Sunday 8.11.2019 New York Times Digest

1. What Makes an American?

“The classic version of Americanization is called straight-line assimilation. It’s a three-generation tale as central to America’s mythology as the Boston Tea Party: The immigrants struggle amid poverty and bias; their children awkwardly juggle two cultures; the third generation completes the rise, with a white-collar job and a house in the suburbs. The story imparts two lessons: The descendants of immigrants advance and do so by blending in.”

2. A Common Trait Among Mass Killers: Hatred Toward Women

“The motivations of men who commit mass shootings are often muddled, complex or unknown. But one common thread that connects many of them — other than access to powerful firearms — is a history of hating women, assaulting wives, girlfriends and female family members, or sharing misogynistic views online, researchers say.”

3. Can Britain’s Top Bookseller Save Barnes & Noble?

“If a store is charming and addictive enough […] buying a book there isn’t just more pleasant. The book itself is better than the same book bought online.”

4. Could Your House Be an Instagram Star?

“Free platforms like Instagram make it possible for anyone to show the world her living room, and potentially profit from it by promoting products.”

5. After El Paso

“Citizenship, it turns out, is an illusory shield. In the eyes of that gunman, I am not American but an invader, an instigator.”

6. Parlez-Vous Anglais? Yes, of Course.

“What does it mean for Brits and Americans when everyone from Dutch teenagers to Romanian hackers has mastered our mother tongue?”

7. Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? Let’s Not Find Out

“If our universe has been created by an advanced civilization for research purposes, then it is reasonable to assume that it is crucial to the researchers that we don’t find out that we’re in a simulation. If we were to prove that we live inside a simulation, this could cause our creators to terminate the simulation — to destroy our world.”

8. The Last Great American Novelist

“Is she the last of the species? The last American novelist who made novels seem essential to an educated person’s understanding of her country?”

9. In Praise of Online Dating

“I am nevertheless here to offer a defense of online dating, not necessarily as a tool for finding a partner — I have no idea if the internet will ever yield me true love — but rather as a world-enlarging enterprise, and a means of rebuilding one’s self in the wake of separation.”

10. A Pop-Culture Glossary for Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood

“Here’s a glossary to sort out the real references from the fake ones.”

11. Reality Is Starting to Feel Overrated

“The movies have gone from showing us things we’ve never seen before and convincing us it’s all real to showing us things we have seen before and convincing us it’s not real.”

12. When Did Self-Help Become Self-Care?

“If self-help is about fixing something, self-care thinks you’re already great.”

13. Why Aren’t We Talking About LinkedIn?

“Considering its size and social footprint, LinkedIn has been a notably minor character in major narratives about the hazards of social media. The site hasn’t proved especially useful for mainstreaming disinformation, for example, nor is it an obvious staging ground for organized harassment campaigns. It is unique among its social media peers in that it has not spent the last five years in a state of wrenching crisis.”

14. The Hotel Historian Is at Your Service

“Part reference librarian, part gossip columnist, distinct from a concierge, the historian has become an increasingly popular figure in high-end hotels or inns with actual history.”

15. What Do the Sex Lives of Three Women Tell Us About Female Desire?

“Where is Barbara Stanwyck when we need her?”

16. Letter of Recommendation: Spam

“Although its origin in the family is distanced by time, buried beneath the experience of the lazy weekend brunches of the succeeding generations, Spam functions as an unchanging, replenishable touchstone.”

17. How to Tell Gunfire From Fireworks

“Don’t assume that what you’re hearing on New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July are fireworks; the weeks around these holidays also see spikes in celebratory gunfire.”

18. Talk: Nicolas Cage

“The psychotic drowns where the mystic swims.”

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