home Must Reads Must reads: Pop culture, recession, Jill Stein, genetic engineering, Parliament

Must reads: Pop culture, recession, Jill Stein, genetic engineering, Parliament

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Without further ado, here’s what we’re reading…

Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig Flip the Script‘ (Rebecca Keegan for Vanity Fair)

If you haven’t watched Get Out yet, you absolutely must — and hopefully this profile will convince you that it’s totally worth it.

Peele assembled his cast with an eye toward realism, enlisting Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, and Catherine Keener as the white family of Kaluuya’s character’s nightmares. “I knew I’ve got this movie that has, you know, white people doing brain surgery on black people, and it’s a pulpy concept,” Peele said. “The only way this movie works is if, no matter how over-the-top it is, everything feels as real as possible. So with any performance and any detail that doesn’t feel like it could, or would, really happen . . . you have to adjust.” Peele held to his vision. He even persuaded Universal’s marketing department to keep a key reveal from the film out of the trailer, an impressive feat for a first-time director working with major-studio marketers.

The Never-Ending Foreclosure‘ (Alana Semuels for The Atlantic)

Officially, the US recession is over. But for a lot of families, it very much doesn’t feel that way. This story singles out one family for a closer look, but they’re not unique, or exceptional — this is a systemic, endless problem with no clear solution in sight.

Staying in hotels led to even more turmoil. Because the family chose hotels close to Juan’s workplace, they were far from the West Covina school district, and Karina was worried that if she told the school district they were homeless, her children would be taken away. So the three youngest children left the schools they’d been attending and enrolled in an online school. They did their school work in hotel rooms or in Starbucks, where they could reliably get free WiFi. The children were prohibited from telling their extended family or friends what was going on, and their friendships slowly eroded as they tired of evading questions about where they were living and why their friends couldn’t come over. “We started to get isolated from everybody, and ended up becoming a little island,” Juanito told me.

Everybody Hates Jill‘ (Eve Peyser for Vice)

Jill Stein has earned the enmity of millions across the US — whether because her policies and public comments were horrible and poorly thought out, or because they’re convinced she threw the election. (She didn’t: All polling evidence strongly indicates that, as with prior Green scourge Ralph Nader and Al Gore, Stein voters wouldn’t have flipped to Secretary Clinton.) This profile is an interesting look at a polarising woman.

Stein is no stranger to losing things. When we met again a couple months later, we spent 15 minutes looking for her car, a blue Prius with a green “JILL STEIN” bumper sticker, after she forgot where she parked. She’s also lost the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial race, a 2004 Massachusetts House of Representatives race, the 2006 Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth race, the 2010 Massachusetts gubernatorial race, the 2012 presidential race, and the 2016 presidential race.

Genetically Engineering Yourself Sounds Like a Horrible Idea—But This Guy Is Doing It Anyway‘ (Kristen V. Brown for Gizmodo)

We’re living at the cusp of an era when genetic engineering will likely seem perfectly ordinary — and perhaps even obligatory, among some groups and social classes. Right now, though, it feels deeply weird and dangerous, so this profile of a man who’s pushing the limits is absolutely fascinating.

Zayner, 36, has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics from the University of Chicago, but a few years ago he decided to quit the scientific establishment—and a fellowship at NASA—to devote his time to selling inexpensive DIY bio supplies online, seeding the biohacking revolution one made-in-China pipette sale at a time. Hawking kits for DIY genetic engineering and basic science supplies to both hobbyists and schools, Zayner says that this year his company, The Odin, pulled in about $500,000 in gross revenue.

A tale of decay‘ (Charlotte Higgins for The Guardian)

There’s something darkly symbolic about the fact that the Houses of Parliament are falling apart, and this piece delves into the decline of empire, costly renovations, and what lurks behind fancy paneling an elegant ceilings. (Hint: It’s rot.)

Leigh is right that the palace is more than a just a building. It is the place – grand and tawdry, magnificent and squalid – that symbolises everything, both good and bad, about Britain and its democracy. Now it is dilapidated, ramshackle and dangerous. And no one seems willing, or able, to fix it.

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Photo credit: webhishek/Creative Commons

Photo credit: Susanne Nilsson/Creative Commons