1.30.2011 New York Times Digest

1. “The Perils of Literary Profiling”

“Current evidence suggests that if criminals read at all — and let’s not forget how many prisoners are functionally illiterate — then they read much the same books as the rest of us, business and self-help books included.”

2. “Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above”

“Many young adults of mixed backgrounds are rejecting the color lines that have defined Americans for generations in favor of a much more fluid sense of identity.”

3. “A Chicken Chain’s Corporate Ethos Is Questioned by Gay Rights Advocates”

“If you’re eating Chick-fil-A, you’re eating anti-gay.”

4. “A Golden Age of Foreign Films, Mostly Unseen”

“My complaint, really, is about the peculiar and growing irrelevance of world cinema in American movie culture, which the Academy Awards help to perpetuate.”

5. “Astaire The Artist, Even in Blackface”

Swing Time was released in 1936. That same year, Gone With the Wind was published, with its sympathetic treatment of the Ku Klux Klan, and Josephine Baker returned to America, partnered by white men in a Balanchine number, only to be ostracized by several white co-stars and censured by the New York critics. In view of those white American attitudes toward blacks in this era, the nature of Astaire’s tribute in ‘Bojangles’ becomes much clearer.”

6. “The Power of the Platform at Apple”

“If the iPad were a stand-alone company, it would rank within the top third of the Fortune 500.”

7. “Innovation Is Doing Little for Incomes”

“It seems that we are coming up with ideas that benefit relatively small numbers of people, compared with the broad-based advances of earlier decades, when the modern world was put into place.”

8. “The Man Behind the Ace Empire”

“And there, in a lamp, you have the essence of Ace aesthetics. It’s not just that it represents retro cool. It’s also highly functional — indeed, purely functional; McMaster-Carr is not a design company but a family-run California firm that makes U-bolts, sprockets and 480,000 other products.”

9. “My Personal Baggage”

“Cluttered bag, cluttered mind.”

10. “Does Facebook Make Someone Social Offline?”

“Does logging on to Facebook for the fourth time today make you feel like a soulless shut-in?”

11. “The Ripped and the Righteous”

“To be unfit is to be unfit: a villain of the culture, indeed.”

12. “Irving Kristol’s Brute Reason”

“Kristol, to my eyes, looks a little like Norman Mailer, another 1940s personality who, in the course of the ’60s, decided to shuck off his old thoughtfulness in favor of something new — though of course Mailer, the hipster, defected to the counterculture, and Kristol, the square, took up the anti-counterculture.”

13. “Scratch-Me-Not”

“Where the pro-protector camp wants to enshrine its technology, the anti-protectors fear anything that comes between them and the Apple design utopia.”

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