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In the News 24.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 24.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 24.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 24.01.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

How to Raise a Prodigy

We know we’ve come to a crossroads when German childhood is being held up as an idealized model for Americans. It was, after all, Teutonic styles of child rearing that were once viewed with disgust—as in “The Sound of Music,” for a long time the most popular of all American movies, with all those over-regimented Trapp kids rescued by wearing the bedroom drapes and singing scales. But Sara Zaske’s “Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children” (Picador) is perhaps an inevitable follow-up to “Bringing Up Bébé,” that best-selling book about parenting the way the French supposedly do it—basically, as though the kids were little grownups, presumably ready for adultery and erotic appetites. So why not move eastward through Europe, until we get the book on parenting the Moldavian way?

What’s wrong with such books is not that we can’t learn a lot from other people’s “parenting principles” but that, invariably, you get the problems along with the principles. French kids are often sensitive and unspoiled in ways that American kids aren’t; they are also often driven so crazy by the enervating 8:30 a.m.-to-4:30 system and by a tradition of remote parenting that they rebel as bitterly as American adolescents do, only putting off the rebellion until they’re forty, when the sex and drugs really start to kick in. And you can wonder whether the German molding system leaves German kids molded quite so thoroughly as Zaske, an American long resident in Berlin, insists.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker


Bad Boys

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Morgan Langley leans toward a large computer screen. He isn’t sure if the video clip is still there, posted to a random YouTube channel named after a ’90s punk-ska act, but after a few moments, he finds it. Out of a black screen flashes a white Ford Mustang with blacked-out windows and chrome rims. Langley, who is an executive producer of one of America’s longest-running reality shows, “Cops,” narrates. “This kid here is actually selling a thousand pills of ecstasy to an undercover cop,” he says excitedly.

On the screen, a skinny white kid with a straight-brim baseball cap and a collection of painful-looking face piercings has plunked down on the Mustang’s passenger seat. Next to him is a woman whose blurred face is framed by sandy blonde hair. They briefly discuss logistics, and a second guy with dark skin and wrap-around sunglasses hops in. He asks if she has the cash; she asks if he has the goods. He asks if she’s a cop; she laughs.

“Okay, we’re just gonna do it like this,” he says, grabbing a pistol from his waistband. “Just give me your money.” Seconds later, officers in green tactical gear swarm the car, and he’s nose-down on the pavement, handcuffed and delivering a tear-streaked explanation: “Sir, they gave me a gun and told me they were gonna kill me.”

Langley, who is 43 and has the doughy look of an aging skater, interrupts. “I think this is why it went viral,” he says. Langley is showing me the video in his cluttered office on the third floor of his production company’s mud-colored building in Santa Monica. Since the clip appeared in an episode of “Cops” in 2011, it’s racked up 13.6 million views and almost 11,000 comments, many of which mock the drug-dealing purse snatcher’s apparent about-face. “He thought he was a tough boy to rob a woman gun point,” one says. “THEN CRIES LIKE A BABY.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Marshall Project

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

Too Much Music: A Failed Experiment In Dedicated Listening

In Charlotte Zwerin’s 1988 film Straight, No Chaser, Thelonious Monk road manager Bob Jones tells a story about Monk appearing on a television show sometime in the late ’50s. Monk is asked what kind of music he likes, to which he replies “all kinds.” The interviewer, hoping for a “gotcha” moment, smugly asks “even country?” to which the maverick pianist coolly deadpans, “I said all kinds.”

Me too. It has been said that we are living in a golden age of music fandom; with a single click, we can access almost every piece of music ever recorded, and for less than it would cost to hear a single song on a jukebox in 1955. But I’ve begun to feel that my rabid consumption of music, when coupled with the unprecedented access encouraged by new technology, has endangered my ability to process it critically.

Streaming has become the primary way we listen to music: in 2016, streaming surpassed both physical media and digital downloads as the largest source of recorded music sales. There are plenty of valid complaints about a music world dominated by streaming. Among the many arguments musicians level against Spotify, for example, one typically repeated is that the artist is the only link in the food chain getting the proverbial shaft. This argument is often predicated on notions of economics, intellectual property and ethics. Missing from a larger discussion is the radical idea that maybe it is the consumers who are being done the greatest disservice, and that this access-bonanza may be cheapening the listening experience by transforming fans into file clerks and experts into dilettantes. I don’t want my musical discoveries dictated by a series of intuitive algorithms any more than I want to experience Jamaica via an all-inclusive trip to Sandals.

Read the rest of this article at: NPR


Dorothy Parker, The Art of Fiction No. 13

Dorothy Parker lives at present in a mid-town New York hotel. She shares her small apartment with a youthful poodle which has the run of the place and has caused it to look, as Miss Parker says apologetically, somewhat “Hogarthian”: newspapers spread about the floor, picked lamb chops here and there, and a rubber doll—its throat torn from ear to ear—which Miss Parker lobs lefthanded from her chair into corners of the room for the poodle to retrieve—which it does, never tiring of the opportunity. The room is sparsely decorated, its one overpowering fixture being a large dog portrait, not of the poodle, but of a sheepdog owned by the author Philip Wylie and painted by his wife. The portrait indicates a dog of such size that in real life it must dwarf Miss Parker. She is a small woman, her voice gentle, her tone often apologetic. But occasionally, given the opportunity to comment on matters she feels strongly about, her voice rises almost harshly, her sentences punctuated with observations phrased with lethal force. Hers is still the wit which made her a legend as a member of the Algonquin’s Round Table—a humor whose particular quality seems a coupling of a brilliant social commentary with a mind of devastating inventiveness. She seemed able to produce the well-turned phrase for any occasion. A friend remembers sitting next to her at the theatre when the news was announced of the death of the stolid Calvin Coolidge. “How do they know?” whispered Miss Parker.

Readers of this interview, however, will find that Miss Parker has only contempt for the eager reception accorded her wit. “Why it got so bad,” she has said bitterly, “that they began to laugh before I opened my mouth.” And she has a similar attitude disparaging her value as a serious writer.

But Miss Parker is her own worst critic. Her three books of poetry may have established her reputation as a master of light verse, but her short stories are essentially serious in tone—serious in that they reflect Miss Parker’s own life which has been in many ways an unhappy one. “She has distilled,” one commentator said of her, “her sorrow for the light quaffing of a flippant generation.”

If the tone of her short stories is serious, so is her intent. Franklin P. Adams has described it in an introduction to her work: “Nobody can write such ironic things unless he has a deep sense of injustice—injustice to those members of the race who are the victims of the stupid, the pretentious and the hypocritical …”

Read the rest of this article at: The Paris Review

Can Planet Earth Feed 10 Billion People?

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All parents remember the moment when they first held their children—the tiny crumpled face, an entire new person, emerging from the hospital blanket. I extended my hands and took my daughter in my arms. I was so overwhelmed that I could hardly think.

Afterward I wandered outside so that mother and child could rest. It was three in the morning, late February in New England. There was ice on the sidewalk and a cold drizzle in the air. As I stepped from the curb, a thought popped into my head: When my daughter is my age, almost 10 billion people will be walking the Earth. I stopped midstride. I thought, How is that going to work?

In 1970, when I was in high school, about one out of every four people was hungry—“undernourished,” to use the term preferred today by the United Nations. Today the proportion has fallen to roughly one out of 10. In those four-plus decades, the global average life span has, astoundingly, risen by more than 11 years; most of the increase occurred in poor places. Hundreds of millions of people in Asia, Latin America, and Africa have lifted themselves from destitution into something like the middle class. This enrichment has not occurred evenly or equitably: Millions upon millions are not prosperous. Still, nothing like this surge of well-being has ever happened before. No one knows whether the rise can continue, or whether our current affluence can be sustained.

Today the world has about 7.6 billion inhabitants. Most demographers believe that by about 2050, that number will reach 10 billion or a bit less. Around this time, our population will probably begin to level off. As a species, we will be at about “replacement level”: On average, each couple will have just enough children to replace themselves. All the while, economists say, the world’s development should continue, however unevenly. The implication is that when my daughter is my age, a sizable percentage of the world’s 10 billion people will be middle-class.

Like other parents, I want my children to be comfortable in their adult lives. But in the hospital parking lot, this suddenly seemed unlikely. Ten billion mouths, I thought. Three billion more middle-class appetites. How can they possibly be satisfied? But that is only part of the question. The full question is: How can we provide for everyone without making the planet uninhabitable?

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

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

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