Inside India’s booming dark data economy

Thanks to lax privacy laws and high consumer demand, details on everything from how you shop to who you date are all for sale.

Link: https://restofworld.org/2020/all-the-data-fit-to-sell/
As the men settled in the living room, her husband said he had something he wanted them to hear. He took out his mobile phone and pressed “play.” The audio was loud and clear: private conversations between Sahu and her friends and family, which had been recorded without her permission. And it wasn’t only audio: “call logs, SMS, and WhatsApp messages, each photo and video, recordings of my video calls — he claimed to have accessed everything,” Sahu said. That was when she realized that her husband had, for months, been spying on her.

My Mommies and Me

Searching for the soul of America in Mormon mommy blogger Instagram

Link: https://jewishcurrents.org/my-mommies-and-me/
On 9/11, a mommy posts a picture of two people jumping from the Twin Towers and captions it this photo right here is why I’m willing to speak out against the synagogue of Satan. Are the lizards in control, I wonder, or is the synagogue of Satan? Is there some relationship between the two? The mommies sell essential oils, get hair extensions, hold large indoor parties where they fete their one-year-olds. They post gender reveals and they pray the end of Roe v. Wade is near. October 17th comes and goes; JFK Jr. is nowhere to be seen. The year is winding down, but what is a year anymore? Time is a bowl of mush. One of my mommies puts up her Christmas tree the day before Halloween and posts a time-lapse of her children trimming its branches with tinsel. Some of my friends start their sentences, As soon as there’s a vaccine. The mommies start theirs, As soon as Jesus comes back. Election day comes and goes. The Saturday after, at 11:27 am, Brooklyn is one happy shout. But my mommies warn me that ten days of darkness are coming, that this has all been scripted, that the Texas Rangers are about to take Sleepy Joe into custody. We are entering a period of spiritual warfare, they say. We are coming to the end of everything.

The Journalist and the Pharma Bro

Why did Christie Smythe upend her life and stability for Martin Shkreli, one of the least-liked men in the world?

Link: https://www.elle.com/life-love/a35021224/martin-shkreli-christie-smythe-pharma-bro-journalist/
Soon after quitting Bloomberg, Smythe visited Shkreli again, fuming about the book industry’s rejection of him—and her. “I was so angry at the establishment, and people who wouldn’t let me tell my story in the book: publishers, Bloomberg, everybody,” she says. Without her job or her marriage “that totally eroded any defenses I had left.” Before, she had tamped down the sparks between her and Shkreli, but now, she gave them air. She thought about when he’d teased her about being a nerd in an old photo he glimpsed, and how she felt when he added her to his visitors’ list (he’s not a big fan of visitors, but wanted her to come). A realization hit her. In the visitors’ room, “I told Martin I loved him,” Smythe says. “And he told me he loved me, too.” She asked if she could kiss him, and he said yes. The room smelled of chicken wings, she remembers.

How Ammon Bundy Helped Foment an Anti-Masker Rebellion in Idaho

The COVID-19 pandemic has pitted establishment Republicans, who defer to public-health officials’ expertise, against hard-right libertarians.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/us-journal/how-ammon-bundy-helped-foment-an-anti-masker-rebellion-in-idaho
By the time of the August spectacle at the state capitol, Bundy and the health-freedom activists had spent four months staging increasingly bold protests. Inside the chamber that week, several legislators embraced the activists’ world view. “This emergency declaration created the situation that we’re in, not the virus,” Representative Vito Barbieri said. Barbieri represents a district just outside Coeur d’Alene, which, with a population of fifty-two thousand, is the largest city in the anti-government stronghold of the Idaho Panhandle. Two months before President Trump took the myth mainstream, Barbieri accused hospitals of “making up statistics” about covid-19 for profit. “N95 masks are of no value,” he added. The former representative Tim Remington, a pastor who represented the same district, suggested that the virus was not as contagious as reported. “I’ve actually laid hands on people that have covid and prayed for them. I never got covid,” he said.

Opinion | ‘I’m Haunted by What I Did’ as a Lawyer in the Trump Justice Department

No matter our intentions, lawyers like me were complicit. We owe the country our honesty about what we saw — and should do in the future.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/20/opinion/trump-justice-department-lawyer.html
The story of the Trump campaign’s attack on our elections could have been the story of the Trump administration’s four-year-long attack on our institutions. If, early on, the Justice Department lawyers charged with selling the administration’s lies had emptied the ranks — withholding our talents and reputations and demanding the same of our professional peers — the work of defending President Trump’s policies would have been left to the types of attorneys now representing his campaign. Lawyers like Mr. Giuliani would have had to defend the Muslim ban in court.

The ‘Red Slime’ Lawsuit That Could Sink Right-Wing Media

Voting machine companies threaten “highly dangerous” cases against Fox, Newsmax and OAN, says Floyd Abrams.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/20/business/media/smartmatic-lawsuit-fox-news-newsmax-oan.html
“We’ve gotten to this point where there’s so much falsity that is being spread on certain platforms, and you may need an occasion where you send a message, and that’s what punitive damages can do in a case like this,” Mr. Connolly said.

New York Times Says ‘Caliphate’ Podcast Fell Short of Standards

The Times cited an institutional failure and determined the “Caliphate” team gave too much credence to the claims of a supposed former terrorist.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/18/business/media/new-york-times-caliphate-podcast.html
After an internal review that took more than two months, The New York Times has determined that “Caliphate,” its award-winning 2018 podcast, did not meet the standards for Times journalism.

Emerald Fennell’s Dark, Jaded, Funny, Furious Fables of Female Revenge

A brilliant young show runner from “Killing Eve” unveils her first film, “Promising Young Woman,” bringing macabre feminist wit to experiences that no one wants to talk about.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/17/magazine/promising-young-woman-emerald-fennell.html
Fennell started writing after thinking over all the conversations she’d participated in about alcohol and consent — all the rollicking stories guys told about hitting on drunken girls, or getting them drunk to “loosen them up.” None of this was taboo when she was younger: “It was all completely normalized by all the American ‘raunch era’ films and TV that everyone watched,” she told me. “Drinking was part of seduction culture — and if people couldn’t remember things, it was often met with an eye roll.” Fennell questioned that logic. If having sex with a girl who was blackout drunk was nothing to feel bad about, then a man wouldn’t feel guilty if she turned out not to be drunk, would he? It made her wonder. “What if I went to a nightclub and pretended to be really, really drunk, and somebody took me home, and then just as they were removing my pants, I revealed I wasn’t drunk?” An image formed in her mind of a woman sitting up in bed, suddenly sober, and asking, “What are you doing?” She later described this very scenario to a producer. “I said, ‘And then she sits up, and she’s not drunk!’ And he went, ‘Holy [expletive], she’s a psycho!’”

The Overlooked Hallmark of the Trump Administration—and Other Autocracies

We generally understand the President’s failures as the products of cruelty and incompetence. But there is a third source: indifference.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-overlooked-hallmark-of-the-trump-administration-and-other-autocracies
I have written a lot of articles and several books about Russia’s transformation under Vladimir Putin, but the experience I’ve always found hardest to describe is one of feeling as if creativity and imagination were sucked out of society after he came to power. The reason is not so much censorship or even intimidation as it is indifference. When the state took over television, for example, it wasn’t just that the news was censored: it was that the new bosses didn’t care about the quality of the visuals or the writing. The same thing happened in other media, in architecture, in filmmaking. Life in an autocracy is, among other things, dull.

Wonder Women | Hazlitt

The fight for female superheroes in Hollywood.

Link: https://hazlitt.net/longreads/wonder-women
That would be Lynda Carter. In her starry trunks and scarlet bustier, both of which got skimpier as the seasons progressed, her Wonder Woman became the iconic female superhero. Despite the character’s activist origins, however, ABC didn’t take her particularly seriously. Wonder Woman was clearly satirical. It had a super cheesy theme song—“In your satin tights,/fighting for your rights”—used comic book-style speech bubbles, and its pièce de résistance was a ridiculous transformation involving a slow-mo beep-laden twirl. “Please, whatever you do, don’t ask me what I think of women’s lib,” Carter told Orange Coast Magazine two years in. “I’ve heard that question so many times I could scream.” It was a good way to avoid explaining why the first time we see Diana, she is running through a jungle in a gauzy pastel teddy and big hair like she’s in Valley of the Dolls. “There’s a reason it’s called jiggle TV,” says Cocca. “There’s a lot more running than you need to see.” Which is not to say Wonder Woman did not touch on feminism—it couldn’t really avoid it. “Any civilization that does not recognize the female is doomed to destruction,” Diana says in the pilot. “Women are the wave of the future and sisterhood is stronger than anything.” It’s just that she says it while torturing the woman beside her.