This week, we’re sharing stories from Ronan Farrow, Nawal al-Maghafi, Corey Robin, Minda Honey, and E. Alex Jung.
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1. The Black Cube Chronicles
Ronan Farrow | The New Yorker | October 7, 2019 | 42 minutes (10,500 words)
While investigating allegations of sexual-assault against Harvey Weinstein, Ronan Farrow was surveilled by an Israeli private-intelligence agency called Black Cube. Agents from Black Cube tried to get close with Farrow and other journalists looking into Weinstein — as well as several women who were planning on coming forward with their stories — in an attempt to suppress the allegations. An excerpt from Farrow’s book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators.
2. The Teenager Married Who’s Been Married Too Many Times to Count
Nawal al-Maghafi | BBC | October 4, 2019 | 14 minutes (3,554 words)
“Despite being illegal in Iraq, the BBC found that mutaa marriages were widely available in Kadhimiya. Out of 10 clerics approached by a BBC undercover reporter, eight said they performed them. Of those eight, we had further conversations with two who agreed to approve them for girls as young as nine.”
3. The Obamanauts
Corey Robin | Dissent | October 6, 2019 | 23 minutes (5,928 words)
“In retrospect, it seems obvious that such a smallness of vision could never withstand the largeness of the right. But, for Obama, opposing largeness with smallness was the point.”
4. On Finding the Freedom to Rage Against Our Fathers
Minda Honey | LitHub | October 7, 2019 | 13 minutes (3,297 words)
“Growing up, my mother taught us three girls how to read our father’s moods like the weather, how to discern their ever-shifting winds. How to carve out a childhood at the base of an active volcano. How to survive the flash flood that was my father’s temper, rage like water rising fast. He’d yell, he’d berate, he’d snarl. He’d snatch sentences from our mouths before we could finish them and twist them against us. This was at home. This was at school. This was without notice.”
5. Bong Joon-ho’s Dystopia Is Already Here
E. Alex Jung | Vulture | October 7, 2019 | 16 minutes (4,200 words)
Bong Joon-ho’s work reflects anxieties he feels every day—about the climate crisis, the widening income gap. “My films generally seem to have three components: fear, anxiety, and a kekeke sense of humor,” he says, using the Korean equivalent of “ha-ha.” “Humor comes from anxiety, too,” he adds. “At least when we laugh, there’s a feeling that we’re overcoming some kind of horror.” In his view, our world is already a dystopia, and all tragedy and comedy flows from this fact.