Books Magazine

Links 8/4/15

Posted on the 08 April 2015 by Cathy Leaves @cathyleaves
What does it take for the public to care about the surveillance revelations? John Oliver interviewed Edward Snowden in Russia, and the only question that seems to have stuck is the one about whether the government has access to very private pictures of Americans (Snowden's answer: not necessarily intentionally, but yes).
But most notably of all, Oliver might finally have pinpointed a way to make the debate about surveillance accessible to a wide audience. By honing on one aspect of the government surveillance, the capacity for intelligence agencies to access "dick pics," he captures the attention and summons the outrage of numerous passersby in a filmed segment in Times Square. Many of those interviewed can't properly identify Edward Snowden or don't quite recall what he had done, but all recoil at the thought of government access to intimate photography. 
The Atlantic: What It Takes to Make People Care About NSA Surveillance, April 6, 2015
The Iraqi military managed to drive out IS forces from Tikrit and is now formulating a more ambitious campaign against the Islamic State.
The general election campaign kicked off in the UK and the London Review of Books is following it. 
And here's the LRB in great detail on the "austerity con", which somehow managed to create a climate in which economic policies that increased the fall-out of the financial crisis rather than mitigate it won out against reason.
As much as a presidential race is a referendum on the candidates, it’s also a referendum on the dominant analytic style of the moment. The 2008 election was the campaign as soap opera, with an extraordinary cast of characters and the narrative suspense of the best television shows, scripted or reality. Four years later, it was Nate Silver’s world (all that mattered were the fundamentals), and the rest of us — Obama and Romney included — were just living in it, trying to parse which pollster’s numbers were skewed and whose models were best. At the beginning of this presidential election, the analytical innovations coming from the smartest academics offer a framework for following the race that is at once liberating and terrifying: Nothing really matters. Unless it does. 
NY Mag: Is Hillary Clinton Any Good At Running for President?, April 5, 2015
Pop Culture: 
The New York Times profiles Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black is coming back for a third season on April 18).
One of the most interesting things about the show, and its metacriticism of the genres it juggles, isn’t just how elegantly it addresses the solitude that the lone female character on many shows suffers in her particular TV universe. It’s also how resolutely the show refuses to place these genres in opposition to one another. There’s no condescension here; Alison’s suburbia gets as much visual and narrative respect as Rachel’s evil corporate empire. The characters find one another because the system that produced them and scattered them is breaking down. What emerges is a full, generative map of the possibilities that emerge when you let the Strong Female Character and her lonely sisters from other genres mix. By exploring the different directions that “genetic identicals” can take when differently nurtured, “Orphan Black” shows what a single actor can do when given the opportunity — and, by extension, reveals the interesting stories that emerge when women are afforded the chance to exist in rich narrative relation to one another. 
The New York Times: The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany, April 2, 2015

PopMatters interviews John Darnielle; the new Mountain Goats record Beat the Champ was released this week. 

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