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In the News 05.09.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 05.09.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@nycbambi
In the News 05.09.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@alabasterfox
In the News 05.09.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@margaret__zhang

Inside The Ecosystem That Fuels Amazon’s Fake Review Problem

One morning in late January, Jake picked up the box on his desk, tore through the packing tape, unearthed the iPhone case inside, snapped a picture, and uploaded it to an Amazon review he’d been writing. The review included a sentence about the case’s sleek design and cool, clear volume buttons. He finished off the blurb with a glowing title (“The perfect case!!”) and rated the product a perfect five stars. Click. Submitted.

Jake never tried the case. He doesn’t even have an iPhone.

Jake then copied the link to his review and pasted it into an invite-only Slack channel for paid Amazon reviewers. A day later, he received a notification from PayPal, alerting him to a new credit in his account: a $10 refund for the phone case he’ll never use, along with $3 for his trouble — potentially more, if he can resell the iPhone case.

Read the rest of this article at: BuzzFeed

The Puzzle Of Beauty

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This portrait is beautiful. Sometimes, I find its beauty in the perfectly angled crook of the arm that rests easily across the sitter’s lap. At other times, it is in the unstudied grace of the hand that props up the head, the long fingers curled in repose. Often, it’s the dress that I find beautiful: expansive, heavy and brilliantly white, its generous skirt magnificently amassed around the seated figure. Occasionally, even the backdrop, an impassive flat wash of a blank summer blue that engages my attention. There are many ways to describe Amy Sherald’s 2018 portrait of the former First Lady, Michelle Obama. It is regal, powerful, accomplished and imposing. But I absolutely know that it is also beautiful.

I hold this judgment as a deep and sure conviction. I don’t mean it as a casual pleasantry, a blandishment offered about the attractiveness of the sitter – although when we speak of beauty, we often mean only a narrowed notion of female physical appearance. I take beauty to refer instead to a peculiar and particular experience, both sensory and cerebral, often characterised by an inward responsiveness to an outward stimulation. It is an unmistakeable arrangement of attention and affect, a way of understanding and engaging with the world. In contemporary culture, we talk carelessly about beauty, dismissing it as a superficial concern or regarding it only as the special interest of art. But in philosophy, too, next to truth and morality, beauty can feel insubstantial, undeserving of our serious reflection.

This tells most of all in the inane and imperious axiom that says ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ It’s a well-meaning attempt at democratisation, allowing us all the power to declare beauty even where others might dissent. But this unthinking homily never interrogates the mysterious criteria by which we deem artworks, objects, even ideas, beautiful.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent & shop.thisisglamorous.com

This Story Has Already Stressed Ryan Reynolds Out

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — You’d never know it from the smooth-operator vibes and Disney prince handsomeness that radiate from his magazine covers, but Ryan Reynolds is often, quite secretly, a nervous wreck.

He gets racked by dread and nausea before every talk-show appearance and becomes quite convinced he might die. During his ABC sitcom days, he chose to warm up the audience, partly to ingratiate himself, but mostly to redirect his panic or, as he describes it, “the energy of just wanting to throw up.” When we met at the Four Seasons here in Beverly Hills late one afternoon in April, he had barely eaten all day, because interviews for profiles make him crazy jittery too.

“I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety,” Mr. Reynolds said as the hotel suite filled with an Angeleno sunshine that perfectly matched his golden latte-hued self. “Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”

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

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Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney
General of Physical Abuse

Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, has long been a liberal Democratic champion of women’s rights, and recently he has become an outspoken figure in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment. As New York State’s highest-ranking law-enforcement officer, Schneiderman, who is sixty-three, has used his authority to take legal action against the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and to demand greater compensation for the victims of Weinstein’s alleged sexual crimes. Last month, when the Times and this magazine were awarded a joint Pulitzer Prize for coverage of sexual harassment, Schneiderman issued a congratulatory tweet, praising “the brave women and men who spoke up about the sexual harassment they had endured at the hands of powerful men.” Without these women, he noted, “there would not be the critical national reckoning under way.”

Now Schneiderman is facing a reckoning of his own. As his prominence as a voice against sexual misconduct has risen, so, too, has the distress of four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters. They accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence. All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal. But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorkeron the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women. They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Manning Barish and Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as “assault.” They did not report their allegations to the police at the time, but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked. Selvaratnam says that Schneiderman warned her he could have her followed and her phones tapped, and both say that he threatened to kill them if they broke up with him. (Schneiderman’s spokesperson said that he “never made any of these threats.”)

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?

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In London, in the nineteen-thirties, the émigré Hungarian intellectual Karl Polanyi was known among his friends as “the apocalyptic chap.” His gloom was understandable. Nearly fifty, he’d had to leave his wife, daughter, and mother behind in Vienna shortly after Austria lurched toward fascism, in 1933. Although he had long edited and contributed to the prestigious Viennese weekly The Austrian Economist, which published such celebrated figures as Friedrich Hayek and Joseph Schumpeter, he had come to discount his career as a thing of “theoretical and practical barrenness,” and blamed himself for failing to diagnose his era’s crucial political conflict. As so often for refugees, money was tight. Despite letters of reference from eminent historians, Polanyi failed to land a professorship or a fellowship, though he did manage to earn thirty-seven pounds co-editing an anti-fascist anthology, which featured essays by W. H. Auden and Reinhold Niebuhr. In his own contribution to the book, he argued that fascism strips democratic politics away from human society so that “only economic life remains,” a skeleton without flesh.

In 1937, he taught in adult-education programs in Kent and Sussex, commuting by bus or train and spending the night at a student’s house if it got too late to return home. The subject was British economic history, which he hadn’t much studied before. As he learned how capitalism had challenged the political system of Great Britain, the first nation in the world to industrialize, he decided that it was no accident that fascism was infecting countries as disparate as Japan, Croatia, and Portugal. Fascism shouldn’t be “ascribed to local causes, national mentalities, or historical backgrounds,” he came to believe. It shouldn’t even be thought of as a political movement. It was, rather, an “ever-given political possibility”—a reflex that could occur in any polity experiencing a certain kind of pain. In Polanyi’s opinion, whenever the profit-making impulse becomes deadlocked with the need to shield people from its harmful side effects, voters are tempted by the “fascist solution”: reconcile profit and security by forfeiting civic freedom. The insight became the keystone of his masterpiece, “The Great Transformation,” which was published in 1944, as the world was coming to terms with the destruction that fascism had wrought.

Today, as in the nineteen-thirties, strongmen are ascendant worldwide, purging civil servants, subverting the judiciary, and bullying the press. In a sweeping, angry new book, “Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?” (Norton), the journalist, editor, and Brandeis professor Robert Kuttner champions Polanyi as a neglected prophet. Like Polanyi, he believes that free markets can be crueller than citizens will tolerate, inflicting a distress that he thinks is making us newly vulnerable to the fascist solution. In Kuttner’s description, however, today’s political impasse is different from that of the nineteen-thirties. It is being caused not by a stalemate between leftist governments and a reactionary business sector but by leftists in government who have reneged on their principles. Since the demise of the Soviet Union, Kuttner contends, America’s Democrats, Britain’s Labour Party, and many of Europe’s social democrats have consistently tacked rightward, relinquishing concern for ordinary workers and embracing the power of markets; they have sided with corporations and investors so many times that, by now, workers no longer feel represented by them. When strongmen arrived promising jobs and a shared sense of purpose, working-class voters were ready for the message.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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

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