Reflections on Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman (2017)


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Some will argue that without certain heterosocial tropes——dress-buying with witnesses, slow dancing, melting with some man into a softly-lit chamber——Diana of Themiscyra could not realistically grow her long-term interest in defending human innocents. For my part, a hero driven to joy and follow-through by something like Kant’s sense of duty is feasible for Wonder Woman, and worth wishing for.

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Joseph Spece — Berfrois

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Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet


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Free speech and Reddit.

Which Web sites get the most traffic? According to the ranking service Alexa, the top three sites in the United States, as of this writing, are Google, YouTube, and Facebook. (Porn, somewhat hearteningly, doesn’t crack the top ten.) The rankings don’t reflect everything—the dark Web, the nouveau-riche recluses harvesting bitcoin—but, for the most part, people online go where you’d expect them to go. The only truly surprising entry, in fourth place, is Reddit, whose astronomical popularity seems at odds with the fact that many Americans have only vaguely heard of the site and have no real understanding of what it is. A link aggregator? A microblogging platform? A social network?

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Andrew Marantz — The New Yorker

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Outspoken to Unspoken: Searching for Anne’s Voice after She Marries


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I loved the first four, where we journey with Anne from ages 11 to 25. Here was the character from the movies in all her spunk, wit, ambition, and imagination. She writes stories, goes to college, teaches, almost marries the wrong man, becomes a school principal, befriends prickly people, wins over the conniving Pringle clan, and comes to know herself better.

But when Anne Shirley becomes Anne Blythe, she doesn’t seem like the same person. I barely recognized her. I couldn’t find the spark and ambition of her earlier years. While she retains her quirky expressions, love of nature, and propensity to meet kindred spirits, her voice changes. After marriage it flattens and, in some cases, disappears altogether.

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Charlene Kwiatkowski — The Curator

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The god of China’s big data era


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Are we heading towards a nightmarish world where our every action is going to be rewarded or punished by the Government?

An Orwellian characterisation of social credit is the favoured narrative of English-language media and academia. Countless media stories compare the system with Nineteen Eighty-Four or other more contemporary cultural references such as the Netflix series Black Mirror. The underlying depiction of social credit in these instances is of ‘big data meets big brother’: a corporatist state spying on its population, hoarding vast swathes of personal data to be algorithmically synthesised into a single three-digit score that dictates one’s place in society. Punishments such as bans on individuals purchasing tickets for air travel have hit the headlines.

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Adam Knight — ECFR

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Ethics in the Next War


History is replete with circumstances that have forced decision-makers at every level to balance the conflicting pressures of military necessity on the one hand and military ethics on the other. In this century, however, western powers that have participated in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations have witnessed an alignment of strategic and ethical demands. In fact, the strategic demands in such operations have often been more stringent than the ethical ones. The proportionality requirements in just war theory and in international law do not prohibit foreseeable civilian casualties, but only those foreseeable civilian casualties that “would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.”[3] In recent conflicts, however, civilian casualties have carried tremendous strategic significance in addition to their moral significance.

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Joseph O. Chapa — The Strategy Bridge

SUPERBABIES DON’T CRY


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A good longread.

While I was pregnant with Fiona, I watched mothers around me strain equally hard for perfect pregnancies. During a trip to California, I stayed at the apartment of married friends who were out of town. Upon entering their home, I saw a note on the table, written by the husband. Please take your shoes off whenever you enter the door. Heavy metals found outside aren’t good for our developing baby’s brain. Another friend forced herself to huff and puff up and down her employer’s steps immediately after lunch because she’d been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and doctors told her if she exercised for twenty minutes after every meal, she’d stay off insulin. This same woman had lost her father a few months prior, and her mother blamed her gestational diabetes on grief. “You’re killing that baby!” her mom said.

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Heather Kirn Lanier — Vela

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“The most important relationship”: Kissinger on China…and America


In the practically last page of the book Kissinger cautions American policy-makers that “Americans need not agree with the Chinese analysis to understand that lecturing a country with a history of millennia about its need to ‘grow up’ can be needlessly grating” (p. 546). With Trump administration consciously eschewing the Messianism of universal values in favor of a more realistic (but wrongly executed) policy of national interest, Kissinger’s admonitions have less of a relevance than usual. But, as is likely, the US returns, after next election or the one after, to its traditional Messianism such notes of caution may be more apposite.

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Global Inequality