The Atlantic

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Colin Firth's Shirt: Jane Austen and the Rise of the Female Gaze
She died 200 years ago. But her writing fits perfectly into the culture of the current moment.
By Megan Garber

THIS is the sort of article I’ve been hoping to see published in relation to Austen’s 200th. A much needed breath of fresh air after all that “people are reading Austen wrong” nonsense. 

It captures what I badly bungled while trying to express the other day: That Austen’s wit/socio-critcism AND her romantic sensibilities are both part and parcel of what makes her an Ur-Mother of the romance. 

We as a genre took both from her - contrary to claims that we distilled her novels down to the love plot and failed to absorb all the rest.

Millennials have made it clear they most want career advancement and growth, something not every workplace can offer on demand. But in lieu of those opportunities, many companies are resorting to quick fixes in an attempt to shape culture. Whether it’s free snacks, Ping-Pong tables, or beer taps, these perks—like participation trophies before them—are trinkets that do not thoughtfully consider the symptoms of the problem before providing a treatment.

Vacation usage—a benefit repeatedly found to be more valued than raises, bonuses, and retirement plans—is a measure of trust and an important part of the work-life balance equation. Despite its value, a study by Project: Time Off revealed Millennials are not taking the vacation they earn. In fact, they are the most likely generation to forfeit time off, even though they receive the least amount of vacation days.

Research into Millennial vacation behavior shows they are afraid, not entitled. Compared to Boomers, Millennials are at least twice as likely to say they are fearful of losing their job. This cohort worries about what the boss might think, wants to show complete dedication, and does not want their bosses to see them as replaceable.

These findings are counterintuitive to the coddled Millennial stereotype that ignores the circumstances of the generation’s experience. Coming of age during an economic downturn has consequences.

—  this sponsored post on the atlantic for a vacation planning app has a sharper insight into current labor issues than eight years of obnoxious thinkpieces from the atlantic abt millennials, this feels like a diss track
“My Family’s Slave” and the people who don’t want to understand Filipino culture

I got blocked within 1 minute of sending the second tweet

Instead of listening to actual Filipinos about Lola and her legacy, Miss “I study and value diversity so I will never listen to people who actually know the culture and context in which this occurred” just blocks them for disagreeing with her

So here’s a message for all y’all who think you can fight for Lola’s story but then entirely disregard the culture from which she came: 

Shut up and listen. 

I am so fucking disgusted by every “oh this is so sad” “how could anybody do this” “she should have killed that family” comment from a westerner who has no context of our culture or how they themselves contributed to it

The country that makes a Filipino maid joke every other time we as a race are mentioned shouldn’t take the moral high ground because you suddenly feel sad about it

You don’t understand how Filipinos treat family, how they’re willing to humble themselves to extremes, how being in America is already a huge fucking deal for those who grew up in the province, how that contributes to the “utang na loob” culture that while not necessarily good, is a big part of how every Filipino operates

Yes, what happened to Lola was bad. I call her Lola because 1) She would not have gone by eudocia, not even with her own family and community. Filipinos have nicknames, always, with some exceptions (our driver Tommy’s actual first name is Tommy, so). 2) Lola means old woman as much as it means grandma, so for a lack of a name that isn’t just on her grave stone and birth certificate, we call her Lola, which people in the community would have called her at that age regardless. Which Kendall might have known had she not blocked every single Filipino who actually knows a thing or two. 

What happened to her was slavery yes. Not because she served an abusive family, but because she didn’t have a choice and they didn’t pay her. It is not the kind of slavery you can put a black American context to, which is what Kendall did. In order to understand just why she didn’t leave even at the opportunities she was given, you have to understand her culture as much as her situation. 

To do otherwise is an affront to anybody who’s experienced or experiencing the same. Filipino maids are being abused in every country, even paid. They’re treated like slaves today, at this very moment, but are not considered such because they have income, little as it is. But instead of saying “huhu how sad” and “we have to end their slavery!” think about why we do it and what could be done to make sure they’re treated fairly. 

And actually listen. 

Link and Zelda are ultimately reflections of the players themselves, and each time we revisit them they’re less archetypes (the hero and the princess), and more characters who experience doubt as much as anyone in the real world. Because Breath of the Wild depends so heavily on players’ personal choices, when Link develops over the course of his adventure, so do you. There are countless chances to wander or to rush to the point, to fight or to avoid conflict. It’s not a parallel that can be replicated in any other medium because no other medium relies so completely on its audience’s immediate decisions—and in Zelda, a world in perpetual adolescent flux, that feels particularly apt.
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Hamilton lead producer Jeffrey Seller on that Mike Pence statement

In November last year, the morning after the presidential election, the cast of Hamilton faced a day where they had two shows to perform, in the wake of a result that left many of them horrified. “It was a soul-crushing day,” the show’s producer, Jeffrey Seller, said. Some of the production’s actors told him they felt unsafe in America. A wardrobe person was in floods of tears. The company held a meeting, and discussed how to move forward. “We had to get up and say, now our play is more important than ever before, and we need to tell this story that embodies our greatest values as a country, as a democracy,” he said. 

Two weeks later, the theater received a call saying that Vice President-elect Mike Pence wanted tickets.

I’ll let Jeffrey tell it from here:

“I got out of the subway and I got a phone call from my COO, and she said ‘I need to tell you something. The Pence team has called and he wants to go to the show tonight, and what should we do?’…I’m not going to tell him it’s sold out because everybody knows we have tickets in our back pocket. And I said sell him the tickets. Then I thought, what am I going to say to my actors? How are they going to go on and perform for this man? 'Cause we know what he embodies.

So…I pulled out my iPhone and I wrote that statement. And of course it was three times as long…and I called Tommy, the director…I said 'Pence is coming tonight, what are we going to do? I wanna read you something. I know we’re not going to do this.’

Tommy is the clear-headed one in our group. I read him that statement and he said 'wow, let’s get Lin on the phone’. And Lin was in London making Mary Poppins 2 with Disney…

We read it to Lin, and Lin said, 'okay, let’s start editing it’. And then Lin started adding and subtracting to it with his own rhetorical flair. The three of us made a decision right then and there: we are going to do this statement tonight.

…I said this is going to be the story if we do this tonight, but it wasn’t about getting a story. It was about us using this opportunity to say 'look at us. We are here.’ It was a form of active communication, maybe resistance. And I’m proud of it.”

What happened next, in case you missed it. There was a substantial backlash, including from the current US president himself, although calls for a boycott proved optimistic at best.

so when the ny times reports about duterte being practically responsible for over 7k random deaths in one year, in metro manila alone i might add, y’all r silent af

but one guy decides to write about his (again, very EXTREME) lifelong experience with his house help in the atlantic and suddenly y’all are up in arms???? suddenly the philippines is a relevant country and u suddenly KNOW EVERYTHING about what goes on here???

What makes someone complicit—in a crime, in a moment of violence, in a slow-moving atrocity? Failing to speak? Failing to act? Allowing complacency to take over, until complacency is no longer an option? The Handmaid’s Tale, like the book that inspired it, is on top of so much else a nuanced exploration of all that. Its dystopia exists in the first place, we soon come to learn, because the people of the “before,” as the show’s characters tend to euphemize it, slowly allowed its horrors to come into being through the sum of small complacencies. “It isn’t my decision,” a feckless manager tells his staff as agents of Gilead invade their office, forcing the man to fire his female employees. He is explaining himself—and attempting to exonerate himself. “I didn’t have a choice,” the man insists … And yet, the show suggests, he might have had a choice, had he acted earlier. Everyone might have had one. There had been warnings, after all, of what might come, a series of omens people seem to have ignored … No one thought to speak up, until their power to speak had been taken away.

Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat (Morocco)

Set in Morocco’s capital at the mouth of the Bou Regreg river, the Udayas Kasbah (or as it’s also known Oudayas Kasbah) is one of the country’s most unique sites. Originally built in the 12th century and renovated many times since, throughout the centuries, it has been home to Arab tribes, Andalusian immigrants, and some of Morocco’s most powerful sultans. Walk up the steps leading to the imposing gate of Bab Oudaya and discover the winding streets of the Kasbah that will take you to Rabat’s oldest mosque, beautiful gardens, and an exquisite museum.

Ever since Harriet Beecher Stowe helped found the magazine in the spring of 1857, women have been integral to The Atlantic.

During the Cold War, a concerned Eleanor Roosevelt watched Russian influence spread to the world’s “uncommitted nations” and called for a re-dedication to the ‘American Dream’ in the April 1961 issue. In our August 1932 issue, Hellen Keller wrote a piece titled “Put Your Husband in the Kitchen,” in the form of humorous Depression-era business advice-giving. 

The covers featured here include one from August 1968 with songwriter and activist Joan Baez, in which she shares excerpts from her journal; Wendy Kaminer on “Feminism’s Identity Crisis” leading the October 1993 issue; and the July/August 2013’s cover story by Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” arguing that true equality entails sweeping policy changes. Do you have a favorite female Atlantic writer or artist? Comment below.

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The Atlantic: Why Do Republicans Suddenly Hate Colleges So Much?
Whether it’s safe spaces and free-speech issues or Trump’s lack of interest in higher education, the ramifications for the nation’s economy and schools could be serious.
By David A. Graham

This is a concerning trend.

I’ve had quite a few arguments with people lately about social science. These arguments were primarily about gender, and how I argued that gender is a socially constructed identity marker, while other people argued that it isn’t.

Now, I have a large body of academic research I’ve engaged with to back my argument up. I can pull from Butler, Foucault, Freire, and a wide array of academic journals. Those that argued against me couldn’t find a single academic source to back up their argument.

Part of this is because they didn’t really have any ideas to speak of. If gender isn’t a social construct…well…they don’t really have a counter-argument as much as an argument that I was wrong.

Now this is where we get to The Atlantic’s article. Every one of these arguments I had inevitably turns to “social science is pseudoscience”, which is jarring, not only because it’s a bad argument, but because it entirely disregards an entire history of academic research and theory because it conflicts with their ideological beliefs. Even more than that, it’s jarring that we’ve gotten to the point where we can just shed knowledge like a coat.

Conservative media sources have been calling higher education a breeding ground for liberal antifa fascists for a while now, and this is what happens as a result. Places where knowledge is constructed are now seen as partisan. The entire notion of expertise itself is up for debate.

This is scary stuff, that ideas aren’t being debated as much as they’re being invalidated by a difference in ideological stance. Conservatism is necessary in college to serve in dialogue with liberal ideology. When that doesn’t happen, when one party becomes the party of knowledge while the other becomes the party of ignorance, we descend into a dark place.

From David Wise’s cover story, The President and the Press in the April 1973 issue: 

The First Amendment clearly protects the printed press. But the Founding Fathers, after all, did not foresee the advent of television, and the degree to which broadcasting is protected by the First Amendment has been subject to shifting interpretation. Technology has outpaced the Constitution, and the result is a major paradox: television news, which has the greatest impact on the public, is the most vulnerable and the least protected news medium.

theatlantic.com
The Westernization of Emoji
The takeout box and the fortune cookie are perceived as emblems of Chinese culture, when they’re actually central to the American experience of it.
By Adrienne LaFrance

“I never saw any fortune cookie in my life until I was a teenager,” said Yiying Lu, a San Francisco-based artist who was born in Shanghai. Lu encountered her first fortune cookie when she left China and moved to Sydney, Australia.

Now, the fortune cookie she designed for the Unicode Consortium will be one of dozens of new emoji that are part of a June update. Lu also created the new emoji depicting a takeout box, chopsticks, and a dumpling.

The irony, she says, is that two of the four new Chinese-themed emoji—the fortune cookie and the takeout box—are not Chinese Chinese, but instead reflect Westernized elements of Chinese culture. “It’s kind of like Häagen-Dazs,” Lu told me. “People think its Scandinavian just because of the two dots in the name, but it’s American. It’s the same thing with the takeout box. The Chinese takeout box is completely invented in the West. And the fortune cookie was invented by a Japanese person, but it was popularized in America.”

[…]

“The people who fight the hardest for certain emoji are usually trying to fight for representation for themselves in some way,” Lee told me. “Most linguists say emoji are not currently a language—they’re paralinguistic, the equivalent of hand gestures or voice tone. But for people who use them, it’s almost like fighting for a word that [shows] you exist. When you come up with a word to describe your population, it’s a very powerful thing.”