We came to these broad shores of New Jersey not for refuge to practice our religion or to escape persecution from a narrow-minded despot. Bloomberg could have taken it down a notch. But it wasn’t that. We were broke. And what do broke people do? Complain about being broke all the time. And then, eventually, they move. Our shift from Brooklyn to Jersey City, N.J., was not without its difficulties. But apparently it is OK to hit every cone in the Holland Tunnel, torch a Uhaul, and take a big dump in the glove compartment if you have purchased the insurance for said Uhaul. And we’ve lost friends along the [...]
"Why should I wait for someone else?": Malala Talks to Jon Stewart on Her One-Year "Shooting Anniversary"
A year after the Taliban shot her on a school bus for promoting girls' education, Malala Yousafzai is still going after it. The Atlantic posted an interview where she addresses some weird conspiracy theories (that she never actually blogged for the BBC, that she was never actually shot):
Adnan Rashid, a Pakistani Taliban commander, recently wrote an open letter to you. He alleged that your campaign was not aimed at promoting education and was really targeted [...]
Antoinette Tuff is the elementary school bookkeeper in Georgia who prevented a mass shooting on Tuesday by talking down the gunman for an hour. In the audio of her 911 call, her kindness is so palpable and powerful that it might make you cry:
[to the 911 operator] He says he should've just gone to the mental hospital instead of doing this. [to the gunman] I can help you. Want me to talk to them? Let me talk to them… Let me see if we can work it out so you don't have to go away with them for a long time. No, it does matter. I can let them [...]
Attenborough and Björk: The Nature of Music premiered on British TV's Channel 4 this past Saturday, and a full cut has since appeared online. (Working link here, though I'm not sure how long it'll last.) It's totally fascinating and also puts two of the greatest speaking voices of modern history in conversation together. Here's an exchange the two have while observing a crystal at the Natural History Museum (at about the 17-minute mark); "Crystalline," embedded above, is the song that inspired this particular chat:
NARRATÖR: Bjork wants to bring nature itself into her compositions. With this song, "Crystalline," Bjork uses the similarities between musical structures [...]
In the mid-nineteenth century, long before computers existed, Ada Lovelace invented computer programming. She was the daughter of Lord Byron, whose wife insisted that young Ada receive a strong education in math and science; she was also a mother of three, although records remain frustratingly unclear on the quality of her beef stroganoff. Lovelace wasn't credited publicly for her work until almost a century later, and she's still often written out of the history of computer science. This is the fifth Ada Lovelace Day, and there's going to be a Wikipedia edit-a-thon this afternoon to raise the profile of notable women in STEM, [...]
One recent morning I awoke cranky and tired due to one too many Cosmos and a third night of insomnia. My first book was published a few months ago and I naively thought I would finally have some time to relax, some time for “pure happiness.” But it suddenly seemed like the real work had only begun. For months now I’ve been struggling with… let’s call it exhaustion. Yet again the difficult question loomed: how do we writers experience and accept obstacles without being buried alive?
The delights of Neko Case combine with the delights of Pitchfork TV's Over-Under series to deliver the following quote: "I'm pretty much filled with venom for romantic comedies. Overrated. I saw a bit of He's Just Not That Into You in a hotel and I just wanted to burn my own genitals off. Like, if that is what it is to be a woman, I'm just gonna seal this off like a Ken doll." [Pitchfork]
I woke up this morning, turned on my phone, and immediately knew that today would be the best day, because today was the day that my favorite author, Alice Munro, had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. She’s 82 years old, she’s Canadian, she’s selfless in interviews, and she’s spent her life writing small, immaculate vignettes of women—which is all to say that she’s unlike almost all writers who’ve been awarded this prize, and I couldn’t be happier.
Alice Munro is known as the master of the short story. Stories this morning have credited her with rejuvenating the form, and I don’t disagree. I didn’t know I liked short stories [...]
One of the first writers I discovered all on my own, as a teenager, was Dorothy Parker. I loved her from the very first lines of her biting, witty, and poignant poems about love and hate and life and death and men and women. To me, she reflected a type of writer I hadn’t yet encountered, and one I hoped to become: A woman who wrote with wryness and self-deprecation and honesty about what could be seen as universal life dilemmas, both small and large: One of my favorites of her stories involves a woman waiting for a man to call her, for her depiction of the ecosystem of [...]
The first time audiences saw Hedy Lamarr, she was running naked through a field. The second time they saw her, she was in the throes of a very animated orgasm. The next time she appeared on screen—more than five years later—she’d have a new name, a new language, and a new image, but the effect was the same: just the sight of her was enough to stop Hollywood, and audiences across America, in their tracks.
But a new name wasn’t enough to distance Hedy Lamarr from her past as the “Ecstasy Girl,” the star of the so-called “art film” that scandalized all of Europe, and received special denunciation by the [...]