What we’re reading

Paul Krugman’s “In Defense of Obama,” published in, of all places, Rolling Stone, has been generating considerable buzz due to Krugman’s claim that, despite incessant media bashing and low approval rates, Obama is actually one of the best presidents in modern American history.

The cutest web content of the week award goes to the New York Times for their short video “What Happens When Second Graders Are Treated to a Seven-Course, $220 Tasting Meal,” which captures six New York City public school students’ reactions to a dinner at one of New York most highly acclaimed (and expensive!) restaurants, Daniel.

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In slightly more serious culinary news, the Times’ How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground” looks at how milk cartons and cafeteria pizza are fraught with questions of corporate interest, paternalism, healthcare and polarization in the wake of Obama’s support for the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and a re-conceptualization of school lunch menus.

Two pieces this week took an unflinching look at the reality of life in Cuba and its relationship with the United States: Vice‘s “Red Gold: A Quixotic Quest To Find Beef In Cuba,” which looks at low quality (and even, at times, dangerous) meat coming to Cuba from the United States and the New York Times‘ Editorial Board’s “End the U.S. Embargo on Cuba.”

For your dose of social commentary about ourselves: The Atlantic‘s “Why the White House Is Using Emoji” examines the impact of Millennial internet culture in the way in which government attempts to reach out to the younger generation. The article focuses on the significance of the White House Council of Economic Advisors’ report about the status of Millennials (titled “15 Economic Fact About Millennials”–yikes) that heavily used emojis to relay information.

Meanwhile, there’s Bret Easton Ellis’ rant about why Millennials suck so much, “Generation Wuss,” that just happened to be published by Vanity Fair. Would recommend if you like Bret Easton Ellis or rants.

The New York Times‘ “Pedophilia: A Disorder, Not a Crime,” attempts to deconstruct popular misconceptions regarding pedophilia while arguing that the current laws in place “emphasize punishment, not prevention” when dealing with a group of Americans with a genuine mental disorder.

On the heels of New York’s Comic Con this past weekend, FiveThirtyEight’s “Comic Books Are Still Made By Men, For Men and About Men” takes a statistical approach to questioning gender equality, adequate representation, and even the measures intended to bridge this gap, in the comic book industry.

The 350,000 Percent Rise of Christopher Wool’s Masterpiece Painting,” from Bloomberg Businessweek, charts the trajectory and ownership of  artist Christopher Wool’s Apocalypse Now, a painting with “just seven black letters on a seven-foot white background, spelling out, in all caps, a line from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now” which sold for $26.4 million last November. But what the piece really succeeds at doing is giving an insider view into the economically vibrant (albeit decadent) world of the art market, a world we typically view as giving a middle finger to the man.

Why Do People Love Times Square?” is both a question I ask myself a lot and an awesome video made by The Atlantic which chronicles one night in Times Square through interviews and vibrant footage of the simultaneous capital and armpit of America.

The Wall Street Journal‘s “A Musical Fix for American Schools” posits that rigorous musical training in schools is key to boosting public education.

Can a Kansas One Per Center Save the Democrats?” from The New Yorker, is self-explanatory: a look at the significance of the Senate race in Kansas, with the unlikely Independent candidate, mega-wealthy Greg Orman, pitted against three-term Republican incumbent Pat Roberts.

Gone Girl is that movie everyone asked you if you’ve seen yet–and then want to talk about with to you whether you answered yes or no. Well, here’s perfect conversation fodder for both respondents: “Lady Psychopaths Welcome,” Maureen Dowd’s look at the feminist (or antifeminist, or neither!) implications of the movie.

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