want offspring, these men would simply pop a pill that blocks the antibody for the duration of time they want their sperm to spring into action. It’s simple, elegant and not at all subject to weird sci-fi unintended consequences.
Some 80 percent of men in the U.S. have been circumcised, but just because it’s tradition doesn’t mean the rest of us should be lemmings. A growing number of medical authorities warn that the practice is traumatic for infants, can lead to diminished sexual pleasure later in life and is simply unnecessary.
Why not give your kids the gift of obsessing over their hand-held device by giving them calculators? My kids loved these when they were toddlers, and the cheap toys helped pave the way for them to one day demand $1,000 iPhones that will turn their brains into TikTok-addled jelly.
The leaves have changed, bells are jingling — winter is definitely here. Luckily, we found the perfect men’s sweater for this sweater-weather season. Look no further: Outerknown’s Nostalgic Sweater puts a modern twist on the iconic ’70s style and perfectly combines comfort, style and warmth. The Nostalgic Sweater sold out fast last year, so don’t miss it while it lasts — and use code OKOZY for 20% off!
A gift from us to you. This holiday season, we’re bringing you some of our favorite episodes from The Carlos Watson Show in “odd couple” matchups and asking you to decide which conversation you found most interesting. Today, join the movement of one of these activists — acclaimed author and social critic Roxane Gay, or sexual harassment activist Anita Hill. Which one has you inspired to take up the cause? Check out episodes featuring our favorite activists here, and let us know which you pick by following The Carlos Watson Show on Instagram and voting in our Stories.
High school dropout rates are a scourge that leads to all kinds of societal ills. But rather than the ineffective methods that society has tried for generations, it might be time to start ponying up directly. Let’s pay kids to go to school, as if it were a job, with bonuses for good grades. If we’re going to take school seriously as a conduit to adult living and civic engagement, why not start here?
School dress codes are a joke and often sexist as administrators police the length of skirts and exposed midriffs. Adulthood is no better, with the FCC losing its mind over Janet Jackson’s “nip slip” but not policing the cleavage-baring women in beer commercials. It’s time for women to decide what to wear and when — not the government or school administrators or anyone else. Just like their bra-burning sisters of the 1970s, it’s time for women today to set their bikinis aflame and go topless at the beach if they damn well feel like it.
In 2017 we proposed getting rid of perfect attendance awards, on the grounds that they’re a public health hazard by encouraging kids to go to school when sick. We’d venture to guess that those certificates will be far less common after this COVID-19 school year.
1. Stop Saying ‘Thank You’
You really don’t mean it most of the time, so why do you say “thank you” when you really mean “f*ck you”? It’s time to step up, be honest and ditch one of the most overused phrases in the English language. Or perhaps use the Southern version of eff you, which is “bless your heart.”
If you’re traveling in Southeast Asia or other overseas locales, you might encounter something strange in the restrooms restroom sight: a water gun, rather than toilet paper, for cleaning your nether regions. Embrace it. The bum gun is better for your backside and the environment, and it’s starting to take off in certain (rounded) corners of the U.S.
Reading a woman’s sexuality is impossible. For a single queer woman like this immodest proposal writer, it’s incredibly frustrating to try to pick up the signals while seeking community. So when a straight woman refers to her platonic friend as a “girlfriend,” it only makes matters worse. So quit it and stick with “friend.” And whatever you do, avoid “gal pal.”
Given how easy it is for an American president to order drones to unleash death from the sky — with innocent civilians often ending up as collateral damage — it’s time to humanize this type of killing. How? By requiring the incoming president to kill someone before gaining control of America’s military arsenal. The notion has Cold War roots, as the late Harvard law professor Robert Fisher proposed embedding the nuclear codes in someone’s heart — so the president would have to kill that person in order to destroy others from afar. What do you say, Joe Biden?
Let’s face it: The best and brightest don’t typically take up the mantle of politics anymore. Have you seen Congress? So it’s time to raise the game so that young people have a greater incentive to look to high office rather than Wall Street or Silicon Valley: Increase politician pay by a factor of 10. Why would it help the body politic to pay the president $4 million per year? The same reason companies that pay better tend to get the best talent.
Some of the wildest and most immodest ideas come from our political fringes. But as our landmark series American Fringes laid out this year, those ideas have a way of going mainstream.
1. The NFL Needs a Weight Limit
As football players have ballooned to ridiculous sizes, the force of their impact has grown accordingly. That means more severe injuries on even routine plays, never mind the flagrant hits that draw penalty flags. One solution? Require every player to be between 200 and 275 pounds. If applied right now, the weight limit would rule out most every team’s linemen, but a forced slimming would make football faster, and allow spectacular smaller-sized players, like svelte 207-pounder Kyler Murray, to live in less fear of being squashed.
The end of so many tense basketball games comes down to everyone standing still, watching one player on the free-throw line — often targeted by the other team for his or her poor free-throw abilities. It doesn’t have to be this way: Penalize teams for fouls by awarding points or change of possession. Don’t grind the game to a halt — no one’s paying good money to watch LeBron shoot free throws.