It was always hard to believe Steve Bannon found a certain kind of success in Hollywood—a success that wasn’t measured by the kind of art he produced, but the third or fourth tier deals he managed to push through, often with Hollywood hardly knowing he was even there.
Maurice Bessinger founded a popular South Carolina barbecue restaurant called the Piggie Park that was “worth driving a hundred miles for.” He was also a Confederate flag-waving white supremacist. Civil rights groups led boycotts against the Piggie Park for decades, but after Bessinger died and his children put away the flags, people wondered whether it would ever be acceptable to eat there.
How a movement toward simple, nomadic life in Volkswagen vans has become commercialized sponsor-fodder in which “vanlifers” trade social media currency for subsidized van repairs and discounts. Is this a new partially barter-style economy or just an outdoors, office-free variation of work pressure to tend ravenous social media accounts? Is it really freedom or just another way to sell your soul, one social media post at a time?
At The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead profiles Margaret Atwood — Canada’s prolific queen of literature. Mead and Atwood cover the resonance of The Handmaid’s Tale in Donald Trump’s America, Atwood’s approach to feminism, and the purpose of fiction in today’s society. Beloved for her incisive mind along with her works, Atwood uses unlimited curiosity as her approach to a life well lived — whether that’s living in a tent while birding in Panama, engaging with her 1.5 million Twitter followers, or writing as a septuagenarian. “I don’t think she judges anything in advance as being beneath her, or beyond her, or outside her realm of interest,” says friend and collaborator, Naomi Alderman.
Faced with a terrifying past and an uncertain future, young refugees in Sweden are taking to their beds with uppgivenhetssyndrom, or resignation syndrome, “an illness that is said to exist only in Sweden, and only among refugees.”
A reported personal essay by Gary Shteyngart. The Russian-born novelist and memoirist confesses to an obsession with expensive mechanical watches, which intensified through the 2016 Presidential race. He quells his growing anxiety by taking tours of German watchmaking facilities, and comparing rarefied ticking treasures with other watch geeks.
One lawyer-philosopher had to coin the term “born-again paganism” to capture the theological doctrine he outlines in his 4-pound book about god and reverence and what daily life has to do with eternity. It’s kind of confusing.
How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency.
A must-read by Sheelah Kolhatkar. An activist hedge fund thought it had the perfect target by shorting Herbalife, a company accused of being a pyramid scheme that preyed on poor people. It turned into all-out war between investors and the company.
Davidson does some deep reporting on a sketchy deal the Trump Organization oversaw in Azerbaijan. The building of the Trump Tower Baku is linked to notoriously corrupt oligarchs and financiers of terrorism.