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“When people find out that I’m the new Carpetbagger columnist, tasked with covering Oscar season for The Times, they usually have two questions.
“Why is it called the Carpetbagger?” they’ll ask.
And, inevitably, it’s followed by that old chestnut: “Do the Oscars really matter anymore?”
The answer to the first question might suggest why so many are tempted to ask the second. If you count yourself among the curious, let me explain.
You may know that political candidates are far more likely than columnists to be accused of carpetbagging, since the Reconstruction-era term refers to, among others, someone who runs for office in a place he or she hardly knows. My predecessors in this space — David Carr, Melena Ryzik, and Cara Buckley — called themselves Carpetbaggers in sort of a cheeky way, since they were New York journalists who would parachute into Hollywood a few times a year.
Sometimes, it was their first time working the beat, and this could produce a wonderful friction, since the Carpetbagger was liable to spot details or ask questions that a jaded industry reporter might not think of.
I’m the fourth Carpetbagger, but the first departure from this time-tested model. For one, I live in Los Angeles. (Still, I like to say that we’ve retained the column name because now, as a Southern California native writing for The New York Times, I’m carpetbagging in the opposite direction.)”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."