Sunday 11.23.2014 New York Times Digest

23lede2-articleLarge1. The Dark Side of Zootopia

“Whatever thrill is to be derived from staring at a captive tiger is quickly dispelled by the animal’s predicament. Awe gives way to abashment and then to a nearly inexpressible loneliness over being the only beast that does this to another. As such, any zoo, in whatever form, becomes not a demonstration of our prowess so much as a pathetically confused and protracted apology made to a series of wholly diminished and uninterested subjects.”

2. Download: John Mackey

“I don’t travel with the Vitamix because you’ll never get it through security because it’s got those blades. Trust me, I’ve tried it.”

3. Promiscuous College Come-Ons

“Ideally, colleges should want students whose interest in them is genuine, and students should be figuring out which colleges suit them best, not applying indiscriminately to schools that have encouraged that by making it as painless (and heedless) as possible.”

4. Studying for the Test by Taking It

“Tests should work for the student, not the other way around.”

5. Companions in Misery

“The ancient Stoics also proposed that we stop complaining, that we minimize negative emotions like sadness and anger in order to maximize joy, tranquillity and peace of mind. The former set will lead to a miserable life while the latter will lead to a good life ‘in accordance with nature.’ They believed that misery is rooted in trying to control things that are out of our hands (wealth, honors and reputation) instead of working on those things that we do have control over (desires, aversions and opinions).”

6. How to Defeat the Impulse Buy

“While feeling happy doesn’t do much to increase patience, feeling grateful does.”

7. Writing to the Beat

“I’ve always been fascinated by triplets — a series of three notes played in the time value of two notes — and prided myself in mastering the ability, as a drummer must, to divide my mind in half so that my right hand thinks in sets of threes while my left thinks in twos. We call it three-against-two. Of course, I did not invent the application of triplets to literature. In the world of words, the third time is also and often a charm. Have you noticed? ‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ ‘Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.’ ‘Truth, justice and the American way.’”

8. Up Next, a Classic Who Loves Old Films

“Hi, I’m Robert Osborne.”

9. Those Who Know Kanye, or Wish They Did

Here is what happens when Kanye West believes in you … Here is what happens when Kanye West indulges you … Here is what happens when Kanye West leans on you … Here is what happens when Kanye West feels protective of you … Here is what happens when Kanye West does not know you exist ….”

10. How to Find a Job With Meditation and Mindfulness

“There could not be two less compatible concepts: the quiet of the ancient practice of meditation and the heart thump of striving New Yorkers looking for the next opportunity. Now, meditation studios and conferences catering to Type A Manhattan careerists are becoming a new hub for networking without the crass obviousness of looking for a job.”

11. Crisis Negotiators Give Thanksgiving Tips

“How might a hostage negotiator help the average American family get through Thanksgiving?”

12. Jaden and Willow Smith on Prana Energy, Time and Why School is Overrated

“You piece it together. You piece together those little moments of inspiration.”

13. Fahrenheit 451, Read by Tim Robbins

“We seem to have forgotten what gives the novel its enduring, prophetic power. It is indeed a story about a world where books are outlawed and burned, but it is also a tale about the value of intellect, the importance of information and the singular, irreplaceable experience of reading books as books — as physical, palpable and precious objects.”

14. A Chosen Exile, by Allyson Hobbs

“Hobbs tells the curious story of the ­upper-class black couple Albert and Thyra Johnston. Married to Thyra in 1924, Albert graduated from medical school but couldn’t get a job as a black doctor, and passed as white in order to gain entry to a reputable hospital. His ruse worked and he and his wife became pillars of an all-white New Hampshire community. For 20 years, he was the town doctor and she was the center of the town’s social world. Their stately home served as the community hub, and there they raised their four children, who believed they were white. Then one day, when their eldest son made an off-the-cuff comment about a black student at his boarding school, Albert blurted out, ‘Well, you’re colored.’”

15. The Chain, by Ted Genoways

“A healthy, virtuous diet is still dependent on a work force vulnerable to wage theft, sexual harassment and even slavery in the fields.”

16. The Republic of Imagination, by Azar Nafisi

The Republic of Imagination bills itself as an exploration of American culture and values through the careful examination of three works of literature: Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt and Carson McCullers’s The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. (There is also an epilogue that focuses on James Baldwin, which might be seen as a nod to diversity, though Nafisi explicitly disclaims any tendency toward ‘political correctness.’) She hopes to use these literary works to demonstrate certain ideas she has about the American mind, the American way of life and American writing in general. She also intends to put forward a larger theory about the function of literature in relation to society — its enduring importance and meaning within any culture.”

17. How Disney Turned Frozen Into a Cash Cow

“In January, Frozen wedding dresses go on sale for $1,200.”

18. The Secret Life of Passwords

“There is more to passwords than their annoyance. In our authorship of them, in the fact that we construct them so that we (and only we) will remember them, they take on secret lives. Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories. A motivational mantra, a swipe at the boss, a hidden shrine to a lost love, an inside joke with ourselves, a defining emotional scar — these keepsake passwords, as I came to call them, are like tchotchkes of our inner lives. They derive from anything: Scripture, horoscopes, nicknames, lyrics, book passages. Like a tattoo on a private part of the body, they tend to be intimate, compact and expressive.”


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