To them, bitcoin was like a catchy earworm; once they heard it, they had to hear it again and again. You make the money yourself … with the computer? You mint cash … with computation? You no longer had to find a link between ever-faster central processing units and the global economy? The fast computer is the economy and things are looking uuuuuuuup. And predictably, they lost their minds.
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African-American women have been burdened with a reputation for anger, aggression, masculinity, and inhuman strength since their arrival in the Colonial United States. The stereotype was used to explain why enslaved African women, unlike the delicate moneyed white women they served, were able to endure the lash, grueling work, rape, and sexual exploitation. It was more complicated to saddle the biracial candidate Barack Obama, son of a bohemian white mother from Kansas, raised in Hawaii by white grandparents, with being a source of simmering racial resentment.
Though plenty certainly tried. That was on the nice end of things. And she has challenged Fallon to a push-up contest, embracing her strength in defiance of those who question her femininity.
She is, according to Gallup, a First Lady with favorability ratings that, on average, have exceeded those of her predecessors. For every person who endorses a stereotypical characterization of Michelle Obama, many more have been moved by her obvious humanity to walk away from broken narratives about her and all black women.
When I started my last book in the early aughts, people to whom I mentioned the trans kids I was writing about were astonished that they existed; some were appalled by what they took to be a precocious sexual perversion. It is now accepted that you are who you say you are. Trans and gay are not the same thing experientially, but they have been amalgamated politically under the now-dominant LGBTQ banner — a necessity given the much larger number of gay people than trans people. But that very acronym speaks to diversity within this embracing queer community and acceptance of that diversity outside it.
How did it happen? I welcomed this new president, but I mourned Proposition 8 passing in California, revoking the right to marriage where it had already been granted; grieved over the state constitutional amendments in Florida and Arizona that made gay marriage illegal. But the setback turned out to be galvanizing. The coherence the movement for gay rights had achieved as it fought disease was now focused on seeking acceptance, and through a bewildering alchemy, the test case became marriage. I used to be ashamed of being gay. For all that I put on a good show of pride, I used to feel I was making the most of an unfortunate situation.
Partly, that changed because I grew up, achieved self-acceptance, met my husband, and had kids, all of which salved the regret. But also, the world stopped pitying me. The external validation of the class of human beings to which I belong has worked a subtle magic.
EIGHT YEARS IN AMERICA
Our assertions of pride have finally achieved that pride. Then, one by one, longtime members would share their sexuality. That, more than any magic verse in the Bible, began to make it more possible for us to have gay people be deacon or teach a Bible-study class. The last hurdle for us, though, was same-sex weddings. SC: Why would we get married somewhere else? JP: But they never said it in a way that was like blackmail.
They were so gracious in saying yes.
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We lost some families over this. And we miss those folks, but we had to move on. I went with his parents. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. JK: The initial meeting in Geneva had a little bit of posturing and some resistance. There had been months of negotiations leading up to that.
And we had to keep Congress briefed, we kept Israel briefed. EM: We were asking for a very substantial rollback of the nuclear enterprise, in return for political-slash-economic concessions on the other side. And the technical knowledge did matter. For [Iranian nuclear head Ali Akbar] Salehi, what was very important is that they were not entirely eliminating activities.
So, they still get to run some centrifuges for enrichment, but only the old ones. We would write on whiteboards.
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But I would never pocket something until we came back the next time and it was still there, since Salehi would have to go talk to his teams and maybe get pushed one way or another. On April 2, we got the interim agreement nailed.
We were cornered into that by the imminent potential of Congress passing additional sanctions, which would have blown the whole thing apart. The people who were opposed to it were passing a lot of disinformation around. He was tweeting. And so we needed to go public with the outlines of the deal. This is terrible. But we plowed ahead. EM: Getting to that last one was tougher.
I remember we all had planned to be home for the Fourth of July.
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The first of July came, the third of July, the Fourth of July. My problem was I was still in a gingerly state. We had to prop my leg up under the table. There were moments when I thought these guys just were not serious. But the alternative to this genuinely was a road to conflict.
Shadow War: A Poetic Chronicle of September 11 and Beyond, Volume Two: 2
EM: The deal really does have to be judged in a hard-nosed way on the peaceful-uses-of-nuclear-energy basis. Unless you were a member of a small number of families in New York City, it would have been very rare over the past century to open up a newspaper and find, between international news and entertainment gossip, pictures of your new nephew or a wedding announcement for a middle-school classmate. But we live in the future now, and this alarming, alienating, and totally compelling collage of news, gossip, hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and videos featuring two different species of animals becoming friends is the conventional way to get information.
Where Google requires you to seek out the news you want, Facebook will serve up relevant content the minute you open up the app. Ties Russia to Strike on U. Convoy in Syria. Meanwhile, newspapers, magazines, and digital publishers jockey for space alongside small businesses, enthusiast groups, multinational conglomerates, actors, DJs, models, actor-DJs, model-DJs, and users like yourself.
Who needs to search for news or, worse, rely on editors!
The result is less a media landscape peacefully democratized than one violently razed, its great edifices stripped for parts and its gatekeepers reduced to shrieking mendicants. The hacker dystopia Mr. Robot was different. Unlike, say, Lost, the fantastical elements of Mr. By whom? No one is quite sure. Fifteen years after the Patriot Act and the first drone strikes, and several since Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, Americans are not, whatever previous generations of alarmists warned, living in a George Orwell novel.
The world is much weirder than that. There could be no Guccifer the guy who leaked George W. Surveillance has not brought about total control and desperate passivity. Eventually, as with anything that becomes mainstream, woke made its way to memes, mocking people who believe they are deeper than they actually are. Part of that glee has involved shifting the mortifying burden of the job onto his young daughters, who have stood there, flanking him, every year while he tries out four or five minutes of excruciating dad jokes on the American people.
And still, year by year, something remarkable happened that changed the dynamic: The girls grew up.