Sunday 9.1.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Trump’s Twitter War on Spelling

“For people who care about the English language and how best to use it, President Trump’s continual flouting of even basic writing conventions is a serious matter indeed.”

2. A Desire to Be Free, and Not Just From Clothes

“The Nazis tried to root out nudism, and so did the Communists, briefly. To no avail.”

3. Malcolm Gladwell Goes Dark

“Lots of readers will scoff.”

4. South Korean Women Try Start-Ups

“Glass ceilings in a conservative country’s biggest companies have motivated a new generation of female entrepreneurs.”

5. How Technology Makes Jail Even Bleaker

“What was imagined as a supplement to in-person visitation has become the only option.”

6. To Drive Change, Look Past the Bottom Line

“You cannot solve issues like poverty or climate change or food security with the myopic focus on quarterly reporting.”

7. Founders of Successful Tech Companies Are Mostly Middle-Aged

“The researchers looked at start-ups established between 2007 and 2014 and analyzed the top 0.1 percent — defined as those with the fastest growth in employment and sales. The average age of those companies’ founders was 45.”

8. Dogs Will Fix Our Broken Democracy

“We need dogs, or at least we’re better off with them. They yank us outside of our narrowest selves. They force us to engage.”

9. How Paying for College Is Changing Middle-Class Life

“Parents make huge investments in education so that their children can maintain or achieve middle-class status, but in the process, they increase the risk of falling out of the middle class themselves.”

10. Can We Guarantee That Colleges Are Intellectually Diverse?

“The conservative boogeyman of the tenured atheist radical who brainwashes innocent undergraduates is more myth than reality. It’s true that academia has long leaned to the left, especially in the humanities and social sciences, and activist professors do exist. But they are a minority. Where professors more commonly fall down, I suspect, is in our failure to grasp how changes in the broader culture — like omnipresent social media and polarized, cruel politics — have made students reluctant to embrace the freedom that we like to believe our classrooms provide.”

11. No, Your Kid Shouldn’t Get a Gold Star for Reading

“Do not punish your child by making him read, not even if he shoves his baby cousin unceremoniously off the swing. But there’s a more surprising corollary: Do not reward your child for reading either.”

12. Can We Slow Down Time in the Age of TikTok?

“Students don’t just need to be brought into contact with new ideas, they also need the time for sustained inquiry, a kind of time outside of time where neither they nor their work is immediately held to the standards of productivity.”

13. The Private Lives of Protesters

“My ‘real’ life — the one where I show up to work every morning, have a drink in the evening with friends, hide underneath the covers reading a book at night or call a handyman for odd jobs — exists in a parallel universe, one in which the city isn’t burning. On the weekends, I enter that other world — the one in which I head out wearing safety gear, my hard hat and face mask in place — to witness the thousands marching and then go home to watch live feeds of the news late at night.”

14. What I Know About Famous Men’s Penises

“The descriptions never leave you. They fester in the mind like mold in typhoon season.”

15. White Filmmakers Addressing (or Avoiding) Whiteness Onscreen

“It’s time for white people to start helping one another see themselves in terms of their race and all the undeserved, inherited privilege that comes with it. It’s a self-examination that knows the difference between ‘woke’ and self-awareness, and leans toward the latter. It’s not easy work.”

16. When John Grisham Movies Were King

“Judging by his books (and their movie adaptations), Grisham — like Clinton and Gore — seemed to believe in a newer, more middle-of-the-road kind of Southern leadership, which balanced progressive attitudes about social justice with more regressive ideas about reducing crime and maintaining order.”

17. The Amazing Treasure Trove of Bill Cunningham

“He had an unerring eye for catching every fashion wave well before anyone else, and doing so not just on runways (though he loved designer fashion shows), but out there on the pavement of good old gritty Gotham.”

18. The Truth About Koch Industries

“A reader actually does learn not just about the growth of the power of Koch Industries, but also about that of corporate America’s as well.”

19. Emojis Are Language Too

“The internet isn’t just changing the way we use language, it’s changing the way we think about it. When the most visible medium for written English was print, our metaphor for language was the book: fixed, authoritative, slow to change. Now that most written English is informal and online, our collective metaphor is shifting to language as a network: fluid, collectively negotiated, constantly altered.”

20. Two New Books About Bugs

“Insects sit at the base of the food chain, fodder for innumerable other critters. They also pollinate dozens of vital food crops. One survey estimated that insects contribute nearly $577 billion to the world economy through agricultural activity.”

21. Letter of Recommendation: Collecting One Book

“To collect a single book — to follow it through generations and across borders, to consider the forms and languages in which other readers have presented it — is to commit your attention to its legacy. If you’re patient, the patterns that emerge are worth the wait.”

22. How to Organize a Walkout

“Know your colleagues; build trust; get together to articulate common concerns and a shared vision of change. Avoid detection by doing these things in person or over encrypted messenger apps like Signal. Organizing a robust worker movement can take years.”

23. Where Does Affirmative Action Leave Asian-Americans?

“Are Asians actually minorities? And if diversity — whatever that means — is the goal of affirmative action, how many Asians does a school really want on campus?”

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