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  • Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith’s Raw ‘Red Table Talk’ Episode Smashes Facebook Originals Viewing Record July 11, 2020
    The emotional tete-a-tete between Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith on Facebook Watch’s “Red Table Talk” has set a new record as the social site’s most-viewed original episode in the first 24 hours. Within 16 hours after it was posted Friday at noon PT, the 12-minute segment, titled “Jada Brings Herself to the Table,” had […]
    Todd Spangler
  • Facebook May Ban Political Advertising July 11, 2020
    Facebook is considering a prohibition on political ads on its platforms, according to multiple media reports. If the social media giant made such a move, it would be a significant about-face to the company’s long-held laissez-faire approach to political ads and political speech more broadly, coming just months ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections. Facebook […] […]
    Todd Spangler
  • ‘White Noise’: Film Review July 11, 2020
    In “White Noise,” Daniel Lombroso’s lively and disturbing documentary portrait of three alt-right influencers, there’s a riveting scene in which Richard Spencer, a rock star of white nationalism who talks like a noodgy corporate assistant and has meticulous gelled hair that’s supposed to be his designer version of a Hitler fade (though Hitler didn’t have […] […]
    Owen Gleiberman
  • Sara Bareilles on Using TV’s ‘Little Voice’ to ‘Watch a Young Writer Metabolize Her World Through Song’ July 11, 2020
    It was a different blend of sugar, butter and flour that went into “Little Voice,” the Apple TV Plus series that is singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles’ first try at helping cook up a musically based narrative since the smashing success that was Broadway’s “Waitress.” The series, which debuts this weekend, reunites her with Jessie Nelson, who […] […]
  • AMC Announces Debt Deal to Keep Theater Chain Afloat July 10, 2020
    AMC Theatres reached a debt agreement on Friday that could help the heavily leveraged exhibition chain avoid or at least forestall a liquidity crisis. Under the deal, Silver Lake Group will purchase $100 million in first lien notes, adding to the $600 million in convertible bonds that it already holds in AMC. The company, which is […]
  • Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Emotional ‘Red Table Talk’ Demonstrates Their Business Savvy (Column) July 10, 2020
    There’s hardly been a more charged, fascinating moment in TV this summer than Jada Pinkett Smith sitting at her famed Red Table with her husband, Will Smith, to talk about their marriage like never before. In the 25 years they’ve been married, Pinkett Smith in particular has cultivated a brand borne of her willingness to […]
    Caroline Framke
  • ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’s’ Momona Tamada on Playing Asian American Pop Culture Icon Claudia Kishi July 10, 2020
    For many Asian Americans who grew up reading “The Baby-Sitters Club” book series in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Claudia Kishi is something of a pop culture icon, so much so that she’s the center of a new Netflix documentary, “The Claudia Kishi Club.” But Momona Tamada, 13, who stars as Kishi in the streaming platform’s […]
  • Palm Springs Film Festival Moved Back to February, 2021 July 10, 2020
    Organizers of the Palm Springs International Film Festival have announced that the 32nd edition of the event has been pushed back nearly two months to run from Feb. 25 through March 8. The festival, which had been set to open on Jan. 7, said, “The date change is to ensure the health and safety of our […]
    Dave McNary
  • L.A.’s Little-Known John A. Van Pelt Estate Comes to Market July 10, 2020
    Do you have a hankering for a place with Egyptian hieroglyphics, an anchor from Jack London’s boat and a meat locker? Look no further! For the first time in 45 years, the historic and strange John A. Van Pelt Estate is on the market. A sprawling compound of five whimsical storybook houses situated on 2 […]
  • Lori Loughlin, Mossimo Giannulli Sell Bel Air Mansion to Tinder Co-Founder July 10, 2020
    As their looming sentencing date fast approaches, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli are cutting ties to their current neighborhood in L.A.’s posh Bel Air area. In addition to resigning from the exclusive Bel-Air Country Club, the couple’s nearby mansion is also in escrow to be sold, sources say. The buyer is Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, a […] […]

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  • Flooding continues to wreak havoc across China, including in Wuhan July 9, 2020
    This has been one of the wettest flood seasons in about a generation for parts of China as widespread flooding, landslides and high rivers continue to ravage parts of the country, and more rounds of flooding rainfall are in the forecast. After a period of heavy rain early Wednesday morning, a hillside in Huangmei County,...
  • Window closing for Cristina to become seasons 1st hurricane July 7, 2020
    Despite forming several days ago and spending several days over the open waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean, AccuWeather forecasters say the window for Tropical Storm Cristina to emerge as the first hurricane of 2020 in the Western Hemisphere is closing. As of Friday night, local time, the storm was located well away from land, about 485...
  • Fay makes landfall along Jersey coast, heads for New England July 10, 2020
    Tropical Storm Fay made landfall 10 miles north-northeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey, just before 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 10. The storm had weakened some from earlier in the day, its sustained winds dropping from 60 to 50-mph and moving at a forward speed of 14 mph as it made landfall, according to...
  • Severe storms to erupt over Plains yet again on Saturday July 10, 2020
    After portions of the High Plains were battered by large hail and isolated instances of damaging winds on Friday, meteorologists are closely monitoring another threat that is likely to occur across a swath of the Plains into the mid-Mississippi River Valley on Saturday. While conditions over the Plains were generally quiet during the first part...
  • Scorching heat wave to intensify across southwestern US July 9, 2020
    A brutal heat wave that has been baking the southwestern United States this week is forecast to ramp up in intensity in the coming days, causing many locations already sweltering to experience warmth well above normal, with temperature readings at 110 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The dangerous heat has caused excessive heat warnings to be...
  • Drenching storms to proceed stifling heat in northeastern US following Fay July 10, 2020
    As Fay lifts northward with its drenching downpours into Atlantic Canada this weekend, a period of temperate conditions with shower and thunderstorm activity is forecast to precede a surge of heat for the coming week. While Fay will continue to cause urban and flash flood issues on Saturday over parts of eastern New York state...
  • Daily coronavirus briefing: 'Worst is yet to come,' team of medical experts warns July 9, 2020
    The coronavirus pandemic altered life as humans knew it in 2020, and as much of the world starts to examine how and when to resume daily activities, it’s clear that there are many challenges to overcome before normal daily life can resume in full. The outbreak, which originated in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, officially...
  • Clear skies to greet most stargazers for upcoming Jupiter opposition July 10, 2020
    The biggest planet in the solar system will make its closest approach to Earth on Monday night, giving stargazers of all ages something to spot after the sun sets. Comet NEOWISE has stolen the spotlight recently and will start to appear in the evening sky by midweek, but stargazers may also want to step outside...
  • Over 60 killed in severe flooding in Japan, with threat of 'unprecedented level' of rain still to come July 6, 2020
    The death toll continued to rise Friday on the island of Kyushu in southwestern Japan as tens of thousands of workers continued rescue and recovery efforts after flooding downpours inundated the region. On Wednesday afternoon, local time, The New York Times reported that at least 58 people had been confirmed dead across the country, many...
  • Lightning deaths top 150 in one India state in less than 2 weeks July 8, 2020
    Just one state of India has accounted for more than 150 lightning deaths in just 14 days. The state of Bihar, nestled between Bangladesh and southern Nepal, is one of the poorest states in all of India and has been inundated with rounds of rain and thunderstorms since the last week of June. The AFP...

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  • Multitude
    It’s not strange for me to dream about crowds; on the contrary, my dreams tend to be full of extras who turn into secondary characters, and these secondary characters suddenly take on primary importance, but I wonder if this dream is new, if this crowd is new.I think of my friends in Chile, who, two months ago, were occupying the streets and now, momentarily alone, are revisiting our collective dreams. I think about the arguable beauty of the word multitude. About what that word shows and what it hides.
  • The Novels of Tension Between Freedom and Disaster
    With all these authors, the imprisoning apprehension of the dangers lurking behind every action only heightens the yearning for a free, full life. “The tiniest misstep can have tragic consequences,” we hear in Philip Roth’s Indignation; “A brief glance in the wrong direction… could toss his existence over a cliff,” we are told in Jhumpa Lahiri’s story “A Choice of Accommodations.” Perhaps this is why these authors are unbeatable for erotic intensity. Nobody hears the sirens sing so sweetly and ruinously.
  • How to Fix Child Poverty
    It’s been three decades since the Annie E. Casey Foundation published its first Kids Count report, an annual collection of statistics on child well-being attractively packaged and broken up by state to maximize local coverage. After the presidency of Ronald Reagan had filled the airwaves with images of crack houses and tales of welfare queens, Kids Count was part of an advocacy effort to reframe the poverty debate around children. The reasons were clear: “kids” were sympathetic in a way that “poor people” were not.
  • Putin’s Constitutional Tsarism
    Russia being a strongman’s domain, Vladimir Putin could have achieved his goals, as he always has, simply by pulling on the various levers of his power vertical. There is no organized resistance to the current order; the country is stable and the military is loyal. Why engage in this lengthy political spectacle of rewriting the Constitution? The answer may lie in Putin’s ambition: only a truly great leader, by his reckoning, can succeed in enshrining his personal whims as the “law of the land.” Propped up by the God he has now plugged into the Constitution, Putin wants to reign supreme over his vast domain, a father to a “nation of victors,” a tsar in all but the name.
  • The Pro-Privatization Shock Therapy of the UK’s Covid Response
    There is a larger game afoot in the UK government’s privatization-friendly Covid-19 response. The outsourcing bonanza has coincided with Britain’s tense talks with the European Union over the terms of a new, non-member relationship. For Leave.EU hardliners, a no-deal Brexit is not unwelcome: it would, as they see it, set the nation free to forge ahead as Global Britain, a sort of deregulated “Singapore-on-Thames,” as some Brexiteers have enthused. Others see this as a dangerous new “shock doctrine.” Coupled with rolling back the welfare state through a handout of pandemic contracts to the private sector, this bonfire of regulations represents an extension of Thatcherism, a chance to finish what she started.
  • One Small Vote for Lockport, NY, One Giant Lesson for 2020 America
    As we face the unprecedented circumstance of a presidential election during a pandemic, the right to vote by mail has a new urgency in protecting Americans’ fundamental right to cast a ballot. But as the disappointed candidates for school reform learned in June’s vote-by-mail test drive in Lockport, New York, safeguarding voting and winning elections are not the same thing. Letting people vote from the comfort and safety of their homes may well entice the participation of a good number of those 100 million Americans who sat it out four years ago. But for those determined to use that vote to pry Donald Trump from the White House, it may only mean that the job of persuading those new voters will become all the more urgent. 
  • The Magic Mountains of the Acoma Pueblo and Thomas Mann
    In January, not long before the pandemic arrived, I traveled to the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, some sixty miles from Albuquerque. Acoma is maybe the oldest continuously inhabited city in North America—the Acoma people have been living atop their mountain, a 357-foot mesa, for over a thousand years. It put me in mind of another magic mountain, that of Thomas Mann’s 1924 novel of that name. Set in the years before the war, this strange fantasy treats the tuberculosis sanitarium as a microcosm for Europe’s spiritual and moral sickness. At one point, its protagonist, Hans Castorp, has a vision: “For the sake of goodness and love, man shall grant death no dominion over his thoughts. And with that I shall awaken…”
  • The Scandal of Our Drug Supply
    Katherine Eban’s disquieting, often unnerving, and at times infuriating new book Bottle of Lies ranges across the pharmaceutical industry in several countries, but its chief concern is the generic drug industry in India and the inconsistent vetting by the FDA of the industry’s products for the American market. The FDA’s lack of rigorous, uniform scrutiny of imported pharmaceuticals has put the prescription drug supply in the United States at risk from contaminated, ineffective, and even fraudulent medications—products that not only might fail to control disease but might themselves be life-threatening.
  • France: After Lockdown, the Street
    When the lockdown—le confinement—finally began to lift on May 11, giving way to a tenuous period of reopening—le déconfinement—Paris looked the same. And yet it wasn’t. Over the course of that long, strange April—during which France recorded nearly 20,000 Covid-19 deaths—something had shifted. The coronavirus has caused a reckoning here, one of the most profound the country has undergone since World War II. It was already in the throes of upheaval when the virus hit, after the Yellow Vest street protests and strikes against Macron’s efforts to cut back state services and restructure pensions. The situation in France today is born of a combustive collision between theory and practice, ideal and real, that stems largely from the country’s persistent sense of itself as an exemplary nation, which may or may not withstand the test of reality.
  • Days in the Life of Tetsuya Noda
    Born in 1940, Tetsuya Noda, one of Japan’s foremost print artists, began keeping illustrated diaries as a young boy, drawing and writing about growing up in the small town of Uki, on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s main islands. Spurred by a friend’s discovery that mimeograph machines, largely consigned to secretarial tasks, could be used to turn photographs into stencils for printmaking, Noda returned to his childhood practice of making art about his life.
  • Fiction and Responsibility
    The Gringa, a recent novel by Andrew Altschul, raises an important question: Does fiction, particularly fiction that claims to be based on history, have any responsibilities at all vis-à-vis real people and their lives, places they inhabit, truth? At a time when systematic disinformation campaigns are abetting the rise of authoritarian governments the world over, might it be unwise to discard all concepts of boundaries or dividing lines between the imaginative freedom of literary fiction and distortion or falsehood?
  • ‘The Most Ignorant and Unfit’: What Made America’s Worst Ever Leader?
    Alexander Hamilton observed that “the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion.” Trump is a sign that we as a nation have lost our way. A confusion of celebrity for leadership, fame for accomplishment, and popularity for genius has given us, just as Hamilton warned, “a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune.” November’s election is a judgment day for this nation’s form of republican government. Else, only “civil commotion” awaits us.
  • It is a Choice (because Kanye)
    The rapper chooses his vacancies. Room does not choose the rapper. The rapper walked into rooms. or were dragged into rooms. were dragged into rooms. Or we walked into rooms. The seating charts of airplanes look like the Middle Passage. Then we boarded the plane. were dragged onto the plane. The plane was dragged from […]
  • Wanting Wrong
    The narrator of Miranda Popkey’s first novel, Topics of Conversation, is the daughter of an old Hollywood family, now in gentle decline. Her nice, white life “was going to be suburban, it was going to be upper-middle-class,” but she throws all that into disarray when she decides to leave her husband, John, who loves her. She does this despite the fact that he was “so kind and so supportive and emotionally generous and a good listener...everything a liberated woman is supposed to want.” Her remorse is partly political: How can a woman refuse all that for herself, when it is exactly what she wants for women in general? Her regret is also, in part, simply human—she does not love a man who loves her, and the pain he feels when she leaves him makes her feel badly about herself.
  • The Rose
    At some point I realized the questions were the same questions.
  • Israel’s Annexation Plan, a New Era in Palestinian Resistance
    Disenchanted with their official leadership, Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, Israel, and the diaspora are increasingly redefining their struggle away from what they believe is the two-state mirage and toward resisting the one-state reality. Rather than settling for symbols of statehood and pockets of Palestinian autonomy, their starting point is Israel’s exclusive sovereignty over all the land from the river to the sea, and their focus is the Israeli government: the fact that it provides civil and political rights to Jews that are withheld from Palestinians, in varying degrees depending on their location.
  • A Shuttered Garage, a Devastated Trade
    The taxi industry has been brutally crunched on two sides—from skyrocketing operating costs, on the one hand, and a sharp decline in business, on the other. When the bubble burst in late 2014, the value of medallions crashed, leaving drivers with no savings and deep in debt. A rash of suicides among them has followed. At the same time, those already struggling to repay loans found their income drastically reduced by competition from Uber and other ridesharing companies. Erick Castro is left shaking his head, wondering why one of the city’s most faithful and enduring modes of transportation has been the one to go.
  • He Made Stone Speak
    Because all creative people start out as young people, we have a tendency to ascribe creativity to youth itself, but mature masters like Michelangelo remind us that the urge to create has nothing to do with age or the lack of it, but rather with that inventive spirit both he and Vasari called ingegno—inborn wit, cleverness, genius. The spirit often manifests young, but like wine and wood, it depends on age to reveal its full complexity. When Michelangelo turned seventy, as he does at the beginning of William Wallace’s Michelangelo, God’s Architect, he had nineteen more years to live, every one of them spent at work.
  • The Films of Women’s Liberation
    An exceptional series currently streaming on the Criterion Channel, “Tell Me: Women Filmmakers, Women’s Stories,” is an occasion to reconsider the ranging paths of feminist media production stoked by women’s liberation in the early 1970s. Originally curated by Nellie Killian for a Metrograph run in 2018, the series spans four decades of documentaries made by women, many of which were distributed by feminist and leftist collectives during the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Pulling Down ‘the Wall of No’ on Police Reform in Minneapolis
    Lena K. Gardner, a co-founder of the Black Visions Collective, found her early engagements with city politicians, including her councilman, Jacob Frey, who is now the city’s beleaguered mayor, were deeply frustrating. “I called it ‘the Wall of No,’” she recalled, of their categorical resistance to reforms. “They were so constrained by ideas of scarcity, of what’s possible, that they failed to realize how bad the police really were,” she said. “So it’s mind-boggling to hear the same city council leaders saying that the things that were ‘impossible’ four years ago are now possible.”
  • Richard Wright, Masaoka Shiki, and the Haiku of Confinement
    Bedridden in his Odéon apartment, Richard Wright—author of the 1940 novel Native Son and the autobiographical Black Boy (1945), his searing account of growing up in the Jim Crow South—spent the last year and a half of his life, before his death in 1960 at the age of fifty-two, writing haiku: “The sound of the rain / Blotted out now and then / By a sticky cough.”
  • Indulging with Control in Fiction
    Characters dream of solving their problems by becoming more controlled and many have delusions of “election”—the sense of oneself as “chosen,” “special,” a celebrity perhaps. “For a man of his age, fifty-two, divorced, he has, to his mind, solved the problem of sex rather well,” Coetzee opens his great novel Disgrace. The aspiration is to indulge always with control, without being overwhelmed. The reader knows that is not going to happen.
  • Britain’s Colonial Legacy on Trial at The Hague
    This legacy—of Britain's slavery and colonialism, racism and empire—that had been delicately skipped over in my classes soon came ever more sharply into focus for me, not least through the legal cases in which I became professionally involved. The world as it was taught to me and the world as I experienced it were, I came to see, miles apart. British exceptionalism was, well, just part of the natural order.
  • American Fascism: It Has Happened Here
    “When Americans think of dictators they always think of some foreign model,” wrote the anti-fascist journalist Dorothy Thompson in the mid-1930s, but an American dictator would be “one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American.” And the American people, Thompson added, “will greet him with one great big, universal, democratic, sheeplike bleat of ‘O.K., Chief! Fix it like you wanna, Chief!’” A few years later, Thompson said she was reminded of what the Louisiana populist Huey Long had once explained to her: “American Fascism would never emerge as a Fascist but as a 100 percent American movement.”
  • Searching for Freedom in ‘Cane River’ and the Black Outdoors
    Two black households, not alike in dignity, in fair Louisiana, where we lay our scene: the Metoyers, “high yellow” Catholics, propertied Creoles with a good-looking son; and the Mathises, darker-skinned, poor, Baptist churchgoers with an equally good-looking daughter. In the newly restored Cane River, directed by Horace B. Jenkins and first released in 1982, boy meets girl and they fall in love, but not without the intrusion of history.
  • Ah Toy, Pioneering Prostitute of Gold Rush California
    Ah Toy had arrived in San Francisco just as California was becoming a state, in that interstitial time before the introduction of laws that would establish structural bias against women and people of color, and before the traditional order, religious and social, that pertained elsewhere in the US could assert itself. (The first clergyman of the Bay Area, Timothy Dwight Hunt, did not arrive until October 1848 from Honolulu.) Though their power would diminish with the closing of the frontier, women, and women of color, prospered—for a time.
  • Trey’s Rage: An African’s Education in Being Black in America
    When my family first immigrated to the US from Somalia, we were placed by a refugee agency in Buffalo, New York, in one of the city’s seedier neighborhoods. Our neighbor Trey, a hulking giant of a man and a trainer at a local boxing club, had quickly come to befriend and watch over this strange family from this strange country he’d never heard of. One day, he took my brother and me shopping for school supplies. I remember walking alongside him on the crumbling sidewalk, amid a forest of run-down houses, and Trey nodding his head toward a police car idling across the street. “Look at that motherfucker over there. Just waiting to pounce.”
  • ‘Ghosts of Sugar Land’: A Journey of Loss
    Mark, the subject of Bassam Tariq’s Ghosts of Sugar Land, was an outsider in high school, being one of the only black students in his class, but as his South Asian Muslim friends tell it, they always tried to make him feel welcome in their culture. Converting to Islam seemed like an inevitable act of friendship. Over time, Mark committed himself to Islam much more strongly than his friends did, driving them apart. He posted increasingly conservative views online. One day, Mark’s friends woke up to a Facebook post from him location-tagged in Turkey. A few days later, there was a new post: “I am now currently living in the Islamic State [in Syria].”
  • How Defund and Disband Became the Demands
    Although calls for defunding and dissolution, rather than reform, may feel new to many, abolitionist organizing against the “prison industrial complex”—which includes prisons, police, and surveillance—goes back more than two decades. There is no delusion among abolitionists that we will ever live in a world without conflict or interpersonal violence. Right now our go-to response to all manner of social, political, and economic conflict—whether it is homelessness, domestic violence, migration—is prisons and police. The abolitionist invitation is to investigate these problems with care and particularity, and collectively craft responses that do not rely on violence and punishment.
  • The Problem of Police Powers for People Living While Black
    I handed him my identification. He did a warrant check. A few minutes passed. Then he let us go. Nothing violent occurred. Unlike Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others whose names are known because of tragic encounters with the police, I walked—or, rather, was driven—away from the event with no visible impairment. This whole episode could be seen as trivial, given that I came to no physical harm. But the moment was deeply instructive.
  • New York’s Rising Tides: Climate Inequality and Sandy’s Legacy
    It is easy to think of New York as more of a concept, an easily traversable, cosmopolitan hub, than a place, a part of the natural world. Covid-19 has clarified that our health and lifespan is tied to a zip code. Climate change will make the consequences of the environmental history of the land, of both overdevelopment and neglect of the coasts, of environmental racism and displacement, and of our economic and cultural reliance on our coasts and waterways terribly apparent as the city’s water returns like a recovered memory. 
  • Unpresidented
    The US has engaged in many armed conflicts, but three of them have never ended: the Civil War, the Vietnam War, and the so-called war on terror. Their toxic residues flow from different directions into the current breakdown of the American polity.
  • Hervé Guibert: Living Without a Vaccine
    In 1988 the French novelist and photographer Hervé Guibert was diagnosed with HIV. Two years later, Éditions Gallimard published To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life, a stark autobiographical book about his desperate effort to gain access to an experimental “AIDS vaccine.” To the Friend comprises a series of portraits of friends and lovers whom illness and its specters torment throughout its one hundred chapters.
  • Bad Diet & Bad Hair Destroy Human Civilization
    Would you buy a used car from a man with a hair-do like that? It arouses immediate suspicion and distrust. How long must it take to construct that look every morning? Do other people have to work on it? Who are they? How can we find them?

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