Tag Archives: New Yorker

Grandmas Rise Up Against Millennials’ “Grandma” Lifestyle

Grandmas Rise Up Against Millennials’ “Grandma” Lifestyle

Absolutely perfect:

“…Grandparents are speaking out, disavowing any affiliation with the millennials who take daylong naps punctuated by brief scrolls through Twitter. Doris said, “It’s insulting. Today, I went to my water-aerobics class, played bridge for three hours, made progress on a Sudoku puzzle that has been stumping me for months, and tried a new recipe. Who has time to sit around like those kids, watching the Netflix all day?” Doris’s friend Maude Elser chimed in: “When my lover Hal left me for my canasta partner, I got myself a new canasta partner. I sure as heck didn’t stay inside and drink three bottles of Pinot Grigio by myself!” Calling oneself old is just as prevalent among millennial men as it is among women. Constance, who asked that her last name be withheld, recalled meeting her granddaughter’s new beau for the first time last Thanksgiving. “He was wearing a raggedy maroon cardigan, a bowtie, suspenders, and pants that suggested that he didn’t really understand the purpose of suspenders.” When the boyfriend proclaimed that he was “rockin’ the grandpa swag,” Constance sighed. “I didn’t have the heart to tell my darling granddaughter that her boyfriend looked like a bankrupt magician,” she said…”

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MOANING MOGULS

“The past few years have been very good to Stephen Schwarzman, the chairman and C.E.O. of the Blackstone Group, the giant private-equity firm. His industry, which relies on borrowed money, has benefitted from low interest rates, and the stock-market boom has given his firm great opportunities to cash out investments. Schwarzman is now worth more than ten billion dollars. You wouldn’t think he’d have much to complain about. But, to hear him tell it, he’s beset by a meddlesome, tax-happy government and a whiny, envious populace. He recently grumbled that the U.S. middle class has taken to “blaming wealthy people” for its problems. Previously, he has said that it might be good to raise income taxes on the poor so they had “skin in the game,” and that proposals to repeal the carried-interest tax loophole—from which he personally benefits—were akin to the German invasion of Poland.

Schwarzman isn’t alone. In the past year, the venture capitalist Tom Perkins and Kenneth Langone, the co-founder of Home Depot, both compared populist attacks on the wealthy to the Nazis’ attacks on the Jews. All three eventually apologized, but the basic sentiment is surprisingly common. Although the Obama years have been boom times for America’s super-rich—recent work by the economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty showed that ninety-five per cent of income gains in the first three years of the recovery went to the top one per cent—a lot of them believe that they’re a persecuted minority. As Mark Mizruchi, a sociologist at the University of Michigan and the author of a book called “The Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite,” told me, “These guys think, We’re the job creators, we keep the markets running, and yet the public doesn’t like us. How can that be?” Business leaders were upset at the criticism that followed the financial crisis and, for many of them, it’s an article of faith that people succeed or fail because that’s what they deserve. Schwarzman recently said that Americans “always like to blame somebody other than themselves for a failure.” If you believe that net worth is a reflection of merit, then any attempt to curb inequality looks unfair.

That’s not how it’s always been. A century ago, industrial magnates played a central role in the Progressive movement, working with unions, supporting workmen’s compensation laws and laws against child labor, and often pushing for more government regulation. This wasn’t altruism; as a classic analysis by the historian James Weinstein showed, the reforms were intended to co-opt public pressure and avert more radical measures. Still, they materially improved the lives of ordinary workers. And they sprang from a pragmatic belief that the robustness of capitalism as a whole depended on wide distribution of the fruits of the system.

Similar attitudes prevailed in the postwar era, as Mizruchi has documented. Corporate leaders formed an organization called the Committee for Economic Development, which played a central role in the forging of postwar consensus politics, accepting strong unions, bigger government, and the rise of the welfare state. “At the very top, corporate leaders were much more moderate and pragmatic, and, because that’s where national politics were, they were very influential,” Mizruchi said. Corporations supported policies that might have been costly in the short term in order to strengthen the system as a whole. The C.E.D. called for tax increases to pay for the Korean War and it supported some of L.B.J.’s Great Society. As Mizruchi put it, “They believed that in order to maintain their privileges, they had to insure that ordinary Americans were having their needs met.”

That all changed beginning in the seventies, when the business community, wrestling with shrinking profits and tougher foreign competition, lurched to the right. Today, there are no centrist business organizations with any real political clout, and the only business lobbies that matter in Washington are those pushing an agenda of lower taxes and less regulation. Corporate profits and C.E.O. salaries have in recent years reached record levels, but there’s no sign of a return to the corporate statesmanship of the past (the occasional outlier like Warren Buffett notwithstanding). And that’s one big reason that it’s become impossible for Washington to get things done, even on issues of bipartisan interest.

If today’s corporate kvetchers are more concerned with the state of their egos than with the state of the nation, it’s in part because their own fortunes aren’t tied to those of the nation the way they once were. In the postwar years, American companies depended largely on American consumers. Globalization has changed that—foreign sales account for almost half the revenue of the S&P 500—as has the rise of financial services (where the most important clients are the wealthy and other corporations). The well-being of the American middle class just doesn’t matter as much to companies’ bottom lines. And there’s another change. Early in the past century, there was a true socialist movement in the United States, and in the postwar years the Soviet Union seemed to offer the possibility of a meaningful alternative to capitalism. Small wonder that the tycoons of those days were so eager to channel populist agitation into reform. Today, by contrast, corporate chieftains have little to fear, other than mildly higher taxes and the complaints of people who have read Thomas Piketty. Moguls complain about their feelings because that’s all anyone can really threaten. 

ILLUSTRATION: CHRISTOPH NIEMANN”

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LEAN OUT: THE DANGERS FOR WOMEN WHO NEGOTIATE

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June 12, 2014 · 4:56 pm

GEORGE WILL’S COVETED SEXUAL-ASSAULT “PRIVILEGE”

“…By the logic of his “proliferation” narrative, there was some small number of rapes, and when women saw how attentive everyone was being to the survivors, and the “privileges” they got, they wanted a piece of the action, too…”

Uuuggggggggghhhhhhhhhh

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June 11, 2014 · 4:18 pm

Facebook Likes Predict Sexual Orientation, Religion, & More

Facebook Likes Predict Sexual Orientation, Religion, & More

Today at 11:44 am by Sarah Downey

“A new study takes the saying “what you like says a lot about you” to a whole new level. Researchers from Cambridge University analyzed 58,000 Facebook profiles and found that a person’s Facebook Likes, which are public by default, are highly accurate in predicting personal, sometimes sensitive details about him or her.

Simply analyzing a person’s Facebook Likes was 88% accurate in predicting whether a man is gay or straight, 95% accurate in predicting whether a person is Caucasian or African American, and 85% accurate in determining whether someone is a Democrat or a Republican.

The researchers concluded that Facebook Likes, these “relatively basic digital records of human behavior,” “can be used to automatically and accurately estimate a wide range of personal attributes that people would typically assume to be private.”

Most Likes that serve as predictors of other attributes, including whether a person is in a relationship or a substance abuser, aren’t obvious–it’s not as if single people Like pages called “I like being single” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” Instead, Likes that have seemingly no connection to certain personality traits are surprisingly linked. The researchers gave a few good examples:

The best predictors of high intelligence include “Thunderstorms,” “The Colbert Report,” “Science,” and “Curly Fries,” whereas low intelligence was indicated by “Sephora,” “I Love Being A Mom,” “Harley Davidson,” and “Lady Antebellum.” Good predictors of male homosexuality included “No H8 Campaign,” “Mac Cosmetics,” and “Wicked The Musical,” whereas strong predictors of male heterosexuality included “Wu-Tang Clan,” “Shaq,” and “Being Confused After Waking Up From Naps.”

7.4 million websites have Facebook Like buttons on them (not to mention the buttons all over Facebook itself), and that number is growing. Users can Like almost anything: photos, comments, musicians, brands, celebrities, and pages. As we’ve written about extensively, social buttons like Facebook’s Like button aren’t just for sharing: they’re trackers. Unless you’re using a tool like DoNotTrackMe to block them, they know which sites you visit and what you do on a website, even if you never click them. The mere fact that they’re present on a page means they’re tracking you.

This study illustrates how the little things you do online add up to create a highly detailed picture of who you are. You may not think that a Like here and there says anything about you, but they all add up–especially with Facebook’s new Graph Search that displays all your Likes with a single search…and those searches can be incriminating, embarrassing, or even dangerous (“Men in Iran who are interested in other men,” for example). Plus the long list of people with whom Facebook shares data includes advertisers, app developers, law enforcement, and other companies.

Even if you’re trying to be discreet by leaving personal information out of your profile, others can figure it out through your public Likes. If researchers with a limited budget can learn this much about a person through their Facebook Likes, imagine how big companies, advertisers, or governments could use–or misuse–that data. Are you the type of person who takes risks? Maybe an insurance company will hike up your rates. Are you politically conservative? Maybe a potential employer will pass on hiring you because of it. Are you someone who loves coffee? Maybe online retailers will charge you more for it than someone else (Google filed a patent for price discrimination based on online social data).

Your past Facebook Likes are listed chronologically in your Activity Log.

The only solution Facebook offers is using your Facebook Activity Log to un-like things one by one, but for many users with hundreds or thousands of Likes, this process will take hours. Be wary of third-party apps that say they’ll let you delete all your Likes at once; search for reviews to learn more about whether they’re legitimate. We advise you to rethink every Like you click, knowing that all of them can come back to bite you.”

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March 12, 2013 · 6:42 pm

POPE CANDIDATE AXED OVER TRASHY FACEBOOK PHOTOS

**this is a satire piece**

POSTED BY 

MARCH 11, 2013

boro-pope-break-post.jpg

“VATICAN CITY (The Borowitz Report)—The brave new world of social media torpedoed the chances of a leading papal candidate today, as a Dutch cardinal struggled to explain newly surfaced Facebook photos showing him on a 2007 spring-break romp in Tampa.

Cardinal Bonifacius Steuer had been on the shortlist to replace Benedict XVI as Pope, but his fellow cardinals abandoned him after the startling emergence of the photos, which chronicle Steuer on a seventy-two-hour nonstop-party rampage in Florida.

In the Facebook photo album, which Cardinal Steuer labeled “Tampa Phun,” the Dutchman appears at a dizzying array of frat parties and strip clubs, throwing gang signs at the camera and steadily drinking from two Old Milwaukees mounted on a beer hat.

Tracy Klugian, a job-placement specialist who helps papal candidates navigate the labyrinthine Pope-selection process, says that Cardinal Steuer’s downfall should serve as a cautionary tale to all Pope candidates who are active on social media.

“If you’re serious about becoming Pope, look at every single photo you’ve posted on Facebook and Instagram,” Mr. Klugian says. “If there’s someone on your arm who makes you look fallible, crop them out.”

While Mr. Klugian believes that the cardinals’ decision to blackball Steuer was a little harsh, he says that “at the end of the day, they couldn’t live with pictures out there of a Pope in a funny hat.”

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Photograph by Don Juan Moore/WireImage via Getty.”

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March 11, 2013 · 7:52 pm