Best Of The Web
“If you’re a socially engaged consumer, the past year of pop culture might have left you despairing over how to spend your money ethically. Do you forswear Yeezys to protest Kanye West’s dalliance with President Trump? Did you refuse to watch “Camping” to signal your disapproval of Lena Dunham’s since-rescinded defense of Murray Miller, a writer for her show “Girls,” who has been accused of sexual assault? (He denies the allegation.) And given the range of behaviors that have prompted #MeToo revelations, how should audiences distinguish between Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None,” Louis C.K.’s comedy and Harvey Weinstein-produced movies? It would be easy to default back to separating the art from the artist, simply to avoid being overwhelmed, or because you feel boycotted-out.
But if you’re looking for the definition of a worthy case for a boycott, you’ll find it in Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” miniseries, which concluded last weekend, and the long-running #MuteRKelly campaign. The R&B singer has become a prime example of how wealth can buy apparent impunity. He secretly married the singer Aaliyah when she was 15; was tried, though not convicted, on child pornography charges; reached at least five settlements with women over sexual-misconduct or domestic-violence allegations; and in 2017 was accused of running a coercive sex cult by the mothers of some of the women who were in relationships with him. Throughout, he has maintained his innocence, even in a recent, 19-minute track titled “I Admit.”
As I wrote in 2017, after that last story broke, it’s one thing to have some portion of a ticket sale go to an artist you disagree with politically, and another thing to know that the money you’re spending on art may well be underwriting misconduct. The organizers of the #MuteRKelly pressure campaign put it even more bluntly: “Radio spins = Club spins = Concert bookings = Cash to pay for his crimes.””
JJ Editor's Picks
"In a bid to create new space for green industries and fossil-free energy production, greater Copenhagen wants to build an entirely new business and infrastructure district on the city’s southwestern edge."
Donald Trump ran for president saying that he would be a shrewd businessman with a propensity for making deals. Why, then, are we in the longest government shutdown on record?
"There isn’t an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way that many outsiders seem to think... In the Israeli view, no peacemaker can bring the two sides together because there aren’t just two sides. There are many, many sides."
"I've always wondered what fans see in her. After debating with a friend about her “merits” for over half a decade now, I thought I had found the one thing that could probably change my opinion of the pop star: the Reputation tour documentary..."
"Even if the economy is on a roll, many Americans aren’t feeling the benefit... In fact, when adjusted for cost of living increases, real wages actually declined 1.3% since the end of 2017, PayScale found."
"Cutting ties with Facebook would mean consciously cutting ties with my own community, and I can't bring myself to do it. When I asked my connections on Facebook why they were staying, their answers were very similar to mine..."
Fear of the news; fear of climate change, fear of touch screens... these New Yorker cartoons portray the modern phobias that are driving us crazy.
"Texts replaced authors as the privileged objects of scholarly knowledge, and the performance of critical operations on texts became essential to the scholar’s identity."
"When I speak to parents’ groups about kids who are addicted to Fortnite and other video games, I tell them that it is the parents’ job to limit, govern and guide their kids’ use of video games..."
"Startups like Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Produce say they're helping to reduce food waste in America. Critics say they're deceiving their customers and making the problem worse."
"Scholars are now interested in whether having a vocabulary item for a concept influences thought in domains far from language, such as visual perception."
"The much-documented anti-Semitism of the British Labor party leader is no accident... Jeremy Corbyn reminds us that anti-Semitism is not just an irrational hatred, harbored by madmen at the fringes of British society."