Sunday 10.29.2017 New York Times Digest

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1. How We Find Our Way to the Dead

“Today even skeptics live in the presence of the departed, the disembodied and the illusory — internet shadows that are no less influential for not being real.”

2. North Korea Rouses Neighbors to Reconsider Nuclear Weapons

“This brutal calculus over how to respond to North Korea is taking place in a region where several nations have the material, the technology, the expertise and the money to produce nuclear weapons.”

3. Public Shaming and Even Prison for Plastic Bag Use in Rwanda

“In Rwanda, it is illegal to import, produce, use or sell plastic bags and plastic packaging except within specific industries like hospitals and pharmaceuticals. The nation is one of more than 40 around the world that have banned, restricted or taxed the use of plastic bags, including China, France and Italy. But Rwanda’s approach is on another level. Traffickers caught carrying illegal plastic are liable to be fined, jailed or forced to make public confessions.”

4. Will Congress Ever Limit the Forever-Expanding 9/11 War?

“As the 9/11 war enters its 17th year, questions about the scope and limits of presidential war-making powers are taking on new urgency.”

5. Lord & Taylor, WeWork and the Death of Leisure

“Today … shopping is something else entirely, not a diversion but just an extension of our working or ‘productive’ lives. At our desks and laptops we buy our avocados, face creams, bathing suits, boxer shorts, coffee tables, routers, sport coats, ski clothes. We can spend $53 or $8,500. There is nothing to immortalize unless you are a writer or artist moved to render the image of an exhausted-looking middle-aged woman staring at a screen-full of Amazon reviews.”

6. Happiness Is Other People

“In an individualistic culture powered by self-actualization, the idea that happiness should be engineered from the inside out, rather than the outside in, is slowly taking on the status of a default truism.”

7. James Madison’s Lessons in Racism

“Madison is the founding father who can teach Americans the most about our present contradictions on race. Madison insisted that enslaved Africans were entitled to a right to liberty and proposed that Congress purchase all the slaves in the United States and set them free. Yet not only did he hold slaves on his plantation in Virginia and fail to free them upon his death, but he also originated the notorious three-fifths compromise in the Constitution, which counted a slave as three-fifths of a person for purposes of legislative representation.”

8. Let It Go: Making Peace With Princesses

“The Disney princesses we know and love take much of the fun, feminist spark and quirky historical value out of the fairy tale tradition.”

9. My ‘Orphan Disease’ Has Given Me a New Family

“People with disabilities are the unexpected made flesh. The challenges of living in a world not built for us are occasions for resourcefulness and adaptability, especially for those of us who start out disabled early in life. We are innovators, early adopters, expert users and technology hackers as we respond to the adversity that the built and natural environments present us.”

10. The Misery Filter

“In America we have education for success, but no education for suffering.”

11. David Harbour of ‘Stranger Things’ Never Wants to Play the Dad

“One of the things I’ve been interested in my whole career is exploring masculinity and what it means to be a man. The sensitivity of a man, but also the violence and power that goes along with it.”

12. ‘Alias Grace’: 20 Years in the Making, but on TV at the Right Time

The Handmaid’s Tale offers us a window into a possible future when women’s rights are eroded. Alias Grace offers a look at what it was like before women had any rights.”

13. Making Room for Deaf Performers in Hollywood

“Deaf and hearing audiences could delight equally in silent films. What’s more, deaf actors appeared frequently, always as hearing characters; five found regular work onscreen, where facial expression and gestures signified more than moving lips. Charlie Chaplin cast the best known of them, Granville Redmond, in a handful of films. In the decades since, deaf audiences have struggled for equal access.”

14. The Hidden History of Japan’s Folk-Rock Boom

Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969–1973, released this month by the eclectic American label Light in the Attic, is a primer on how Japanese musicians absorbed the influence of Mr. Dylan, the Band and Joni Mitchell, as well as a portrait of a postwar generation that explored its own identity through an imported sound.”

15. Art Lurks in an Unlikely Place for Mary Kelly: the Dryer

“She first began making images out of compressed lint in 1999, carefully culling the material from a standard lint screen covered with a vinyl sheet that has been laser cut, in what amounts to an intaglio printing process, to create desired forms. The lint works as pigment and as an ephemeral reminder of daily life or, more specifically, of the never-ending rhythms of women’s domestic labor. Now, it has become such an integral part of her work that she does thousands of extra loads just to create enough lint, in the right colors, for her artwork.”

16. An Artistic Approach to Becoming a U.S. Citizen

“The project is a 32-hour interactive program that uses artifacts, documents and art from the museum’s permanent collection and covers all the questions used in the test.”

17. It’s Always Fishnets Season Somewhere

“Fashion in general is always borrowing from street wear, and it doesn’t get more street wear than hooker.”

18. Virtual Reality Gets Naughty

“Pornography is what rushed along the first printing press, and spurred developments in the internet, online payment systems and other technology. Now it’s time for virtual reality.”

19. Amazon Key Is a Lot Less Scary Than My Post-1-Click Remorse

“Cookie-based ads and targeted emails reminding you of other possibilities reinforce the paradox of choice.”

20. Night of Our Ghastly Longings

“What makes Halloween scary is the nature of the spirits we let out. They are re-embodiments of secret fears and desires, of monstrous hungers and frightful lusts. Ghosts, ghouls, witches, incubi, succubi, werewolves, possessing demons and demonic children are figures of fascination, repulsion and threat. Halloween threatens with what it promises, like a good-looking vampire puckering up for a kiss.”

21. Ron Chernow: By the Book

“It’s a shameful thing to admit for someone who writes such long books, but I read so slowly that I almost subvocalize. I always sympathize with people who complain about the length of my books. It would take me a year to get through one of them.”

22. The Best of Richard Matheson

“To me, his great subject — which I also think is the key question of the horror genre itself — is the problem of belief. He was the master of a particular kind of story in which puzzlement turns gradually to acceptance of an impossible-seeming reality, and ultimately to full-blown panic.”

23. The Man Who Photographed Ghosts

“No sooner had people invented a way of creating photographic images (whether it was a daguerreotype, an ambrotype or a hallotype) than people found ways of altering the images — and, even more relevantly, of lying about their contents and how they were obtained.”

24. Our Villains, Ourselves: A Thriller Roundup

“If our heroes disclose who we wish to be, our villains reveal what we fear we may become.”

25. The Pop-Culture Evolution of Frankenstein’s Monster

“The relentlessly gloomy weather and frequent storms forced the unmarried Mary Godwin, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron to entertain themselves indoors. Gossipy English tourists in the region suspected these radical freethinkers were engaging in every form of bad behavior (one fashionable hotel even furnished a telescope from which guests could spy on the villa). But the reality was more sedate: Lord Byron challenged his friends to write ghost stories, and the rest is literary history. When the 18-year-old Godwin read her effort, she created modern science fiction as a genre.”

26. In These Lying Times, ‘Receipts’ Offer a Glimmer of Justice

“When judicial and legislative avenues seem stalled or faulty, receipts work as currency in the people’s court. And sometimes they command actual consequences.”

 

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