Sunday 12.25.2016 New York Times Digest


1. The Year in Pictures 2016

“It was a year to be confounded, shocked, humbled.”

2. When Art Conservation Means Repairing TVs, Not Canvases

“Very few people know how to work with those materials now.”

3. Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See the World Beyond the Court

“His job gives him a platform. You will excuse him if he has a few things to say.”

4. Secular Hollywood Quietly Courts the Faithful

“On the surface, Hollywood is a land of loose morals, where materialism rules, sex and drugs are celebrated on screen (and off), and power players can have a distant relationship with the truth. But movie studios and their partners have quietly — very quietly, sometimes to the degree of a black ops endeavor — been building deep connections to Christian filmgoers who dwell elsewhere on the spectrum of politics and social values. In doing so, they have tapped churches, military groups, right-leaning bloggers and, particularly, a fraternity of marketing specialists who cut their teeth on overtly religious movies but now put their influence behind mainstream works like Frozen, The Conjuring, Sully and Hidden Figures.”

5. Growth, Not Forced Equality, Saves the Poor

“Enforcing the Voting Rights Act matters. Restraining police violence matters. Equalizing possession of Rolexes does not.”

6. With Streaming, Musicians and Fans Find Room to Experiment and Explore

“Something unexpected happened near the top of the album charts this year: Pop stars were acting like artists. That is to say, they weren’t desperately chasing the broadest possible audience with the most surefire formulas; they weren’t calculating what would fit radio formats best. Instead, some of them grew eccentric and adventurous, impulsive and experimental, instinctive and personal — at times, bordering on avant-garde. And they found that listeners were willing to pay attention.”

7. Apple Music: Platform? Promoter? Both.

“Since its debut in the summer of 2015, however, Apple Music has separated itself from Spotify, the industry’s streaming leader, by trying to become a one-stop shop for major artists — part platform and part promoter.”

8. Make Room for the Hygge Hordes

“Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah, like a football cheer in a Scandinavian accent) is the Danish word for cozy. It is also a national manifesto, nay, an obsession expressed in the constant pursuit of homespun pleasures involving candlelight, fires, fuzzy knitted socks, porridge, coffee, cake and other people. But no strangers, as the Danes, apparently, are rather shy.”

9. Smaller Bathrooms on Planes Pose Challenges for Passengers

“The continuing installation of smaller and reconfigured bathrooms, which began in late 2013, has led to complaints about safety issues, say travelers and flight crew, who are concerned about restricted access for the physically disabled, as well as ease of use for other passengers.”

10. Charles Johnson: By the Book

“I’ve long argued that literature has an epistemological mission, can be the site for philosophical agency, and that the aim of great literature is the liberation of our perception.”

11. Lessons on How to Live, in 26 Books

“He argues that books save lives — literally. Theodore Roosevelt was once protected from an assassin’s bullet by a thick manuscript in his overcoat pocket. But also less literally: Reading Lolita in Tehran, one of Schwalbe’s picks, is about how books gave a group of women a sliver of light in a dark, oppressive society.”

12. The Year in Reading

“In this season of giving, we asked some notably avid readers — who also happen to be poets, musicians, diplomats, filmmakers, novelists, actors and artists — to share the books that accompanied them through 2016.”

13. What’s the Best Book, New or Old, You Read This Year?

“In The Fall Of Language in the Age of English, Minae Mizumura shows, better than anyone ever has, how English is wrecking other languages — reducing even great literary languages, including Japanese and French, to local dialects — and makes a vigorous case for the superiority of the written over the spoken word.”

14. Colson Whitehead on David Bowie

“Pick the right tool for the job, and then start over again next time. What can glam or folk accomplish here but not there, funk pull off this year, and a synthesizer the next? Why be the same artist album to album, book to book, movie to movie — if you did it once, why would you want to do it again?”

15. Quiet Places

“After the deaths of these 10 notable people, The New York Times photographed their private spaces — as they left them.”

16. John Jeremiah Sullivan on Prince

“There’s a temptation to try a thing about ‘the meaning of Prince,’ i.e., one of those half-true, crypto-competitive think pieces we tend to trot out (we including I) at times like this. When an artist you love disappears, everyone else’s ideas about that person can seem grotesque and stupid, and even if right, right for the wrong reasons.”

17. Greg Howard on Muhammad Ali

The answer, of course, is a guy who thinks himself a hero. The one constant in Ali’s life — from the 12-year-old boxer passing out fliers for his own fights to the man who withdrew from public life as Parkinson’s took hold — was his unyielding, nigh-oblivious self-belief.

18. Andy Warhol on Bill Cunningham

“Ran into Bill Cunningham on his bike, I just wish I could do what he does, just go everywhere and take pictures all day.”

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