In the News 04.11.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 04.11.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 04.11.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 04.11.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Escape The Echo Chamber

Something has gone wrong with the flow of information. It’s not just that different people are drawing subtly different conclusions from the same evidence. It seems like different intellectual communities no longer share basic foundational beliefs. Maybe nobody cares about the truth anymore, as some have started to worry. Maybe political allegiance has replaced basic reasoning skills. Maybe we’ve all become trapped in echo chambers of our own making – wrapping ourselves in an intellectually impenetrable layer of likeminded friends and web pages and social media feeds.

But there are two very different phenomena at play here, each of which subvert the flow of information in very distinct ways. Let’s call them echo chambers and epistemic bubbles. Both are social structures that systematically exclude sources of information. Both exaggerate their members’ confidence in their beliefs. But they work in entirely different ways, and they require very different modes of intervention. An epistemic bubble is when you don’t hear people from the other side. An echo chamber is what happens when you don’t trust people from the other side.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

The Silence: The Legacy Of Childhood Trauma

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X – Last week I returned to Amherst. It’s been years since I was there, the time we met. I was hoping that you’d show up again; I even looked for you, but you didn’t appear. I remember you proudly repped N.Y.C. during the few minutes we spoke, so I suspect you’d moved back or maybe you were busy or you didn’t know I was in town. I have a distinct memory of you in the signing line, saying nothing to anyone, intense. I assumed you were going to ask me to read a manuscript or help you find an agent, but instead you asked me about the sexual abuse alluded to in my books. You asked, quietly, if it had happened to me.

You caught me completely by surprise.

I wish I had told you the truth then, but I was too scared in those days to say anything. Too scared, too committed to my mask. I responded with some evasive bullshit. And that was it. I signed your books. You thought I was going to say something, and when I didn’t you looked disappointed. But more than that you looked abandoned. I could have said anything but instead I turned to the next person in line and smiled. Out of the corner of my eye I watched you pick up your backpack, slowly put away your books, and leave. When the signing was over I couldn’t get the fuck away from Amherst, from you and your question, fast enough. I ran the way I’ve always run. Like death itself was chasing me. For a couple of days afterward I fretted; I worried that I’d given myself away. But then the old oblivion reflex took over. I pushed it all down. Buried it all. Like always.

But I never really did forget. Not our exchange or your disappointment. How you walked out of the auditorium with your shoulders hunched.

I know this is years too late, but I’m sorry I didn’t answer you. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the truth. I’m sorry for you, and I’m sorry for me. We both could have used that truth, I’m thinking. It could have saved me (and maybe you) from so much. But I was afraid. I’m still afraid—my fear like continents and the ocean between—but I’m going to speak anyway, because, as Audre Lorde has taught us, my silence will not protect me.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

A Sidelined Wall Street
Legend Bets On Bitcoin

Michael Novogratz was in a good mood. It was the thirtieth reunion of Princeton’s class of 1987, and the on-again, off-again billionaire was getting a lot of respect. “I want to hit you up about something,” a two-star general said. “Those are the freshest kicks,” a young bro in a dressing gown observed, complimenting Novogratz’s black patent shoes with orange piping and matching tassels. (“It’s all about peacocking,” Novogratz later told me, of his sartorial extravagance.) He huddled with Joseph Lubin, a former roommate and one of the co-founders of the hit cryptocurrency platform Ethereum. It was a warm June day, last year, and the Princetonians were amiably crushing cans of Bud amid chants of “Tiger, tiger, tiger, sis sis sis, boom boom boom, ah!”

The alumni parade, known as the P-rade, started to wind through the neo-Gothic campus, its mob of participants marching past signs for a symposium entitled “Can America Still Lead?” As we joined the P-rade, we heard shouts of “Novo! Novo! Novo!” He stopped by a gaggle of young wrestlers, all of whom seemed monumentally drunker than the rest of Princeton’s population—a notable distinction. Novogratz, formerly the captain of the college’s wrestling team, slapped a half-naked man on the back so hard that he left a red palm print. “I five-starred a guy!” he shouted as we continued down the P-rade, men running up to him as if he were the mayor of a small Sicilian hill town. “Mr. Novogratz! I’m Goldman corporate trading!”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker


Every Culture Is Passionate About Food

Where “lifestyle” might once have referred to one’s general mode of living, it now refers to the fact that even the smallest detail of one’s everyday reality is capable of being documented, and thus subject to the same aesthetic and semiotic rigor as one’s style of furnishing or dress. “Influencers” — the marketing term for popular users of Instagram, Snapchat, or YouTube, with the power to guide their followers’ purchases — traffic not only in desirable appearances, or home décor, or even experience, but also in less tangible qualities: The upshot of all that desirable living has to look, to followers, like the good life. In return, content creators can garner thousands of dollars per post by integrating their sponsors’ products into their feeds.

Influencer culture is “spectacular,” as described by Guy Debord: “In all its specific manifestations, news or propaganda, advertising or the actual consumption of entertainment, the spectacle epitomizes the prevailing model of social life … In form as in content the spectacle serves as total justification for the conditions and aims of the existing system. It further ensures the permanent presence of that justification, for it governs almost all time spent outside the production process itself.” Instagram, which has in many ways privatized our self images and our intimacies, is also self-reproducing — it sees us fusing our lives with corporate entities to the depth of our private moments. While billboards and television advertisements present a clear line between advertising and content, sponsored and otherwise monetized content blends in with non-monetized content.

Read the rest of this article at: Believer

The Post-Campaign
Campaign of Donald Trump

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It was in the last half-hour of Donald Trump’s speech in Moon Township, Pa., that a sense of what exactly it was that I was watching — what I and everyone else had been watching throughout Trump’s presidency to that point — finally clicked into place with startling clarity. This was in early March, in an unexpectedly pristine hangar by the Pittsburgh airport, its white floor buffed to a shine in which I could make out my reflection. The implicit purpose of the event was to bring some Trump magic to a fellow Republican’s faltering campaign. Moon Township is in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, which Trump won in 2016 by nearly 20 points and where in three days, the Republican state representative Rick Saccone would narrowly lose a special congressional election to Conor Lamb, a Democrat who had never run for office.

Saccone took the stage briefly before Trump did, and his people were circulating in the hangar: normal-looking suburban Republican operatives and volunteers of the sort who are still jarring to see attached to the Trump roadshow, like insurance-claims adjusters piled into the bed of a monster truck. But this was a Trump event in spirit: the email advisory from Donald J. Trump for President Inc., his official presidential campaign committee, described it as a “campaign rally” but did not mention Saccone, explaining instead that Trump would “highlight the benefits that his historic tax cuts are providing hard-working families across Pennsylvania and to celebrate our booming economy now that America is once again open for business.” Onstage, Trump seemed to intermittently remember the tax cuts and the booming economy, and even more intermittently that he was supposed to be promoting the candidate, whom he had reportedly derided in private as “weak.” But he mostly did what he usually does at his rallies: recite the latest verse of the ballad of Donald Trump, the president who would be doing great things for the people in this room were it not for his many antagonists.

This evening, he was talking about Peggy Noonan, the conservative Wall Street Journal columnist. (“She’s a Bushie!” an older man next to me yelled scornfully.) Noonan had apparently written something, or (more likely) said something on cable news, where she appears often as a pearl-necklaced avatar of political normalcy, about Trump’s appearing inadequately presidential. “I’m very presidential!” Trump told us, with mock indignation. Then he stiffened in his suit and adopted a stentorian tone, like a fourth grader doing an impression of his school principal. “Laaaadies and gentlemen,” he intoned, “thank you for being here tonight. Rick Saccone will be a great, great congressman. He will help me very much. He’s a fine man, and Yong is a wonderful wife. I just want to tell you on behalf of the United States of America that we appreciate your service. And to all of the military out there, we respect you very much. Thank you. Thank you.” He broke character for a second: “And then you go, ‘God bless you, and God bless the United States of America, thank you very much.’ ” He turned and faced the V.I.P. guests in the riser behind him, and did a sort of rigid penguin walk.

The crowd whooped and laughed — not the cruel laughter you come to know at Trump rallies but real belly laughter, for what was a genuinely funny bit. Trump, who loves nothing more than being loved, kept penguin-walking, and everyone kept laughing. It took a few more seconds for the spectacular strangeness of the moment to settle in: We were watching a sitting American president imitating an American president.

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

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

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