Sunday 12.21.2014 New York Times Digest

21CULTURALSTUDIES-articleLarge

1. How to Be Liked by Everyone Online

“Break something in real life: not recommended. Break the Internet: you’re a star.”

2. Dude, Close Your Legs.

“It is the bane of many female subway riders. It is a scourge tracked on blogs and on Twitter. And it has a name almost as distasteful as the practice itself. It is manspreading, the lay-it-all-out sitting style that more than a few men see as their inalienable underground right.”

3. Raising Ambitions: The Challenge in Teaching at Community Colleges

“Perhaps no other cohort of instructors in American education confronts such a consistently low-performing group of students on a daily basis.”

4. An Economist Goes Christmas Shopping

“Ill-chosen gifts caused between $4 billion and $13 billion a year in economic waste.”

5. What We’re Searching For

“Jan. 1 is the day of the year with the most searches for the morning-after pill.”

6. The New Allure of Sacred Pilgrimages

“Of every three tourists worldwide, one is a pilgrim, a total of 330 million people a year.”

7. North Korea and the Speech Police

“The common thread in all these cases, whether the angry parties are Hermit Kingdom satraps or random social-justice warriors on Twitter, is a belief that the most important power is the power to silence, and that the perfect community is one in which nothing uncongenial to your own worldview is ever tweeted, stated, supported or screened.”

8. We Now Conclude Our Broadcast Day

“We not only demand our television, radio and music in unblemished HD on whatever device we choose, but also our weddings, children, houses and bodies. And in our heedless embrace of digital cosmetic surgery, we’ve forgotten that it’s the flaw that makes a thing all the sweeter — like the bruise on a peach.”

9. Millennials and the Age of Tumblr Activism

“A lot of millennials have been discouraged for a long time. Now, with social media, they feel empowered, like people are hearing their voice. And Tumblr is a great platform for all types of media.”

10. Los Angeles, as a Pedestrian

“Visit Los Angeles as a solo traveler and you’ll find few better ways to unmask the city’s hidden-in-plain-sight history, meet other people and imbibe responsibly than to be car-free.”

11. Dick Cavett: By the Book

“Burgess recounted how, diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor, he rapidly dashed off four novels in succession to support his family. Upon learning he’d been misdiagnosed, he claimed he was ‘vaguely disappointed. All that hard work for nothing.’”

12. A Philosophy of Walking, by Frédéric Gros

“Less organized than a sport and more profound than a voyage, a long walk, Gros suggests, allows us to commune with the sublime. Through sheer force of continuous effort, the views we contemplate become more beautiful than if we had simply pulled over by the side of the road to admire them. By physically covering the terrain, we make it ours: The beauty of the world is inscribed in us, and we in it.”

13. The Unbreakable Laura Hillenbrand

“She is cut off not only from basic tools of reporting, like going places and seeing things, but also from all the promotional machinery of modern book selling. Because of the illness, she is forced to remain as secluded from the public as the great hermetic novelists. She cannot attend literary festivals, deliver bookstore readings or give library talks and signings. Even the physical act of writing can occasionally stymie her, as the room spins and her brain swims to find words in a cognitive haze. There have been weeks and months — indeed, sometimes years — when the mere effort to lift her hands and write has been all that she can muster.”

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