Sunday 3.22.2020 New York Times Digest

1. The Best-Case Outcome for the Coronavirus, and the Worst

“Will we endure 2.2 million deaths? Or will we manage to turn things around?”

2. Kenny Rogers, Who Brought Country Music to a Pop Audience, Dies at 81

“More a fan favorite than a critics’ darling, Mr. Rogers was something of a late bloomer in country music; his career as a solo artist did not gain traction until after his breakthrough single, ‘Lucille,’ was released by United Artists in 1977. He was 38 at the time.”

3. America Will Save America

“These are the hallmarks of a horizontal, open society, one that is often inefficient but ultimately more innovative and resilient than closed, top-down systems.”

4. Camus on the Coronavirus

“He was drawn to his theme because he believed that the actual historical incidents we call plagues are merely concentrations of a universal precondition, dramatic instances of a perpetual rule: that all human beings are vulnerable to being randomly exterminated at any time, by a virus, an accident or the actions of our fellow man.”

5. Teachers Deserve More Respect

“Many Americans are not aware of how bleak the education landscape in this country has become.”

6. Civilization at the Abyss

“In the midst of this churning hell, with no place safe or sacred, with a bomb falling even on Buckingham Palace, the new prime minister’s voice became a reassuring wellspring of hope and resolve. His speeches never failed to rise to the demands of the occasion, each one more powerful and stirring than the last.”

7. Illiberal Democracy

“In a liberal democracy, not everything need be decided by majority vote. But once something is put to a vote, it is hard to understand why the side getting fewer votes should win. And Americans have long understood themselves to be voting for their president, not for presidential electors. It is long past time to get rid of the Electoral College.”

8. What Is the Point?

“Perhaps the reason James remains beloved by so many readers more than a century after his death is that his pragmatism often shaded into self-help. He believed in the power of positive thinking, in bucking up; he counseled action, and not just philosophizing, in the face of uncertainty; he may have even, from time to time, turned his frown upside down. But he expressed all of his (and our) struggles and their potential solutions in the smartest possible ways, and never pretended that a revised mood was a settled state of affairs. He knew that living is a continual process, and that perhaps the best we can hope for is just enough therapy to make it to the next crisis.”

9. Letter of Recommendation: Gyms

“A good gym, like a good bar, fuses two things: oblivion and anonymity. Of course there are the ritual greetings and glances and such, but these should be minimal and strictly proscribed.”

10. How to Read Faster

“Reading is visually and cognitively complicated; it’s OK to reread a line because it’s confusing or, better yet, to linger on a phrase so beautiful that it makes you want to close your eyes.”

11. Everyone’s Talking About Canned Tuna. Here’s How to Make It Delicious.

“Even some of those who have access to the finest ingredients, chefs for whom the distance between ocean and table is smaller than average, men and women known for their devotion to the fresh and the new — even they love a can of fish. Especially if it’s what I’ll call a best-available can of fish: sustainably caught, packed in good oil.”

12. The Wing Is a Women’s Utopia. Unless You Work There.

“Women represent both a consumer demographic and a political constituency, and the wires of politics and consumption are easily crossed.”

13. The Accusations Were Lies. But Could We Prove It?

“While truth may be subjective, its balustrades are always the facts at hand. And in the case of our story, I quickly realized that we would never persuade anyone of what we knew to be true — that the accusations were invented — if we couldn’t isolate one key fact: who was making them up.”

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