Monday, November 24th, 2014


Cos and Effect

It's about the media. It's about gender. It's about celebrity and fame. And mostly, it's about asking ourselves why we ignored this story for decades. Let's start with an overview from the Washington Post: Bill Cosby's legacy, recast: Accusers speak in detail about sexual-assault allegations.

+ "The FBI says less than 50 percent of rapes are reported, and the Cosby case -- with its delayed reporting and laggard response -- is hardly unusual, nor peculiar to celebrity culture." In Rolling Stone, Barbara Bowman (who says she was drugged and raped by Cosby) explains: "We have a culture that re-victimizes the victims."

+ David Carr in the NYT on the media's failings, and the way times have changed. "We all have our excuses, but in doing so, we let down the women who were brave enough to speak out publicly against a very powerful entertainer ... It doesn't really matter now what the courts or the press do or decide. When enough evidence and pushback rears into view, a new apparatus takes over, one that is viral, relentless and not going to forgive or forget."

+ One comedy club remark, shared on YouTube, changed everything about how this story was covered. The Hollywood Reporter: How the Bill Cosby story snowballed.

+ Would things have been different if today's social media existed when Robert Huber wrote his Philly Mag piece: Dr. Huxtable & Mr. Hyde?

+ Social media drove the sharing of Sabrina Rubin Erdely's Rolling Stone article on a brutal assault at the University of Virginia, and within a week, the school's president suspended all campus fraternities.


Judgment Daze

A decision has been reached by the Ferguson grand jury. There will be an announcement tonight. It seems odd to release the decision at night. Are they optimizing for maximum riot? Meanwhile, Officer Darren Wilson got married. Buzzfeed is tracking the latest news.


The Defense Secretary Rests

"Hagel has been a quiet figure in most foreign-policy debates, particularly as the administration has struggled to articulate a strategy for defeating the Islamic State and stabilizing Iraq and Syria." And he's about to be a lot more quiet. Under pressure from the White House, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has submitted his resignation. (His book should be out in about 45 minutes.)


Bubbling, Crude

"We've got the largest-producing Cinnabon anywhere in the world." So said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council as he listed some of the signs that the oil boom "is what North Dakotans have hoped for, prayed for." The bubbling crude -- its economic upside and its environmental cost -- has completely changed the landscape of North Dakota, and created one of America's most interesting storylines. Here's one more installment of that story from the NYT: The Downside of the Boom.


The Lion Sleeps Tonight

"I'm gonna be like that lion the Romans had. They can just keep throwin' stuff at me, you know? But I'll be kickin' their asses every time! In the end I'll be sittin' there, licking my paws!" The New Yorker's David Remnick on the life and times of Marion Barry, who died over the weekend. "Give him this: Marion Barry was the most vivid local politician in the history of the District of Columbia." And then some.

+ CityLab: The best reads on Marion Barry, D.C.'s Mayor for Life.



"In the course of almost 43 years in solitary confinement, Woodfox has only had one period, of about three years, among the general prison population. The rest of the time he has been alone, spending 23 hours a day in his cell and one hour, also in isolation, in a concrete exercise yard." Albert Woodfox, the longest-standing solitary confinement prisoner in the US, just found out that his conviction has been overturned.



Even by modern-day Internet standards, Fab's rise was impressive. After being around only two years, the site was pulling in more than $250 million in sales. They also raised $310 million in capital. The company is now about to be sold for $15 million. On the plus side, the execs still get to have that PowerPoint slide that says: "My last start-up was acquired for $15 million."


Under the Influence

"Thankfully, you didn't have to feel gross for liking a Woody Allen movie this year, because he made Magic in the Moonlight and no one saw it." GQ lists the least influential people of 2014.


Three Finger Salute

The Hunger Games may have popularized the three finger salute, but Odell Beckham Jr. just introduced the three finger catch. Let's take a break from all the negative football stories and take a look at the greatest catch ever. (And yes, there were memes.)


The Bottom of the News

"There is no radio station WGYN in Chicago; the interview was fictitious, and should not have been included in the column." The NYT serves up one of the best corrections ever.

Americans drink more craft beer than Budweiser. You'll still be irritated by fellow bar patrons, but for different reasons.

+ Pot is legal in some states. So Black Friday is being replaced by Green Friday. That makes no sense. It should be Green Wednesday so you can get high before your relatives show up for Thanksgiving.

+ Thanksgiving turkeys are bigger than they used to be. A lot bigger.

+ And just in time for the holidays, families who hate each other in Western art history.