12.11.2011 New York Times Digest

1. “An Earth Where the Droids Feel at Home”

“My first intention wasn’t to produce a series on Star Wars, but to photograph locations that are the makeup of our modernity: parking lots, peripheral zones, wastelands, forgotten places, of both beauty and ugliness, common and mad.”

2. “Two Romneys: Wealthy Man, Thrifty Habits”

“He is as cheap as it comes. And I think that carries over into everything he does.”

3. “Put It on My Marquee: I Just Watched Creepshow 2

“In 1987, the Washington City Paper, a weekly newspaper, published the video rental records of Judge Robert H. Bork, who at the time was a nominee to the Supreme Court. One of the paper’s reporters had obtained the records from Potomac Video, a local rental store. Judge Bork’s choice of movies — he rented a number of classic feature films starring Cary Grant — may have seemed innocuous. But the disclosure of Judge Bork’s cultural consumption so alarmed Congress that it quickly passed a law giving individuals the power to consent to have their records shared.”

4. “Consultant Nation”

“Consulting, with its rapid succession of different assignments, is the prototypical industry for a job market in which instability and change appear to be the norm.”

5. “A Message on Every Arm”

“Seemingly democratic and certainly affordable (if not free), the tote might be the ideal carryall for these post-luxury recessionary times. The tote’s status is stealth. It telegraphs not money but access, ethics, culture.”

6. “For Anchorwomen, Family Is Part of the Job”

“A Fox news journalist promoting federal social programs?”

7. “Obsession, Reignited”

“When people come to me and say, ‘Why can’t you compromise?’ I’m like: ‘What are you talking about? The fact that we’re having this conversation means that we’ve compromised.’”

8. “The 10 Best Books of 2011”

“We overestimate the importance of whatever it is we’re thinking about. We misremember the past and misjudge what will make us happy.”

9. “The African-American Experience”

“The story is just so endlessly rich, and powerful, and poignant, and inspiring.”

10. “William F. Buckley Jr.: Right Man, Right Time”

“Not only was he the high priest of the modern American conservative movement and the founding editor in chief of its leading intellectual publication, National Review; he was also a gifted polemicist, best-selling novelist, sesquipedalian speaker, television star, political candidate, yachtsman, harpsichordist, wit and bon vivant.”

11. “Anarchist Anthropology”

“Graeber argues that once-prevalent relationships based on an incalculable sense of duty deteriorated as buying and selling became the basis of society and as money, previously a marker of favors owed, became valuable in its own right.”

12. “Everyone Speaks Text Message”

“For the vast majority of the world, the cellphone, not the Internet, is the coolest available technology. And they are using those phones to text rather than to talk. Though most of the world’s languages have no written form, people are beginning to transliterate their mother tongues into the alphabet of a national language. Now they can text in the language they grew up speaking.”

13. “Riffs: The Year in Movies”

Drive is the year’s best Batman adaptation.”

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