News 11.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 11.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 11.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 11.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I watch bad movies, a pastime and a passion I have long shared with my father. When I was a child, we would sit on one of a series of couches scavenged from yard sales or curbsides, eating microwave popcorn while watching, say, Teenagers from Outer Space (1959) or Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1962). My father would set the VCR to tape movies like these in the middle of the night from the sorts of TV channels that programmed them, with palpable desperation, between reruns of The Incredible Hulk and camcordered ads for local mattress-store chains. Amusement, like couches, had to be taken where found.

Ours was neither a wholly singular nor widely shared hobby. A few years later, the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 made text of this subtext: Its framing device consisted of a man and two robots cracking wise over the soundtrack as bad movies played onscreen. It was important that the man wasn’t simply alone, and that, at the same time, he was somewhat isolated: a Crusoe-like figure alone on a satellite, forced to build himself a minisociety of talking robots. Watching bad movies was a social yet marginal activity; it was a way of watching that orbited the normal enjoyment of film.

Read the rest of this article at: The Hedgehog Review

News 11.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 11.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

At a time when the British royals have never seemed more anachronistic, Peter Morgan has shown viewers why it isn’t easy being queen.

Peter Morgan on set at Elstree Studios in October.Credit…Gareth McConnell for The New York Times

Toward the end of 2015, Peter Morgan, the British dramatist and screenwriter, received a small brown envelope in the mail. It looked like a speeding ticket, or a letter from the Inland Revenue, and as he tore it open he felt the first throb of a mild bureaucratic headache. As it happened, the British state was singling him out for different purposes. Morgan had been named in Queen Elizabeth II’s annual New Year Honors list for his “services to drama.” Henceforth, he would be a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or, Peter Morgan, C.B.E. His presence was requested at Buckingham Palace for the investiture ceremony.

Morgan had never visited Buckingham Palace, though he had set many scenes within its walls. As a storyteller, he likes to seize on epochal moments from the recent past and subject them to a kind of imaginative fission, working backward from sound bites and headlines to the raw contingencies that shape history. In “The Queen,” the 2006 movie based on Morgan’s script, it was the death of Princess Diana and the royal family’s ham-fisted efforts to manage the public’s hysterical outpouring of grief. Britain has a long and honorable tradition of treating its rulers with satirical contempt; it also has a less honorable tradition, especially where the monarchy is concerned, of fawning deference. Morgan’s audacity lay in his restraint: He wanted to see the Windsors steadily and to see them whole, as neither pampered half-wits nor infallible deities. “I live with bread like you,” says Shakespeare’s Richard II, disavowing his monarchic singularity. In “The Queen,” we see the sovereign and head of state (Helen Mirren, who won the Oscar for best actress) sitting in her curlers, watching television and preparing a dismal picnic in the Scottish highlands.

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

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A decade ago, an internet video start-up called Hulu boldly declared an end to the era of paid TV. The company announced that users would be able to watch their favorite shows over the internet, “anytime, anywhere, for free.”

Understandably, Hollywood types were taken aback. But in the ’00s, free online TV, like free online everything else, seemed inevitable. Free was the internet’s natural price, and anyone foolish enough to think they could still charge their customers was on the slow march toward extinction. Large newspapers were either pulling down their pay walls or not erecting them at all, giving in to the tech pioneer Stewart Brand’s maxim that “information wants to be free.” Radiohead released a pay-what-you-want studio album, delighting the band’s fans and raising eyebrows among music-industry executives. “Practically everything web technology touches starts down the path to gratis,” declared Wired magazine, which called free services “the future of business” in a 2008 cover story.

The image of the internet as an egalitarian free-for-all — a place where no amount of money could buy you a superior experience, and where no lack of money could condemn you to an inferior one — persisted for years. Unlike the rest of consumer culture, the internet seemed immune to class division. Bill Gates used the same apps, visited the same websites and logged into the same social networks as the guy who mowed Bill Gates’s lawn — at least in theory, anyway.

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

News 11.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

“The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed.” When the novelist William Gibson said this — probably in the late ’80s, though, like a lot of prophetic aphorisms, when he first said it is not exactly clear — he was describing distribution by place: iPhones arriving en masse in Steve Jobs’s United States, all-inclusive social-credit scores blanketing Xi Jinping’s China, antibiotic-resistant superbugs cropping up in India before spreading as far as the Arctic, climate change flooding the Ganges Delta in Bangladesh long before it conquers New York or Tokyo.

But the distribution is uneven in time, too, because the future never arrives all at once with the thunderclap of a brave new world suddenly supplanting the comfortable old one. Which is why future-gazers like Gibson are always talking about how their works aren’t about the future — and pointing out how terrible their records would be in predicting it — but about the world in which they were written.

They are right. Today the world has the uncanny shimmer of future weirdness, its every week stuffed with new events that seem to open up strange new realities only to be forgotten as the next wave of strangeness hits. But as the decade pulls to a close, we’re unpacking the last year of it in a timeline of crucial 2019 dates that played like premonitions of where we’ll be ten years from now. The future is present in these moments — epic, like the battle for Hong Kong; eerie, like virtual makeup; and personal, like contemplating gender-confirmation surgery.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine

News 11.13.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the run-up to the 2016 election, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage, according to leaked emails reviewed by Hatewatch.

The emails, which Miller sent to the conservative website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016, showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that undergirds the policies he has helped create as an architect of Donald Trump’s presidency. These policies include reportedly setting arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order effectively banning immigration from five Muslim-majority countries and a policy of family separation at refugee resettlement facilities that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General said is causing “intense trauma” in children.

In this, the first of what will be a series about those emails, Hatewatch exposes the racist source material that has influenced Miller’s visions of policy. That source material, as laid out in his emails to Breitbart, includes white nationalist websites, a “white genocide”-themed novel in which Indian men rape white women, xenophobic conspiracy theories and eugenics-era immigration laws that Adolf Hitler lauded in “Mein Kampf.”

Hatewatch reviewed more than 900 previously private emails Miller sent to Breitbart editors from March 4, 2015, to June 27, 2016. Miller does not converse along a wide range of topics in the emails. His focus is strikingly narrow – more than 80 percent of the emails Hatewatch reviewed relate to or appear on threads relating to the subjects of race or immigration. Hatewatch made multiple attempts to reach the White House for a comment from Miller about the content of his emails but did not receive any reply.

Miller’s perspective on race and immigration across the emails is repetitious. When discussing crime, which he does scores of times, Miller focuses on offenses committed by nonwhites. On immigration, he touches solely on the perspective of severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration to the United States. Hatewatch was unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born.

Miller has gained a reputation for attempting to keep his communications secret: The Washington Post reported in August that Miller “rarely puts anything in writing, eschewing email in favor of phone calls.” The Daily Beast noted in July that Miller has recently “cut off regular contact with most of his allies” outside the Trump administration to limit leaks.

Miller used his government email address as an aide to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions in the emails Hatewatch reviewed. He sent the majority of the emails Hatewatch examined before he joined Trump’s campaign in January 2016 and while he was still working for Sessions. Miller also used a personal address in the emails and did so both before and after he started working for Trump. Hatewatch confirmed the authenticity of Miller’s address through an email sent from his government address in which he lists it as his future point of contact:

“I am excited to announce that I am beginning a new job as Senior Policy Advisor to presidential candidate Donald J. Trump,” Miller wrote from his government email on Jan. 26, 2016, to an undisclosed group of recipients. “Should you need to reach me, my personal email address is [redacted].”

Katie McHugh, who was an editor for Breitbart from April 2014 to June 2017, leaked the emails to Hatewatch in June to review, analyze and disseminate to the public. McHugh was 23 when she started at Breitbart and also became active in the anti-immigrant movement, frequently rubbing shoulders with white nationalists. McHugh was fired from Breitbart in 2017 after posting anti-Muslim tweets. She has since renounced the far right.

Read the rest of this article at: Southern Poverty Law Center

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