The Academy Awards air Sunday night, which means a lot of moderately talented (white) people will win awards for, basically, reciting a handful of lines that were only somewhat convincing because of special effects and a months-long editing process. Did you really think American Sniper was that good? (It was not.) Even more disheartening, but not totally surprising: the winners are selected by a group of crazy and racist Academy voters. Isn't showbiz great?
"The Shape of Things to Come" by Ian Parker
The worktables are higher than a desk but a little lower than the Apple Store tables they inspired. This height—arrived at after much reflection—accommodates seated study and standing visits. (Risking self-parody, Ive later referred to the "simplicity and modesty" of the arrangement.) Samsung Electronics sells vacuum cleaners as well as phones, and employs a thousand designers. Apple's intentions can be revealed in one room. Each table serves a single product, or product part, or product concept; some of these objects are scheduled for manufacture; others might come to market in three or five years, or never. "A table can get crowded with a lot of different ideas, maybe problem-solving for one particular feature," Hönig, the former Lamborghini designer, later told me. Then, one day, all the clutter is gone. He laughed: "It's just the winner, basically. What we collectively decided is the best." The designers spend much of their time handling models and materials, sometimes alongside visiting Apple engineers. Jobs used to come by almost every day. Had I somehow intruded an hour earlier, I would have seen an exhibition of the likely future. Now all but a few tables were covered in sheets of gray silk, and I knew only that that future would be no taller than an electric kettle
"Destroyed by the Espionage Act" by Peter Maass
Until the FBI knocked on his door in the fall of 2009, a little more than three months after Rosen's story was published, Kim was a rising star in the intelligence community and a remarkable immigrant success story. After earning a Ph.D. in history from Yale University, he started his career at the Center for Naval Analyses, followed by four years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which designs and analyzes nuclear weapons. It didn't take long for him to attract attention. The intelligence community has a lot of experts on nuclear programs and a lot of experts on North Korea, but few who had Kim's expertise in both. Kim was even summoned to Washington to give a classified briefing to Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.
"The Evolution of R&B Drake" by Clover Hope
The fact that he's laughably crowned himself the "light-skinned Keith Sweat" (the '90s king of feeble throat singing) is only the surface. Drake is a faithful R&B head who consistently throws nods to his influences: Aaliyah, Jodeci, Lauryn Hill, Sade, Usher and even lesser known incredible talents like Case and Joe—artists relatable to Drake because their love stories mirror his marginally tragic millennial woes.
"Meet Tink, A New Voice For Proudly Imperfect Women" by Jenna Wortham
Still, for all of Tink's experimentation with different sounds and producers, she has so far managed to preserve the thing that makes her Tink: the ruthless precision with which she dissects her personal life in her music. Tink is a teenage girl growing up in America, and she mines material from her experiences to create relatable composites. Her peers know what it's like to find incriminating text messages on their lover's phone, about crushes that feel like rolling on molly, the despair of wanting to feel love, or the loss of friends who are gone too soon. Tink has created a trustworthy soundtrack for a generation raised on self-documentation, their lives captured in hastily written tweets, emo Facebook posts, and late-night snaps. For her audience, part of the pleasure is watching her come into her own.
"Law & Order: SVU 'Intimidation Game' Is Not What Games Are About" by Leigh Alexander
I know the world of game design, creation and play doesn't resemble Law & Order's sensational sketch. As a game critic for close to nine years, I've been trying to dismantle misconceptions and stereotypes about what gaming can be and for whom throughout my whole career. I'm as tired of the stereotypes as anyone. I think anyone of any age, class, creed, or heritage should be able to enjoy digital play without having to pass all the checkboxes required to join some consumer cult. I think they should get to just play games and reject labels, refuse gatekeeping.
"The CIA Once Ran Brothels and Dosed Unsuspecting Customers With LSD" by Cheryl Eddy
Operation Midnight Climax was one of a few operations involving government-employed sex workers conducting business in "safe houses" as agents secretly watched; similar outposts existed in New York and in Stinson Beach, just north of San Francisco. The brothels/science labs were part of the CIA's sprawling, clandestine MKUltra initiative, the infamous "program of research in behavioral modification," of which LSD experiments were just one element. MKUltra thrived in the 1950s and '60s, a time in America when paranoia about the Soviet Union and communism in general was sky-high. Hey, if tinkering around with mind control could secure some kind of military advantage, what could be the harm?
"King David" by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Carr was a master at activating the journalistic imagination. He was constantly imploring his writers—many of us under 25—to do something different, to tell stories differently, to break the form. He would have stories from Esquire or The New Yorker photocopied. He would distribute these photocopies to his writers, like the blueprints of imperial-army weaponry, and charge us, his rag-tag militia, with the task of reverse engineering. Then he would assemble us around a long table in the conference room, and quiz us on what, precisely, we'd gleaned from the future-tech of our enemies, and what of it we might use to turn the tide in the great war.
"On Falling In and Out of Love With My Dad" by Natasha Rose Chenier
I imagine that, unless you have experienced genetic sexual attraction yourself, this is going to sound entirely unbelievable. But trust me: it is as real and intense as anything. The sexual feelings I had for my father felt like a dark spell that had been cast over me—a description that a therapist told me had been used almost verbatim by another client who had experienced father-daughter GSA. In general, my guiding principle in life is being in control. But in that moment I had absolutely none. It was like those nightmares in which you scream and no one hears you: you are powerless and you know it. I was not only a victim of my father's two-year seduction; I also felt a victim of my own sexual feelings. I didn't know then what GSA was, or how common it is. (The incidence rate of GSA is unquantified due to the difficulty involved in reporting or researching it; a commonly cited, if disputed, figure puts it at 50% of relatives who meet as adults.) I felt ashamed of myself, and I had no one to talk to about it. I wasn't equipped to understand or handle my feelings.
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