Bickering In Bangladesh; Curling; Glow-In-The-Dark Tattoos

Nov 30, 2013
Originally published on December 7, 2013 1:31 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, Ozy deputy editor Eugene Robinson fills in for Carlos to tell NPR's Arun Rath about two dueling divas in Bangladeshi politics, the rising popularity of an obscure winter sport, and tattoos that you can wear to work.

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From NPR West, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath. It's time now for The New and the Next.


RATH: Each week, we talk with Carlos Watson, the cofounder of the online magazine Ozy. Carlos is away this week, so we have a fill-in. Eugene Robinson is the deputy editor for Ozy, and he's with us this week to talk about what's new and what's next. Welcome, Eugene.

EUGENE ROBINSON: Hey. How are you doing, Arun?

RATH: So first story - it's a wild story about politics in Bangladesh, which has an election coming up. These two women - one is the prime minister, the other is the leader of the opposition - they've had this long rivalry, and it came to a head in this phone call you guys write about.

ROBINSON: Right. Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia. They had a phone call where there were these great hopes for some kind of rapprochement. There's a transcript that we have where they're arguing about arguing while they're arguing.


ROBINSON: And there's this vocal jockeying, and then they make reference to the red phone. I called your red phone, Hasina says. And Zia says, my red phone has been dead for years. You run the government. You should know that. So right at the outset, you know that things aren't going to get much better in the short term for these two.

RATH: And it's just bickering. It's just petty bickering, this whole transcript that you have.

ROBINSON: It's petty bickering when you and I do it.


RATH: Yeah.

ROBINSON: So this is a bit more serious than that, I'd say. And what makes it kind of shocking is that they've been doing it for about 20 years, you know? It's - I mean, it's...

RATH: Yeah. And Bangladesh, obviously, has a lot of problems to deal with.

ROBINSON: Poverty being first and foremost and then, of course, you know, it's nearby to both China and India. So the fact that its politics are a mess is a pretty serious issue, geopolitically speaking.

RATH: Also coming up early next year are the Winter Olympics. You know, curling has been around for a while - we've all made fun of it for a while - but I was reading in Ozy about how it's been getting some traction in America.

ROBINSON: I tell you, the genius of curling is that everybody watches it, and they go, hey, I could do that, you know. And in actual fact, you figure, well, you know, there are no curling clubs, really, so you - it has to be driven by desire. However, there are curling clubs, and membership is up in the States at about 48 percent up from 2001. And it gets these big bursts every time there's an Olympics. And you've got 165 clubs in about 42 states, so it is approaching being a big deal. It does take a lot of skill. And we're expecting big things from the U.S. team, at the very least, in the next Olympic cycle.

RATH: I got to check that out. Finally, I got a piece from you - one of your own pieces this week - about tattoos. And you got to explain this, because this is a way I could get a tattoo and my mother would never know about it.

ROBINSON: There's the mother issue, there's the continued employment issue. And 61 percent of hiring managers are saying, well, you know, I don't want a guy with a tattoo on his face sitting at my front desk. So I remember meeting this guy, and he says, I've got a tattoo - we were talking about tattoos, and I myself am tattooed. And I go, where? And he goes, it's on my face. And I'm like, you know, I might miss a lot, but I don't see that you have a tattoo on your face, sir. And he goes, no, no, no. It's a glow in the dark. It's a UV tattoo.

So they have phosphorus inks or UV inks that are only activated under black light. So you can be totally tattooed, illustrated man and go to work and have nobody be any the wiser. And then you go to a club, and you are the hit of the club, providing it's a club that has black light. And the interesting thing about it is it only stays glow in the dark for a period of time, and then it kind of fades. So I guess if you are inconsistent in your desire for permanent artwork, this might be a great thing to have.

RATH: Eugene Robinson is a deputy editor of the online magazine Ozy. Eugene, thank you.

ROBINSON: Hey. Thanks, sir. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.