News 21.08.23: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web

News 21.08.23: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web
News 21.08.23: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web
News 21.08.23: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web

It’s a scorching hot July day in Manhattan, but Anna Delvey wants to walk to her scheduled check-in with New York parole officers. All 40 blocks, that is.

Who can blame her? The infamous fake heiress, whose twisty tale of conning some of Wall Street’s biggest sharks became the inspiration for the hit Netflix series “Inventing Anna,” has been confined to a 470-square-foot apartment in the East Village for the past 10 months as she fights deportation to Germany, her most recent country of residence. Not surprisingly, she seizes the opportunity to be outdoors, her weekly Immigration and Customs Enforcement check-ins and trimonthly parole meet-ups providing her only escape. Wearing all black — a tight-fitting T-shirt, a bubble skirt and Roman sandals that obscure her ankle monitor — the notorious Russian swindler stands out from the sweaty masses rushing to their next air-conditioned stop.

Delvey isn’t perspiring and seems oblivious to the relentless sun as she walks slowly with pin-straight posture, happy to talk about books as though she is attending some kind of strolling salon. On this particular day, she’s reading “Gawker Slayer: The Professional and Personal Adventures of Famed Attorney Charles Harder,” written by the feared Hollywood super lawyer. “I never really cared much about the legal system as a whole until I got exposed to it myself,” she explains. “Winning a case can be an interesting logical exercise, very similar to solving a puzzle.”

Read the rest of this article at: Variety

Over the past eight years or so, I’ve been obsessed with two questions. The first is: Why have Americans become so sad? The rising rates of depression have been well publicized, as have the rising deaths of despair from drugs, alcohol, and suicide. But other statistics are similarly troubling. The percentage of people who say they don’t have close friends has increased fourfold since 1990. The share of Americans ages 25 to 54 who weren’t married or living with a romantic partner went up to 38 percent in 2019, from 29 percent in 1990. A record-high 25 percent of 40-year-old Americans have never married. More than half of all Americans say that no one knows them well. The percentage of high-school students who report “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness” shot up from 26 percent in 2009 to 44 percent in 2021.

My second, related question is: Why have Americans become so mean? I was recently talking with a restaurant owner who said that he has to eject a customer from his restaurant for rude or cruel behavior once a week—something that never used to happen. A head nurse at a hospital told me that many on her staff are leaving the profession because patients have become so abusive. At the far extreme of meanness, hate crimes rose in 2020 to their highest level in 12 years. Murder rates have been surging, at least until recently. Same with gun sales. Social trust is plummeting. In 2000, two-thirds of American households gave to charity; in 2018, fewer than half did. The words that define our age reek of menace: conspiracy, polarization, mass shootings, trauma, safe spaces.

We’re enmeshed in some sort of emotional, relational, and spiritual crisis, and it undergirds our political dysfunction and the general crisis of our democracy. What is going on?

Over the past few years, different social observers have offered different stories to explain the rise of hatred, anxiety, and despair.

The technology story: Social media is driving us all crazy.

The sociology story: We’ve stopped participating in community organizations and are more isolated.

The demography story: America, long a white-dominated nation, is becoming a much more diverse country, a change that has millions of white Americans in a panic.

The economy story: High levels of economic inequality and insecurity have left people afraid, alienated, and pessimistic.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 21.08.23: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web

Jared Genser in many ways fits a certain Washington, D.C., type. He wears navy suits and keeps his hair cut short. He graduated from a top law school, joined a large firm, and made partner at 40. Eventually, he became disenchanted with big law and started his own boutique practice with offices off—where else—Dupont Circle. What distinguishes Genser from the city’s other 50-something lawyers is his unusual clientele: He represents high-value political prisoners. If you’re married to a troublesome opposition leader in a place where the rule of law is thin on the ground, one night the secret police might kick in your door, slip a hood over your spouse, and vanish into the dark. That’s when you call Genser.

Earlier this year, Genser helped obtain the release of two men who had run for president against Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s on-again, off-again strongman, and found themselves imprisoned for their trouble. He still remembers the early-morning call letting him know that his clients were airborne and headed for Dulles International Airport. But not every case ends in a euphoric release. Genser has represented the three most recent imprisoned winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, including the Chinese prodemocracy activist Liu Xiaobo, who died in custody at the age of 61, and Ales Bialiatski, who was just sentenced to 10 years in a grim penal colony in Belarus, where inmates receive beatings between long shifts of hard labor.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 21.08.23: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web

Elon Musk is an Ozymandias for our moment.

He’s got wealth and influence. His place as the richest man on earth fluctuates with the market, but he consistently cycles among the top three slots. He’s the CEO of two major companies and the owner of what was, up until he bought it, arguably the most influential social media network in the world. Marvel used him as the basis for Tony Stark.
Since Musk first made his way into public view in the mid-2000s, he has promised to change the world. He is going to solve climate change. He is going to take humanity to Mars. He is going to use AI to unravel the true nature of the universe. He is going to save the human race.

For most of the past decade, the media and Musk’s many super fans treated Musk’s promises as something close to fait accompli. After all, Musk may not yet have taken people to Mars, but he did build reusable rockets. He reinvigorated the electric car industry. Surely, the people who congregate in Musk’s Twitter replies would suggest, he was on the cusp of doing the rest of what he says he’ll do, no matter how abrasive his personality might seem or how many times he’s already failed to deliver.

To understand exactly how this worldview works, it’s illustrative to look at a book by the English writer and actress Talulah Riley. Riley was Musk’s second and third marriages: The pair divorced in 2012, remarried in 2013, and divorced a second time in 2016. (Riley recently announced her engagement to Thomas Brodie-Sangster, the kid from Love Actually — the woman has lived a life.) Also in 2016, Riley published a romance novel titled Acts of Love.

Acts of Love centers on a misandrist magazine profile writer named Bernadette St John who falls for one of her subjects, the enigmatic biotech billionaire Radley Blake. Like Musk, Radley is a man on a mission, committed to using his impressive technological and business acumen to save the world. He is mercurial, snappish, and prone to trolling onlookers, but his rough exterior conceals a heart of gold. Only Radley can understand Bernadette deeply enough to cure her of her misandry.

Read the rest of this article at: Vox

News 21.08.23: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web

O n the morning of July 27, 1973, two Brooklyn teenagers set out for central New York to attend one of the biggest concerts in rock history.

They were never seen again.

Or were they?

Fifty years ago last week marked the disappearance of 16-year-old Mitchel Weiser and 15-year-old Bonnie Bickwit, two gifted students who are the oldest missing-teen cases in the country.

Initially dismissed as romantic runaways who would return home soon, the pair’s fate remains a mystery. After decades of police bungling and false leads, investigators have tracked several theories over what might have happened to them. Amid recent information about a possible suspect connected to their disappearance, Mitchel’s and Bonnie’s friends and families are now calling on federal and state officials to provide the necessary resources to solve the coldest of cold cases.

“A task force is exactly what we need to solve what happened to my brother Mitchel and his girlfriend Bonnie,” Susan Weiser Liebegott, Mitchel’s sister who has been searching for him for the past half century, tells Rolling Stone. “Quite frankly, it is the only way to solve their case.”

“This could be our last chance to bring justice and some measure of peace to the family and friends,” adds Mitchel’s childhood best friend Stuart Karten.

The couple were apparently last seen leaving Camp Wel-Met, a popular summer camp in the Catskills region. Bonnie, a longtime camper, had taken a job at the camp as a parents’ helper. Mitchel stayed in Brooklyn, having snagged a prized job at a local photography studio. On the evening of Thursday, July 26, he boarded a bus at Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan heading for Bonnie’s camp in Narrowsburg, a town in Sullivan County about two hours away.

Their plan was to hitchhike 150 miles northwest to attend an outdoor concert dubbed “Summer Jam” at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway. The show featured rock counterculture legends the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, and the Band, and is still considered one of the most-attended U.S. concerts to date.

Read the rest of this article at: Rolling Stone