The Future of Travel


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New travelers are visiting all places of the world. What does it say about the future of travel?

Of course, fragile sites are growing dangerously congested now that there are nearly twenty international travellers for every one that existed when I was a kid; Kyoto currently sees 55 million domestic and foreign tourists crowd into the city every year—and the numbers are rising rapidly. But I’m never upset that travel is growing democratic; when I began commuting regularly as a boy, between my fifteenth-century boarding school in England and my parents’ home in hippie California, air travel felt like the province of a privileged few. Nowadays, the people on those same flights are likely to come from Bangkok or Busan or São Paulo. A once rather colonial enterprise has been turned on its head, and 2050 may well bring ever more comfortable travellers from Kigali and La Paz to Amsterdam and Paris.

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Pico Iyer — The Walrus

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The Historical Case for Optimism, Pessimism, and Caution


History is messy. Neither proponents nor opponents of the Trump-Kim summit should feel confident that history is on their side. History reveals reasons for pessimism, optimism, and caution. Attempting to critically engage the history of these nuclear negotiations can help the United States narrow uncertainty, prepare for a long diplomatic process should one transpire, and perhaps learn some tactical lessons. Given the paucity of concrete data on Kim Jong Un and his decision-making, humility in analysis is warranted. Confident statements about what the North Korean leader seeks before he tells us are misplaced. North Korea’s nuclear program has advanced significantly since the last nuclear deals, but the two sides seem to be getting closer to a formula for a possible deal. Any deal — if one is indeed possible — is likely to involve difficult trade-offs for both sides. Experts can help illuminate public debate on the merits of these trade-offs, but elected leaders will ultimately need wisdom for the hard decisions ahead.

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Patrick McEachern — TNSR

FACEBOOK AND FRIENDSHIP


Thoughts of some of my Facebook friendships came to mind recently as I read an essay by William Hazlitt. In “The Pleasures of Hating,” Hazlitt talks about the many things we come to hate, especially as we age. “We hate old friends: we hate old books: we hate old opinions; and at last we come to hate ourselves.” He continues:

Old friendships are like meats served up repeatedly, cold, comfortless, and distasteful. The stomach turns against them. Either constant intercourse and familiarity breed weariness and contempt; or, if we meet again after an interval of absence, we appear no longer the same. One is too wise, another too foolish for us; and we wonder we did not find this out before. We are disconcerted and kept in a state of continual alarm by the wit of one, or tired to death of the dullness of another.

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K. E. Colombini — First Things

 

Burning With Suspense


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Review of American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Landby Monica Hesse

Alfred Hitchcock would have appreciated Monica Hesse’s new book, American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land. It is the true story of a series of arson fires in Accomack County, on Virginia’s mostly rural Eastern Shore, which Hesse initially covered as a reporter for the Washington Post. Wasting no time, she gives away the ending on the first page of the Preface – in fact, on the inside jacket. So we know from the outset that Charlie Smith pled guilty to setting sixty-seven fires, all in abandoned buildings, and that he confessed to the crimes shortly after he was apprehended. The book is highly suspenseful, however, because we still need to find out just how Charlie was finally caught in a remarkable spree that extended over five months and, more importantly, why he did it.

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Steven Lubet — The New Rambler

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How I Broke, and Botched, the Brandon Teena Story


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The story that inspired “Boys don’t cry”.

For years, I have wanted to apologize for what I now understand, with some shame, was the article’s implicit anti-trans framing. Without spelling it out, the article cast Brandon as a lesbian who hated “her” body because of prior experiences of childhood sexual abuse and rape. (One of Brandon’s acquaintances had told me he’d said he was “disgusted by lesbians,” and several friends said Brandon had said, “I can’t be with a woman as a woman. That’s gross.”) I saw this youngster’s decision to lead a life as a straight man as incredibly bold — but also assumed it was a choice made in fear, motivated by internalized homophobia.

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Donna Minkowitz — The Village Voice

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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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Asian-Americans on being “likable” in the modern workplace


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On navigating racial stereotypes:

The stereotype that I run into the most with my own race is looking young. I was 27 and had just started a new job, and I was introduced to the team as a new person. One older woman said to me, “I don’t mean to sound ageist, but you don’t look like you’ve graduated from college.” It was like, what was the purpose of making that statement? I’m telling you that I have.The implication that I might be in school signals that I might be less than professional.

For Asian-American men, the leading stereotypes are being good at math and being good with computers. But when you narrow that down to East Asian men, you are also pegged as quiet, shy, and for many, socially awkward. I had a conversation with a friend who was categorized as being “stoic and unexpressive” even though I know him to be a very funny, likable person. If your communication skills are not that strong, it’s easy for people not to talk very much.

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PAVITHRA MOHAN AND ANISA PURBASARI HORTON — Fast Company

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