SHIA LABEOUF IS READY TO TALK ABOUT IT


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The unpredictable Shia LaBeouf.

Yes, LaBeouf is the guy who was handed a golden ticket and promptly lit it on fire. But too often we forget that everyone screws up on their path toward becoming an adult; and that few do so under the gaze of the public eye; and that by embracing the kind of capital-A Acting LaBeouf aims to do, we nourish the same spark from which his bad behavior stems. Tom Hardy, who worked with LaBeouf on 2012’s Lawless, points to the paradox central to their work. “A performer is asked to do two things,” he tells me. “To be disciplined and accountable, communicative and a pleasure to work with. And then, within a split second, they’re asked to be a psychopath. Authentically. It takes a very strong human being to sustain a genuine sense of well-being through that baptism of fire.” Then: “Drama is not known to attract stable types.”

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Eric Sullivan — Esquire

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How Original Was Shakespeare?


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If Franssen is concerned with the variegated history of Shakespeare after his death, Shakespeare’s Originality attempts to untangle the knotty roots of the playwright’s contemporary sources, inspirations and even plagiarisms. ‘Most people interested in Shakespeare’, John Kerrigan observes, ‘have wondered about his originality. Is it true that his plays were adapted from other authors’ plays, poems, and romances? Are his best-known speeches really lifted out of Montaigne and Plutarch?’ More consequentially for our understanding of Shakespeare, Kerrigan asks: ‘Does it matter, any more than it does when a classic movie is based on a novel?’

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Patrick J. Murray — History Today

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A Letter From Mosul


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Angelina Jolie from Mosul.

In Mosul, I felt I was standing at a ground zero of foreign policy failures over the last decade. But also in a place that represents the human capacity for survival and renewal, and the stubborn endurance of universal values in individual hearts.

I think of a father I met, and his joy that his two young daughters are now able to go to school again. Penniless and without a roof over his family’s heads, he spoke as if he had no more treasured possession than their report cards. There would be no more profound symbol of victory than every girl in Mosul being able to go back to school and excel.

Hero or War Criminal? Churchill in Retrospect


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A damning critique.

But the principal victims of Winston Churchill were Indians, ‘a beastly people with a beastly religion’, as he charmingly called us. Churchill’s beatification as an apostle of freedom seems all the more preposterous given his explicit declaration in 1941 that the principles of the Atlantic Charter would not apply to India. Churchill’s notions of freedom and democracy faltered at the frontiers of empire: he was an appalling racialist, one who could not bring himself to see people of colour as entitled to the same rights as himself. “Gandhi-ism and all it stands for,” declared Churchill, “will, sooner or later, have to be grappled with and finally crushed.” He spoke luridly of having the Mahatma tied to the ground and trampled upon by elephants.

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Shashi Tharoor — OPEN

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Elon Musk’s Fall from Grace


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Will Musk come out of this?

The conflicts of interest certainly seem problematic—and not just for the shareholders. Consider the following: as the two companies, SolarCity and Tesla, were delaying operations and refusing to bargain with workers, Brad W. Buss received $4.95 million as a Tesla director in 2015 alone, on top of his $32 million as the Chief Financial Officer at the insolvent SolarCity. Antonio J. Gracias, founder and CEO of the private equity firm Valor Management, sits on Tesla’s board and owned 211,854 SolarCity shares at the time of the merger. Steve Jurvenston, another Silicon Valley venture capitalist, earned over $6 million as a Tesla board member in 2016 and owned over 417,450 shares of SolarCity during the merger. His investing firm, Draper Fisher Jurveston, put $18.9 million in SolarCity. Nancy Pfund, a venture capitalist at DBL investors, another equity firm, owned over 1.5 million shares of SolarCity at the time of the merger, and Pfund’s partner at DBL is Ira Ehrenpreis, who owns the map software firm MapBox and is also a Tesla director. (In 2015, he secured an agreement with the auto company to use his software, at a $5 million fee on top of sales.)

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Andrew Elrod — Boston Review

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Fifty years on, Joan Bakewell remembers speaking to the pioneering artist for the BBC, shortly before his death


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Fifty years on, the interview remains a compelling watch. Duchamp’s significance was not what it is today but his reputation had risen again, after years in which it was thought he had given up art for chess. Artists like Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage had befriended him and seen him as a mentor. They prompted a revival of interest in the 1950s that was bolstered in the 1960s by Pop artists in Britain and the US and the first stirrings of conceptualism. It was only then that Duchamp had his first retrospective, at the Pasadena Art Museum in California in 1963. That was followed by one at the Tate Gallery in London in 1966.

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Philip Roth and the Roots of American Rage


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RIP Philip Roth.

Roth, who died Tuesday at age 85, never had children. Yet he wrote perceptively and with great empathy for Seymour “the Swede” Levov, the novel’s protagonist, whose love for his daughter, Merry, knows no bounds and is utterly unrequited. Handsome, affable, responsible, and wealthy, the Swede does everything right by the standards of the midcentury American bourgeoisie. He manages a successful enterprise, procures a trophy wife, owns a tasteful estate in the Jersey suburbs, and fathers a girl who brings ruin to it all. There is a rage within Merry, which, as she grows older, explodes (quite literally) in political radicalism before she smothers her inner flames under Far-Eastern asceticism.

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Sohrab Ahmari — Commentary

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