Sunday 7.29.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Meet New Orleans’s All-Female Biker Club

“It’s the bikes that bind.”

2. A Sports Psychology Guru Dies, but His Practices Live On

“Baseball is rooted in failure. The best hitters are out two-thirds of the time. So hanging on to hope is vital, even for elite athletes.”

3. Beauty Is in the Eye of These Beholders

“Described as Sephora meets Coachella, Beautycon is not unlike a theme park, with hourslong lines, expensive food and the occasional chance to scream. Tickets range from $50 for a single-day pass to $1,000 for two days of skip-the-lines VIP treatment. Beauty brands spend anywhere from $5,000 to more than a million dollars on their Beautycon build-outs. From these temporary havens, companies test and sell product, hand out samples, gather email addresses and host appearances with digital influencers.”

4. Giddy Up, Girlfriend!

“One does not have to own a flesh-and-blood horse in order to be a horse girl, and in fact, for many, a Breyer may be the closest she’ll ever get. She is not defined by her proximity to horses, but by manifesting her interest in a way that outsiders may not understand — may even mock.”

5. Motherhood in the Age of Fear

“We now live in a country where it is seen as abnormal, or even criminal, to allow children to be away from direct adult supervision, even for a second.”

6. I Wanted a Dog. I Bake Bread Instead.

“Making sourdough bread is the opposite of using the internet.”

7. Identity in an Instagram Feed.

“Instagram is often criticized for showcasing unrealistic lifestyles that can make users feel insecure. But for me, it plays a different role. It’s a place where I can go for much-needed reminders that, despite what mainstream media might suggest, my kind of beauty matters.”

8. How the Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women

“[Stanton] warned that white woman would be degraded if Negro men preceded them into the franchise. Admiring historians have dismissed this as an unfortunate interlude in an exemplary life. By contrast, the historian Lori Ginzberg argues persuasively that racism and elitism were enduring features of the great suffragist’s makeup and philosophy.”

9. Twitter Made Everything a Joke

“More and more of a pleasurable thing, it turns out, doesn’t actually make us happier.”

10. A Backlash Bedevils Joke Tellers

“There’s enough reverence for comedy these days that it’s easy to forget that the core of most humor is irreverence. If we think comedy can do everything, won’t we eventually be disappointed?”

11. Billy Joel’s Got a Good Job and Hits in His Head

“There’s a lot of my songs I could never hear again and live quite happily.”

12. Summer Vacation? Nah, I’m Taking a Creative Hiatus

“When friends invite Mr. Preszler to drinks or weekends away, he zips off a quick reply: ‘I’m building a canoe. I’ll see you in August!’”

13. Please Stop Merchandising Mental Illness

“The problem with the prettification of mental illness is just how out-of-kilter it is with reality. It’s almost suggested as a desirable character trait for women to have. In my experience, partners find it frustrating, not nearly as endearing and whimsical as these statements and products would suggest.”

14. Chris Hayes Reviews Michiko Kakutani’s Book About Our Post-Truth Era

“Is it possible to say anything truly profound or new about Donald Trump at this moment in time?”

15. A History of Everything, Served in a Cold Glass of Milk

“The timeline of milk is a timeline of civilization.”

16. How Sweet It Is. And How Malignant.

“Sugar … is a blood-soaked product that has brought havoc to millions and environmental devastation to large parts of the planet, premature death to the poorest populations in many parts of the world and huge health costs for societies from the United States to India. After reading this book the mere mention of sugar should make you think of slavery and cavities, imperialism and obesity — and remind you to check the label on the products you consume.”

17. Letter of Recommendation: Dead Malls

“No other category offers the spectacle of modern ruin at such horrifying scale: the scars of familiar logos on storefronts, the desiccated planters, the sheer volume of emptiness and waste. No other building displays the capriciousness of human desire with such brutal rigor — a once-beloved edifice that, in the span of a few years, has become so worthless no one even cares enough to tear it down.”

18. How to Have Sex in a Canoe

“A Canadian is somebody who knows how to make love in a canoe.”

19. How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million

“The newsletter was at first kind of mainstream New Age-forward. It had some kooky stuff in it, but nothing totally outrageous. It was concerned with basic wellness causes, like detoxes and cleanses and meditation. It wasn’t until 2014 that it began to resemble the thing it is now, a wellspring of both totally legitimate wellness tips and completely bonkers magical thinking: advice from psychotherapists and advice from doctors about how much Vitamin D to take (answer: a lot! Too much!) and vitamins for sale and body brushing and dieting and the afterlife and crystals and I swear to God something called Psychic Vampire Repellent, which is a ‘sprayable elixir’ that uses ‘gem healing’ to something something ‘bad vibes.’”

20. What the Mystery of the Tick-Borne Meat Allergy Could Reveal

“Until meat allergy was recognized, the prevailing medical wisdom held that an allergic reaction to meat from mammals was extremely unusual. Unlike that from shellfish, say, meat from mammals was thought by some allergists to be too similar to human flesh for the immune system to attack it with the full fury of the allergic arsenal. In this and other respects, meat allergy is upending longstanding assumptions about how allergies work. Its existence suggests that other allergies could be initiated by arthropod bites or unexpected exposures. It also raises the possibility that other symptoms often reported by patients that clinicians might dismiss because they don’t fit into established frameworks — gluten intolerance, for example, or mucus production after drinking milk — could, similarly, be conditions that scientists simply don’t understand yet.”

21. The Billionaire Yogi Behind Modi’s Rise

“His blend of patriotic fervor, health and religious piety flows seamlessly into the harder versions of Hindu nationalism, which are often openly hostile to India’s 172 million Muslims. Although Ramdev prefers to speak of Indian solidarity, his B.J.P. allies routinely invoke an Islamic threat and rally crowds with vows to build temples on the sites of medieval mosques. In his own way, Ramdev is India’s answer to Donald Trump, and there is much speculation that he may run for prime minister himself. Like Trump, he heads a multibillion-dollar empire. And like Trump, he is a bombastic TV personality whose relationship with truth is elastic; he cannot resist a branding opportunity — his name and face are everywhere in India.”


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