Sunday 11.17.2019 New York Times Digest

1. Apocalypse Got You Down? Maybe This Will Help

“Live like the crisis is urgent. Embrace the pain, but don’t stop there. Seek out a spiritual path to forge gratitude, compassion and acceptance, because operating out of denial, anger or fear only hurts us in the end.”

2. How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims

“Authorities have corralled as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons over the past three years.”

3. How FedEx Cut Its Tax Bill to $0

“A New York Times analysis of data compiled by Capital IQ shows no statistically meaningful relationship between the size of the tax cut that companies and industries received and the investments they made. If anything, the companies that received the biggest tax cuts increased their capital investment by less, on average, than companies that got smaller cuts.”

4. In Prime Time, Two Versions of Impeachment for a Divided Nation

“You choose your reality by the paper to which you subscribe, or the channel which you watch.”

5. Nestlé Says It Can Be Virtuous and Profitable. Is That Even Possible?

“Mr. Huizinga of Foodwatch said corporations were unlikely to ever voluntarily stop selling their most profitable items.”

6. The End of Babies

“It seems clear that what we have come to think of as ‘late capitalism’ — that is, not just the economic system, but all its attendant inequalities, indignities, opportunities and absurdities — has become hostile to reproduction. Around the world, economic, social and environmental conditions function as a diffuse, barely perceptible contraceptive.”

7. What Quakers Can Teach Us About the Politics of Pronouns

“The Quaker use of ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ continued as a protest against the sinfulness of English grammar for more than 200 years.”

8. How a City Fought Runaway Capitalism and Won

“The dollar store has supplanted the grocery store as the place where many Americans buy their food.”

9. Comedian Hospitalized for Depression. Hilarity Ensues.

“Every depressed person has a clandestine self.”

10. Hasan Minhaj’s Week

“One of the things I’ve always tried to avoid is the endless scroll that is the news. What I love about a physical newspaper is that there’s a finite amount of news. I love turning to the Opinion page and being like: These are the eight opinions. That’s it. Whereas with Twitter, the opinions never end.”

11. This Tom Hanks Story Will Help You Feel Less Bad

“He is a history enthusiast. He is an information enthusiast. He is an enthusiasm enthusiast. At one point, I can’t remember why, he recited the Preamble to the Constitution.”

12. Degas, (Creepy) Superfan

“It turns out that today’s age of superfandom — wherein the selfie has replaced the autograph, and TV audiences mount petitions against plotlines — has roots in the theatrical milieu of the dawn of industrial capitalism.”

13. Jim Sullivan, a Rock ‘n’ Roll Mystery That Remains Stubbornly Unsolved

“Various theories began to spread, involving the Mafia, the police and extraterrestrials. Barbara Sullivan took solace in the idea that her husband was abducted by aliens; it was easier, perhaps, than some of the alternatives.”

14. Can FaZe Clan Build a Billion-Dollar Business?

“Sure, you died, but it looked cool.”

15. Trash Is Their Treasure

“You are baptized into compost.”

16. Cult of the Literary Sad Woman

“Calling a woman ‘vulnerable’ in relation to her writing was a way of praising her not for her artistry but for her exposure — for her willingness to make her fragility a public commodity.”

17. By the Book: Randall Munroe

“I feel like books are like cameras — the best book is always the one you have with you.”

18. When James Baldwin Squared Off Against William F. Buckley Jr.

“Baldwin adopted the tone of a preacher — ‘a kind of Jeremiah,’ as he put it — who wants to readjust his audience’s ‘system of reality.’ He tries to get them to imagine the black American experience from the inside.”

19. Is Meritocracy to Blame for Our Yawning Class Divide?

“Far from solving economic inequality, higher education is one of the central forces driving our yawning class divide.”

20. What Will Become of It Now?

“Arguably the most bracing reality about the internet today is that, after years of pretending that ‘the internet’ means the same thing to all people everywhere, that fiction has finally become impossible to sustain.”

21. A Clean Internet If You Can Pay

“Today’s internet is full of premium subscriptions, walled gardens and virtual V.I.P. rooms, all of which promise a cleaner, more pleasant experience than their free counterparts.”

22. Big Tech Isn’t Going Anywhere

“The tech giants, in becoming tech superpowers, have been growing in every direction beneath our feet, becoming tangled in ways that we cannot easily see and, together, improvising a new world order that is increasingly hard to route around, or to escape. To use the internet, in 2019, is to engage to some degree with the handful of private entities that control it. To start an internet company is to submit to one or many of them from the start. We, and the rest of the internet between us and them, are but subjects on the surface of a planet they’ve fully colonized and terraformed. Unfortunately for us, theirs are empires we’re stuck with for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately for them, they’re also stuck with one another.”

23. China’s Internet Is Flowering

“As WeChat grew, it made more and more sense for various public health care, education and transportation services to piggyback on the platform, either as official accounts or miniprograms. And in the Chinese political system, where a state directive can cut through the protests of any particular corporation or individual, implementation was more straightforward. The result — a deeply integrated and extremely useful WeChat internet — is one that is difficult to imagine in a democratic West.”

24. Even Nobodies Have Fans Now

“Parasocial relationships are, by definition, one-sided, but like normal friendships, they can deepen over time, enriched by the frequent and dependable appearance of the charming persona on the television set. Podcasts, with their own unique set of formal quirks, are perhaps even better poised to foment this kind of bond.”

25. What Do Teens Learn Online Today?

“Being a depressed kid alone in your room is not what it used to be.”

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