Best Of The Web
“The video Kevin Spacey posted on Christmas Eve has been repeatedly described as “bizarre,” with good reason: No one knows what it means. Wearing a Santa apron and occasionally sipping from a mug, Spacey seems to inhabit his House of Cards character, Frank Underwood, drawling things such as, “We’re not done, no matter what anyone says.” The monologue hints at a desire to return to Cards, despite his character having been killed off (“You never actually saw me die, did you?” he asks). It plays as commentary on the more than 30 allegations of sexual misconduct against Spacey: “You wouldn’t rush to judgment without facts, would you?” The confusion the video has sown may have distracted from the news that the actor was just charged with the sexual assault of an 18-year-old in 2016.
What’s clear, at the least, is that Spacey chose for his first significant reemergence to be a showcase—or “showcase,” heavy on the air quotes—of his acting. And for it to spotlight one of the roles that the public once feted him for. And for it to dispense thoughts about morality and truth. All of which makes a statement: Don’t separate this artist from his art.
As year two of the post–Harvey Weinstein reckoning unfolds, that old ethical question—can art be evaluated apart from its artist?—feels more and more academic. Whether or not they should, many people clearly are fine with being entertained by alleged abusers. The cheers outnumbered the walkouts at surprise comedy sets by the confessed creep Louis C.K. The rapper XXXtentacion faced well-publicized allegations of hateful violence, and yet since his death, his music has risen to mega-popularity. Art, it seems, can survive allegations. What’s more unnerving is the suspicion, now, that artists can weather them, too—by relying on the goodwill engendered by their work.”
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."