Sunday 9.8.19 New York Times Digest

Person looking through binoculars with googly eyes

1. Humans Are Impetuous and Shortsighted. Can We Change?

“The future is an idea we have to conjure in our minds, not something that we perceive with our senses.”

2. How Writing Papers for American College Students Has Become a Lucrative Profession Overseas

“You can relax knowing that our reliable, expert writers will produce you a top quality and 100% plagiarism free essay that is written just for you, while you take care of the more interesting aspects of student life.”

3. A Nobel-Winning Economist Goes to Burning Man

“Urban planners design too much, while economists cede too much to the market. The answer lies in between — in drawing the street grid on the desert.”

4. Taking Out a Student Loan Is Better Than Dropping Out

“Loans allowed students to earn additional college credits, which led to more stable careers and finances.”

5. Football Is Here to Stay

“The N.F.L.’s second century could look as good as its first.”

6. The Real Donald Trump Is a Character on TV

“The key is to remember that Donald Trump is not a person. He’s a TV character.”

7. Which Came First, Trump or TV?

“His effect was to erase everything between Gutenberg and the cathode-ray tube.”

8. Taylor Swift, Philosopher of Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is a way forward only when it’s warranted.”

9. The Lost Promise of Reconstruction

“The amendments should be seen not simply as changes to an existing structure but as a second American founding, which created a fundamentally new Constitution.”

10. Why I Quit the Writers’ Room

“There I was, a black man in America who shares with millions of others the history of racism. And more often than not, treated as subhuman. If addressed at all that history had to be rendered in words my employers regarded as acceptable.”

11. The Memes Are Pouring the White Claw Down Your Throat!

“Get big enough and the public will provide you with free advertising.”

12. By the Book: Patti Smith

“I read all the time, anywhere — on my stoop, in a noisy cafe, at night in my tour bus bunk. The external circumstance is not the key, it’s the book itself. I’m like Gumby; I enter the world of a book and temporarily live there, shutting all else out. Unless I’m researching, I only finish books I love. I don’t date. I can pretty much tell right away if I’m going to commit.”

13. How Americans and Germans Cope With Past Evils

“Born and raised in the South, Neiman moved from Berlin to Mississippi to research this fascinating book. She actively sought people and institutions engaged in ‘remembering.’ She found eerie similarities between the response of the first generations of postwar Germans to their evil past and the response of many Americans, particularly Southerners, to theirs. Many of her Southern informants echoed Germany’s post-World War II mantra. Nobody was in the slave business. Southerners just bought what Northern ship captains sold them. Slavery was unconnected to the Civil War. The conflict was all about taxes.”

14. A View of the Bering Strait That’s Anything but Narrow

“Sunlight feeds algae, which feeds krill, which feeds bowhead whales, which feed a Tikigagmiut village or a Massachusetts fortune. Tundra lichen feeds caribou, which feed the expansion of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. On the foundations of such energy flows, nations are constructed. Capitalist and communist ideologies are tested.”

15. Toni Morrison on Goodness

“Evil has a blockbuster audience; Goodness lurks backstage.”

16. Living in Extreme Isolation

“Herbert Powyss, a gentleman botanist in 18th-century England, offers 50 pounds per annum, for life, to any man who will live alone for seven years in the basement of his manor, Moreham House.”

17. First You Write a Sentence

“He thinks a sentence should slide down the gullet like a clam, hardly touching the sides.”

18. A History of Latin America Embodied in ‘Silver, Sword, and Stone’

“In her book, she treats Latin America as a ‘commonality’ with a ‘concrete character’ rooted in the unusual circumstances of the encounter between its indigenous cultures on the one hand and European and African populations on the other. The region, she argues, is defined by a common set of stories and interconnected system of beliefs as well as the use of a lingua franca — Spanish — that is not the mother tongue of all but which the majority understands and can speak. To encompass these particularities, Arana has divided her book into three parts, each named after a trait that has played an essential role in history: ‘silver,’ evoking the dependence on extractive economies focused on precious metals; ‘sword,’ referring to the tendency to embrace political power predicated on military might and the threat of violence — la mano dura, or the iron fist; and ‘stone,’ a multifaceted religious fervor that is only superficially similar to Catholic orthodoxy.”

19. Letter of Recommendation: Deadlifting

“I’ve found reprieve in the deadlift, in its simple, singular focus on what the body can do.”

20. Keeping the Dream Alive

“ESPN/ABC carries only 16 of the league’s 204 regular-season games (some of which also air nationally on CBS Sports Network, Twitter and NBATV), so each team must produce its own TV broadcast, complete with commentators, and negotiate with local stations to air it. The game tonight would be streaming live on the website of the Atlanta ABC affiliate. Both commentators were new, last season’s duo having declined to take a significant pay cut.”

21. The Gospel According to Marianne Williamson

“Yes, a campaign of love sounds silly when taken against a background of serious words and immediate policies and $1,000 a month for life. It sounds crazy on Twitter, and it would make me laugh to see it in the New York Times headline typeface. Or maybe it’s just so radical you have to hear it for yourself. A lot of the ideas I heard on the trail were that way. I tell you, when I sat there, listening to these candidates on porches and under canvas tents and on an apple crate and in Adirondack chairs, it seemed to me that it was only something you would believe if you could stand there and look the person in the eyes and hear his or her sincerity and good intentions.”

22. The Comedians Challenging Stereotypes About Asian-American Masculinity

“Though Asian-American women face equally vexing problems when it comes to representation, our own sexuality — however problematically portrayed, however exoticized — is, for better or worse, accepted. When Asian-American men’s sexuality is granted, it is the exception to the rule.”

23. Giovanni’s Room’ Revisited

“How dare he call on what he knew — his experience — and marry it to his imagination, that which the soul rumbles around in, alive to discovery? That wasn’t a black man’s job, let alone right: to hatch things out of his imagination, and then add to it — for the sake of verisimilitude — from the pot of his own experience. No. No one wants that. What one wants, says the publisher, or whomever, in 1955 — and even now when the catchword is ‘urban’ — what one wants after ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain’ and those marvelous pieces about the Harlem ghetto, blacks and Jews in Harlem and so forth, is a more authentic blackness: The dirt and sex you wrote about in ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain,’ and some of the essays. Can you forgo your imagination and be black for me?

24. Utopia, Abandoned

“For a time, it was likely the most progressive and successful company town anywhere in the world, existing not for the sake of control or convenience but rather representing a new and short-lived kind of corporate idealism, in which business, politics, architecture and the daily life of the company’s employees all informed one another.”

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