4.29.2012 New York Times Digest

1. “Directors Heading Down New Paths

“In one brilliantly staged sequence Stevens places Milland and Wright in the foreground, as they slip into an air-clearing conversation that may end their marriage; in the deep background are the couple’s two rambunctious boys, struggling with a stepladder that threatens to collapse on a table stacked with Christmas dinnerware. The metaphor is clean and precise, the tension is almost unbearable, and the scene is staged with an apparent ease and naturalness that represents the classical Hollywood tradition at its most elegant and expressive.”

2. “How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes

“Apple serves as a window on how technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age and ill suited to today’s digital economy.”

3. “At This Atlanta Barbershop, the Conversation Goes on 24/7

“Black barbershops are evolving to keep up with modern lifestyles and an economy that forces many clients to work unusual hours.”

4. “The Man Is a Coach. Period.

“Confidants describe him in terms usually reserved for addicts.”

5. “She’s Playing Games With Your Lives

“Jane McGonigal is a cross between Tim Ferriss and Kelly Osbourne.”

6. “The New Family Dinner

“I think it’s really powerful for kids to hear their parents say, ‘I had a fight with my boss and had to go to my bathroom to cry.’”

7. “The Never-to-Be Bride

“We lived on the Internet, our own little planet of ‘us’-ness separated by LCD screens. We spent superhuman amounts of time talking online, with him in his bedroom in one state and me in my office in another. When our relationship was ‘on,’ we would talk, on average, several hours a day, five days a week. And I would think about him every second – even the spaces between seconds (the Internet makes it possible, even probable, that you’ll never escape the thought of someone).”

8. “Deception Tells Its Tale, Again

“The Self, that cherished modern idea of a unique personal identity, may be on a par with the printing press as one of the greatest inventions of the last millennium.”

9. “A Battered City, Through Local Lenses

“After decades of decline and neglect and the exodus of more than half of its population, Detroit now owns a cityscape that is often described as post-apocalyptic. Abandoned prewar skyscrapers, immense dilapidated factories, downtown streets devoid of people, entire neighborhoods nearly vacant and returning to brush: all provide epic vistas of blight, warning about the fickle nature of capitalism.”

10. “Broadcasting a World of Whiteness

“Television is nowhere near diverse enough – not in its actors, its writers or its show runners.”

11. “Role to Role, From Sherlock to Star Trek

“You could stick a knife in my thigh, and I wouldn’t tell you. Pull the hair on my head the wrong way, and I would be on my knees begging for mercy. I have very sensitive follicles.”

12. “O.K., Google, Take a Deep Breath

“Talking about failure? Sharing feelings? Sitting quietly for long, unproductive minutes? At Google?”

13. “Warrior in Chief

“Mr. Obama decimated Al Qaeda’s leadership. He overthrew the Libyan dictator. He ramped up drone attacks in Pakistan, waged effective covert wars in Yemen and Somalia and authorized a threefold increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan. He became the first president to authorize the assassination of a United States citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and played an operational role in Al Qaeda, and was killed in an American drone strike in Yemen. And, of course, Mr. Obama ordered and oversaw the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden.”

14. “The Imperiled Promise of College

“Because of levitating costs, college these days is a luxury item. What’s more, it’s a luxury item with newly uncertain returns.”

15. “Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I.

“Is cultivating potential terrorists the best use of the manpower designed to find the real ones?”

16. “The Post-Cash, Post-Credit-Card Economy

“Money is not what it used to be, thanks to the Internet.”

17. “Unexceptionalism: A Primer

“To achieve unexceptionalism, the political ideal that would render the United States indistinguishable from the impoverished, traditionally undemocratic, brutal or catatonic countries of the world, do the following…”

18. “Hello, Martians. Let Moby-Dick Explain

“The Martians riffled through Moby-Dick at top speed. Then they consulted translate.google.com™ for an expression that would best convey their reaction. ‘Holy crap!’ they said. ‘Does this mean what we think it means?’ they said.”

19. “An Introvert Steps Out

“Promoting my work requires doing the very thing my book questions: putting down my pen and picking up a microphone.”

20. “How Samuel L. Jackson Became His Own Genre

“I get paid all day, every day – which is almost too much for a sensitive artist.”

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