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I’m not sure there’s ever been a great week for women on the internet, but this week was a particularly bad one.

Any time a week starts with a Kim Kardashian-Taylor Swift war on Snapchat and Instagram (Kardashian, for her part, might’ve actually violated California law), you know it’ll only get worse from there.

First, “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones was inundated with insanely racist and sexist messages. She furiously retweeted many of them to expose the folks harassing her, but ultimately signed off with this: “I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart.”

Though Twitter ended up banning one of Jones’ most high-profile harassers, the company acknowledged it needs to take action faster, and not just in the cases of famous people.

Indeed, a less famous person quit Twitter altogether this week to escape the sexist vitriol with which her account was constantly flooded.

Financial journalist Kelly Evans seemed to see some silver lining in it all: “Being constantly confronted with gross and bizarre comments from strangers was if anything an important reminder to me that not all the world is like my supportive family,” she told USA Today.

On Thursday, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Mary McNamara tweeted a screenshot of an email from one of her haters, and it is perhaps the most vile thing you’ll ever read. Other women journalists responded that they’d received similar emails from the same guy.

One of the most frustrating elements of Amanda Hess’ blockbuster piece on how women are treated on the internet was law enforcement’s almost universal refusal to take threats and harassment seriously.

That’s made even more frustrating when you read accounts like this: In the wake of the Dallas shooting, police have begun to arrest people who write social media posts that they perceive as threatening toward law enforcement. So it’s not necessarily that police can’t do anything about online threats to women, it’s that often they don’t.

For those of you shaking your heads at all this crazy new-fangled internet vitriol, don’t worry. Thanks to the RNC this week, plenty of people harassed women the old-fashioned way – in person.

What VOSD Learned This Week

As me and Andy Keatts discussed on this week’s VOSD podcast, it was quite a week for zombie stories. Not stories about zombies, though with the Con in town, there are probably many of those too. I’m talking about stories that we’ve followed for a loooooong time that periodically come back from the dead.

The first was Lilac Hills, the big development near rural Valley Center whose dramas we’ve been highlighting for the last year. This week, the Board of Supervisors punted on a decision over whether to OK the project outright or let voters decide. If they choose the former, neighbors are ready to sue.

Then there’s the Plaza de Panama zombie. Lisa Halverstadt has a good refresher on what inspired the plan, and the specific changes it would make to Balboa Park. Though the plan divides lots of folks, there’s one group that seems pretty happy with all the changes: the museums and institutions in the park.

Finally, the Lincoln High zombie reared its head to escort principal John Ross out the door (he’s moving to a special position within the district). That means Lincoln will have to adjust to its fourth principal in nine years.

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As the Republican National Convention was under way, Randy Dotinga had this fun reminder of the time San Diego crumbled under the weight of its hosting duties, and ultimately lost the event to Miami. Silver lining: We made up the “America’s Finest City” motto to make ourselves feel better.

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Arts groups are all about enriching their communities – but one group decided to look inward to enrich the lives of some of its own employees. San Diego Theatres is offering workshops and loans to help its green card-holding employees become U.S. citizens, and it’s encouraging other nonprofits and businesses in town to do the same.

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Free parking isn’t an option anymore for patrons of the Lyceum Theatre. That’s a problem, since the theater is supposed to be a public asset that’s accessible to a diverse range of audiences and users. 

What I’m Reading

• The Donald Trump piece everyone’s been waiting for: Back in 2014, Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins wrote a piece calling Trump out for his pattern of flirting with runs for office, then backing out. Now, Coppins examines how Trump made his presidential bid an act of vengeance against everyone who ever doubted him.

• The New Yorker dropped its own bombshell Trump piece, in which the ghostwriter behind Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal” comes forward with a warning, and he does not mince words: “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

  The NPR Codeswitch podcast on Philando Castile’s history of being pulled over for minor traffic violations (or none at all) is incredible. There was at least one instance in which Castile was pulled over twice in one day.

• Point: The Republican Party is doomed. Counterpoint: No, it’s not. (That latter piece, by the way, is by Reihan Salam, who will be one of our keynote speakers at Politifest.) (Five Thirty Eight, Slate)

• Since this is all quite heavy, I’ll leave you with this interview of former MTV VJ Dave Holmes. I just finished Holmes’ new memoir this week, and if you, like me, spent hours each day transfixed by “TRL,” you should give this article and the book a read. (Uproxx)

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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