Sunday Reading

The Top 1% Must Stop Insisting They’re Not Rich Right This Instant:

"Sure, it's an objectively large sum of money," they say. "But it is far smaller after I spend it."

No shit.

Money pays for the costs of life. That is what money does. You can't fucking argue that, hey, your money doesn't go that far after you've already spent it. You used it! Paying taxes and paying bills and paying the mortgage and putting money in a retirement fund and going out to dinner are the things that money gets you. You asshole. Just because you didn't blow it all on jewelry, caviar, and cocaine doesn't mean you didn't get anything out of it. This argument is like a man eating a hearty meal, licking his plate clean, then turning to a starving person and saying, "Look, we're in the same boat. My plate is empty too!"

Podcasts from UCLA's Near Eastern Studies Department:

Inequality in Asia: The Local Effects of Global Capitalism:

A lack of a culture war truce in one graph:

Telling the Story of the Congo, "on the partial and often inaccurate narrative about the conflict in eastern Congo which has gained currency among policymakers in the West":

"One of the first speakers opened with a striking exercise: he pulled a map of the DRC up on the overhead and pointed to a variety of cities throughout the country, asking the audience how many people had visited each.  A healthy number had visited Kinshasa, and nearly as many had been to Goma or Bukavu, but very few had been to Lubumbashi or Kisangani, let alone Mbuji-Mayi or Mbandaka.  This is a very real result of the way in which our collective imagined geography of the DRC has shrunk to the extreme west (Kinshasa) and extreme east of the country, rendering the rest of the country not as no-man’s land, but as non-existent land."

Ask someone who recently went to Iceland:

If you go to Iceland and someone asks you to bring them home a pack of Icelandic cigarettes, and you go into a store to ask what kind of "local Icelandic cigarettes" they have, and the very sweet young man working in the store explains, without a glint of cruelty, that there are no local Icelandic cigarettes, only imported ones, because Iceland doesn't grow too tremendously much tobacco, it being Iceland and all, and you feel like an idiot, WELL let me spare you that experience, because that is what happens.

M.I.A. and the Impossibility of Selling Out:

[F]or anyone invested in M.I.A., even on just a superficial level, it's hard to reconcile the new video with where she ended her week: onstage at the Super Bowl halftime show. She performed alongside Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and a cast of hundreds. Rarely has playing the Super Bowl seemed like a brazen, risky move, but there is no going back once you appear on network television's highest-profile night, on a stage that's been graced in recent years by a murderer's row of people you weren't sure were still alive. Is there a greater sign of having accepted one's place in the mainstream? Her appearance, which was neither an invasion nor an occupation, neither radical nor chic, forces us to ask: Is it still possible to "sell out?"

Lin is not Tebow:

[I]t's for reasons completely disconnected from statistics where the differences blare like a siren. Tim Tebow's commercials and personal branding speak about how everyone has always doubted him, but in reality, he's has every privilege and advantage. He was home schooled but was still allowed to play Florida high school sports. He was allowed to play in a college spread offense built around his rather unique skill-set. He was drafted in the 1st round even though many scouts saw him as a mid to high round project. He is treated like an All-American superstar even without the game to back it up. His clean cut, Evangelical whiteness has caused Republican politicians sportswriters and a whole sector of sportswriters to simply swoon...Tim Tebow had the benefit of the doubt. Jeremy Lin was just doubted.

Pinterest: Delightful, Addictive, Theft:

One of the problems with this innovative and cool approach by the Wall Street Journal to writing about Pinterest by writing about Pinterest on Pinterest (and it is!) is that there you can't address that, more than early Napster, more than Megaupload, more than any government-seized hip-hop blog, Pinterest is entirely copyright-infringement. It's just that, unlike with music and movies, there's no dumb and hostile industry lobby that represents, say, "every photographer everywhere." If there was ever a place on the Internet that made you think SOPA was a good idea, it'd be right here! But there is, in the Journal itself, a spiffy little paragraph that saysthat Pinterest has found that being a website based on publishing other people's photographs hasn't "been a significant issue so far."

Jadaliyya Launches a Syria Page: