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News 11.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 11.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 11.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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While there’s no telling exactly how many people have learned to French-kiss from wikiHow, we know for sure that more than 22 million people have viewed the article that teaches that particular lesson.

The post includes a section explaining how to keep your lips soft, and another called “Mastering Advanced Techniques.” The information is supplemented with gif sets of a man and a woman “breaking the touch barrier.” There are illustrations of how to brush your teeth and bare them (in a nice way), accompanied by graphics telling you to use breath mints and not eat garlic. In the article’s sidebar, readers contribute “success stories,” ranging from cute (“It was awesome! My first kiss from my boyfriend, and the sweetest!”) to practical (“I’ve been wondering for a long time how to French kiss, but now my problem has been solved”) to graphic ([redacted]).

For most of history, this was the type of information a young person might glean from sloppy experience or convoluted slumber-party advice. Or, after the postwar rise of teen magazines, from an entity with a vested interest in teaching her about the world through the lens of consumerism. I’m sure the first (and possibly only) lessons I had in kissing came from the pages of CosmoGIRL! (RIP), which probably obliquely suggested that it would be easier if I invested my allowance in Hilary Duff’s favorite boho-chic staples first. But today’s teens get to learn from wikiHow, the 14-year-old, crowdsourced web platform known for irony-free step-by-step guides to tasks as practical as setting up a Google Chromecast and as wildly inadvisable as stopping a wedding.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 11.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 11.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I was watching CNN’s Reliable Sources a couple of weeks ago and was struck by an exchange between host Brian Stelter and Andrew Marantz, author of Antisocial, a new book about online extremism.

They were discussing the false narratives surrounding President Trump and why they’re so difficult to cut through. As long as Trump has a right-wing media ecosystem to spin and protect and lie for him, the argument went, it’s just not clear that the “facts” matter all that much.

“People focus on the underlying facts,” Marantz told Stelter, “but the underlying facts are not the things that matter in terms of narrative-shaping … narrative-shaping happens on Fox News, in Congress, on the internet.”

That facts don’t seem to matter anymore is hardly a new observation. But it’s all the more urgent now, as we trudge into an impeachment process that will almost certainly lead to an unsatisfying conclusion in which no one version of the truth is likely to come out and be held by the public. In the 21st-century media ecosystem, “alternative facts” — as Kellyanne Conway’s famous formulation goes — can reign supreme, or at the very least blot out the truth.

But what really struck me about Stelter and Marantz’s conversation is how its insights about the death of facts and the profusion of narratives sprouted from a philosophical movement that began almost four decades ago but has since been blamed for the nihilism of the Trump era.

That movement is called “postmodernism,” and its legacy, while mixed, is very much worth revisiting. Postmodernism isn’t any one thing. It refers to a host of ideas and literary movements and even architectural styles. But what its critics fixate on is its purported attack on the idea of capital-T truth. Some key postmodern thinkers reveled in the idea’s destabilizing power and opened the door to questioning the very notion of objective knowledge. To hear critics tell it, the postmoderns created the post-truth future.

There is some truth to the critique. A version of postmodernism that questioned objective truth and promoted relativism was fashionable, even celebrated, in the academy in the 1980s and 1990s. But did the scribblings of obscure French philosophers really impel us into the age of Trump?

Read the rest of this article at: Vox

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On especially nice days, I walk with a cocktail out the door of the Old Point Bar in the sleepy Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans and head up the tall grass levee. At the top, as I sip, I look down the Mississippi River side of the levee, down the long angle of cement that leads to the wide grass batture where we often host my daughters’ birthday parties. Sometimes, when the river is extra low, I walk down the sand beachhead that pokes out another 30 feet into the rushing Mississippi. For much of 2019, all of that was under water. For more than six months, I’d climb the levee to drink in peace and arrive at the top to find the river just three feet down from my shoes—the water higher than the first floor of the Old Point Bar.

Especially in recent years, heavier rainfall has combined with melting snow to cause frequent and intense floods along the banks of the Mississippi River. While many experts avoid blaming this phenomenon directly on climate change, coastal scientist John Lopez of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation was fairly blunt on the phone with me. Lopez referenced a study released in March by the National Weather Service for the Army Corps of Engineers. “It found that in the last [three to five decades] that the watershed precipitation on the Mississippi River has increased, and also the frequency and intensity of rain events all along the river,” Lopez told me. “The river’s levels this year derive from flooding outside of Louisiana. Climate change happening in, say, Illinois is affecting what happens in Louisiana.”

Read the rest of this article at: Vice

News 11.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 11.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

IT WAS THE LATE ’60s, and a University of California, Berkeley, undergraduate named Shawn Wong wanted to write the next great American novel. He was born in Oakland, Calif., in 1949 to parents who emigrated from Tianjin, China, both of whom died by the time he was 15. Wong had fallen in love with literature, enchanted by James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and William Carlos Williams, and he, too, wanted to embark on a life as a writer.

At the time, Asian-Americans made up only 6 percent of U.C. Berkeley’s student population, and when Wong asked — professors, other English majors — what Asian-American literature he should read, what Asian-American writers he should know, no one could answer him. “I felt like the only Asian-American writer in the whole world,” he told me. After meeting three other writers, Frank Chin, Lawson Fusao Inada and Jeffery Paul Chan, the four began to search used bookstores in the Bay Area for works by Asian-Americans. They bought it all: Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu books, books with the word “Chinaman” in the title, restaurant guides, oil-stained cookbooks, books by people with Asian-sounding names who turned out not to be Asian. It didn’t matter. They were determined to find who came before.

Most of the books turned out to be useless — racist pulp and propaganda churned out at the height of Yellow Peril hysteria in the first half of the century or basking, decades later, in nostalgia for it. Then there was a book called “No-No Boy,” published in 1957 by an author named John Okada. Chan bought it for 50 cents. They put it aside, saving it to read later. There wasn’t any rush. After all, a decade had already passed. No one else they knew had bothered to read the book with the barbed wire on the cover.

“NO-NO BOY” was published by Charles E. Tuttle the year after Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” and James Baldwin’s “Giovanni’s Room.” Like those books, it is a kind of generational reckoning with American bigotry. Unlike them, it gained little notice upon its release. It tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a second-generation Japanese-American, or Nisei (a Japanese term for the generation born in the United States; those who immigrated from Japan are considered first-generation Americans, or Issei), who has just returned home to Seattle at the end of World War II. He is one of several hundred Japanese-Americans who refused to be drafted into service while incarcerated by the American government and were consequently sent to federal prison. The book’s title refers to the act of answering no to two questions in a mandatory survey issued by the government in February 1943, midway through the war, to all persons over the age of 17 in the camps: The first asked if men and women would be willing to serve in the armed forces if qualified. The second asked if they were willing to swear their allegiance to the United States and, in essence, renounce Japanese citizenship. It was a confusing, poorly conceived set of questions: The Issei could not become American citizens because of the discriminatory naturalization laws of the time, and would effectively be rendered stateless if they answered yes to the second. Meanwhile, most Nisei, who were already American citizens, objected to the suggestion that they had ever been loyal to the Japanese emperor. As a result of answering no or failing to respond to these questions, about 12,000 people were branded as disloyal and segregated in the harshest camp at Tule Lake, in California.

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

News 11.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When we first meet Alex Levy, the morning show host played by Jennifer Aniston, she’s attempting to wake up and begin the regime of stardom at 3:30 a.m. She starts the coffee and opens a Red Bull, then fumbles to the treadmill, the world still pitch-black around her, and attempts to walk while resting her head on the control panel. She places under-eye masks on her dark circles, scrutinizes her face, jade rolls, and scrutinizes again. She gets into the elevator and rests her head back — exhausted. As she gets in the black car that takes her to the studio, her face purses in annoyance as they drive past a giant billboard of her smiling.

It’s the first hint of what The Morning Show, now streaming on Apple TV+, will spend the season unpacking: There’s the composed, cheerful, public Alex, and the deeply exhausted, deeply pissed-off person behind the mask.

And all this is before the show’s executive producer, Chip (Mark Duplass), tells Alex that her cohost, Mitch (Steve Carell), has been fired for sexual misconduct. As he quietly explains that Mitch had been under investigation by HR for multiple offenses, she explodes. “You knew about this and didn’t tell me?” she yells. “What am I, some fucking PA from Idaho who doesn’t need to know what’s going on?”

“Oh fuck you, Chip,” she spits at him after he attempts to explain himself. “Fuck you. … This affects me. My on-air partner, my TV husband, is a sexual predator now? What part of you thought that I should not be involved in this conversation?”

And yet she still has to “bring the news to America.” Sitting in the makeup chair, preparing her opening monologue, she notices Mitch is calling. She very calmly silences the phone, and then, with a burst of fury, bashes it into the drawer in front of her.

By the time Alex walks onto the morning show stage, all that anger has been temporarily, necessarily swallowed. She delivers the news of Mitch’s firing with strength and grace, a picture of self-possession and concern. Like everyone else on that soundstage, she knows that anything less would lead to endless critique. One of the network heads remarks, “It’s too bad we can’t always throw a crisis at her. It turns her lights on.”

The Morning Show, costarring the equally fed-up Reese Witherspoon, is at once a manifestation of and reckoning with women’s middle-aged rage. As showrunner Kerry Ehrin put it, “It’s almost like this orchestral finale — this huge noise and sound all these emotions that have just been stuffed down in these women for all these years, you know?”

It’s not that this rage is new. It’s always been there, in various, and variously sublimated, forms. There have just been so few opportunities for it to be listened to — at least within the mainstream — because there have been so few mainstream productions that even take older women, let alone their anger, seriously. But The Morning Show, for all of its unevenness, also serves as a meta-textual commentary on the fatigue of decades of being a woman in the public eye. This is a fine show about morning television, and a not-always-successful show about #MeToo. But it’s also a very interesting show about Jennifer Aniston.

Read the rest of this article at: BuzzFeed

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