Lights Out in Nigeria by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [New York Times]
"LAGOS, Nigeria — WE call it light; “electricity” is too sterile a word, and “power” too stiff, for this Nigerian phenomenon that can buoy spirits and smother dreams. Whenever I have been away from home for a while, my first question upon returning is always: “How has light been?” The response, from my gateman, comes in mournful degrees of a head shake. Bad. Very bad.Previously.
A Twist in the Murder of a 97-Year-Old Man: He Was Knifed 5 Decades Ago: [New York Times]
The New York medical examiner determined that an operation after a stabbing in the 1950s led to Antonio Ciccarello’s death in September at 97. The police have opened a murder investigation.
They Say Art Is Dead in New York. They're Wrong. – Alan Feuer, NYT (December 2014):
Somehow, in the last few years, it has become an article of faith that New York has lost its artistic spirit, that the city's long run as a capital of culture is over. After all (or so the argument goes), foreign oligarchs and hedge-fund traders have bought up all the real estate, chased away the artists and turned the bohemia that once ran east from Chumley's clear across the Williamsburg Bridge into a soulless playground of money.
Last year, the foremost proponent of this doomsday theory was the rock star David Byrne, who complained in The Guardian that artists, as a species, had been priced out of New York. This year, others joined him. The novelist Zadie Smith lamented in October, in The New York Review of Books, that the city's avant-garde had all but disappeared. The musician Moby wrote a comparable essay in February, describing how creative types are fleeing New York and referring to his former home, accurately but narrowly, as "the city of money." Just a couple of weeks ago, Robert Elmes, the founder of the Galápagos Art Space in Brooklyn, declared the indigenous "creative ecosystem" was in crisis — so, naturally, he was moving to Detroit.
Robert Stone, Novelist of the Vietnam Era and Beyond, Dies at 77 [New York Times]
"Robert Stone, who wrote ambitious, award-winning novels about errant Americans in dangerous circumstances or on existential quests — or both — as commentary on an unruly, wayward nation in the Vietnam era and beyond, died on Saturday at his home in Key West, Fla. He was 77.[more inside]
Céline Unveils Its Latest Poster Girl: Joan Didion [New York Times]
“I don’t have any clue,” said the 80-year-old author of well-thumbed classics such as “The White Album,” “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” and “The Year of Magical Thinking,” reached by telephone on Wednesday at her Upper East Side residence (where the photo, by Juergen Teller, was taken). “I have no idea.” Whose idea was this? “They got in touch with me,” Ms. Didion said, as crisp as one of Phoebe Philo’s cotton tunics."[The Céline ad featuring Joan Didion.] [more inside]
Wreck of the Kulluk (SLNYT) Three years ago, Shell spent millions to send a colossal oil rig to drill in the remote seas of the Arctic. But the Arctic had other plans. [more inside]
2014: The Year in Pictures. [SLNYT]
Poynter's List of the Best (and Worst) Corrections, Retractions and Apologies in Media in 2014 Previously. Previouslier.
The Iguana in the Bathtub by Anne Doten [New York Times] Hard lessons on a cold day in Florida.
"When the temperature dipped below 40, iguanas started falling from the trees. Small, sleek green iguanas; big iguanas as long as four feet from snout to tail, scales cresting gloriously from their heads; orange-and-green iguanas, their muscled, goose-pimpled arms resolving into sharp claws. Iguanas were everywhere: in the bushy areas surrounding canals, on sidewalks, in backyards, lying helpless among the fallen, rotting fruit of mango and orange trees."
The NYT calculates the probability of pregnancy using 15 common birth control methods, for up to 10 years of both "typical" and "perfect" use. Protip: the graphs do slidey comparison things on mouseover!
I’ve been watching Odell Beckham practice similar one-handed catches for the past several weeks. He caught half a dozen in practice before Sunday’s game, and had an amazing one-handed fingertip catch in practice several weeks ago. So he was definitely on my radar screen. Today I was making a point of keeping track of where Beckham lined up, so I would be ready. -- The New York Times interviews photographers about how they themselves caught this incredible catch in the Giants game last night.
"Despite its youth, the section has a much longer history, one that encompasses the long effort of women in journalism to be taken seriously as reporters and as readers, the development of New Journalism, large-scale social changes that have brought gay culture into the mainstream, shifts in the way news is delivered and consumed, and economic consolidations and disruptions that the section has, sometimes in spite of itself, thoroughly documented and cataloged. The Styles section may well be pretty stupid sometimes. It’s also a richer and more complex entity than any of us would like to believe." - Bonfire Of The Inanities - Jacqui Shine writes a long, detailed history of the New York Times Style Section.
First editions, second thoughts: [New York Times] "On December 2, Christie's will auction 75 first-edition books, each of which is a unique object that has been annotated with words and/or illustrations by its author. Proceeds from the auction will benefit PEN American Center."
"If you don't know your own value, somebody will tell you your value, and it'll be less than you're worth." In a brutal and unforgiving vocation, forty-nine year old Bernard Hopkins is the oldest fighter in the history of professional boxing to win and defend a world title. Hopkins has developed his own particular worldview over the course of a rough life and he doesn't mind sharing some of his opinions, one of which, as Carlo Rotella notes, is "He's not shy about pointing out that both private and public interests invest heavily in the social failure of black men." Why has Hopkins lasted over twenty-five years in his fight career and what do his opponents in the ring fear most? It's his mind. (NYT)
Closing a Chapter of a Literary Life [New York Times] Ahead of the American publication of his latest work, “The Book of Strange New Things,” Michel Faber discusses it and why it will be his last novel.
Exquisite Corpse [New York Times]
Taking their cue from the Surrealist parlor game, 15 renowned authors take turns contributing to an original short story.[more inside]
As hinted in the leaked digital innovation report which outlined how the venerable newspaper could leverage a substantial archive to compete with clickbait, The New York Times has been developing cooking.nytimes.com, a beautifully searchable repository of every recipe ever published in the newspaper. [more inside]
To Lure Young Readers, Nonfiction Writers Sanitize and Simplify: [New York Times]
"Inspired by the booming market for young adult novels, a growing number of biographers and historians are retrofitting their works to make them palatable for younger readers."
When words fail: women, science, and women-in-science – [Trigger warning for this and all following links] by Jacquelyn Gill (@JacquelynGill):
The seminars, workshops, blogs, op-eds, research, policy papers, luncheons, and happy hour discussions are all valuable, and important, and they need to continue. But when the beer is drunk, and the pizza gone cold, and the printed articles relegated to the recycling bin, we are left with words: words written by us and about us, spoken in confidence, tossed like poisoned barbs in the comments sections, smoldering as craters in our in-boxes, pounding in our ears when we run it out at the gym.[more inside]
I’m sorry, you guys, but words are not enough. Not anymore.
‘The Giving Tree’: Tender Story of Unconditional Love or Disturbing Tale of Selfishness?
Anna Holmes and Rivka Galchen reconsider Shel Silverstein’s classic, published 50 years ago.
Jean-Claude Duvalier, ‘Baby Doc’ of Haiti, Dies at 63: [New York Times]
"Jean-Claude Duvalier, a former president of Haiti known as Baby Doc who ruled the country with a bloody brutality and then shocked the country anew with a sudden return from a 25-year exile in 2011, died on Saturday."
A New Yorker Faces His Phobia, One Stroke at a Time [New York Times] With Intensive Swim Lessons, a Man Attacks His Fear of Water
"Traumatized by childhood incidents, Attis Clopton was deathly afraid of water, so he attacked his phobia by enrolling in a program of swimming lessons."
Don’t Want Me to Recline My Airline Seat? You Can Pay Me [New York Times]
"...airline seats are an excellent case study for the Coase Theorem. This is an economic theory holding that it doesn’t matter very much who is initially given a property right; so long as you clearly define it and transaction costs are low, people will trade the right so that it ends up in the hands of whoever values it most. That is, I own the right to recline, and if my reclining bothers you, you can pay me to stop."
For a century and a half, The New York Times has been earnestly—and hilariously—defining the evolving language of cities.
We marveled at the way these expressions—the ones we understood, anyway—captured the spirit of the era in which they were defined. It makes sense, for instance, that the Times defined acid ("a slang term for the drug LSD") in 1970, grunt ("a slang word for an infantryman") during the Vietnam War, diss ("a slang term for a perceived act of disrespect") in 1994, and macking ("a slang term for making out") in 1999.[more inside]
PAPER BOYS: The Dark World of Debt Collection [New York Times] In the murky world of unpaid bills, a banker and an ex-con can make a fortune — if they don’t run into too many crooks.
Deep Chords: Haruki Murakami’s ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage’ [New York Times] Patti Smith reviews Haruki Murakami's latest novel. Book Trailer
The Aesthetes - For the legendary expats of Tangier, a life devoted to beauty reaches full flower in this North African hothouse of history and hedonism.
After years of debates, notoriously contentious public meetings, and the looming specter of a civil rights lawsuit, a federal mediation agreement between the Town of Hamden and the City of New Haven, Connecticut resulted in the removal of a 10-foot chain-link fence that separated New Haven's West Rock public housing projects from Hamden's Woodin Street neighborhood for nearly half a century. NYT's Benjamin Mueller reports: In Connecticut, Breaking a Barrier Between a Suburb and Public Housing. [more inside]
The NYT Style section reports that "image-conscious digital natives" are paying for expensive and elaborate portrait sessions to get one-of-a-kind shots to use in social media profiles and on professional websites. These photos (which the Times incorrectly calls "glamour selfies") are not your professional headshots; instead the subjects are depicted in a warehouse, in a field, in a pickup truck, etc. The motivations? Enhancing a personal brand, celebrating a milestone birthday... and, of course, getting lots of "likes" on Facebook. Slate's XX Factor blog defends the trend (if you can call it a trend) by suggesting that the portrait subjects are trying to avoid age discrimination.
NYT Dining & Wine's Ice Cream Issue:
- The Only Ice Cream Recipe You’ll Ever Need (video) (recipe)
- Ever True to You, Local Parlor – A Cone to Remember
- Chocolate Ganache, an Easygoing French Treat (video) (recipe)
- You Say Soft, I Say Serve
- At Morgenstern’s Finest, a Swirl of Innovation
- A Crush of Summer Flavors
- A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Scoop
- A Malted Milk Crawl in New York
Yesterday, New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson - the first woman to hold that position for the paper - was unexpectedly fired, reportedly because she attempted to bring on a new co-managing editor without consulting the managing editor already at the paper or the publisher, though there is also a persistent rumor that it was because she addressed a pay gap between herself and her predecessor. Today, the first woman managing editor for French paper Le Monde resigned, claiming that she was being undermined, drawing more attention to journalism and media's woman problem. [more inside]
Inside, please find a list of twenty-eight movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Errol Morris and two movies about Errol Morris, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content. [more inside]
Something strange is happening at farms in upstate New York. The cows are milking themselves. Rise of the Milkbots.
At first, the new Jerry Seinfeld show seemed reassuringly like the old one. Spontaneous coffees with friends. Mindless chatter that occasionally verged on the hilariously brilliant. But look closer and you see that this show isn’t that show, and that new realities are upon us in America. Anand Giridharadas editorializes about Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: Seinfeld, His Show, and Inequality. (SLNYT)
The Toddler Who Survived, And the Cop Who Became Her Mom: [New York Times]
As a baby, Christina Rivera survived a massacre in Brooklyn whose 10 victims included her mother. Police Officer Joanne Jaffe was assigned to care for her that night, a task that was the first link in a bond that led Ms. Jaffe to adopt Christina. [Image][more inside]
Veiled Truths by Hossein Fatemi [New York Times] [ Photo essay.] Photographs of women in Iran — who still face censure for insufficiently modest dress — through their hijabs.
The original story of Kitty Genovese’s death, first promulgated by the New York Times in a front-page article 50 years ago today—young single woman brutally murdered while 38 strangers watched and did nothing—was incorrect in almost every particular.
The Scientific Quest to Prove Bisexuality Exists [New York Times]
How a new breed of activists is using science to show — once and for all — that someone can be truly attracted to both a man and a woman.
In its constant endeavor to identify emerging trends, the New York Times has uncovered a boom in monocle wearing... again. But they're not the only ones ever to be manipulated by the Monacle Lobby. [more inside]