In the News 23.08.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 23.08.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 23.08.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 23.08.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Richard Florida Is Sorry

To make his case for the creative class, Florida subjected it to strange quantifications. Combining census data on occupation, education, “coolness factor” (based on the number of young people and the quality of “nightlife and culture”) and, bizarrely, the number of gay male residents, he developed a “Bohemia Index” to calculate this group’s magical effect on urban economic growth.

Florida reassures readers that all human beings are fundamentally creative animals, but only a third of us can make a living that way. The creative classes — to which you may, unknowingly, belong — include journalists, college professors, tech workers, graphic designers, and artists of any kind: basically anyone not working in the repetitious and decidedly uncreative manufacturing or service sectors.

The “creative classes” both diagnosed the present state of cities and offered recommendations for future action. Along with Jane Jacobs, Richard Florida has served as an inspiration for mayors, developers, and planners who pedestrianized streets, built bike lanes, and courted cultural attractions like art galleries and theaters.

Setting aside the rhetoric of innovation, economic growth, and entrepreneurship, we can locate something ironically Marxist about Florida’s ideas: human beings are fundamentally creative, which is the source of economic value, and people become alienated when they cannot control the fruits of their creativity.

Read the rest of this article at: Jacobin


America, Home of the Transactional Marriage


Over the last several decades, the proportion of Americans who get married has greatly diminished—a development known as well to those who lament marriage’s decline as those who take issue with it as an institution. But a development that’s much newer is that the demographic now leading the shift away from tradition is Americans without college degrees—who just a few decades ago were much more likely to be married by the age of 30 than college graduates were.

Today, though, just over half of women in their early 40s with a high-school degree or less education are married, compared to three-quarters of women with a bachelor’s degree; in the 1970s, there was barely a difference. The marriage gap for men has changed less over the years, but there the trend lines have flipped too: Twenty-five percent of men with high-school degrees or less education have never married, compared to 23 percent of men with bachelor’s degrees and 14 percent of those with advanced degrees. Meanwhile, divorce rates have continued to rise among the less educated, while staying more or less steady for college graduates in recent decades.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic



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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About ‘Despacito’

By now you’ve heard it. The smash of 2017, “Despacito” has topped the charts in nearly 50 countries, including an unprecedented run on the U.S. Top 40 for a Spanish-language song. It is now the most viewed and liked video on YouTube of all time, the fastest to rack up 2 billion views and the first to reach 3 billion — and in barely six months, a benchmark that took two years for Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again.” By YouTube’s count, the people of the world have collectively watched “Despacito” for 20,000 hours. No doubt, we’ve sung and danced along for far longer than that.

Unlike the “Macarena,” the song is not a silly novelty. It’s a hit on its own terms, a sexy Spanish sing-along with no special hook aside from its catchy refrains and insistent beat, and it was well on its way before Justin Bieber pulled a Pitbull and jumped on the bandwagon (and gave it a push). A phenomenon like “Despacito” invites speculation and demands analysis. As someone who has studied the history of reggaeton and Caribbean music in the United States, especially in the age of the internet, I have been as fascinated by “Despacito” as anyone. Why this song? Why now?

Read the rest of this article at: Vulture

The Mysteries of the Russian Mindset

** FILE ** In this Oct. 10, 2007 file photo, St. Basil Cathedral is lit by the sun with a rainbow in the background on Red Square in Moscow. Moscow is the world's most expensive town for foreign business people, according to a list published by US consulting Mercer on Thursday July 24, 2008.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Recently, I came across a book at home that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. It’s called “Russia: Faces of a Torn Country.” The title may not be particularly original, but it is certainly apt. The book covers Russia as it was a quarter-century ago: a kind of madhouse. The Soviet Union had just collapsed, hopes for a new beginning had proven largely illusionary, ex-functionaries and cunning businessmen had seized the inheritance of the Soviet Union for themselves and were enjoying their sudden wealth as the rest of the country slid into poverty. Grandmothers stood in the wind and rain for hours at the tolkuchkas, flea markets, trying to sell their wedding china alongside students advertising their lovingly assembled stamp collections. Meanwhile, war raged at the periphery of the realm.

Back in 1991, everyday Russians couldn’t explain what Russia represented, where it was heading politically and how all its conflicts could be resolved. We journalists, of course, couldn’t either.

All that is now history and, all things considered, Russia isn’t doing so badly these days. The book mentioned above was written by me and includes profiles of 18 people trying to find their place in Russia. They were typical of the transition period: politicians and generals, businesspeople and artists, idealists, populists and criminals.

Some of them are no longer alive — a couple were killed while others left the country or climbed up the ranks of the government. Examining the profiles from today’s perspective, it isn’t difficult to understand how some were left behind while others went on to have successful careers. You can also see how Russia managed to regain its footing.

Read the rest of this article at: Spiegel

Mansplaining The City


Over the past five years, as the cost of living in cities has skyrocketed, the movement of self-aware gentrifiers into neighborhoods historically occupied by lower-income residents, people of color, and immigrants has created a market for gentrification advice. Guides have been published on how to “properly” gentrify places like New York City and Oakland. There are tips for avoiding the “gentrification trap,” a gentrifier calculator that displays your impact like a carbon footprint, and the eventual admission that there’s really no way not to be a gentrifier. There is even a differentiation between a “gentrifying hipster” and “douchebag gentrifier,” according to the University of California at Berkeley American Studies professor Michael Mark Cohen’s method of classifying those who gentrify in search of affordability and community, rather than for pure profit.

Read the rest of this article at: Curbed

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @eleonoracarisi; @tekwani; @purpurpurpur