News 12.09.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 12.09.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 12.09.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 12.09.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Being a New Yorker, probably more than being a resident of any other place on Earth, is a choice. Even if you are born here, you choose to stay — certainly, there are easier places to live. The rest of us have sought this place out, have moved across the Hudson or the world, for the opportunity to lose ourselves and become ourselves and, in the process, to take pleasure in the jostle of other people’s dreams. This is a portfolio of people-watching: a collection of 24 New Yorkers who stand out from the sidewalk menagerie like apparitions, courageous members of the resistance fighting the forces of placelessness that gave us Hudson Yards. Daniel Featherstone has been documenting New York’s characters for years, shooting on some of the same street corners as fellow photographer Bill Cunningham. After Cunningham’s death, he has continued the tradition, searching for people who are “always dressed for the day, and you can see them dressing like that every day.” Few of them are young anymore. “I’ve always been attracted to the older generation because they seem to be more individuals than the younger generation,” Featherstone says. And then we asked six novelists, also New Yorkers, to go further and find out who a few of these remarkable individuals are. Of course, we could have assigned enough novelists to write 8 million more biographies — this is another reason to love New York. We are all, always, both urban anthropologist and subject of another stranger’s fascination; the people-watcher and someone worth watching. This city wouldn’t be the same without us.

Read the rest of this article at: The Cut

News 12.09.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

During every New York Knicks home game, the scoreboard at Madison Square Garden displays a message asking fans to refrain from disruptive behavior. It is a reasonable request, but on a recent night it was not enough to dissuade a wiry man with a beard and a ball cap, who was standing up, cupping his hands around his mouth, and yelling, “Hey, Aaron! Aaron Smith!”

A security guard, a few rows closer to the court, gestured downward with his palms: Quiet, please.

“I’m just trying to get my friend’s attention,” the man said.

“Text him,” the guard said.

“I can’t,” the man said. “He’s reffing.”

Aaron Smith was indeed one of the referees that night, working a pre-season game between the Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans. But the man shouting his name was not a friend, just a mischievous Googler—who also happens to be one of the most acclaimed film directors in the world. His name is Josh Safdie, and he is thirty-five; he and his brother, Benny Safdie, who is two years younger, have directed a series of movies that have been increasingly ambitious and increasingly popular. In 2017, they made “Good Time,” starring Robert Pattinson, a jittery, hallucinatory crime drama, which, once you got over the jitters, was perhaps also a comedy. Their latest, “Uncut Gems,” is a hectic and soulful film largely set in New York’s Diamond District, and starring Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner, a gem dealer and sports gambler who spends two hours making progressively more frantic transactions, in search of a payoff big enough to retroactively justify the risks. Variety compared the film, admiringly, to a “protracted heart attack,” though the Safdie brothers seem to think of it, like its predecessors, as a loving and realistic portrait of their home town. Residents and visitors alike routinely complain that the city is not as interesting as it used to be; the Safdies’ work is devoted to the proposition that any place can be interesting, especially New York, provided you look carefully enough.

It was a few weeks before the opening of “Uncut Gems,” and the Safdie brothers had taken a break from pre-release screenings (Telluride, Toronto, the New York Film Festival) to steal a glimpse of Zion Williamson, the Pelicans’ No. 1 draft pick. The Safdies are obsessive about basketball; in “Uncut Gems,” Howard’s fortunes rise and fall with the outcomes of the games he bets on. But Williamson had foiled their plans by tearing his meniscus, so the brothers had to find other ways to entertain themselves. Of the two, Josh Safdie tends to be the instigator, driven by instinct and daring. Near one of the baselines, he spotted James Dolan, the team’s widely reviled owner, sitting next to a muscle-bound young man whom he recognized as Dolan’s son, Quentin, a bodybuilder, to whom Safdie had once anonymously AirDropped a photograph of a monster flashing a devil’s-horn sign—he likes sending strange pictures to strangers.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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Early on in “Very Ralph,” the new HBO documentary about Ralph Lauren, the camera enters the designer’s princely office at his company’s headquarters in New York. Like a modern-day Wunderkammer, the expansive wood-panelled room is packed nearly to bursting with objects big and small, mementos of Lauren’s fifty-plus-year career: an old-timey bicycle seemingly plucked out of an Evelyn Waugh novel; dozens of photos and paintings, some of Lauren himself, rugged in cowboy gear or casually snappy in eighties-era chambray and denim; a wealth of model cars and airplanes; plush teddy bears in miniature but well-tailored tuxedos or padded flight jackets and dark aviator sunglasses; and all manner of worn-in cowboy boots, embroidered Native American leather goods, wide-brimmed Dust Bowl-style hats, and American flags. As the camera pans slowly over the bricolage, we hear Lauren in voice-over: “Everything in this room is a mix of everything that I love,” he says. “They all mean something. And they’re not just things. . . . They’re sort of the beginning of a concept.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 12.09.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 12.09.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Romantic love – seeking it, glorifying it, dishing it – is a human obsession. My English barmaid mother called it a ‘funny five minutes’ never to be trusted and basically dangerous for women. The feminist author Marilyn Yalom saw a mysterious but ‘intoxicating mixture of sex and sentiment’. Until the turn of the century, one definition seemed to be as good as any another. This despite the fact that, in the past 50 years, love has become the basis for long-term adult commitment, which is now an emotional rather than an economic enterprise. (Most women today put a man’s ability to explore his feelings ahead of his ability to ‘provide’.) The basic building block of family stability – love – is recognised as a source of happiness and life satisfaction, a key to physical health and resilience, and a primary life goal. This mystery you fall into is critical but all too often fleeting: popular consensus holds love as a sexual force with a best-before date.

For someone like me, who practised the most difficult kind of psychotherapy with distressed couples seeking to mend their relationship, all this was problematic. As a young doctoral student trying to be helpful in the face of all shapes and sizes of relationship distress, the one thing that rapidly became clear was that no one, no poet, philosopher or psychologist, had cracked the code of the drama that played out in my office every day, leaving me as overwhelmed and distressed as my clients.

Then, in the early 1980s on the west coast of Canada, armed with positive communication exercises and insights into how a partner might project his or her past issues with parents onto a partner, I eagerly welcomed a couple into my office. It didn’t go well. Amy exploded in frustration, yelling at Tim and detailing all the times he had let her down and dashed her hopes. ‘I would be better off if I’d never met you!’ she screamed.

‘No one can live with someone as judgmental as you are,’ Tim responded. ‘So I just stop trying – I just go to my silent cave and wait till you wind down.’

Amy shot back: ‘What is winding down is this damned relationship.’ This battle continued unabated for another 40 minutes. I could not get a word in, and quickly lost any sense that I could impact this toxic battle, let alone help Amy and Tim build any kind of lasting truce.

Amy made it clear that I was a complete disappointment as a therapist, and I realised with cold certainty that none of the techniques in my textbooks worked. I had to find my own solution, or just give up seeing couples completely.

So I began videotaping my couples, watching tapes again and again until I was able to identify patterns in my clients’ misery and cobble together ways to change those patterns. Gradually, I found, to my amazement, that I could not only reduce the fights in my office, but move my couples into more loving, secure conversations. The one rule of couple therapy was to avoid the partners’ most upsetting emotions. However, I counterintuitively found that by plunging into that difficult territory, I was increasingly able to guide my couples into new emotions and different ways of speaking to each other. When the emotional music changed, the partners in my practice learned to dance differently, in a way that brought them together.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

News 12.09.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

W hen detective John Halliday paid a visit to the Pinellas County Jail on Dec. 4, 1986, his highest-profile murder case was in trouble. Halliday, who was 35 and investigated homicides for the local sheriff’s office, had spent more than a decade policing Pinellas County, a peninsula edged by white-sugar-sand beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast, west of Tampa. It is a place that outpaces virtually all other counties in the nation in the number of defendants it has sentenced to death. Prosecutors who pursued the biggest cases there in the 1980s relied on Halliday, who embodied the county’s law-and-order ethos. Powerfully built and 6-foot-4, with a mane of dirty blond hair and a tan mustache, he was skilled at marshaling the facts that prosecutors needed to win convictions.

He had worked the case for the past year and a half, ever since the body of a 14-year-old girl named Shelly Boggio was found, nude, floating in an inland waterway near the town of Indian Rocks Beach. Her murder was singular in its violence. Her body bore 31 stab wounds, many of them to her hands, as if she had tried to shield herself from the ferocity of the attack. She was most likely still alive, the medical examiner determined, when she was dragged into the water and left to drown. Her older sister identified her by the silver ring, eagle-shaped and inset with turquoise, that she wore on her left hand.

The crime scene yielded few clues. No murder weapon was left behind, and no fingerprints or other forensic evidence was recovered. If Boggio was sexually assaulted, the medical examiner found, any trace of sperm may have been washed away during her time in the water. “It was one of Pinellas County’s cruelest murders,” The St. Petersburg Times observed, “and there was little evidence.”

Halliday’s investigation quickly zeroed in on two men, Jack Pearcy and James Dailey, who lived together and were new to Pinellas County. The facts, what few there were, pointed overwhelmingly to Pearcy, a 29-year-old construction worker with a history of arrests for violence against women. Pearcy pursued the teenager before her death, and Pearcy picked her up on the last afternoon of her life, when she was thumbing a ride with her twin sister and a friend. The girls spent the afternoon and evening with Pearcy, Dailey and other housemates, drinking wine coolers and smoking marijuana. After the other two girls went home, Pearcy took Boggio to a beachfront bar, where she was last seen, barefoot and disheveled, around midnight.

Pearcy acknowledged that he drove her to the lovers’ lane along the Intracoastal Waterway where she was killed. But he tried to shift blame to Dailey, claiming that he picked up his housemate before he and Boggio headed down to the water. And while Pearcy admitted to the police that he stabbed Boggio at least once, and he provided details about the crime that were known only to investigators, he insisted that it was Dailey who was the actual killer.

This was all that connected Dailey, a 38-year-old itinerant Vietnam veteran, to the crime: the word of its prime suspect. No physical or forensic evidence linked him to the murder, nor did any discernible motive. He would later say he had been asleep in the early-morning hours when Pearcy was out alone with Boggio, only to be awaked by Pearcy, who said he needed to talk; Pearcy drove him to a nearby causeway, where they drank beer and smoked a few joints at the water’s edge. Pearcy’s girlfriend and a longtime friend of Pearcy’s said they saw the two men come home together that morning, hours before Boggio’s body was found, and that Dailey’s jeans were wet.

The state attorney’s office in Clearwater pressed forward with the most serious charge it could bring against the men, ensuring that they would be tried for first-degree murder — a crime punishable by death. Pearcy’s trial came first and ended with a guilty verdict in November 1986. But at the penalty phase, the jury recommended that he be sentenced to life in prison. It was a blow to the state attorney’s office, which would argue, in a forceful sentencing memo to the court, that “no evidence exists that Pearcy was not the main actor in this child’s brutal murder.” Pearcy had dodged the electric chair after participating in, and most likely carrying out, one of the county’s most monstrous crimes. Prosecutors had only one more chance to secure a death sentence for Boggio’s murder.

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

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

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