Sunday 2.23.2020 New York Times Digest

1. In L.A., Kobe Dominates the Paint

“Los Angeles has a history of street art, from graffiti to towering multicolor murals. Expressing their grief at Kobe’s passing, many street artists have drawn inspiration from Judith Baca, Eliseo Art Silva and other celebrated artists who helped to establish a vibrant culture using the streets as their canvas.”

2. Wait, You Paid How Much for a Gallon of Mountain Lion Urine?

“The price of 46 random liquids by the gallon. Just because.”

3. How to Be an Expatriate in 2020

“More Americans of all ages and stations are leaving the country for a multitude of reasons, be they political, economic, professional, romantic.”

4. Why Did the Coronavirus Outbreak Start in China?

“Punishing people who speak the truth has been a standard practice of China’s ruling elite for more than two millenniums and is an established means of coercing stability.”

5. Democrats Are Bound for Disaster

“The rules are all blurry. The processes are all suspect.”

6. In Search of Darkness

“Even deep in the country, half the houses are adorned with glaring 24-hour lights that push into the surrounding woods and invade the sky. In more urban places there’s scarcely a dark corner left. The whole world is lit up like an Interstate truck stop, nominally to make us safer.”

7. Kanye, Out West

“Everyone who hopes that Kanye will bring jobs to town is aware that they’re taking an emotional gamble, especially given how frequently he changes his mind.”

8. Vine Made the Internet Fall in Love With Short Videos

“If Vine struggled to figure out what to do with a nascent class of content creators, Byte has arrived in a world in which ‘creator’ is an established job title and where those professionals have a long list of demands.”

9. In College and Homeless

“Seventeen percent of community college students experienced homelessness in the last year.”

10. Affirmative Action: The Uniquely American Experiment

“For two and a half centuries America enslaved its black population, whose labor was a critical source of the country’s capitalist modernization and prosperity. Upon the abolition of legal, interpersonal slavery, the exploitation and degradation of blacks continued in the neoslavery system of Jim Crow, a domestic terrorist regime fully sanctioned by the state and courts of the nation, and including Nazi-like instruments of ritualized human slaughter. Black harms and losses accrued to all whites, both to those directly exploiting them, and indirectly to all enjoying the enhanced prosperity their social exclusion and depressed earnings made possible. When white affirmative action was first developed on a large scale in the New Deal welfare and social programs, and later in the huge state subsidization of suburban housing — a major source of present white wealth — blacks, as the Columbia political scientist Ira Katznelson has shown, were systematically excluded, to the benefit of the millions of whites whose entitlements would have been less, or whose housing slots would have been given to blacks in any fairly administered system. In this unrelenting history of deprivation, not even the comforting cultural productions of black artists were spared: From Thomas ‘Daddy’ Rice in the early 19th century right down to Elvis Presley, everything of value and beauty that blacks created was promptly appropriated, repackaged and sold to white audiences for the exclusive economic benefit and prestige of white performers, who often added to the injury of cultural confiscation the insult of blackface mockery.”

11. A Disaster Video That Finally Tells the Truth About Climate Change

“We always picture ourselves among the saved, not the drowned. What we are watching is terrible, but someone has lived to tell the tale and upload it to You­Tube. Through their survival we imagine our own. We instinctually envision climate change as a series of disaster stories with recognizable beginnings, middles and endings, rather than as a single disaster story that outlives us, maybe all of us.”

12. Letter of Recommendation: Rags

“It’s obvious now that a lifestyle of galloping consumption is not just unsustainable; it also fails to make anyone happy. A button jar, on the other hand, is a source of considerable happiness, as is using a much-loved piece of clothing as a duster or a rag: a vestimentary version of organ transplanting.”

13. Need to Keep Gen Z Workers Happy? Hire a ‘Generational Consultant’

“For the first time, five distinct generations of employees — traditionalists, baby boomers, Generation Xers, millennials and Generation Zers — coexist in the workplace.”

14. The Great Google Revolt

“Silicon Valley has often held itself up as a highly evolved ecosystem that defies the usual capital-labor dichotomy — a place where investors, founders, executives and workers are all far too dependent on one another to make anything so crass as class warfare. The recent developments at Google have thrown that egalitarian story into doubt, showing that even in the most rarefied corners of Silicon Valley, the bosses are willing to close ranks and shut down debate when the stakes are high enough. The fate of these activists, meanwhile, forces America’s white-collar professionals to grapple with an uncomfortable thought: If the nation’s most sought-after workers can’t stop their employer from behaving in ways that they deplore, where does that leave the rest of us?”

15. How Dorothea Lange Defined the Role of the Modern Photojournalist

“Lange’s attention to texture and detail make individual human subjects look like evidence of a national crime.”

16. Louis Armstrong, the King of Queens

“One wouldn’t know from the sidewalk that the interior of the house is a more or less perfect reflection of the Armstrongs’ life circa 1969, when Lucille made her final round of renovations during her husband’s lifetime with the help of her interior decorator, Morris Grossberg. Armstrong’s half-empty bottle of Lanvin cologne still sits on the dresser in the master bedroom; their old Electrolux vacuum cleaner is still stashed in a hallway closet.”

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