The Swimming Pool Library


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Interesting and absurd,

“The Swimmer”: a jovial middle-aged Westchester resident named Ned “Neddy” Merrill, gin-drunk in his friend’s backyard, announces his intention to swim home by way of the fifteen private (and one public) pools that punctuate the properties between himself and his Bullet Park mansion. This setting is powerfully Cheeveresque, to the extent that Mad Men—which shook down many of Cheever’s stories for tone and content—located the Drapers’ Ossining residence on Bullet Park Road, a fictional street named for Cheever’s 1969 novel, Bullet Park. In “The Swimmer,” Ned’s impetus seems mostly romantic; a way of leaving the party in style, reassembling the built waterscape into something natural. “He seemed to see, with a cartographer’s eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county.” There’s no good reason for Ned to do this, other than the fact that he wants to, and believes he can.

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Naomi Skwarna — Hazlitt

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How Men and Women Have Different Dating Profile Pics


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Some very interesting data. Example – Men are less likely to smile than women in their profile picture.

Just 4.8% of women are in their swimwear in their main profile picture. Not many people wear their bathing suits in their dating profile photos, though women are 10x more likely to be in their bathing suits than men. Given that photos in swimwear tend of perform better on dating sites for both genders, perhaps it’s time for men to show a little more skin?

Wearing sunglasses in your profile photo is generally considered a no-no for your dating profile photo. 

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Priceonomics

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Silicon Valley’s Crisis of Conscience


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Esalen is the place.

Esalen is one such place. Another is 1440 Multiversity, a sleek campus in Santa Cruz County—the boutique hotel to Esalen’s summer camp. Spirit Rock, a meditation center in Marin County, recently held a gathering to discuss “technology as an existential threat to mindfulness.” There are invitation-only dinners, private cuddle parties, conferences called Responsible Tech and Wisdom 2.0. “There’s a lot of debate about what to call it,” Paula Goldman, who runs a new department at the software company Salesforce called the Office of Ethical and Humane Use, said. “Ethical tech? Responsible tech?” If the name is one source of confusion, the substance is another. Is it a movement, or the stirrings of what might become a movement? Is it evidence of canny P.R., or of deep introspection?

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Andrew Marantz — The New Yorker

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Tarantino’s Most Transgressive Film


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As usual, you can’t ignore a Tarantino movie.

We can’t have a movie like this. It affirms things the culture wants killed. If men aren’t encouraged to cry in public, where will we end up? And the bottom line is the bottom line: Audiences don’t want to see this kind of thing anymore. The audience wants the kind of movies the justice critics want. But the audience gave Once Upon a Time in Hollywood the biggest opening of Tarantino’s career. The critics may not get it, but the public does. Is Tarantino making a reactionary statement at a dangerous time? Or does the title tell the truth, that the whole thing—including those old masculine values—was always just a fairy tale, a world “that never really existed, but feels like a memory”?

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Caitlin Flanagan — The Atlantic

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In Search of Lost Time on YouTube


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Like the fossilized mosquito in Jurassic Park, these scraps of cultural ephemera hold the DNA of a lost world. From them I can extract and return from extinction a long-ago living room, with its red carpet and exposed-brick chimney. These drops of preserved time are generous, containing in miniature a thousand blueprints for memories: a suburban swimming pool sealed up for the winter, along with school friends’ train-track smiles, a history project on George Washington, neon highlighters, sour candies in the shape of keys fizzing on the tongue, social anxieties and family worries, the touch of a cousin’s warm, bald head, the starship Enterprise hanging among the stars (shot from below), the white noise of space.

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Laurence Scott — The New Atlantis

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A Foreigner in Beijing


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Chinese people are used to feeling ashamed of themselves on their home turf. The ancient sage Zengzi taught everyone to “reflect on [yourself] three times a day.” Modern prime minister Zhou Enlai famously pledged to “work hard for the rise of China,” mobilizing generations of Chinese youth into action – JFK would not have needed to admonish us. In addition, our post-1989 textbooks urge us to “let the Western imperialists who had trampled our land witness our strength with regret.” Further, because family scandals are not to be broadcasted, we see our faults but resent external criticisms. At last, we find ourselves torn between the alternating angst of humiliation and indignation.

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Liuyu Chen — China Channel

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Who had the most merciful death on Game of Thrones?


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Had to publish at least one Game of Thrones article.

By far the most agonizing death was that suffered by poor Shireen Baratheon in season 5—a death so horrible that Thompson had a difficult time even writing about it. The most merciful way to burn someone at the stake is to pile up green wood in such a way as to enclose the victim, so that they die from smoke inhalation fairly quickly. In the case of Shireen, the wood was stacked on a pallet at her feet, burning her from the bottom up and ensuring she was conscious for most of her agonizing death. It could have taken as long as 30 minutes for her to die. So Melisandre lied when she told a frightened Shireen, “It will all be over soon.”

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Jennifer Ouellette — Ars Technica

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