1.18.2009 New York Times Digest

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1. “How the Movies Made a President”

“The movies of the past half-century hardly prophesy the present moment, but they offer intriguing premonitions, quick-sketch pictures and sometimes richly realized portraits of black men grappling with issues of identity and the possibilities of power. They have helped write the prehistory of the Obama presidency.”

2. “Can CNN, the Go-to Site, Get You to Stay?”

“When people boot up their computers in the morning or browse Web sites while at work, they tend to check one of a handful of sites for news headlines. While news choices on the Internet are seemingly endless, the ‘Web news wars’ are concentrated among a few top competitors.”

3. “Meetings Are a Matter of Precious Time”

“The main reason we don’t make meetings more productive is that we don’t value our time properly. The people who call meetings and those who attend them are not thinking about time as their most valuable resource.”

4. “At First, Funny Videos. Now, a Reference Tool.”

“Tyler’s way of experiencing the Web — primarily through video — may not be mainstream, at least not yet. But his use of YouTube as his favorite search engine underscores a shift that is much broader than the quirky habits of children.”

5. “Vive le Wrestler”

“‘More of a freak than ever, more impressive as well, he is the physical incarnation of the American landscape, its dreams, its violence, its loneliness and we only come to realize this every three years, each time he attempts a comeback,’ is how Philippe Azoury, of Libération, put it in September.”

6. “One Day You’re Indispensable, the Next Day…”

“‘The “great man” theory does hold water, but mainly at times of transition when a charismatic leader lends what psychologists would call an individual’s ego strengths to the organization or country as a whole, to allow it to regroup and move forward.’”

7. “Horatio Alger Relocates to a Mumbai Slum”

“It portrays a changing India, with great realism, as something India long resisted being: a land of self-makers, where a scruffy son of the slums can, solely of his own effort, hoist himself up, flout his origins, break with fate. And that may explain the movie’s strange hold over Americans. It channels to them their own Gatsbyesque fantasy of self-invention, and yet places it far enough away as to imply that it is now really someone else’s fantasy.”

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