Myriam Robin, media reporter

“Donald and John: a boy presidential candidate and his imaginary publicist” by Ruben Bolling in The Nib

donald-and-john-weekend-read

Cass Knowlton, editor

“White nonsense: alt-right trolls are arguing over genetic tests they think ‘prove’ their whiteness” by Elspeth Reeve in Vice

“Andrew remembers feeling a ‘tinge of apprehension’ when he logged on to 23andMe. Several weeks earlier, he’d spit into a tube and mailed it to the genetic testing company, which analyzes customers’ DNA to estimate where their ancestors came from. But when he clicked on his color-coded ancestry chart, he felt relief: 99.7 percent European. He went to the Reddit page /r/WhiteRights, where he’s a moderator, and posted a screenshot: ‘Finally got around to checking my privilege,’ he wrote. At the bottom of the chart, he’d photoshopped in an extra line: ‘100% Goy.’

“23andMe’s services were initially quite expensive — $999 for consumer genetic testing when the company was founded, in 2006. But in late 2012, it dropped the price for ancestry testing to $99, and not long after, screenshots of DNA testing results began appearing on white nationalist message boards — first on Stormfront, then occasionally on subreddits related to white nationalism, and most frequently on 4chan’s ‘politically incorrect’ board /pol/, from which many alt-right memes originate. These screenshots help posters prove their own whiteness, or serve as an invitation to trash-talk others. (‘Eastern European? LOL you’re not even white.’ ‘nice bait, i have blond hair and blue eyes. whiter than you’ll ever be.’)”

Sally Whyte, journalist

“Vote on Germany’s next Youth Word of the Year” in Deutsche Welle

“Ever talked with an adolescent and felt like you were speaking a different language? Well, no matter what language you were speaking, you probably were. Youths all over the world tend to develop their own vocabulary that reflects the issues they deal with — relationships, school, parents, peer pressure — and the evolving technology they are growing up with. German teens are no different.

“So how can you talk like — or at least understand — a German youth? Each year, a jury organized by Langenscheidt publishers selects a German Youth Word of the Year. Suggestions are submitted by the public and whittled down to a shortlist. Through October 31, you can vote on your favorite by visitingjugendwort.de.”

Sophie Benjamin, engagement editor

“The sky’s the limit” by Jamie Hall in The Monthly

“If federal and state governments were serious about housing affordability, they would start by abolishing negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions, then follow the Henry Review’s recommendation and replace stamp duty with a broad-based land tax. On the supply side, they would make sure that Apartmentgeddon was just the start of a new era in residential building by offering financial incentives for sustainable high-density construction, aggressively rezoning inner-ring industrial land for high-density dwellings, and making it much easier for suburban homeowners to subdivide and generate medium-density infill development.

“That’s a tough sell. We’re not talking about a policy to fix a coordination problem, like universal public childcare, that would leave everyone better off after it’s implemented; or even a policy like free trade, where the losers could be compensated in a way that improves everyone’s standard of living. Morrison seems to be under the impression that boosting housing supply will fix affordability while leaving everything else the same. That’s mathematically impossible. As mentioned, every existing homeowner would be made worse off in the short run.”

Bernard Keane, politics editor

“Looking for the Beach Boys” by Ben Ratliff in the New York Review of Books

“Brian Wilson’s storied vulnerability will never be quite squared with his demonstrated ambition: in a short amount of time, and before the age of thirty, he had dealt with great amounts of American musical culture. One class of his songs, like ‘Shut Down,’ is built on Chuck Berry’s updated rhythm-and-blues — a driving beat under a twelve-bar blues pattern and wise patter about the will to win a drag race. (Roger Christian, a Los Angeles DJ, wrote the suggestive lyrics: ‘He’s hot with ram induction but it’s understood/I got a fuel-injected engine sittin’ under my hood.’)

“A different class, like ‘Let Him Run Wild’ and ‘The Warmth of the Sun,’ took up the lessons of the Four Freshmen’s vocal arrangements, moving them out of a jazz context and toward a new kind of rock and roll song — diffuse, harder to reduce, written with harmonic tension and shifting keys. For ‘California Girls,’ Wilson composed a twenty-second prelude for electric guitar, bass, cymbals, and saxophone long-tones that suggested an American pastoral symphony. For ‘Guess I’m Dumb’ — written in 1964 for Glen Campbell — you can hear him competing with Burt Bacharach, in sophisticated rhythmic phrasing and harmony, and with Phil Spector, in the imagining of sound as physical mass in a physical space.”

Josh Taylor, journalist

“Segregated suburbs” by Justin in Medium

“The preservation of local character has been a particularly hot button issue in Hurlstone Park (9km from the [Sydney] CBD) of late. After successfully blocking plans for the erection of some two storey townhouses (apparently overdevelopment, in this context), sixty people turned up to a funeral for a federation house of no particular note when the owner decided to knock it down and subdivide into 200sqm lots instead. This has lead Canterbury council to apply heritage protections to a ludicrous 60% of the suburb (or just about everything built prior to 1970) on an interim basis for the next 12 months.”

Dan Wood, subeditor

“Ken Loach: ‘If you’re not angry, what kind of person are you?” by Simon Hattenstone in The Guardian

“Young Kenneth was clever and ambitious. He went to grammar school (a form of education he despises because it plucks a few working-class kids out of their lives to ‘succeed’, leaving the others to fail) and had a voracious appetite for learning. He would sneak-read Shakespeare under the sheets when the bedroom light was supposed to be out. The family took the rightwing Daily Express, and Loach would read it cover to cover, never questioning its values. As far as he was concerned, it simply reflected the world. ‘I adopted the Tories like you adopt a team,” he says, embarrassed. How long did he adopt them for? ‘Probably until I was 19, when I went into the RAF.’

“After the air force, he went to Oxford University to study law. He became active in the drama society, performed sketches with Dudley Moore, started to direct, slacked on the academic front, graduated with a third and decided his future lay in the theatre. His father was devastated.”

Peter Fray

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