10.24.2010 New York Times Digest

1. “How to Get Unfriended on Facebook”

“The top two reasons that Facebook users unfriend people is that they post too frequently on trivial topics or about polarizing subjects — particularly politics and religion.”

2. “The Mating Game”

“Do people really want to be paired off?”

3. “Why Can’t Middle-Aged Women Have Long Hair?”

“Long hair is archetypal. And everyone knows that archetypes are all tangled up with desire. There’s a reason mermaids, Selkies and witches have long hair. Ballerinas, too. We all know Rapunzel’s tale, how she sat at the top of her lonely tower, her long hair hanging out the window, until finally, a prince climbed its ropy length to rescue her. Or impregnate her, depending on which version you read. Either way, it worked.”

4. “Should You Watch Football?”

“Is it morally defensible to watch a sport whose level of violence is demonstrably destructive?”

5. “Taylor Swift Is Angry, Darn It”

“It’s warfare on the level of Jay-Z versus Nas, Oasis versus Blur, Carly Simon versus whomever.”

6. “The Nice Guy Who Puts the Mean Into ‘Glee’”

“I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat. And then on some dark, cold night I will steal away into your house and punch you in the face.”

7. “In the Eyes of Others”

“The normal, or default, mode of human cognition, for example, is holistic, given to seeing relationships among elements, but people in WEIRD societies think more analytically. They see a world full of discrete objects, like balls on a billiard table, whose properties are best analyzed individually.”

8. “Party and Punishment”

“Right after 9/11, Muslim regimes were depicted as tyrannical in part because they demonized Western fun-loving culture in the name of a misogynistic ideology. Slowly but surely we’ve been doing the same thing with our most visible good-time girls, making villains of women who are dangerous almost exclusively to themselves.”

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