I’ve been obsessed with systems in government, and in business, that completely erase our humanity. That could mean an algorithm on Facebook that’s designed to prevent nudity but unwittingly bans one of those most powerful images from the Vietnam War. It means the lengths we’ll go to pretend that our phones are not built from slave labor. Or it could mean the layers of bureaucracy built into a company that allows its owner, now one of the President’s top advisers, to target and harass low-income tenants without sullying his own hands in the process. Read more…
Sean Nelson at The Stranger watched them all so we don’t have to.
It will surprise no one that the cinema of Steve Bannon consists entirely of conservative nationalist propaganda tracts designed to advance the values of the Tea Party movement, unacknowledged contradictions and all: small government, low taxes, militarism, isolationism, Christianity, self-interest, patriotism, contempt for America, everyone who disagrees with you is an elitist, immigrants are a threat, outsiders are the only real heroes, free-market capitalism is essential, regulation is tyranny, society is too permissive, Wall Street is corrupt, Democrats are hypocrites, liberals are fascists, Barack Obama is a fraud, and Bill and Hillary Clinton are worse than a thousand Hitlers. But above all, liberty. Always liberty.
Pro tip: Stop at the concession stand and get some Skittles before you start your film festival.
The video above is an incredibly moving piece by The New York Times Magazine’s Nikole Hannah-Jones, filmed at our Longreads Story Night in New York City. Our thanks to Hannah-Jones, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, and all of our special guests for an amazing night. We’ll share more clips from Story Night soon, and you can see all of our videos on our YouTube page or Facebook.
Cartel Land, the new documentary by director Matthew Heineman in theaters July 3, follows Dr. José Manuel Mireles, a small-town physician known as “El Doctor,” who leads the Autodefensas, a citizen uprising against the violent Knights Templar drug cartel in the state of Michoacán in Mexico. The above clip, exclusive to Longreads, features Mireles attempting to gather volunteers and support from one town.
Things have changed for both the Knights Templar and the vigilantes since the film’s completion. As Heineman told Variety: “Very, very quickly I realized that this story was much more complex and much more gray, that the lines between good and evil were not that clear. I became obsessed with trying to figure out what was really happening, who these guys truly were, where the movement was going, what the endgame was.”
More Stories from Mexico’s Drug War:
1. “The Hunt for El Chapo” (Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker 2014)
2. “The Murderers of Mexico” (Alma Guillermoprieto, New York Review of Books 2010)
3. “The Mistress and the Narcotraficante” (Ricardo C. Ainslie, Texas Monthly 2013)
-From Zadie Smith’s New Yorker profile of Comedy Central stars Key and Peele. Keegan-Michael Key reprised his role as Luther for President Obama’s weekend speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Michael Hobbes is a human rights consultant living in Berlin.
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Last May I wrote an article for The New Republic about how the AIDS epidemic has been way more severe in the United States than the rest of the developed world. More people have died of AIDS in New York City, for example, than Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland combined.
I know, it sounds like I’m making this up, that I’m reading the numbers wrong. I spent months trying to figure out what explained this huge gap.
Writing the article didn’t get me un-obsessed with this, and this winter, I started working on a video that put all the numbers and reasons in one place.
The nice thing about videos is that you can present a ton of information without having to explain each data point. Here’s the differences in death rates between US states, for example. I could only mention a few of these in my story, but I put all of them in my video.
And here’s one of the most major, most obvious reasons we do so poorly in keeping people with HIV alive in this country: We don’t get them on treatment early or consistently enough.
But it’s not just our health care system. The virus arrived here earlier, and it spread faster. By 1995, when anti-retroviral therapy became available, the U.S. had more than 750,000 people living with HIV. Germany and Britain had fewer than 40,000.
Anyway, I’m getting carried away, it’s probably quicker if you just watch the video. One of the challenges of these explainers is that it’s easier to present data, but harder to present caveats. HIV surveillance systems differ pretty significantly across countries, and even the term ‘AIDS death’ means something different depending on which country is reporting it.
All the epidemiologists I talked to for this story told me to think of the numbers as a range, subject to updates and re-estimations as more data comes in. I don’t think I did a great job expressing that in the video. Luckily, it’s on YouTube, so I’m sure we’ll have a sophisticated methodological discussion in the comments.
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You can read more from Michael Hobbes over at his blog, Rotten in Denmark.
The full talk is below, and you can see all our storytellers at our YouTube page:
Journalist Kiera Feldman, who we’ve featured on Longreads many times in the past, told this story during our special night with This Land Press at Housing Works in New York City.
Here’s her full story below. See more from the rest of our storytellers here on YouTube.