Tag: Culture

Let the Boy Scouts Die Out, Already

I was an active Boy Scout as a teenager because I had strong motivation: getting myself the hell out of the Scouting movement. It was a cultural rite and a family thing, one I hated—but the rule was that I couldn’t leave until I’d reached the highest rank. My older brothers were Eagle Scouts, as were most of my cousins and nephews. Now the Boy Scouts of America are Read original

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Deutsche Bank’s Perilous Pursuit of Profit

In 1999, the German colossus Deutsche Bank was poised to acquire Bankers Trust. This purchase would give Deutsche a foothold in the United States and dramatically expand its investment banking business. The price was $10 billion, the largest foreign takeover of a U.S. bank in history. It would make Deutsche one of the largest financial institutions in the world. But there was a problem.

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Infinite Jerk

A young woman—observant, self-conscious, harboring literary aspirations, though not quite sure where she wants to end up—meets an older novelist, and they start dating. He is as famous as it’s possible for a contemporary writer to be. He is obsessed with his privacy: She is not to draw any attention, occupying a hidden corner of his life. In fact, he sets all the terms of their relationship; the age gap benefits him.

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Jeff Sharlet’s Flawed Experiment in Empathy

It’s standard practice to begin a text about photography by citing Roland Barthes or Susan Sontag. In the introduction to This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers, Jeff Sharlet opts for the former: “Cameras, in short, were clocks for seeing.” We might need a new theorist of the photograph; among other reasons, both those thinkers died before the 2007 debut of the iPhone.

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The Abuses of Objectivity

In January 2017, Kellyanne Conway, at that time President Trump’s press secretary, coined the term “alternative facts” on Meet the Press. The term was part of a broader move by President Trump and others on the right to discredit journalists, taunting them as “enemies of people” and purveyors of “fake news.” In this environment, the mainstream press doubled down on its commitments to truth-telling and objectivity.

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Fiasco Tries to Make Iran-Contra a Teachable Moment

These are boom times for multitasking, boom times for alienation, and, thus, boom times for content. Audiences need entertainment (give me more to do with my phone!), and capital has made the safe bet: If you build it, they (advertisers, subscribers) will come. The podcast harnesses the authority of Voice of America–style radio but updated for the spirit of our times: You choose what (and to whom) you listen.

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