2021 is now in the rear-view mirror, and throughout this past year, there have been a lot of stories don’t really require more than a one- or two-word statement. These are opinions I’ve wanted to share throughout the year, but because they were so short, they didn’t really warrant their own columns. So they are The Way It Iz’s 2021 wrap-up short op-eds. All of these will be one or two sentences long. So tweets. They are basically tweets.

Throughout this pandemic, we have heard the comparisons between abortion and forced masking and vaccination. Although the Venn diagram is not a complete overlap, often the pro-life side ends up being against any mandate enforcing masks or vaccines, while the pro-choice side is more closely aligned with mandates. The argument coming from both sides of this issue revolves around the notion of “body autonomy.” The Right will claim that pro-choicers only care about body autonomy when it comes to abortion, but not when it comes to vaccines and masks. The problem with this argument is that the Left will use the exact same counter-argument: that the Right only cares about body autonomy when it comes to vaccines.

Have you wondered why we are seeing an uptick in race hoaxes lately? Sure, you may be familiar with the highest profile case – that of Jussie Smollett - but let’s be honest: He’s not the only one. And as much as many of us won’t want to hear this, Jews are not immune from perpetuating these hoaxes either.

Throughout Meseches Avodah Zarah, we are told of three times when Rebbe Yehudah Hanasi (or simply, “Rebbe”) cried. Each story has a similar outcome that caused Rebbe to come to tears. The first appears on daf 10b, where the gemara recounts the story of Ketia bar Shalom, a Roman advisor to an unnamed Caesar. The Caesar explained his intentions to kill all of the Jews. Ketia explained exactly why the Caesar should not go through with his plan. While the Caesar agreed with him, he had Ketia killed. On the way to his execution, Ketia circumcised himself and repented for his sins.

This week, former Missouri Senator and current MSNBC host Claire McCaskill made the claim that she foresees a time when red states will “empower citizens to go out and round up people they think look like foreigners.” The comments came amid a discussion about the fallout from the Texas abortion law that grants citizens standing to sue any medical provider who performs an abortion. McCaskill attempted to make a “slippery slope” argument as red states seek to impose restrictions on abortion. Without getting too involved in the actual abortion aspect of this, this statement from McCaskill allows us the opportunity to analyze some popular slippery slope arguments made on both sides of the aisle and how well they turned out.

There’s a weird phenomenon I noticed when growing up. My friends were categorized into first-name names and last-name names. Some boys in my class were called by their first names by the rest of the class and others were known by their last names. As I was never a girl, I don’t know if this phenomenon exists with them, but from what I understand, calling someone by their last name is more often a male thing. But what causes the use of first names or last names? How do children decide collectively which name to use?