Weekend Reading, categorized (kind of) for your convenience.
- Assassination in Africa: Inside the Plot to Kill Rwanda’s Dissidents.
- In CAR, Joseph Zindeko and Seleka are Here to Stay.
- (Dis)Connected Actions? Youth and Duress in Africa.
- What Influence Do Women Yield in African Governments?
- Kenya Returns to 1984.
- Academic Bullshit Jobs.
- The Flipped Classroom is Decadent and Depraved.
- Student Debtors Slide Deeper into Peonage.
- College is a Promise the Economy Does Not Keep.
Since 2000, the average cost of tuition and fees has more than doubled, while student loan debt has grown at double-digit rates and well-paying jobs have all but vanished. Since 2001, employment in low-wage occupations has increased by 8.7 percent while employment in middle-wage occupations has decreased by 7.3 percent. The most popular industries pay poorly: According to the April 2014 jobs report, four of the top six industries that saw job creation were in the lowest paying fields. Meanwhile, in prestigious professions entry-level jobs have been replaced with full-time, unpaid internships.
Today’s youth are the best educated generation in US history. But opportunities are reserved only for those who can buy them. Young US citizens have inherited an entrenched meritocracy that combines the baby boomers’ emphasis on education with the class rigidity of the WASP aristocracy it allegedly undermined.
- Opting Out of Big Data is Harder Than It Sounds.
- The Inhumanity of the Death Penalty.
- If History Had Hashtags.
- Friendship and the New Haven Green.
- Scenes from the New York Tombstone Trade.
- (Un)becoming an Honorary South Asian, on what MIA represents.
- Why the U.S. Prison Population Exploded.
- Mad Men: A History of Freddy Rumsen.
- San Francisco’s Invisible Class War.
- Photo Real: On Photoshop, Feminism, and Truth:
Jezebel’s is a feminism that seeks its scapegoat in altered images. To refrain from Photoshop is girl-positive marketing gold. Dove Campaign for Real Beauty delights itself by putting out fake filters that chide retouchers. Magazines sign “No Photoshop” pledges. Clothing companies crow that they’ve never taken a clone stamp to their models’ thighs.
To these feminists, Photoshop is to blame to unrealistic body standards, poor self-esteem, and anorexia in teenage girls. The campaign against Photoshop is the perfect cause for white, middle-class women whose primary problem is feeling their bodies do not match an increasingly surreal media ideal.
Anyone who’s been at a photo shoot knows that even untouched photos bear only the scantest resemblance to a subject. A photo is frozen. A model sweats and bloats, ages, and dies. Framing is a lie. Lighting is a lie. Cropping is a lie. When you suck in your stomach, or turn your head so the light washes out your laugh lines, you’re lying as much as any liquefy tool. Untruth is baked into the process: Photographer Syreeta McFadden writes how the chemical makeup of some films is biased against dark skin tones. Even snapshots often don’t look like you, because you are not static. You are a three-dimensional being, torn by time. Photos are pixel ghosts.
Photos are lies because art is a lie. Art is artifice. Art makes things as they are not—occasionally in the service of greater truths.