In the News 10.08.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


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In the News 10.08.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 10.08.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Rise And Fall Of Affirmative Action

In 2012, Michael Wang, a senior at James Logan High School, in the Bay Area, was confident that he had done enough to get into one of his dream schools: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Princeton. He had the kind of G.P.A.—4.67—that looks like a typo to anyone older than thirty-five. He had aced the ACT and placed in the ninety-ninth percentile on the SAT. But Wang didn’t want to be seen merely as a bookworm—he was an accomplished member of the speech-and-debate team, and he had co-founded his school’s math club. He played the piano and performed in a choir that sang with the San Francisco Opera, and at Barack Obama’s first Inauguration.

The following spring, Wang was rejected from all the Ivy League universities he had applied to, except the University of Pennsylvania. (He made the wait lists at Harvard and Columbia, but was eventually turned down at those schools, too.) He was devastated, and wondered what more he could have done. Then he started thinking about all the impediments that no amount of hard work could overcome. Some of his classmates who had got into these schools, he thought, had less impressive credentials than his. But they were Hispanic and African-American. Had he been rejected because he was Asian?

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

In the News 10.08.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Interview: Paul Greengrass

In the News 10.08.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Over the past couple of months, seeing new films by Paul Greengrass, Mike Leigh, and Errol Morris, I have watched a certain tier of well-established filmmakers who have perfected different, highly distinctive solutions to framing reality and interpreting experience, now facing the potential of imbalance in their art. It’s not necessary to look far to find triggers—just read the news at virtually any moment of the day on your cellphone-turned-presidential-klaxon. Our current political and socioeconomic crisis seems to have produced an unignorable desire to address, with increasing explicitness, the high stakes in a chaotic world, as much out of personal frustration with the destruction and deterioration of democracy and civic discourse, as from a natural creative urge to respond to these times.

Such sentiments came through loud and clear in my conversation with Greengrass about 22 July, his docudrama about the 2011 bombings and mass murders in Norway by far-right terrorist Anders Breivik and the aftermath. The film tracks the day of Breivik’s gun massacre at a Labour Party youth retreat on Utoya Island and his bombing of the seat of government in Oslo but mostly consists of the ensuing period of recovery and court trials. It’s the latest in a long career of historical reconstructions ranging from Bloody Sunday (2002; reenacting the January 30, 1972 massacre of Irish protesters by British troops) to United 93 (2006; September 11, 2001), efforts which were oddly twinned with Greengrass’s application of similar in-the-moment fast-cut realist techniques to the elaborately imagined realm of post-Bond adventure films known as the Bourne series, in which drama is rooted in amnesia.

Read the rest of this article at: Film Comment

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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Safe House

Valentina* drove two hours up the California coast to the flat farming town of Santa Maria and stopped outside a white motor home. “Silvia,” she sang, tilting her head out the car window on a recent afternoon. With broad shoulders and dyed-blond hair framing her soft face, Valentina is striking even without her signature crystal-encrusted shoes. Silvia looked up from the cactus she was planting and walked to the car. She dangled her crimson fingernails for Valentina to admire. Valentina, who is 60, had been encouraging her to indulge in little luxuries, like walks on the beach or manicures, and she smiled at the sight of Silvia’s hands. Like Valentina, Silvia is from Mexico, and she was trying to leave her partner.

Since the mid-’90s, Valentina had assisted hundreds of Latina women who were beaten at home, harassed at work, assaulted. She had a particular affinity for Silvia, whom she’d met a few years earlier. Silvia was reserved, a truck driver, a mother of five who often looked defeated, with deep lines around big brown eyes, her shoulders folded in. She had come to the United States in 1985 as a teenager to join her father, and she’d been with her partner for nearly 30 years.

The two women drove to a bakery at a nearby mall, where they sat under fluorescent lights discussing Silvia’s options once again. Valentina was the first person Silvia had told about her problems at home. She didn’t want to call the police or go to a shelter. She wasn’t ready for the courts. Her partner had one domestic-violence report already, and if she accused him now, he’d likely be picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “If he were deported because of me, because of my situation, I think I’d lose my kids completely,” she started to ramble. She still had two children in the house, and she worried their father would take them to Mexico. “But if you had an emergency,” Valentina asked, “you’d call me, right?”

Read the rest of this article at: The California Sunday Magazine

In the News 10.08.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Far Right, Misogynist, Humourless? Why Nietzsche Is Misunderstood

In the News 10.08.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx and Charles Darwin are the great triumvirate of 19th-century thinkers whose ideas still have huge impact today. Nietzsche was philosophy’s supreme iconoclast; his sayings include “God is dead” and “There are no facts, only interpretations”. Highly relevant, yet his association with concepts such as the Übermensch, master morality, slave morality and, possibly most dangerous, the will to power, have also contributed to him being widely misinterpreted. There are three myths in particular that need dynamiting: that his politics were on the far right, he was a misogynist and he lacked a sense of humour.

Misappropriation has been rife. Richard Spencer, a leader of America’s “alt-right”, claims to have been “red-pilled by Nietzsche”, while Jordan Peterson quotes extensively from him. But let’s start with the Nazis. Growing up in Bismarck’s reich, there were three things Nietzsche hated: the big state, nationalism and antisemitism. “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, that is the end of German philosophy,” he wrote, and “I will have all antisemites shot.”

His sister Elisabeth held contrasting views. She married a notorious antisemite agitator (Nietzsche refused to go to the wedding), and the couple went off to Paraguay to found a New Germany of “pure-blooded” Aryan colonists. By the time the colony failed in 1889, Nietzsche had lost his reason. Elisabeth returned to Germany, where she took charge of her brother, gathered up all his papers and founded the Nietzsche Archive.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

We’re Living In A olden Age Of
Music Documentaries: Five Breakdowns

In the News 10.08.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Over the last year or so, you could go to the movies and/or turn on your TV, and see feature-length docs on Grace Jones, the Tragically Hip, Lady Gaga, Elvis (both an original-recipe cradle-to-grave portrait and an extra-crispy dive into how his decline reflects our current national mindset), Eric Clapton, the Avett Brothers, Deer Tick, Ed Sheeran, music mogul Clive Davis, a semi-obscure free-jazz drummer, a multi-chapter series on hip-hop, two Peal Jam shows at Wrigley Field, not one but two Whitney Houston postmortems and a two-part look at the very publication you are reading right now. This is assuming that you had already caught up with the recent-to-recent–ish nonfiction looks at Sharon Jones, Jawbreaker, the Grateful Dead, Amy Winehouse, Bad Brains singer H.R., John Coltrane, Nick Cave, Nina Simone, trumpeter Lee Morgan, the history of Bad Boy Records and stem-to-stern looks at both D.C. and East Bay punk.

We are living in some sort of Golden Age of Music Documentaries right now … or at the very least, a sort of Glut Age, where everyone from the usual canonized subjects to cult figures now get the complete this-is-your-life treatment. You can look to the obvious reasons for this boom period — digital cameras, cable channels and streaming services, rabid fanbases providing a built-in audience. Yet we music lovers seem to have hit a point where the proliferation of full-length takes on artists, bands, producers, labels and scenes has lapped our ability to get eyeballs on most of them.

All of which seemed to be building to a three-week period in September of 2018, when you had four major entries in the genre hitting screens. That quartet is about to be followed by a look back at the cultural phenomenon that was the superdisco Studio 54, opening in New York on October 5th before coming soon, hopefully, to a theater near you. Plus more are on the way, because of course they are.

For the moment, let’s zero in on those last five, since they coincidentally run the gamut of Golden Age music-doc formats — not a definitive list of the different ways you can tackle a rock/R&B/hip-hop/pop subject by any means (you could spend weeks categorizing subgenres and sub-subgenres) but arguably the most common you’ll find today. (The only thing missing from this period is the “Concert Film,” though several of these types of docs have been doing one-or-two-night stands in select cities over the past year. We’re assuming one, or several, or several dozens of those are heading to theaters or cable or what-have-you any minute now.)

Read the rest of this article at: RollingStone

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

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