Category Archives: new york times

Sunday 11.11.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Your Dreams Tell You Who You Are

“According to one popular hypothesis, dreams evolved to serve an important psychological function: They let us work through our anxieties in a low-risk environment, helping us practice for stressful events and cope with trauma and grief.”

2. John Delaney Is Already Running for President

“It’s hard to overstate how unusual Mr. Delaney’s timeline is. He announced his candidacy on July 28, 2017, almost three years before the Democratic convention.”

3. The Times’s Capsule of History Goes Digital + California: State of Change

“In a basement three floors underground, next to The New York Times’s headquarters, steel filing cabinets hold about six million photographs … Now, for the first time, as part of a technology and advertising partnership with Google, the photos are being pulled from their drawers, fed through scanners and saved to servers.”

4. A Year After #MeToo, Hollywood’s Got a Malaise Money Can’t Cure

“In the 100-year history of Hollywood, rarely if ever has so much upheaval arrived so fast and on so many fronts.”

5. The 16-oz. Beer Can: A Cold One That’s a Hot One

“The great irony is that cans are better for beer in every way. They are literally a miniature keg.”

6. Sundar Pichai of Google: ‘Technology Doesn’t Solve Humanity’s Problems’

“Every generation is worried about the new technology, and feels like this time it’s different.”

7. Tech C.E.O.s Are in Love With Their Principal Doomsayer

“Silicon Valley, at a certain level, is not optimistic on the future of democracy. The more of a mess Washington becomes, the more interested the tech world is in creating something else, and it might not look like elected representation.”

8. A Good Guy With A Gun

“A few years ago, tired of being told by gun rights people that I knew nothing about firearms, I bought a handgun and learned to carry and use it. I found the transgressive nature of the exercise stimulating. Survivors of gun violence are not supposed to walk around with guns.”

9. The Newest Jim Crow

“Under new policies in California, New Jersey, New York and beyond, ‘risk assessment’ algorithms recommend to judges whether a person who’s been arrested should be released. These advanced mathematical models — or ‘weapons of math destruction’ as data scientist Cathy O’Neil calls them — appear colorblind on the surface but they are based on factors that are not only highly correlated with race and class, but are also significantly influenced by pervasive bias in the criminal justice system.”

10. Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid.

“Extreme economic concentration does create conditions ripe for dictatorship.”

11. America Needs a Bigger House

“The House’s current size — 435 representatives — was set in 1911, when there were fewer than one-third as many people living in the United States as there are now.”

12. By Protecting Veterans’ Health, You May Protect Your Own

“Seventy percent of all American doctors have received some training at V.A. hospitals.”

13. Who’s the Real American Psycho?

“Those who sold us the ‘cakewalk’ Iraq war and the outrageously unprepared Sarah Palin and torture as ‘enhanced interrogation,’ those who left the Middle East shattered with a cascading refugee crisis and a rising ISIS, and those who midwifed the birth of the Tea Party are washing away their sins in a basin of Trump hate.”

14. The Unreality of Racial Justice Cinema

“In lieu of either factually representing or making sense of the world, they invite us to escape it.”

15. Frederick Douglass in Full

“Dependent upon abolitionist charity for his family’s daily bread, Douglass nonetheless chafed under a stifling Garrisonian orthodoxy that required adherents to embrace pacifism and abstain from politics. He charted a course away from all that by starting his own newspaper and openly embracing as household saints blood-drenched figures like the slave-rebellion leader Nat Turner and the white revolutionary John Brown, both of whom he classed with the founders. His fledgling newspaper, The North Star, served as the school where he sharpened his grasp of politics and developed a penetrating style as an editorialist. By the time Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, Douglass understood full well that slavery could be purged from the United States only with blood — as his friend John Brown had put it on the way to the gallows — and launched blistering attacks on those who sought to compromise with the institution rather than obliterate it.”

16. You Already Email Like a Robot — Why Not Automate It?

“Using these features is a bit like minding a machine that is trying to learn how to do what you do for a living. And even if it’s the part of the job you wish you didn’t have to do, it still prompts uncomfortable thoughts of replacement — or, if not replacement, then something close to it. It is not remotely implausible that in the near future, a tremendous amount of communication could be conducted in tandem with an A.I.”

17. How to Play Dead

“To be convincing, you must not visibly breathe, swallow, blink or let your eyes or body convey any of the twitchy, lit-from-within traits of the living.”

18. Gillian Flynn Peers Into the Dark Side of Femininity

“Things in Flynn’s novels do not get bad; they start out far beyond it and deteriorate as we learn how they got that way.”

19. U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism. Now They Don’t Know How to Stop It.

“Between 2002 and 2017, the United States spent $2.8 trillion — 15 percent of discretionary spending — on counterterrorism. Terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists killed 100 people in the United States during that time. Between 2008 and 2017, domestic extremists killed 387 in the United States.”

20. What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?

“Give people a sugar pill, they have shown, and those patients — especially if they have one of the chronic, stress-related conditions that register the strongest placebo effects and if the treatment is delivered by someone in whom they have confidence — will improve. Tell someone a normal milkshake is a diet beverage, and his gut will respond as if the drink were low fat. Take athletes to the top of the Alps, put them on exercise machines and hook them to an oxygen tank, and they will perform better than when they are breathing room air — even if room air is all that’s in the tank. Wake a patient from surgery and tell him you’ve done an arthroscopic repair, and his knee gets better even if all you did was knock him out and put a couple of incisions in his skin. Give a drug a fancy name, and it works better than if you don’t.”

21. The Witch Continues to Enchant as a Feminist Symbol

“They may not all recite spells or worship a moon goddess, but at a time when misogyny is rampant and women’s rights are on shaky ground, they relate to the witch as a feminist symbol. A witch, after all, is a woman with power.”

22. How Does a Museum Buy an Artwork That Doesn’t Physically Exist?

“Sehgal does not issue receipts. He does not permit his work to be photographed or filmed, nor does he produce catalogs or even wall labels to accompany his exhibitions. In fact, he eschews all forms of documentation, written or otherwise, in relation to the sale, presentation and care of his work.”

23. How a Group of Gay Male Ballet Dancers Is Rethinking Masculinity

“If you didn’t know much about classical ballet, you might think it’s an obvious home for queer artists and narratives, but it’s more complicated than that.”

24. Why Do Asian-Americans Remain Largely Unseen in Film and Television?

“It is only when we are hidden that we are allowed to succeed. Which leads to a more troubling but inevitable conclusion: that there is something about the very physiognomy of the Asian face that American audiences still cannot or will not accept.”

25. What if the Powerful (and Paranoid) Started Using Official Tasters Again?

“As long as there have been power structures and people teetering at the top of them, there have been assassinations. Those most at risk surround themselves with bodyguards trained in Krav Maga and Secret Service agents armed with Sig Sauer P229 pistols. But poison is trickier to defend against, an invisible enemy: The best ones are colorless, odorless, tasteless and traceless, vanishing into food or drink without any sign of contamination. From the dawn of the Persian Achaemenid Empire in the sixth century B.C. to the sustained hold of Vladimir Putin over the Russian Federation today, it has long been believed that the only way to detect the presence of poison is to make someone of lesser importance take the first bite or sip, then wait and see if they survive.”

Sunday 11.4.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Rural America’s Own Private Flint: Polluted Water Too Dangerous to Drink

“In Wisconsin, a state report recently found that as many as 42,000 of the state’s 676,000 private wells, or 6 percent, were likely to exceed the federal health standards for nitrates, which can come from fertilizer use and manure spreading.”

2. The Case Against Running With Headphones

“If I don’t leave my headphones behind when I run, I wouldn’t spend a single minute of my waking life free from input.”

3. How the Economic Lives of the Middle Class Have Changed Since 2016

“Debtors — and the average middle-class American fits that description — are paying a price for the surging economy even as they enjoy the benefits of higher pay and low inflation.”

4. Preserving the Wealth That Conservation Built

“Let us not forget the important situations where government can prevent market failures and unlock value.”

5. The Democrats’ Next Job

“The Democrats have impulses, they have beliefs, they even have principles. But they don’t have a story to challenge the supply-side story and tell people about how the economy grows and helps everyone.”

6. 6 Tips for Getting Your Solo Play to Broadway

“I’d say, ‘There was no single step.’ It was a series of steps over years. And, even then on top of that, it’s luck. It’s your 10,000 hours of preparation meeting 12 other people’s 10,000 hours of preparation meeting $3 million laundered through the Cayman Islands … meeting luck.”

7. Andy Warhol Inc.: How He Made Business His Art + Think You Know Andy Warhol? Here Are Five Truths That May Surprise

“The heart of Warhol’s idea — that by playing the role of businessman, an artist could turn himself into the latest, living example of a commodification he believed none of us can avoid — was perhaps as revolutionary in its time as Marcel Duchamp presenting a humble urinal as sculpture had been in 1917. Duchamp’s gesture declared that artists alone get to define what is art; five decades later, Warhol took that as permission to treat the spreadsheet, press release and launch party as creative endeavors. This set an example for some of his most notable heirs in our current century.”

8. This Library Has New Books by Major Authors, but They Can’t Be Read Until 2114

“In 96 years, when the seedlings become trees and the trees are sacrificed to the written word, it is impossible to know whose reality they will touch.”

9. Alan Greenspan’s Ode to Creative Destruction

Capitalism in America, in both its interpretation of economic history and its recipe for revival, is likely to offend the dominant Trump wing of the Republican Party and the resurgent left among Democrats.”

10. The Founders Look at Modern America

“Our civic dialogue has broken down, Ellis observes, and our ‘divided America,’ contentious in all the wrong ways, is ‘currently incapable of sustained argument’ on any subject — the kind of argument that goes somewhere other than round and round, the kind that yields understanding and possibly, over time, solutions.”

11. What Isaac Asimov Taught Us About Predicting the Future

“The notion was framed as a science that could predict events centuries in advance, but it was driven by a desire to know what would happen in the war over the next few months — a form of wishful thinking that is all but inevitable at times of profound uncertainty.”

12. Race and Class and Youth Football in Brownsville, Brooklyn

“Does a game like football offer lifesaving discipline, fatherly coaches and means to a scholarship? Or is it just a cruel chimera, holding out the allure of an elusive pro career? And, to add a very current concern, is the risk of a head injury at a tender age worth the potential rewards of stardom?”

13. Thinking Clearly About Immigration

“What immigration policies would best inch us toward the elusive goal of a fair and just society?”

14. Reign of the Trolls

“Reddit was created by millions of Americans with a taste for darkness.”

15. Nothing Proves You Right Like Getting It on ‘Tape’

“The tape is an attempt to circumvent the politics-addled brain and access a purer, more visceral response. Maybe even a spiritual one.”

16. How to Write a Condolence Letter

“Death is part of the connective tissue that binds humans across time and culture and place.”


Sunday 10.28.2018 New York Times Digest


1. The Ghost Story Persists in American Literature. Why?

“The ghost story shape-shifts because ghosts themselves are so protean — they emanate from specific cultural fears and fantasies. They emerge from their time, which is why Jacobeans saw ghosts wearing pale shrouds and Victorians saw them draped in black bombazine.”

2. A Baseball Bat Dies, and Chopsticks Are Born

“The barrel of one bat can yield five or six pairs of chopsticks.”

3. She Made the Shift From Academic Writing to Hallmark Cards

“That’s what many people think, that we are the lowbrow ditch diggers of the writing profession, the punch lines of jokes and films. Frankly I, too, thought this would be a quotidian task. But it requires a specific, well-honed skill set.”

4. You’ve Become Rich. That Doesn’t Mean You’re Great at Everything.

“Success and wealth that move from one arena to another often breed inefficiency.”

5. Blocking the Ballot Box

“The fight over voting rights in the midterms is a reminder that elections are not solely about who is running, what their commercials say or how many people are registered to vote. They are about who is allowed to vote and which officials are placing obstacles in the way of would-be voters.”

6. How to Turn a Person Into a Voter

“Our model is one that any party or politician or group looking to increase turnout — or to mobilize the six in 10 eligible voters who stay at home for the midterms — should use.”

7. Who Says Allie Kieffer Isn’t Thin Enough to Run Marathons?

“When we focus less on fixing what we consider to be inadequacies and more on reinforcing our strengths, we can realize potential we didn’t even know we had.”

8. A Fate Worse Than Slavery, Unearthed in Sugar Land

“70 percent of the 12 million or so captives who left Africa for the Americas on slave ships were destined for sugar colonies.”

9. Liberal Hypocrisy in College Admissions?

“33.6 percent of legacy children were admitted to Harvard, compared with 5.9 percent of nonlegacy applicants.”

10. People Are Not Pets

“When we are rewarded for doing something, we tend to lose interest in whatever we had to do to get the reward.”

11. Discovering the Great Indoors

“In another study of 1,000 homes across the United States, we found tens of thousands of bacteria species, most of them unstudied, many new to science. Inside those homes we discovered more kinds of fungi than there were named fungal species in North America. Each time we study homes what we most clearly find is how little we know about what is hidden in our midst.”

12. Truth in Advertising. Terror, Too.

“With creepy, meticulously designed illustrations that threw subtlety out the window, and text that made outrageous claims far beyond the movie’s actual contents, these ads could make a minor piece of schlock look like the most elaborate exercise in terror.”

13. Frankenstein at 200

“It has become the rare story to pass from literature into common myth.”

14. Why Is CBD Everywhere?

“The ice caps are melting, the Dow teeters, and a divided country seems headed for divorce court. Is it any wonder, then, that everyone seems to be reaching for the tincture?”

15. Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids

“Silicon Valley parents are increasingly obsessed with keeping their children away from screens.”

16. What’s All This About Journaling?

“Once the domain of teenage girls and the literati, journaling has become a hallmark of the so-called self-care movement, right up there with meditation.”

17. What Our Extremist Politics Owe to Batman and Captain America

““Here are analyses of the apocalypse and its aftermath through readings of Avatar and ‘The Walking Dead,’ of Batman and Captain America, as they reinforce centrist, liberal or conservative worldviews.”

18. Dispatches From a Ruined Paradise

“A road offers the possibility of taking you somewhere but also poses a question about the cost of roadwork, what violence has been done to both nature and culture in the name of progress.”

19. Candy Crush

“Candy is controversial. As with a beloved sports team, your affinities and fealties have been ingrained since your prelinguistic days. Such innate belief systems defy reasoning.”

Sunday 10.21.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Let’s Agree Not to Kill One Another

“What does it say about a society when people just routinely call for the killing of those they disagree with?”

2. Four Thousand Miles for the W

“Sending an N.F.L. team overseas is a herculean venture. Players need passports, the equipment staff sends supplies months in advance, the travel director has to navigate an unfamiliar airport and hotel, and the trainers will often modify the players’ diet and sleep regimens. Then there is the equipment, some 21,000 pounds of it, that must be transported.”

3. Congratulations, You’re a Certified N.B.A. Agent. Good Luck Finding a Client.

“Just nine agents represent a quarter of the league, and 27 represent half.”

4. Where the Streets Have No Names

“Street names and house numbers weren’t inevitable; they were invented. Almost 250 years ago, for example, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria began to number the homes across her vast realm to enable mass conscription of men to fight her wars.”

5. Doctors Should Tell Their Patients to Vote

“Political decisions that affect insurance coverage, access to medical care, housing, minimum wage, immigration law, water sources — just to name a few examples — exert medical effects that are comparable with those of major diseases.”

6. No, A.I. Won’t Solve the Fake News Problem

“Existing A.I. systems that have been built to comprehend news accounts are extremely limited.”

7. Before Arguing About DNA Tests, Learn the Science Behind Them

“Look back far enough in your family tree, and you’ll encounter ancestors from whom you inherit no DNA at all.”

8. Fear of a Black Continent

“In the late 1990s Europe and Africa had about the same population; a hundred years later there could be seven Africans for every European.”

9. The Sound of ‘Housewives’

“Nearly every day of the year, somewhere on earth, at least one episode of ‘The Real Housewives’ is being filmed. They all sound like this: doot doot doot da da tsa tsa pleenk.”

10. At the Library

“Even in the age of the internet, the public library remains the place people come to for answers to their most pressing questions. The search has not been entirely replaced by the search engine.”

11. 12 Authors Write About the Libraries They Love

“We asked several authors to tell us about their local public library or to share a memory of a library from their past.”

12. Were the Founders Against Slavery All Along?

“Slavery is at the heart of the nation’s origin story. The core of our democratic institutions — from the presidency to the Congress to the courts — was shaped immeasurably by it. And yet it is one of the least understood and distorted subjects in American history.”

13. The Man Who Pioneered Food Safety

“The origins of today’s food safety laws, drug safety laws, labeling requirements and environmental regulations can be found in the arguments of the Progressive movement at the turn of the last century.”

14. Books for Better Sex and Better Relationships

“Republicans are publicly more conservative in their tastes, but in their private lives are more likely than Democrats to crave taboo situations like exhibitionism, voyeurism and fetishism.”

15. Does This Moment in History Call for More ‘Nuance,’ or Less?

“Often we obey the vague format of a deliberative conversation, putting forth arguments and evidence only to be shocked when we learn that we are not in a deliberation at all: We are in a raw struggle for power.”

16. Letter of Recommendation: Bandannas

“Unlike hats, bandannas are malleable. They can be relatively useless — mere decorative headwear — or relatively functional, as they were for a variety of laborers: cowboys, mine workers, maids, women with rivet guns in World War II factories. They can keep dust out of mouths, sweat out of eyes, hair out of the way. They’re ubiquitous among the Harley-Davidson crowd and old-school bank robbers. They can double as wraps and tignons, necklaces and tissues.”

17. How to Navigate a Maze

“Draw on all your senses.”

18. This Melissa McCarthy Story Just Might (Maybe? Possibly?) Cheer You Up

“She worries about comedy. She worries about the gloom and fatigue that flows beneath the streets, waiting to suck away her will to laugh and to make laughter.”

19. In Literature, Who Decides When Homage Becomes Theft?

“Now cultural appropriation is wielded as a pejorative against writers and artists who draw material from the trauma of those less privileged than themselves.”

20. Frogs Are Disappearing. What Does That Mean?

“One study estimates that since the 1970s, around 200 frog species have disappeared, with a projected loss of hundreds more in the next century. Frogs are under threat on nearly every continent: from the French Pyrenees to the Central American rain forests to the Sierra Nevada in California. Some species, like the dusky gopher frog, have been depleted by human encroachment on their habitats. But the decimation that started 50 years ago was largely the work of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which thickens a frog’s skin, hindering the animal’s ability to absorb water and oxygen and to maintain a balanced flow of electrolytes, leading to heart failure. Once infected, entire populations can collapse in a single season.”

21. Solange, the Polymathic Cultural Force

“Limitation leads her to discovery.”

22. Viggo Mortensen, the Unlikely Leading Man

“He is Hollywood’s most appealing man probably because he is Hollywood’s least threatening man. He is paternal but not patronizing; he possesses strength without aggression. Even in his most violent scenes, the tension builds but Mortensen rarely acts on it until necessary — like a judo master, he seems able to take another’s energy and flip it to his advantage. You desire him, but he doesn’t set out to seduce. He is one of the few actors for whom the female gaze has been possible (the shock of seeing a naked man on the screen only exists because it is still so rare). The women in his movies are drawn to him as if there’s a hidden stillness that they need to reach, like finding a pond in the middle of a forest. So much of masculinity on film feels like watching a gift you don’t want being unwrapped. But Mortensen’s operates on another plane.”


Sunday 10.14.2018 New York Times Digest

1. The Importance of Unread Books

“A person’s library is often a symbolic representation of his or her mind. A man who has quit expanding his personal library may have reached the point where he thinks he knows all he needs to and that what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him. He has no desire to keep growing intellectually. The man with an ever-expanding library understands the importance of remaining curious, open to new ideas and voices.”

2. A Working Woman’s Weapon

“Dressing for work is work, and the cost — in dollars, time, distraction — is borne disproportionately by women.”

3. Why Are We Surprised When Women Disagree?

“There is no universal female experience. And, as conservative women’s support for Justice Kavanaugh shows, there is no universal female response to allegations of abuse.”

4. Suburban Men ‘Feeling Better’ About Trump

“While recent polls show that white women with a college degree favor Democratic House candidates by a large margin, 20 points or more, white college-educated men — who focus more singularly on economic issues, according to surveys — are a potential bulwark for the president and his party.”

5. Move In. And Never Leave.

“A decade ago, a dream home was designed to wow your friends and neighbors. Today, it’s designed to house your relatives. Or your Airbnb guests. And also be your workplace. Homebuilders say one of the biggest selling points in 2018 isn’t a three-car garage or a grand entryway — it’s a home with flexibility.”

6. When Your Boss Is an Algorithm

“Data and algorithms are presented as objective, neutral, even benevolent: Algorithms gave us super-convenient food delivery services and personalized movie recommendations. But Uber and other ride-hailing apps have taken the way Silicon Valley uses algorithms and applied it to work, and that’s not always a good thing.”

7. Freelancers of the World, Unite in Despair!

“Work hours may never end, yet you will wonder, ‘Could I be doing more?’ The union hereby declares that yes, you could be doing more, and yes, you are a failure, and yes, that feeling of dread will either drive you to do better or make you sad. If you ever feel content, know that it is fleeting, and you should be doing more.”

8. We Need to Talk About God

“Work often takes precedence over worship, social lives are prioritized over spiritual disciplines and most people save their Sunday-best clothing for Monday through Friday. In pluralistic contexts, our neighbors don’t read from the same script or draw from a common spiritual vocabulary.”

9. The Furies

“Girls and women are commonly socialized to suppress their anger, which is a shame because a ready arsenal of rage and invective comes in handy when you’re the subordinated gender.”

10. Noir in the City of Angels

“Los Angeles — superficially bright but, deep down, dark — has been the ultimate setting for the crime novel.”

11. How to Look Up Medical Information Online

“Nearly 80 percent of the patients who looked up things online before seeing a doctor reported that their searches actually improved their experience. They were better able to articulate their symptoms and understand what doctors told them.”

Sunday 10.7.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Stopping Climate Change Is Hopeless. Let’s Do It.

“Solving climate is going to be harder, and more improbable, than winning World War II, achieving civil rights, defeating bacterial infection and sending a man to the moon all together.”

2. Are You a Visual or an Auditory Learner? It Doesn’t Matter

“There’s no good scientific evidence that learning styles actually exist.”

3. Why Is Behavioral Economics So Popular?

“There is nothing wrong with achieving small victories with minor interventions. The worry, however, is that the perceived simplicity and efficacy of such tactics will distract decision makers from more substantive efforts — for example, reducing electricity consumption by taxing it more heavily or investing in renewable energy resources.”

4. The Prison ‘Old-Timers’ Who Gave Me Life

“We must seriously consider whether society would benefit by letting reformed offenders re-enter their community, and whether it’s economical and humane to punish solely for the sake of retribution. When I hear of all the gun violence on Chicago’s South Side, for instance, I can’t help wondering what would happen if Illinois’s many reformed old-timers, who hail from those neighborhoods, were granted parole with a mission of working to reduce the violence. It’s not unreasonable to think they’d have a better chance of reaching the younger generation than the local police or federal law enforcement.”

5. Introducing the Internet Bill of Rights

“Should American citizens get a new Bill of Rights for the internet?”

6. California’s Highway 1, With Memory Riding Shotgun

“The road was built in pieces starting about a century ago, partly with prison labor and explosives; pieces of it still close, for fires, for eroded bridges, for falling right into the ocean. Most recently, in July, a stretch south of Big Sur that had been impassable for more than a year was finally reopened, repaired after six million cubic yards of landslide buried it in its tumble toward the Pacific. In the most evocative parts of the drive, the drop, separated from your car by just a guardrail — or not — is hundreds of feet.”

7. When Guests Want to Check In With Firearms, What Can Hotels Do?

“Wary of criticism and liability, and operating under a patchwork of state and county firearms laws, hotels have crafted an inconsistent range of gun policies that can vary from door to door on the same street and location to location within the same chain.”

8. Inside the World of D.I.Y. Ammunition

“The average member in the Cast Bullet Association is a 55-year-old man, typically mathematically-inclined tinkerers from professions where they used their hands, such as dentists, mechanics or surgeons…. The members enjoy the engineering know-how and alchemy experimentation involved in a hobby that requires millimeter exactitude, tireless patience, and constant trial and error. In contrast, those interested in creating printable guns are often younger and more internet savvy.”

9. Estranged in America: Both Sides Feel Lost and Left Out

“Forty-seven percent of voters who approve of Mr. Trump say they feel like strangers in their own country, while 44 percent of those who disapprove of him say the same.”

10. Life in a For-Profit Lockup

“What is it like to work — or serve time — in a prison where nobody is in charge?”

11. New & Noteworthy

“Singer and Brooking cite research showing that, during a 2012 conflict with Gaza, Israel was so attuned to social media dynamics that ‘a sudden spike in online sympathy for Hamas more than halved the pace of Israeli airstrikes.’”

12. Big Boned

“As Prokopi’s financial situation becomes increasingly tenuous, these dinosaur bones become his only hope for avoiding ruin.”

13. How Do We Make the Long-Term Decisions That Matter?

“Your vision will always be blurry. But there’s no better corrective lens than a clear diagnosis of just how myopic you are. If you want to improve at predicting the future, start by recognizing how unpredictable it is.”

14. Letter of Recommendation: YouTube Travel

“Go on YouTube; type a place name and a year. Beijing 1970. Karachi 1990. Tashkent 1992. San Francisco 1995. Mumbai 1985. The algorithm will help guide your trip, the row of thumbnails on the right-hand side of the screen taking you back and back into the past.”

15. How to Pick a Lane

“Resist lane envy: Studies show that the perception that one lane is moving faster is often a psychological illusion.”

16. The Shape-Shifter

“She read Andy Warhol’s books and realized that what most people want, when they dream of fame, is not necessarily wealth or power but limitlessness: the ability to change. So many artists start out gritty and homegrown but calcify into hardened personae over time; when Lady Gaga adopted her new name (sometime around 2006, most likely from a Queen song), she decided to flip the formula. What if she began with the character, and the character was the physical embodiment of flux? What if she never wore the same outfit twice, or gave an interview out of costume, or claimed to be a paragon of creative authenticity?”

17. The Ultimate Sitcom

“The sitcom is arguably the defining commercial art form of the American 20th century. Here in the ugly adolescence of the 21st century, ‘The Good Place’ is using that old artistic form to take an honest moral accounting of the modern American soul. In doing so, it raises questions that have always been essential but that now glow with a special radioactivity.”

18. The Morality Wars

“The real-world and social-media combat we’ve been in for the past two years over what kind of country this is — who gets to live in it and bemoan (or endorse!) how it’s being run — have now shown up in our beefs over culture, not so much over the actual works themselves but over the laws governing that culture and the discussion around it, which artists can make what art, who can speak. We’re talking less about whether a work is good art but simply whether it’s good — good for us, good for the culture, good for the world.”


Sunday 9.30.2018 New York Times Digest


1. Fury Is a Political Weapon

“If you are angry today, or if you have been angry for a while, and you’re wondering whether you’re allowed to be as angry as you feel, let me say: Yes. Yes, you are allowed. You are, in fact, compelled.”

2. An Age Divided by Sex

“The culture war as we’ve known it since has not been a simple clash of conservatives who want to repress and liberals who want to emancipate. Rather it’s been an ongoing argument between two forces — feminists and religious conservatives — that both want to remoralize American society, albeit in very different ways.”

3. We Can’t Just Let Boys Be Boys

“Parents have abdicated responsibility for talking with their children, especially their boys, about sexual ethics or emotional intimacy.”

4. Why Trump Will Win a Second Term

“Mr. Trump has created an unscripted drama that has unified living rooms everywhere. Whether you’re rooting for the antihero or cheering for his demise, chances are Trump TV has you under steady — some would say unhealthy — hypnosis.”

5. Why I Love Reality Television

“Reality TV gives us an unfiltered window onto the capitalist and ideological structures that make up all media.”

6. Depressed About the Future of Democracy? Study History

“I believe that democracy will beat back the illiberal wave, and that President Trump will be one of the first to go. My faith is based on the lessons of history. The liberal project has faced down much worse: the First World War, the Depression, World War II, the Cold War. And democracy overcame them all.”

7. In Praise of Mediocrity

“Values like ‘the pursuit of excellence’ have crept into and corrupted what was once the realm of leisure, leaving little room for the true amateur. The population of our country now seems divided between the semipro hobbyists (some as devoted as Olympic athletes) and those who retreat into the passive, screeny leisure that is the signature of our technological moment.”

8. Christians Don’t Fit in Political Boxes

“To not be political is to be political.”

9. At Elite Colleges, Racial Diversity Requires Affirmative Action

“Elite colleges can’t achieve racial and ethnic diversity without directly considering race and ethnicity in admissions. There is no easy option that depends on other criteria such as income.”

10. More Evidence That Nutrition Studies Don’t Always Add Up

“Nutrition research is plagued by a credibility problem.”

11. Bradley Cooper Is Not Really Into This Profile

“He learned how to play the guitar. He learned how to play the piano. Not just enough to be convincing onstage — enough to be a professional musician.”

12. The Man Who Taught a Generation of Black Artists Gets His Own Retrospective

“Whiteʼs project, in general, was bigger than himself.”

13. An ‘Ancestral Memory’ Inscribed in Skin

“These line tattoos speak to a practice that dates back at least 10,000 years and is now being revitalized by Alaska Native women who want to reconnect with the traditions of their ancestors.”

14. I, Knausgaard

“The books constitute a kind of genre novel in which the author himself has become the genre.”

15. Congressional Bloodshed

“In 1841, an exchange of insults between two representatives, Edward Stanly of North Carolina and Henry Wise of Virginia, led to a wild melee in which nearly all the members of the House pummeled one another. John B. Dawson of Louisiana ‘routinely wore both a bowie knife and a pistol’ into the House and once threatened to cut a colleague’s throat ‘from ear to ear.’ Angry over a speech delivered by the antislavery Ohioan Joshua Giddings, Dawson shoved Giddings and threatened him with a knife. Another time, Dawson pointed his cocked pistol at Giddings and was prevented from shooting him only when other congressmen intervened.”

16. Unpublished and Untenured, a Philosopher Inspired a Cult Following

“As of June, his curriculum vitae listed no publications to date — not even a journal article. At 60, he remains unknown to most scholars in his field.”

17. Stress Test

“Attention turns away from events and toward our own ability to react to them. The difference, online, is that we also pull at one another; everything becomes a fight to ensure that everyone else is experiencing and interpreting the shock the same way.”

18. New Sentences: From The New Rules of Coffee

“We can’t enjoy the Snake River Canyon without some daredevil eventually dressing in an American flag costume and trying to fly over it on a hybrid rocket-cycle.”

19. Photographing Past Stereotype

“The men in these photos are of various races, ages and income levels. They collectively show us the usually concealed demand behind the overly familiar supply. It is a conventional execution of a brilliantly uncommon subject.”

20. How to Get Someone Out of a Cult

“If you’re trying to persuade someone to leave a cult, supply reminders of the world beyond it by calling, emailing, writing letters, sending photographs and maybe even visiting, although Lalich warns that anyone can get lured into a cult. You should visit ‘only if you feel strong enough to resist,’ she says.”

21. The Crisis of Election Security

“The ballot box is the foundation of any democracy. It’s not too grand to say that if there’s a failure in the ballot box, then democracy fails. If the people don’t have confidence in the outcome of an election, then it becomes difficult for them to accept the policies and actions that pour forth from it. And in the United States, it’s safe to say, though few may utter it publicly, that the ballot box has failed many times and is poised to fail again.”

22. Will Florida’s Ex-Felons Finally Regain the Right to Vote?

“The framers did not include the right to vote in the United States Constitution.”

23. Deborah Eisenberg, Chronicler of American Insanity

“With the exception of a play, a book about the painter Jennifer Bartlett and a handful of critical essays, her output consists entirely of short stories, and yet as a portraitist and interpreter of the moral and political chaos of American life she is the equal of any novelist of the past 30 years. Her stories rove from the Midwest, where she was born, to the metropolitan centers and foreign outposts of American power and concern the fate of artists and intellectuals, bankers, movie stars and C.I.A. apparatchiks, as well as drifters, dropouts and dead-enders, the politically displaced and the existentially homeless. Like their creator, her dramatis personae are beings of an almost extraterrestrial sensitivity and confusion; they look at the world with a kind of radical naïveté, as though they had never before encountered cars, buildings, trees or clouds, let alone the ambiguous workings of human social life. Just how strange it is to be that lost and lonely creature, oneself, is a realization that Eisenberg’s world-dazed men and women arrive at time and again.”