A Postcard From The Edge

NextDraft is off until Jan 3. Happy New Year!

Often, when a performer passes away, nostalgic adults will search for famous songs, scenes or moments to share with their kids in an effort to illustrate the impact the person had on the culture and their lives. When someone like Carrie Fisher dies, no such material is necessary. Because of the power and longevity of the Star Wars brand, adults and kids all understand exactly who Carrie Fisher was -- and we all feel a shared sense of loss and nostalgia today. Both because of her most famous role, and because of her willingness to openly share her personal struggles, we felt like we knew her. A few days after suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles, Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60.

+ Carrie Fisher was famous before she was born.


Pop Cult Members

"If you had to guess how strongly a place supported Donald J. Trump in the election, would you rather know how popular 'Duck Dynasty' is there, or how George W. Bush did there in 2000? It turns out the relationship with the TV show is stronger." We're divided when it comes to almost everything, so it's not much a of a surprise that there are divisions when it comes to our TV watching preferences. But the differences are more extreme than you might imagine, and they're more predictive than you think. From the NYT Upshot: 50 Maps of the U.S. Cultural Divide.

+ Having a heated debate with someone with opposing political views? Don't bring science into it. That only makes things worse.

+ "On 347 of the 360 days of data, Trump was the most searched candidate." From WaPo, an interesting look at what our search data does and doesn't tell us. The candidate America was searching for (on each day of 2016).



From the AP: "Doubling down on its public break with the Obama administration, a furious Israeli government on Tuesday said it had received 'ironclad' information from Arab sources that Washington actively helped craft last week's U.N. resolution declaring Israeli settlements illegal." The Bibi/Barry saga is just one example of the extreme impact personal relationships can have on geopolitical issues.


The Transformer

"The Nazis killed his parents, and three years in concentration camps almost killed his spirit, but when Henry Orenstein created some of the world's most popular toys, he proved that playing well is the best revenge." From Newsweek, Meet Henry Orenstein, The Man Who Changed How The World Plays. Persecuted refugees who come to America can do some amazing things.


Identity Theft

"You are transsexual, and you have to go for the surgery … It is accepted in our religion." Buzzfeed's J. Lester Feder with a very interesting story of how Iran ended up having the death penalty for homosexuality, but subsidizing sex reassignment surgery. It's also the story of just how brutally hard it is for some people to enjoy life's most basic freedom: Being who you want to be.


Don’t Quote Me

"I don't know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room." That was Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari with a particularly offensive quote (especially since "he said this while standing next to one of the most powerful women in the world, Angela Merkel.") But this was a year when it was tough to come up with a remark (or a Tweet) bombastic and offensive enough to really stand out. From The Atlantic: Here is the story of global politics in 2016 in quotes.


Good Times, Bad Times

Don't get down. The year wasn't all bad. Here's PBS Newshour with 13 undeniably good things that happened in 2016. Not buying it? Me neither. So here's Quartz with the most moving, striking images from a year of terrible news.



"Just days before Christmas, NYPD officers raided a home in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn with a warrant. The family inside of the house was immediately handcuffed while the officers searched for a suspect." After a few hours, the police realized they had raided the wrong house. But not before they posted a photo to Snapchat.


Men are From Mars, Women are from Serena

"If I were a man, I would have 100 percent been considered the greatest ever a long time ago." In an interview, Serena Williams reflects on her career, and the obstacles that have stopped her from fully getting her due. (The combined achievements of the Williams sisters is one of the epic sports stories of this era.)


Bottom of the News

"Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you want to look at it, it's a decent living in San Francisco right now being an investigator doing these kind of jobs, because here are so many of them." Former tenants are hiring private investigators to prove their old apartments are now being used as AirBNB rentals.

+ In addition to the other things we lost in 2016, Carnegie Deli served its last pistol (Pastrami Sandwich).

+ 2016 won't have NextDraft to kick around anymore. I'll be traveling and/or avoiding the news for the rest of the week. Enjoy the rest of the holiday season and have a great new year. If you need some material to binge, the year's best picks from NextDraft are in The Smart Binge, Music, and Book Guide.