News 07.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 07.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Hipster Elegies

On the college campus where I have been living, the students dress in a style I do not understand. Continuous with what we wore fifteen years ago and subtly different, it is both hipster and not. American Apparel has filed for bankruptcy, but in cities and towns across the US the styles forged a decade ago at the epicenters of bohemia still filter out. Urban Outfitters is going strong. In Zürich, on the banks of the Limmat, elaborate tattoos cover the bodies of the children of Swiss bounty. The French use Brooklyn as a metonym for hip. In this context, in such saturation, hipster can no longer stand for anything, except perhaps the attempt or ambition to look cool. But since coolness venerates its own repudiation most of all, every considered choice bears hipster’s trace. Hipster is everything and nothing—and so it is nothing.

Yet even before hipster petered out, confusion dogged its meaning. Starting in 2009, Mark Greif and his colleagues at n+1 undertook the most serious attempt to date to understand and situate the hipster in context. This realized itself in essays and panel discussions and ultimately a book, What Was the Hipster?1 Admirable as these efforts were—and Greif’s essay of the same name remains the high-water mark in hipster criticism—something elusive always troubled the boundaries of the concept. As Rob Horning wrote for PopMatters after one such panel, “The participants never really made much of an effort to establish a stable definition of what a hipster is,”2 a failure that may reflect the impossibility of the task.

Read the rest of this article at: The Hedgehog Review

News 07.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I Wanted to Know What White Men Thought About Their Privilege. So I Asked.

News 07.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the early days of the run-up to the 2016 election, I was just beginning to prepare a class on whiteness to teach at Yale University, where I had been newly hired. Over the years, I had come to realize that I often did not share historical knowledge with the persons to whom I was speaking. “What’s redlining?” someone would ask. “George Washington freed his slaves?” someone else would inquire. But as I listened to Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric during the campaign that spring, the class took on a new dimension. Would my students understand the long history that informed a comment like one Trump made when he announced his presidential candidacy? “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” When I heard those words, I wanted my students to track immigration laws in the United States. Would they connect the treatment of the undocumented with the treatment of Irish, Italian and Asian people over the centuries?

In preparation, I needed to slowly unpack and understand how whiteness was created. How did the Naturalization Act of 1790, which restricted citizenship to “any alien, being a free white person,” develop over the years into our various immigration acts? What has it taken to cleave citizenship from “free white person”? What was the trajectory of the Ku Klux Klan after its formation at the end of the Civil War, and what was its relationship to the Black Codes, those laws subsequently passed in Southern states to restrict black people’s freedoms? Did the United States government bomb the black community in Tulsa, Okla., in 1921? How did Italians, Irish and Slavic peoples become white? Why do people believe abolitionists could not be racist?

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

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

The Dot-Com Don: Meet the Domain Prospector Turning Stray URLs Into Real Businesses

Inside the Switchyards, a buzzy Atlanta co-working space, local tech founders like to plaster the elevator with stickers for their companies.
There’s one for Soylent, the Space-Age nutri-gunk whose founder went to Georgia Tech; there’s one for MailChimp, the email behemoth that does almost half a billion dollars in annual business.
Then there’s For between $35 and $95 a pop, the site will mail you box of Vidalia onions, a prized varietal known for its sweetness and grown exclusively in 20 counties in south Georgia. Shipping and handling are included, and every order is processed by the site’s founder, a twangy, rhapsodic guy named Peter Askew.
Askew loves Vidalia onions. Onions pay his bills. And they’ve propelled him to minor celebrity in his field — which is not onion farming, but domain investment.

Read the rest of this article at: One Zero

News 07.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Con Man Who Became A True-Crime Writer

News 07.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Last april, I received an odd email from a man named Matthew Cox. “I am an inmate at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Florida,” he wrote. “I’m also a true crime writer.” He had one year left on his sentence and was “attempting to develop a body of work that will allow me to exit prison with a new career.” He included a story about a fellow inmate who’d been ensnared in a complicated currency-trading scam, hoping that I’d write about it for The Atlantic.

“This is fascinating,” I replied. I didn’t mean the currency-trading scam, which was too procedural for my tastes, but Cox’s own trajectory. He described himself as “an infamous con man writing his fellow inmates’ true crime stories while immersed in federal prison.” I’d never had a possible subject pitch his own tale so aptly. I wasn’t entirely sure that was a good thing.

Cox’s path to becoming a prison true-crime writer began in the heady days of the new millennium, when the housing bubble looked like it might just inflate forever. Cox owned a mortgage business in Tampa, Florida, and he did some shady things. “A broker would come in and say, ‘Look, this guy makes $65,000. If he made $75,000, I could get him a loan.’ And I’d say, ‘Bring me his W2s and his pay stubs and I’ll change this and I’ll change that,’ ” Cox told me. “I hate to use the word light fraud—there’s really no distinction—but in comparison to what I ultimately started doing, it was definitely light.”

In 2001, when Cox was 32, he faked an appraisal that got sent to the man whose name he’d forged—an appraiser who, as it happened, was also a former deputy sheriff. Soon Cox was facing federal and state charges for mortgage fraud. He ended up avoiding jail time but lost his brokerage license and was put on probation for 42 months.

Cox distracted himself from his troubles by writing a novel. In the thrillers he loved to read, and in the heist movies he loved to watch, people were always playing at the edges of the system, seeing what they could get away with. As a kid, Cox had struggled with dyslexia; a school counselor once told him that he would probably be a construction worker, that he could never get a job that relied on his brain. As an adult, his height—5 foot 6—put him at a disadvantage in South Florida’s macho pecking order. But in these stories, swagger and savvy were what counted most. “I remember thinking, If John Grisham can write about lawyers and make it sound good, sound exciting, maybe I can write about mortgage brokers,” he said.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

The Martha Stewarting of Powerful Women

News 07.19.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On March 5th, 2004, Martha Stewart was found guilty of obstructing justice and lying to investigators. At the time, she was one of comparatively few female CEOs, and she was irrevocably tied to her company’s success: her smiling, serene, WASPy perfection thoroughly entwined with her company’s numerous ventures. When she first faced charges of insider trading, news media and the general population reacted with schadenfreude, or as one New York Times article coined it, blondenfreude: “the glee felt when a rich, powerful, and fair-haired business woman stumbles.” And stumble she did: In the wake of the scandal, Stewart voluntarily removed herself from most of her roles at the company, and as part of her sentencing she was barred from involvement with the empire for five years. Stewart re-joined the Board of Directors in 2011, but the company never truly bounced back from effects of the scandal.

The Times named Stewart’s conviction among the 20 most notable cases of insider trading, and she is both the only woman charged on the list, as well as the person whose alleged financial gains amounted to the least ($51,000), drastically less than the millions — and cumulative billions — of dollars taken by the men on the list, including Kenneth Lay, CEO of Enron. Samuel D. Waksal, founder of ImClone, the stock Stewart was alleged to have illegally sold shares from, pled guilty to orchestrating stock trades and was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison. Yet, it’s Stewart who would become the lead character in two made-for-TV movies — Waksal’s role in each is found much further down the call sheet.

There are countless other instances of men investigated for stock fraud at a similar level to Stewart’s alleged actions, and most of these men were not charged. Stewart was both investigated more ruthlessly than many of her male counterparts and she was also publicly shamed in a way men were never subjected to. In the end, the Department of Justice charges against Stewart for criminal securities fraud were thrown out, and a civil insider trading case the Securities Exchange Commission brought against her was settled. Crucially, neither of these alleged misdeeds were what ultimately landed her in prison. She was charged and found guilty of lying to investigators in an attempt to cover up her lack of insider trading: Yes, guilty for trying to cover up a crime she hadn’t committed in the first place.

Read the rest of this article at: Longsreads

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

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