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News 10.28.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 10.28.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 10.28.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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It’s a common sight in the era of coronavirus: people lined up six feet apart, masks covering half their faces as they anxiously wait to enter a grocery store, bank, or coffee shop. In Los Angeles, however, lines have also popped up in front of homes and all the way down driveways as potential buyers wait patiently to see a new and coveted property on the market. When it comes to the housing market, the effects of the pandemic have varied widely. In places like New York, real estate prices have dropped as thousands of the city’s highest earners have discovered the joys of suburban life. Meanwhile, places like Connecticut can hardly list homes fast enough, as Jessica Camille Aguirre reported for Vanity Fair. Places like NantucketPalm SpringsAustin, and Miami seem to be seeing similar booms. And in Los Angeles, some brokers say it feels as hot as it was in pre-recession 2007.

In Martha’s Vineyard, for instance, there was a 206% increase in the total value of all land sales in September compared to last year, and the average sale price rose by an astounding 47%, according to a recent report from the local deeds registry. In L.A. county, the median price of homes was up 12.2% in August from a year earlier, and more expensive home sales comprised 22% of all homes sold in California, up from 16% last year, the Los Angeles Times reported. In Brooklyn, home sales have plummeted, reportedly falling by 43% compared to the same quarter last year. In San Francisco, the number of homes sitting unsold reached a 15-year high, per the San Francisco Chronicle. So, why the discrepancy? In short, the old adage still rings true: location, location, location. Only, in the age of coronavirus, location means something completely different than it did eight months ago.

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

News 10.28.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.28.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The story of an awakening must begin with how many had been permitted to sleep in the first place.

I often think back to a Saturday Night Live episode from October 2016, which aired after the release of the Access Hollywood tape. Lin-Manuel Miranda was the guest host, and in the cold open, he directed a line from his fanatically beloved musical Hamilton at a photo of Donald Trump, declaring with ferocity, “You’re never gonna be president now.”

You could feel viewers, Hamilton fans, Democrats, those who for whatever reasons could still afford to believe in norms or justice, laugh with the giddy conviction that a man who grabbed women against their will could never be president, perhaps forgetting that grabbing women against their will had been a habit of presidents all the way back to the characters depicted in … Hamilton. It would be less than four weeks before those who had felt the confidence that misogyny and racism were disqualifying in the United States had that layer of assurance stripped from them.

But even after the election, the fantasies of salvation and order persisted: Someone powerful — Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush (suddenly looking good by comparison, which should have been a big warning sign), Hamilton itself (remember when the theater audience booed Mike Pence?), Jill Stein (she took all the money, folks!), patriotic Republicans, the Senate, the military, capable advisers who would keep him in check — someone was going to fix this, right?

I was not someone who had believed Donald Trump was never gonna be president; I had spent a long time fearing his victory and the punitive force of the party he was leading to power. And yet, with shame, I vividly recall being assured, in those early months of 2017, by someone who claimed to know, that both Obamas were on it, that they were “talking to people” about what to do. Rationally, I understood it to be fanfiction — wasn’t the fantasy of Obama as savior part of how we got here? — yet the desire to believe that someone with institutional power and a moral compass and a brain was in a position to protect the nation was so strong that, against my will, something like relief briefly washed over me.

Read the rest of this article at: The Cut

LONDON — Everything started with a tweet. Mesut Özil knew the risks, in December last year, when he decided to offer a startling, public denunciation both of China’s treatment of the Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority in the region of Xinjiang, and the complicit silence of the international community.

Friends and advisers had warned Özil, the Arsenal midfielder, that there would be consequences. He would have to write off China as a market. His six million followers on Weibo, the country’s largest social network, would disappear. His fan club there — with as many as 50,000 signed-up members — would go, too. He would never play in China. He might become too toxic even for any club with Chinese owners, or sponsors eager to do business there.

Özil knew this was not fearmongering. He was aware of China’s furious response — both institutionally and organically — to a tweet by Daryl Morey, the general manager of the N.B.A.’s Houston Rockets, only a few weeks earlier. Yet Özil was adamant. He had been growing increasingly outraged by the situation in Xinjiang for months, watching documentaries, consuming news reports. He believed it was his duty, he told his advisers, not so much to highlight the issue but to pressure Muslim-majority nations — including Turkey, whose president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had served as best man at Özil’s wedding — to intercede.

And so he pressed send.

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

News 10.28.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.28.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

ast December, Hollywood actor Armie Hammer arrived in Saudi Arabia for a music festival in Riyadh, the gulf kingdom’s capital. A day after the event, in a breathless Instagram post, he compared the festival to “Woodstock in the 1960’s,” his desert surroundings notwithstanding.

Joining him were a mix of A–C-list celebrities like model Sofia Richie and actor Ryan Phillippe, along with a large group of Western travel bloggers. They had been flown out and, in some instances, paid to attend the festival, called MDL Beast. The event, put on by the country’s General Entertainment Authority, a body created by royal decree in 2016, is one of the flashiest examples of influencer marketing ever. In this case, the product they were meant to market was leisure travel to Saudi Arabia, a kingdom ruled by an Islamic monarchy.

The Instagram posts coming out of the festival looked more Coachella than Sharia. Model Jourdan Dunn smized in boxer braids in front of a neon backdrop; Hammer and Phillippe wore traditional checkered kaffiyeh headscarves with their fleeces. “So grateful to be in a country I’ve never experienced before,” wrote Olivia Culpo. “I’ve changed my name to Habib Aoki,” wrote DJ Steve Aoki (also unable to resist the kaffiyeh).

Read the rest of this article at: rest of  world

News 10.28.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Even by the standards of U.S. politics in the accursed year 2020, the wall of thrusting digital crotches was weird. One day in June, barely a week after a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd and ignited nationwide protests, people started tweeting #WhiteLivesMatter so frequently that it became one of Twitter’s most popular hashtags worldwide. The white supremacist phrase is a call to arms within QAnon, the militant sect that believes God sent President Trump to defeat a shadowy cabal of pedophiles and child traffickers. But the tweets weren’t what they seemed. Anyone who clicked the hashtag or typed it into Twitter’s search bar looking for fellow racists instead found a rolling stream of video clips featuring Korean boy bands, their pelvises gyrating below their smoldering eyes and perfect pastel hair.

More than 22,000 tweets bearing Korean pop stars flooded hashtags like #WhiteLivesMatter and #QAnon that evening, according to market researcher Zignal Labs. Some typical accompanying text: “Stan twitter RISE.” The barrage effectively commandeered the hashtag and rendered it all but unusable to white supremacists. QAnon devotees are familiar with this tactic, known as keyword squatting, because they use it all the time. “They got beaten at their own game by Korean pop fans,” says Mike Rothschild, a conspiracy theory researcher who’s writing a book about QAnon. “I’d never seen anything like it before.”

K-pop stans have. Stan culture takes its name from the titular character in an old Eminem song about a psychotically obsessed fan. Often, stanning means pumping up YouTube view counts on new music videos or voting for a band in numbers high enough to crash whichever website is soliciting votes for an award. Other times, it can cross the line into group harassment of a preferred celeb’s perceived enemies.

When that happens, it can feel to targets like they’re being trolled by QAnon—ask anyone who’s crossed the Beyhive or the Swifties and lived to post about it. K-pop stans, in the years they’ve spent organizing online, have been known to swarm critics who’ve described their favorite genre’s deep debts to Black music as cultural appropriation. They’ve also relentlessly bullied anyone who’s criticized or made lewd comments about their idols online. More conventionally, they’ve overwhelmed the phone lines at hundreds of U.S. radio stations by calling en masse to demand airplay for the latest single by Blackpink or Monsta X.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

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

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