A room wallpapered in (presumably unread) New Yorkers. Credit: lars_o_matic.

Hader said, “The Russian writers were fascinated by people who kept moving toward being unhappy, despite their intentions. And I do feel like there’s a huge balance thing going on in the universe. My happiness level has gone up, ‘Barry’ is a giant success, and I finally get to direct. But I get divorced.” 

A very good, thorough profile of Bill Hader by Tad Friend.

↩︎ The New Yorker
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I said that I thought the white nationalists and the black radicals understood power as a much more concrete substance than Western liberals had been willing to see it over the past several decades.

The true reality of confronting white supremacy, as learned in South Africa: “It means white people giving things up.”

↩︎ Harper's
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This is the video version of one of the best things we read last week, Patricia Lockwood's "The Communal Mind," about internet humor, Michael Jordan's tears, and the collapse of context.

She was asked to give a lecture at the British Museum. This was hardly deserved. Still, she stood there, and locked them in her mind for an hour. Her face was the fresh imprint of her age. She spoke the words that were there for her to speak; she wore the only kind of shirt available at that time. It was not possible to see where she had gone wrong, where she would go wrong. She said: garfield is a body-positivity icon. She said: abraham lincoln is daddy. She said: the eels in London are on cocaine. 

The set of thefts he describes as the most exquisite of his career are a study in simplicity and sangfroid.

The “World’s Greatest Art Thief” explains his primary motivation: an absent father.

↩︎ GQ
3w
In the ongoing argument over whether the universe preserves or prevents life, the preservers are currently winning.

While Alex and Senovia were soliciting small donations from neighbors, Benzeevi got on a plane to Israel to meet with Psy-Group.

How a “private Mossad” came to be involved in a small-town election for the hospital board.

↩︎ The New Yorker
Feb 13, 2019

In Flint, Mich., a 2013 audit found just 14 detectives were each juggling an average of 927 cases, including homicides and other violent crimes—a number, auditors wrote, that was “almost beyond comprehension.”

America’s violent crimes are down overall, but unsolved shootings in cities are up, leaving residents with a new uneasiness.

↩︎ BuzzFeed News
Jan 25, 2019

Joseph Thompson, a spokesperson for the Mesquite Police, said, “The suspect did use some racial slurs in each one of them, but it was insufficient to be able to prove that the offenses were motivated by racial bias.”

The number of hate crimes in the US is artificially low, and one reason may be that police don’t correctly classify attacks.

↩︎ BuzzFeed News
Dec 14, 2018

“A lot of things we consider electrification and decarbonization are going to play out through local planning,” Kristov says. “Whether it’s rethinking mobility in urban areas or retrofitting buildings, these are local initiatives that will create local jobs.”

How to redesign an outdated, centralized, top-down power grid.

↩︎ Vox
Dec 3, 2018

This battle is epic and undecided. If we miss the two-degree target, we will fight to prevent a rise of three degrees, and then four. It’s a long escalator down to Hell.

Thirty years after his early climate change reporting, Bill McKibben assesses our extraordinary hubris in the face of extinction.

↩︎ The New Yorker
Nov 19, 2018

As the lines started to build up, his employees got stressed out, and the stress would cause them to not be as friendly, or to shout out crazy long wait times for burgers in an attempt to maybe convince people to leave, and things fell by the wayside. 

A food writer reckons with the knowledge that his glowing review killed a restaurant by overwhelming it with too much business.

↩︎ Thrillist
Nov 16, 2018
Rosecrans Baldwin spent a month on a "life cleanse" in L.A. Getting his personality reprogrammed was never part of the plan.

I had read the Didion essay, had imagined being her there, or being the friend the people owed at a party, or having been so impractical as to have my sheets blowing in the wind outside my window, and it was easy to imagine her past as my future.

Alexander Chee on learning to live in—and love—New York.

↩︎ Longreads
Oct 31, 2018

Those who have lived their entire lives in functioning democracies may find it hard to grasp how easily minds can be won over to the totalitarian dark side. We assume such a passage would require slow, laborious persuasion. It does not. 

Democracy is a hard-won, easily rolled back state of affairs—“from which many secretly yearn to be released.”

↩︎ The New York Review of Books
Oct 18, 2018
Evidence shows that literature can reshape a reader's mind—even perhaps when thoughts aren't overtly expressed or described.

I was glad I wasn’t wearing a wire, but mostly I was thinking, “If this gets bad, just claw your way over that fence to the street! Don’t let yourself fall to the ground with a hundred guys trying to stomp you with steel-toed boots.”

Confessions of an ATF agent who infiltrated one of Los Angeles’s worst motorcycle gangs.

↩︎ Los Angeles Magazine
Oct 18, 2018
An investigation into "a new and incendiary business: militarized contract killing, carried out by skilled American fighters."

He sent colleagues an email with video of the near-collision. Its subject line was “Prius vs. Camry.” He remained in his leadership role and continued taking cars on non-official routes.

A longread on Google’s overambitious former head of autonomous cars makes you wonder whether self-driving cars are worth the hype.

↩︎ The New Yorker
Oct 17, 2018

Walking around the Upper East Side, where I live, I find it striking how many of the establishments still standing among the many darkened windows are hair salons, nail salons, facial salons, eyebrow places, and restaurants. 

Manhattan is a wealthy ghost town, empty but for places selling things that Amazon can’t provide.

↩︎ The Atlantic
Oct 16, 2018
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