A Ukrainian City Under a Violent New Regime

A Ukrainian City Under a Violent New Regime

How the Russian occupation transformed life in Melitopol.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/23/a-ukrainian-city-under-a-violent-new-regime

After he came to, he was brought to the former base of the 25th Brigade, in Melitopol. Russian soldiers there were carrying out a process known since the Chechen wars of the nineties as “filtration,” a dark euphemism for separating prisoners into categories, with varying degrees of violence applied to each. As Oleksa remembered, interrogators at the airbase were intent on sniffing out anyone they considered a Ukrainian nationalist. Prisoners from Ukrainian military units such as Azov, which has attracted fighters with far-right sympathies, were subjected to regular beatings and torture. Some were locked in a metal safe until they lost consciousness and had to be revived by Russian Army doctors. Oleksa got off relatively lightly: a Russian officer told his soldiers that Oleksa’s head was already smashed in, and not to hit him too hard.

Coffeezilla, the YouTuber Exposing Crypto Scams

Coffeezilla, the YouTuber Exposing Crypto Scams

In the golden age of con artistry, self-proclaimed finance gurus are everywhere, with few checks on their claims.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-southwest/coffeezilla-the-youtuber-exposing-crypto-scams

when I discovered crypto for the first time, it was, like, ‘Oh, that guy lost, like, five hundred thousand on Tuesday,’ ” he said. “Crypto scams are like discovering fentanyl when you’ve been used to Oxy. It’s a hundred times more powerful, and way worse. And there were just not that many people talking about it.

Samuel Alito’s “Amelia Bedelia” Reading of the Constitution

Samuel Alito’s “Amelia Bedelia” Reading of the Constitution

What the Supreme Court Justice’s leaked draft opinion on abortion reveals about originalism.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/amelia-bedelia-meet-samuel-alito

Originalists argue that it’s not their fault that the drafters may have been slaveholders, or uniformly male, or white, or without any knowledge of contemporary technology or a more inclusive notion of humanity. Them’s the breaks; mere accidents of history

Matthew Wong’s Life in Light and Shadow

Matthew Wong’s Life in Light and Shadow

How a self-taught artist became one of the most celebrated painters of his generation.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/matthew-wongs-life-in-light-and-shadow

The canvases quickly piled up. When the piles overwhelmed his space, he moved paintings into the director’s studio—or he moved, to work in someone else’s space. In 2015, he noted, “There must be over a thousand works of mine in both Hong Kong and Zhongshan combined.” He knew that painting had become a compulsion. “Is there something wrong with working as much as I am?” he asked Shear. “Sometimes, I feel guilty. But I can’t stop.”

Madonna’s NFT Collab With Beeple Is a Matryoshka of Vagina Horrors

Madonna’s NFT Collab With Beeple Is a Matryoshka of Vagina Horrors

Can’t Madonna just donate to charity without making everyone look at a 3D scan of her vagina?

via Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/731767/madonnas-nft-beeple-collab/

The works, collectively titled Mother of Creation, are a matryoshka doll of nightmares, a sort of telescoping abyss of bad things contained in worse things, opening to reveal even worse things. Start with NFTs (already, fuck this) — multiply by Beeple (please quit while you’re ahead, or already slightly behind) — add Madonna (if you are not following Madonna on TikTok, you have no idea how weird it’s gotten, but be warned you cannot actually unsee the horrors contained therein) — and then, then have a nest of centipedes crawl out of her vagina. Also the centipedes are little robots. Also, Madonna is reading the poetry of Rumi in voice-over.

Our Misguided Obsession with Twitter

Our Misguided Obsession with Twitter

The social-media platform has become a spectacle driven by a narrow and unrepresentative group of élites.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/our-misguided-obsession-with-twitter

The survey partitioned respondents into seven “tribes” defined by shared beliefs and behavior. The group farthest to the left, the “progressive activists,” contained only eight per cent of the population, and the group furthest to the right, “devoted conservatives,” contained only six per cent. Combined, however, these two political extremes were much more likely to share political content on social media than the less partisan groups. As Haidt emphasizes, these two groups are also the whitest and richest of those studied, meaning that Twitter’s increasingly heated wrangling is not just far from a considered democratic debate but has truly become a spectacle driven by a narrow and unrepresentative group of élites.

Russian Tycoon Criticized Putin’s War. Retribution Was Swift.

Russian Tycoon Criticized Putin’s War. Retribution Was Swift.

Oleg Tinkov spoke out against his country’s war in Ukraine. Now he is in hiding. In an exclusive interview he said, “I don’t believe in Russia’s future’’ under Vladimir Putin.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/01/world/europe/oligarch-putin-oleg-tinkov.html

“I’ve realized that Russia, as a country, no longer exists,” Mr. Tinkov said, predicting that Mr. Putin would stay in power a long time. “I believed that the Putin regime was bad. But of course, I had no idea that it would take on such catastrophic scale.”

Henry Winkler Breaks the Curse of Stardom

Henry Winkler Breaks the Curse of Stardom

Now in his 70s, the pop culture icon has found his true calling on “Barry,” as the king of character actors.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/27/magazine/henry-winkler-barry.html

When the producers of the HBO series “Barry” asked Henry Winkler to audition for the role of Gene Cousineau, they assured him that he was on a short list. Winkler said he was willing, as long as the list didn’t include Dustin Hoffman. “Because he’s a movie star. He’d get it. If Dustin was on the list, I wasn’t going in. They said no. I said OK.”

Can Liberty University Be Saved?

Can Liberty University Be Saved?

After Jerry Falwell, Jr.,’s ouster, some students and alumni have sought a more thorough excavation of Liberty’s values.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-education/can-liberty-university-be-saved

“I’ve always thought that, if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” Falwell said. The students cheered. Wahl felt sick. The pundits he’d grown up listening to said things like this, but, by now, something had shifted in him. “That’s when I realized—you’re not talking about Muslims like Christians talk about Muslims,” Wahl said. “You don’t love them. You’re talking about hurting them.” He thought of two Muslim friends he’d made that summer and wondered whether they assumed he felt the same way.

The Worst Boyfriend on the Upper East Side

The Worst Boyfriend on the Upper East Side

For decades, a man has romanced New York women, persuading them to invest in questionable business deals. How did he keep running the same scam?

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-local-correspondents/the-worst-boyfriend-on-the-upper-east-side

After a month had gone by, Rachelle paid Julia back herself, but this didn’t assuage Julia’s suspicions. Who was this guy, supposedly rich but obviously strapped for cash, who was borrowing large sums of money and trying to get her mother to invest in Connecticut real estate? “Nelson Roth,” Julia said to me, when I was passing through town that fall, “is the fakest fucking name I’ve ever heard.”

Werner Herzog Has Never Liked Introspection

Werner Herzog Has Never Liked Introspection

A conversation with the filmmaker about the place of literature, the toll of war, and the conviction that his writing will outlast his movies.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/werner-herzog-has-never-liked-introspection

When I wrote “Fitzcarraldo,” I was in San Francisco, and Francis Ford Coppola offered me the use of his mansion on Broadway. There was a little turret with almost three-hundred-and-sixty-degree windows, and I immediately decided to sit there and write. I gave myself ten days to compose the whole screenplay. From Coppola’s turret, I could see the entire bay and the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. I was completely mesmerized by what I saw out there, and, after two hours, I noticed I had only half a page. So I turned my chair around. There was one segment with no window, and with a ruler and a very sharp pencil, I made a cross on this segment, like the crosshairs in your binoculars. When I looked up from writing, I would stare into the crosshairs and then continue.

How China’s Response to COVID-19 Set the Stage for a Worldwide Wave of Censorship

How China’s Response to COVID-19 Set the Stage for a Worldwide Wave of Censorship

Authoritarian governments in eighty nations have enacted restrictions on free speech and political expression that were falsely described as public-health measures.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-chinas-response-to-covid-19-set-the-stage-for-a-worldwide-wave-of-censorship

on January 23, 2020, the city of Wuhan went into lockdown. The next day, Chen boarded the last train from Beijing to Wuhan. “When disaster happens, if you don’t rush to the front lines as soon as possible, what kind of journalist are you?”