Sunday 1.21.2018 New York Times Digest

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1. When Americans Were Afraid of Being Brainwashed

“Americans have a long history of fearing foreign subversion via mental manipulation.”

2. Faced With Abuse Scandal, U.S.O.C. Does Nothing.

“The leaders of U.S.A. Gymnastics fought to keep the abuse secret.”

3. America’s Sports Stadiums Are Moving Downtown

“City populations grew faster from 2010 to 2016 than those in the suburbs, reversing a 60-year trend that started in 1950.”

4. Online Courses Are Harming the Students Who Need the Most Help

“Taking a class without a teacher requires high levels of self-motivation, self-regulation and organization. Yet in high schools across the country, students who are struggling in traditional classrooms are increasingly steered into online courses.”

5. There’s Community and Consensus, but No Commune.

“The heart of each community is the common house, or a space, where group meals are offered once or twice a week, together with activities and events. Houses are connected by pathways. Instead of a lawn mower in every garage, there often are no attached garages. Cars are exiled to peripheral parking areas, while a single, shared lawn mower suits the needs of everyone.”

6. My Kid’s First Lesson in Realpolitik

“The president’s trolling is so effective, in part, because many of us have not learned how to deal with interpersonal conflict, starting with the playground. We must learn to defend ourselves so that when Donald Trump or any other bully taunts us, we can rise to the occasion.”

7. Donald Trump’s Radical Honesty

“Trump’s truths are actually in his lies.”

8. They Were Bad. He May Be Worse.

“Mr. Trump’s first year portends a very unhappy ending.”

9. The Political Mythbuster in Chief

“The president has forced us to finally look in the mirror. Perhaps he has done us a favor.”

10. Trump So Far Is More Farce Than Tragedy

“Trump is a dictator on Twitter, a Dear Leader in his own mind, but in the real world there is no Trumpocracy because Trump cannot even rule himself.”

11. We Need Bodice-Ripper Sex Ed

“Those books, for all their soft-core covers and happily-ever-afters, were quietly and not-so-quietly subversive. They taught readers that sexual pleasure was something women could not just hope for but insist upon. They shaped my interactions with boys and men. They helped make me a feminist.”

12. Are They Really Horror Movies? Afraid So.

“For many, ‘horror’ is shorthand for cheap, unreal, bad. The genre has garnered more critical respect today, but the tradition of dismissing it remains alive.”

13. Of Guidebooks to the American Dream.

“Mr. Adams, 47, who is African-American, is the first major visual artist to use the Green Books as a creative point of departure. For him, they are not only a Civil Rights artifact and instrument of social change, but also a fascinating record of black leisure time and the built environment — subjects that are continuously percolating in his work.”

14. Here’s How to Deal With Men (Thwack!)

“The point is not her leather riding crop. Her mission is to teach women how to employ a dominatrix’s rhetorical tools in any scenario when there’s a power imbalance with a man, whether or not it’s about sex. The scenarios happen everywhere.”

15. No Longer Writing, Philip Roth Still Has Plenty to Say

“I’ve stepped not just inside the male head but into the reality of those urges whose obstinate pressure by its persistence can menace one’s rationality, urges sometimes so intense they may even be experienced as a form of lunacy. Consequently, none of the more extreme conduct I have been reading about in the newspapers lately has astonished me.”

16. Gifted and Talented and Complicated

“Most prodigies grow up to be thoroughly unremarkable on paper. They do not, by and large, sustain their genius into adulthood.”

17. Behind Every Villain Stands Someone ‘Complicit’

“Complicity can be synonymous with collusion, but where collusion describes an action, complicity describes a state of being. It is buttery and passive, a path of least resistance. Complicity often calls for pretending not to know what you know, not to see what you see: playing dumb for the sake of getting along, preserving the comforts of the status quo. As a moral (non) stance, it clears the way for everything from bad manners to genocide.”

18. Joel Meyerowitz’s Career Is a Minihistory of Photography

“Meyerowitz began to work as a street photographer in the early 1960s and quickly became a virtuoso of the craft. He was inspired by the example of Robert Frank, whose work was full of poetic melancholy, though what first struck Meyerowitz was the balletic grace with which Frank moved while photographing. Later, he went out roaming with Garry Winogrand, who was frenetic and indefatigable. A great street photographer needs two distinct talents: the patience to lie in wait for unanticipated moments and the skill to catch them with the click of a shutter. Meyerowitz had both, whether he was shooting in black and white or in color. The color work is what he’s better known for, photographs that, to begin with, were brash and often jubilant, a world away from Frank’s gloom.”

19. I Used to Insist I Didn’t Get Angry. Not Anymore.

“If an angry woman makes people uneasy, then her more palatable counterpart, the sad woman, summons sympathy more readily. She often looks beautiful in her suffering: ennobled, transfigured, elegant. Angry women are messier. Their pain threatens to cause more collateral damage. It’s as if the prospect of a woman’s anger harming other people threatens to rob her of the social capital she has gained by being wronged. We are most comfortable with female anger when it promises to regulate itself, to refrain from recklessness, to stay civilized.”

20. Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble

“The potential power of this would-be revolution is being actively undercut by the crowd it is attracting, a veritable goon squad of charlatans, false prophets and mercenaries. Not for the first time, technologists pursuing a vision of an open and decentralized network have found themselves surrounded by a wave of opportunists looking to make an overnight fortune. The question is whether, after the bubble has burst, the very real promise of the blockchain can endure.”

21. Fear of the Federal Government in the Ranchlands of Oregon

“In many ways, it seemed, the people were constructing their ideas of the land upon a fantasy of the past.”

22. Kevin O’Leary Is Unmoved by Your Tears

“Business is so binary: Either you make money or you lose it.”

 

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