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News 04.26.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 04.26.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@george_in_london
News 04.26.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@patiness_official via @carnivala
News 04.26.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@jyounghousedesign

Rom-Coms Were Corny and Retrograde. Why Do I Miss Them so Much?

I have a confession to make: I miss Katherine Heigl. In the mid- to late 2000s she spent five years doing romantic comedies, or what was left of them by the time she got there. She put up a decent fight. To watch her withstand the jeers of the boy-men in “Knocked Up,” the cave-manning of Gerard Butler in “The Ugly Truth” or the bridesmaid-outfit montage in “27 Dresses” was to witness a genre’s assault on one of its last dedicated practitioners. Heigl didn’t get to show the luminance, flintiness or idiosyncrasy of her romantic-comedy forebears; she was given too few moments of wit or insight. Instead, she was tough, stubborn, gainfully employed and — like most of the women in these movies, by that point — counterproductively heartless, tolerant of whatever partnership the plot backed her into. Her time as a romantic-comedy star was more a feat of survival than a cause for celebration. But as long as Heigl was around, so were romantic comedies, and that was something.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

News 04.26.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Shocking Rape Trial That Galvanised Spain’s Feminists – and the Far Right

News 04.26.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the early hours of 7 July 2016, surrounded by throngs of revellers dancing and drinking, an 18-year-old woman suddenly found herself alone. She was standing on Plaza del Castillo, a square in the centre of the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, which was hosting its annual festival, the running of the bulls.

The weeklong festival combines a religious celebration of the city’s patron saint, San Fermin, with the eponymous bull run – and copious amounts of alcohol. Every morning at the stroke of 8am, the bravest festivalgoers sprint ahead of a group of bulls leading them from the pen where they’re kept to the ring where they will die later that day. Then the drinking resumes. The festival has long had a reputation for bad behaviour – exasperated locals often complain about outsiders turning their town into a lawless city – and after photos of young women being groped by groups of men went viral in 2013, the city launched an anti-sexual assault campaign whose symbol, a red hand, was plastered across billboards, walls and buses. But the festival has not lost its somewhat seedy reputation. “People come here to fuck,” a hospital receptionist told me wearily, fanning herself against the July heat, when I attended last year.

The young woman, who had just finished her first year of university, had been drinking with a few people she had met that night, but after leaving them to dance, she lost sight of them. As she would later testify in court, she nudged her way past the crowds to a bench on the edge of the square to get her bearings. There, on the bench, a man struck up conversation with her. His name was José Ángel Prenda, a 26-year-old from Seville with a broad face and a paunchy stomach across which he had inked his name in large, gothic script.

Prenda had come to the festival with a group of friends, four men in their mid-20s, who called themselves la manada – the wolf pack. One member of the group, a soldier named Alfonso Jesús Cabezuelo, had a tattoo of a howling wolf on his foot, along with the words “The power of the wolf lies in the pack”. Another member, Jesús Escudero, a hairdresser, had a wolf paw tattoo on his ribcage. The other two members were a police officer, Antonio Manuel Guerrero, and Ángel Boza, the rookie of the group, who, like Prenda, was unemployed. The woman and Prenda compared tattoos and talked football while the other men hovered around, occasionally dipping in and out of the conversation.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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Successful People Listen to Audiobooks

AS A CHILD, I squeezed extra hours of reading from each day by switching on the tape deck after lights out. I didn’t like surrendering my active mind to sleep, but I could let unconsciousness catch me unawares. Decades later, driven to desperation by insomnia, I unearthed old cassette tapes from my childhood bedroom and discovered that their comforts still worked on me. So I did the only logical thing and subscribed to Audible, the Amazon subsidiary with a near-monopoly on digital audiobooks, and before long I was catching up on contemporary fiction while I swiffered my floors every Sunday, speeding through classics while my dog decided where to pee. It’s a little embarrassing to admit how much this habit has come to mean to me. I’m sleeping better, but it’s not only that. The precise elocution of the practiced actor-narrators is often the only human speech I hear all day. I was lonelier than I realized before it entered my routine.

If I’d become a journalist in another era, before Facebook and Google came along to claim around 70 percent of the digital advertising that once supported my industry, I might have held a full-time job and spent my days surrounded by people. (I’ve been lucky enough to experience this a couple of times, at publications that abruptly imploded; since then, I’ve rationalized permalancing as a comparatively stable alternative.) It’s simplistic but not entirely inaccurate to say that Audible’s parent, Amazon, is to book publishing what Facebook and Google are to magazines: the troll under the bridge whose idea of a toll is to devour consumers and competitors whole. Amazon already accounts for around half of all print book sales and more than 80 percent of ebook sales, and has recently thrown its weight into publishing its own books and giving them top billing in its online marketplace, eating ever deeper into traditional publishers’ profits. “They aren’t gaming the system,” a literary agent told the Wall Street Journal this winter. “They own the system.”

Read the rest of this article at: Baffler

News 04.26.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Why Isn’t Anybody Listening?

News 04.26.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Out in the leafy suburbs of Woodland Hills, California, in an OK house in an OK neighborhood, the actor Corey Feldman is wandering around, saying he soon might name the name of the man he says raped his like-a-brother best friend and frequent co-star, the late Corey Haim, back in 1985. He’s been talking about naming this name for more than seven years now. But each time, Feldman has shied away at the last minute, citing lawsuit fears, further ostracism and derailment of a career already off the tracks, and possible physical harm to him and his family.

He sucks on a nicotine-filled vape, exhales a plume, drops his head a little and says, “I mean, I’ve had my life threatened twice in the last six months.”

His wife of two years, a tall blonde named Courtney, nods. “People want to kill him. They don’t want what he has to say to come out.”

“I can tell you that the number-one problem in Hollywood was and is . . . pedophilia,” Feldman says, as he often has. “That’s the biggest problem for children in this industry. It’s the big secret.”

One possible, obvious reason for the keeping and hiding of this big secret: No one really wants to hear about children and rape if it involves the nation’s number-one source of escapist entertainment. In 2013, Feldman went on The View to talk about how the pedophile numbers are larger than anybody knows and include a ring reaching up into the Hollywood elite that’s been shielded for years by the establishment. Barbara Walters looked at him with disbelief, hands clasped across her belly, and snarled, “You’re damaging an entire industry,” as if to say that Hollywood itself was more valuable than the wrecked lives of a few youngsters.

And then there’s HBO’s Leaving Neverland, in which two men allege that Michael Jackson, who was one of Feldman’s closest friends growing up, abused them when they were kids. Feldman has always said Jackson never touched him inappropriately, and at times he seemed to be defending Jackson against accusers. After watching the first half of the documentary, he tweeted, “This whole thing is 1 sided w no chance of a defense from a dead man, & no evidence other than the word of 2 men who as adults defended him in court.” This led to a barrage of criticism on social media, however, and, a few days later, a clarification from Feldman, who went on CNN to say, “I cannot in good conscience defend anyone who’s being accused of such horrendous crimes. But at the same time, I’m also not here to judge him, because, again, he didn’t do those things to me and that was not my experience.”

Read the rest of this article at: RollingStone

Make Your Mark: The Enduring Joy of Drawing

News 04.26.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Art starts with a drawing – specifically a drawing by a clever young girl named Kora, otherwise known as the Maid of Corinth. Kora is a teenager in ancient Greece who has fallen in love with a soldier. Alas he is called up to war. Desperate to keep hold of him, or some memory of his handsome presence, Kora asks him to stand against a wall in bright sunlight so she can draw the outline of his shadow. His trace remains, held there for ever by her perfect line. And thus drawing is born, at least according to Pliny.

It’s a tall story. We all know that drawing goes right back to the wild horses running across the caves of Lascaux, to the prehistoric riders of Bhimbetka and the magnificent bison of Altamira. There are drawings on ice-age animal skins and ancient Egyptian papyruses. But the story of Kora endures, partly because she has a name, but also because she is driven to drawing by love: you might say that the Maid of Corinth is, like many of us, a passionate amateur.

Drawing is democracy. Everyone does it. You doodle in the margins of this newspaper. I sketch the view while hanging on the phone. We draw on our hands, on walls, on the back of envelopes (like Monet), on office notepaper (like Van Gogh), on restaurant napkins (like Picasso and Warhol). We draw to pass the time, to catch the moment, to remind ourselves what we saw, felt or thought. We draw to see what life looks like in two dimensions. We draw because we can – and everyone can – and because we’re trying to improve. We draw to see what we can make of the world, or for the sheer joy of it; to show something to somebody else – here, this is what it looked like. We draw to make a map, with a couple of decorative trees; to see if our two-circle cat looks anything like the real thing; to play games with each other, show the police what we witnessed, send a message to someone else; to give each other something particular, something special, to say something that cannot otherwise be said. We all do it. And we do it from the first.

Drawing is the speech of art. The words we utter, the stories we tell. It comes before writing – tiny infants do it – and quite often after script has departed (my artist mother can scarcely write now, in her 90s, yet still she draws). Holding a stub of crayon or chalk comes early and late. All children scrawl and scribble at first, absorbed by their own power to leave marks on paper; then they may describe something seen in the world. The sun is a circle radiating ray lines, a flower the same but with loops, stick figures abound from Lascaux to the present day. Perhaps it is true, as the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget proposed, that children’s drawings have a universal quality. Certainly our brains are able to read two dots and a dash as a face from the earliest age, just as it is, for most of us, the configuration of our first drawn portrait.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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