Best of 2013,
Nicholas Lemann looks at the implications of the media’s coverage of the Kitty Genovese story:
An excellent example is the murder of Kitty Genovese, a twenty-eight-year-old bar manager, by Winston Moseley, a twenty-nine-year-old computer punch-card operator, just after three in the morning on Friday, March 13, 1964, in Kew Gardens, Queens. The fact that this crime, one of six hundred and thirty-six murders in New York City that year, became an American obsession—condemned by mayors and Presidents, puzzled over by academics and theologians, studied in freshman psychology courses, re-created in dozens of research experiments, even used four decades later to justify the Iraq war—can be attributed to the influence of one man, A. M. Rosenthal, of the New York Times.
Ron Suskind explores how his autistic son Owen found a voice through the lessons and sidekicks in Disney films. The story is an excerpt from the journalist’s new book, Life, Animated:
Owen’s chosen affinity clearly opened a window to myth, fable and legend that Disney lifted and retooled, just as the Grimm Brothers did, from a vast repository of folklore. Countless cultures have told versions of “Beauty and the Beast,” which dates back 2,000 years to the Latin “Cupid and Psyche” and certainly beyond that. These are stories human beings have always told themselves to make their way in the world.
But what draws kids like Owen to these movies is something even more elemental. Walt Disney told his early animators that the characters and the scenes should be so vivid and clear that they could be understood with the sound turned off. Inadvertently, this creates a dream portal for those who struggle with auditory processing, especially, in recent decades, when the films can be rewound and replayed many times.
Inside the long career of RuPaul Charles, "the world's pre-eminent drag queen."
RuPaul Charles zoomed down Sunset Boulevard in a 1979 red Volvo he inherited from his mother. He wore a pinstripe suit and an open-collar shirt revealing a wedge of shaved chest.
“Hollywood is an idea,” he said, as the Bee Gees blared on the radio. “It’s not a real place.”
He stared down the road through oversize sunglasses. “It’s more of a concept,” he continued. “So, to step behind the curtain of the dream factory, things are never what they seem to be, and that is by design.”
While reporting for The New York Times, Kevin Roose went undercover and snuck into an exclusive annual dinner party for Kappa Beta Phi, Wall Street's Secret Society. [Excerpted from Roose's book, Young Money]:
Bill Mulrow, a top executive at the Blackstone Group (who was later appointed chairman of the New York State Housing Finance Agency), and Emil Henry, a hedge fund manager with Tiger Infrastructure Partners and former assistant secretary of the Treasury, performed a bizarre two-man comedy skit. Mulrow was dressed in raggedy, tie-dye clothes to play the part of a liberal radical, and Henry was playing the part of a wealthy baron. They exchanged lines as if staging a debate between the 99 percent and the 1 percent. (“Bill, look at you! You’re pathetic, you liberal! You need a bath!” Henry shouted. “My God, you callow, insensitive Republican! Don’t you know what we need to do? We need to create jobs,” Mulrow shot back.)
The behind-the-scenes story of how NFL prospect Michael Sam came out:
The plan was set. The story would break right after the NFL Combine simultaneously on ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports. There might be a couple interviews after that, but otherwise Sam would focus on football.The timing, however, would quickly change. Even as the plan was being formulated, it was like outrunning an avalanche. Every day it became more apparent that too many people knew what was coming. While Collins had kept his coming out a secret held among just a few trusted confidants, Sam's sexual orientation would soon become the worst-kept secret in the sports media.
The plan was set. The story would break right after the NFL Combine simultaneously on ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports. There might be a couple interviews after that, but otherwise Sam would focus on football.
The timing, however, would quickly change. Even as the plan was being formulated, it was like outrunning an avalanche. Every day it became more apparent that too many people knew what was coming. While Collins had kept his coming out a secret held among just a few trusted confidants, Sam's sexual orientation would soon become the worst-kept secret in the sports media.
Here is Lynn Hirschberg’s 2008 New York Times Magazine profile of the actor, who was found dead Feb. 2 in Manhattan:
“In my mid–20s, an actor told me, ‘Acting ain’t no puzzle,’ ” Hoffman said, after returning to his seat. “I thought: ‘Ain’t no puzzle?!?’ You must be bad!” He laughed. “You must be really bad, because it is a puzzle. Creating anything is hard. It’s a cliché thing to say, but every time you start a job, you just don’t know anything. I mean, I can break something down, but ultimately I don’t know anything when I start work on a new movie. You start stabbing out, and you make a mistake, and it’s not right, and then you try again and again. The key is you have to commit. And that’s hard because you have to find what it is you are committing to.”