Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The secrets of Afghanistan / The female gaze on film / 2019’s best books / Loving and hating the New York subway / Boris Johnson and the future

This week: The secrets of Afghanistan / The female gaze on film / 2019’s best books / Loving and hating the New York subway / Boris Johnson and the future

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. The Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war
By Craig Whitlock, Leslie Shapiro and Armand Emamdjomeh | The Washington Post | December 2019
“In a cache of previously unpublished interviews and memos, key insiders reveal what went wrong during the longest armed conflict in U.S. history.”

2. ‘Hustler’s’ Greatest Trick Is Its Take on the Female Gaze
By Alison Willmore | Vulture :: New York Magazine | October 2019
“The intention is not to evoke the lust of the money-hurling mass of customers but to show us Ramona the way Destiny sees her, as this powerful, enviable whole.”

3. How photos taken from the sky are helping farmers
By Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal | Marketplace | October 2019
“Technology is changing the way most of us work these days, and farming is no exception. There are several new ag-tech companies dedicated solely to making agriculture more efficient.”

4. Our 50 Favorite Books of the Year
LitHub | December 2019
“Highlights From a Year in Reading by the Literary Hub Staff”

5. I Still Kind of Love the New York Subway
By Maeve Higgins | The New York Times | December 2019
“Sometimes I wonder if I can stand many more years of unreliable service. Then something happens that gets me all mushy again.”

6. Could Boris Johnson Be the Last Prime Minister of the U.K. As We Know It?
By Jonah Shepp | Intelligencer :: New York Magazine | December 2019
“British — or rather, English — politicians a generation from now could find themselves in a downsized House of Commons, debating whether breaking up with the European Union was worth breaking up their own union as well.”

7. The worst takes of the 2010s
The Outline | December 2019
“The past decade had a lot of pieces that should have been left unpublished.”

8. How Fiction Can Defeat Fake News
By Amitava Kumar | Columbia Journalism Review | Fall 2019
“There is fiction and then there is fiction — falsities that lead to lynchings and riots. Both rely on storytelling, but that’s like saying soil is used both in gardens and in graves. The way language is used in each case is entirely different, if not opposed.”

9. A Tiny Leak Led to a Massive, Unexpected Collapse at Kilauea Volcano
By Stephanie Pappas | Scientific American | December 2019
“Its caldera’s dramatic, surprisingly slow collapse could point to other risks worldwide.”

10. The War That Continues to Shape Russia, 25 Years Later
By Andrew Higgins | The New York Times | December 2019
“Haunting images show how the first Chechen war humiliated post-Soviet Russia, exposed its weakness, strengthened hard-liners and enabled the rise of Vladimir V. Putin.”

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Lupe Valdez / James Mattis gets personal / Moira Donegan and her List / Ronan Farrow’s ascent / ISIS selfies in NYC / How to be alone

This week: Lupe Valdez / James Mattis gets personal / Moira Donegan and her List / Ronan Farrow’s ascent / ISIS selfies in NYC / How to be alone

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Oprah buzz sparks debate about celebrity presidents
By Niall Stange | The Memo :: The Hill | January 2018
“On one level, a Trump vs. Winfrey race seems too surreal a scenario to take seriously. But the idea of Trump becoming president in the first place was met with similar disbelief when he entered the race in June 2015, and Winfrey has hinted before at a run.”
Also, from The Hollywood Reporter: Gayle King [says] Oprah ‘Intrigued by the Idea’ of Running for President

2. Could Lupe Valdez (or Oprah?!) Be The Key to a New Texas?
By R.G. Ratcliffe | BurkaBlog :: Texas Monthly | January 2018
“The two campaigns have launched — kind of. Both are long shots to have any real effect on the state.”

3. Away from Washington, a more personal Mattis reveals himself
By Robert Burns | Associated Press | January 2018
“Mattis, now the Pentagon boss and perhaps the most admired member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, is a storyteller. And at no time do the tales flow more easily than when he’s among the breed he identifies with most closely – the men and women of the military.”

4. I Started the Media Men List My name is Moira Donegan
By Moira Donegan | The Cut :: New York | January 2018
“The anonymous, crowdsourced document was a first attempt at solving what has seemed like an intractable problem: how women can protect ourselves from sexual harassment and assault.”
Also, from the Huffington Post: Moira Donegan Outs Herself As Creator Of ‘S**tty Media Men’ List
Also, from The New Yorker: The Whisper Network After Harvey Weinstein and “Shitty Media Men” (October 2017)

5. Ronan Farrow, the Hollywood Prince Who Torched the Castle
By Marisa Guthrie | The Hollywood Reporter | January 2018
“Farrow is now a hot commodity, aggressively pursued on the speaker circuit, and though he only has one short-lived TV news-hosting gig under his belt, he is being courted by a wide array of outlets.”

6. The Biggest Secret
By James Risen | The Intercept | January 2018
“My life as a New York Times reporter in the shadow of the War on Terror.”

7. ‘ISIS selfies’ on New York streets are chilling
By Tina Moore and Ruth Brown | The New York Post | January 2018
“One shows a man wearing an ISIS-branded scarf over his face outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art — and right near an NYPD security camera. Pedestrians can be seen walking by on the snow-dusted street.”

8. When rivers die — and are reborn
By Victor Mallet | OUPblog :: Oxford University Press | October 2017
“Most of the great cities of the world were built on rivers, for rivers have provided the water, the agricultural fertility, and the transport links essential for most great civilizations. This presents a series of puzzles. Why have the people who depend on those rivers so often poisoned their own water sources?”

9. How to Get Better at Spending Time Alone
By Maggie Puniewska | The Cut :: New York | January 2018
“It can be difficult for some people to get onboard with alone time because it can seem, well, undesirable. … But amid all the dire warnings, it’s easy to miss the fact that loneliness and solitude aren’t interchangeable concepts.”

10. Will America Ever Have a Woman President?
Politico Magazine | November/December 2017
“A year ago, it seemed like a safe bet. Today, it feels further away than ever. 20 women consider what it would take to get there.”