News 10.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the summer of 2017, after just half a year in the White House, Donald Trump flew to Paris for Bastille Day celebrations thrown by Emmanuel Macron, the new French President. Macron staged a spectacular martial display to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the American entrance into the First World War. Vintage tanks rolled down the Champs-Élysées as fighter jets roared overhead. The event seemed to be calculated to appeal to Trump—his sense of showmanship and grandiosity—and he was visibly delighted. The French general in charge of the parade turned to one of his American counterparts and said, “You are going to be doing this next year.”

Sure enough, Trump returned to Washington determined to have his generals throw him the biggest, grandest military parade ever for the Fourth of July. The generals, to his bewilderment, reacted with disgust. “I’d rather swallow acid,” his Defense Secretary, James Mattis, said. Struggling to dissuade Trump, officials pointed out that the parade would cost millions of dollars and tear up the streets of the capital.

But the gulf between Trump and the generals was not really about money or practicalities, just as their endless policy battles were not only about clashing views on whether to withdraw from Afghanistan or how to combat the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran. The divide was also a matter of values, of how they viewed the United States itself. That was never clearer than when Trump told his new chief of staff, John Kelly—like Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general—about his vision for Independence Day. “Look, I don’t want any wounded guys in the parade,” Trump said. “This doesn’t look good for me.” He explained with distaste that at the Bastille Day parade there had been several formations of injured veterans, including wheelchair-bound soldiers who had lost limbs in battle.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 10.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I drive a stick shift. It’s a pain, sometimes. Clutching and shifting in bumper-to-bumper traffic wears you out. My wife can’t drive my car, which limits our transit options. And when I’m at the wheel, I can’t hold a cold, delicious slushie in one hand, at least not safely. But despite the inconvenience, I love a manual transmission. I love the feeling that I am operating my car, not just driving it. That’s why I’ve driven stick shifts for the past 20 years.

That streak may soon be over. When it comes time to replace my current car, I probably won’t be able to get another like it. In 2000, more than 15 percent of new and used cars sold by the auto retailer CarMax came with stick shifts; by 2020, that figure had dropped to 2.4 percent. Among the hundreds of new car models for sale in the United States this year, only about 30 can be purchased with a manual transmission. Electric cars, which now account for more than 5 percent of car sales, don’t even have gearboxes. There are rumors that Mercedes-Benz plans to retire manuals entirely by the end of next year, all around the world, in a decision driven partly by electrification; Volkswagen is said to be dropping its own by 2030, and other brands are sure to follow. Stick shifts have long been a niche market in the U.S. Soon they’ll be extinct.

We can’t say we weren’t warned. For years, the stick’s decline has been publicly lamented. Car and Driver ran a “Save the Manuals” campaign in 2010, insisting that drivers who “learned to operate the entire car” would enjoy driving more and do it better. A #SaveTheManual hashtag followed. Shifting gears yourself isn’t just a source of pleasure, its advocates have said, or a way to hone your driving. A manual car is also less likely to be stolen if fewer people know how to drive it. It’s cheaper to buy (or at least it used to be), and it once had lower operation and maintenance costs. You can push-start a manual if the battery dies, so you’re less likely to get stuck somewhere; and you can use the stick more easily for engine braking, which can reduce wear and make descending hills easier and safer.

But the manual transmission’s chief appeal derives from the feeling it imparts to the driver: a sense, whether real or imagined, that he or she is in control. According to the business consultant turned motorcycle repairman turned best-selling author Matthew Crawford, attending to that sense is not just an affectation. Humans develop tools that assist in locomotion, such as domesticated horses and carriages and bicycles and cars—and then extend their awareness to those tools. The driver “becomes one” with the machine, as we say. In his 2020 book, Why We Drive, Crawford argues that a device becomes a prosthetic. The rider fuses with the horse. To move the tool is to move the self.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

If you’re anything like me, the last time you bought apple cider vinegar, it was part of some dubious cleanse or wellness scheme. I bought a bottle of Bragg’s—the gold standard for neo-hippie purity tonics—in the hopes that the murky brown fluid would reverse the effects of too much decadent living.

After all, Kim and Kourtney KardashianJennifer Aniston, and Katy Perry are only a few of the celebrities who attribute their flourishing gut health and fit bods to the regular consumption of apple cider vinegar (or ACV). Victoria Beckham claims that the first thing she does each morning is chug some down. You can find countless YouTubers and TikTok personalities taking the #applecidervinegarchallenge, grimacing as they drink a shot or two every day for a week or a month as they document the alleged physical transformations for their followers.

In other words, ACV is often something you (reluctantly) drink because it’s supposed to be good for you, not something you reach for because it tastes good. “I often put apple cider vinegar in my hot water,” Elizabeth Hurley told The Cut back in 2017. “It tastes disgusting.”

But there is much, much more to ACV than its internet reputation as a detox tonic and weight-loss super-fuel. The history of ACV is intertwined with the global spread of apples and with the transformations of fermentation. In America, ACV is an ingredient that traces the colonial settlement of the frontier, reflects the shift from homemade to industrial foods, and refracts a boozy heritage into a wholesome legacy.

Read the rest of this article at: Epicurious

News 10.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It took me two years to post my first TikTok. I’d press “Record,” mumble into the camera, and hastily hit delete before anyone could see just how awkward I was on video. I took the plunge only after practicing enough to eliminate any telltale signs that I was a near-30-year-old trying to be cool. Or so I thought.

Apparently, I’m still guilty of the “Millennial pause.” After hitting “Record,” I wait a split second before I start speaking, just to make sure that TikTok is actually recording. Last year, @nisipisa, a 28-year-old YouTuber and TikToker who lives in Boston, coined the term in a TikTok about how even Taylor Swift can’t avoid the cringey pause in her videos. “God! Will she ever stop being relatable,” @nisipisa, herself a Millennial, says. Gen Zers make up a larger portion of TikTok’s base, and have grown up filming themselves enough to trust that they’re recording correctly. Which is why, as short-form video comes to Instagram (Reels), YouTube (Shorts), and Snapchat (Spotlight), the Millennial pause is becoming easier to spot.

Unfortunately for me, today’s most culturally influential social platforms are not geared around Millennials anymore, and the pause is far from the only giveaway. Millennials—and their mannerisms—defined the online ecosystem that has ruled for a decade plus, treating sites such as MySpace, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter as the jungle gyms in their internet playground. But now that we’re well into the TikTok era, the cracks are starting to show. Instagram and Facebook, while still popular, are attempting to capture the magic of TikTok by pivoting to videos and other ultra-sharable content that doesn’t come quite as naturally to Millennials (even ones born in the early 1990s, like me). Now that Gen Z has all the attention, the internet quirks that Millennials have called their own for years can feel a bit stale, if not downright cringey. The first generation to grow up with social media in the mobile web era, Millennials are now becoming the first generation to subsequently age out of it, stuck parroting the hallmarks of a bygone digital age.

Once my eyes were opened to the Millennial pause, I started noticing my age in every part of my internet experience. I get confused whenever Instagram changes its layout. I use GIFs to make jokes in Slack. I have posted song lyrics on my Instagram Story. The range of mannerisms is so broad, the signs such a staple of my online behavior for the past 15 years, that it’s not even worth trying to fight them.

Naturally, Gen Z has picked up on them too, and the mockery that was once reserved for Boomers is now coming for me. “The way the quintessential Millennial behaves online is basically a bunch of silly little nuances strung together to create a personality that is very giddy and excitable about the normal or mundane,” Michael Stevens, a 24-year-old TikTok creator based in New England, told me over email. His impressions of Millennials have received millions of views on TikTok. Those “silly little nuances” include starting videos with a sigh, doing dramatic zooms into their own faces for emphasis, and using phrases popularized on Twitter and Tumblr—like “doggo” and “I can’t even”—in real life. “My husband just went to the new Trader Joe’s next to our house and I think it wins the internet for the day,” Stevens says in a Millennial parody from July. “If this is adulting, sign me up.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

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News 10.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

IN AUGUST 2003, at the age of seventeen, I made a decision on a whim that permanently altered the trajectory of my life. I wrote an album review and sent it to Pitchfork. Founded by Ryan Schreiber in 1995, the music site was known for its abstract and acerbic assessments of contemporary albums with a focus on left-of-centre rock music. While I enjoyed reading its detailed, creative reviews of obscure records, I noticed that it had a blind spot when it came to hip hop. In 2001, a banner year for great rap releases, Pitchfork’s year-end album list featured only one rap record, The Cold Vein by Cannibal Ox.

The album I reviewed was Shadows on the Sun by Brother Ali, a fierce Minnesota rapper signed to Rhymesayers. I didn’t understand why the site hadn’t already covered this album, which was a highly anticipated underground rap release produced by Ant from Atmosphere. It had been out for three months with no review! So I decided to take a crack at it:

A Molotov cocktail of Nas’s chipped-toothed storyteller, Slug’s introspective emo-thug, and Common Sense’s wordplay aficionado, Brother Ali has clearly studied the album structures of mid-’90s masters. From the urine-soaked authenticity of his portrayal of inner city Minneapolis life (“Room with a View”) to the staggering detail of a conflict with his wife-beating neighbor (“Dorian”) to a bass monster spiritual alloy of The Legion’s “Jingle Jangle” and Atmosphere’s “Flesh,” where he claims to be “a cross between John Gotti and Mahatma Gandhi” (“Bitchslap”), Ali focuses his powerful delivery equally on reality-based depth charges and classic rap braggadocio.

Pitchfork published my review (an overly laudatory 8.7) and highlighted it as one of the year’s best in its year-end retrospective book, Thesaurus Musicarum: The Pitchfork Year in Music, 2003. (Yes, it once published and sold a book made out of articles from its website.) A quote from the review was featured on a sticker on every copy of Champion, Brother Ali’s next release. Still in high school, I quickly became Pitchfork’s authority on hip hop. Back in 2003, the site wasn’t yet a household name. But plugged-in music nerds around the world were familiar with it. This was before anyone talked about “the Pitchfork effect,” the term used by journalists to describe the stratospheric sales boost that a positive Pitchfork review could have for previously unknown bands like Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene.

I was a young Black rapper with a solid grasp of classic and underground hip hop, which imbued my writing about rap with a level of credibility no other reviewer there had. If you look at the write-ups for Pitchfork’s top fifty singles of 2003, when some of the other writers wrote about rap, it seemed as if they were doing it begrudgingly, like they had been forced to acknowledge the greatness of a track but wished they hadn’t. It felt disrespectful. Some writers wrote about rap music like they were detailing the movements of a newly discovered tribe in National Geographic. Back then, white critics treated mainstream rap and R&B singles solely as guilty pleasures. This was before the poptimism movement took root in critical circles in 2004, when writers eschewed rockist perspectives and attributed more artistic relevance to mainstream pop, rap, and R&B.

I enjoyed deep listening, living with a new album and taking the time to break down what was special about it. When I was covering a record that was firmly in my lane, like Ghostface’s The Pretty Toney Album or Aesop Rock’s Bazooka Tooth, I was proud to have the opportunity to review it. All those years of accumulating music knowledge that had seemed, to nearly everyone else, like a complete waste of time finally had a useful application. Writing for Pitchfork connected me to an international network of fellow music nerds that went far beyond my pals in Edmonton. I felt like I was doing a public service by spreading the gospel of underground rap to a wider audience.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

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