1. So you want to be a star
If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Back in the day, that statement referred to NYC. For today’s wannabe stars, making it here often means making it on the Internet, and then bringing your audience with you. What’s it like trying to make it in Hollywood when Hollywood is no longer a place, but an idea. Step one, get noticed. Step two, keep getting noticed. And the idea of making yourself scarce to avoid overexposure? It went the way of the VCR and cassette tapes. “That kind of scarcity used to be the model—successful actors like Tom Hanks would do one or two films a year, and that was it. The rarity of it was a kind of power. But … it’s no longer enough just to act and be part of great projects. You have to do it constantly. It’s why so many actors are moving toward TV—not just because they’re following the creative talents who increasingly work there, but also because TV puts them on screens consistently in a way that, say, an indie movie that shows at Sundance and then a few times in New York and LA does not. Actors, like everyone else now, have brands to consider and maintain.” From GQ: The New Rules For Making It In Hollywood.
+ With so many new content outlets, there are a lot more gigs available. But in today’s attention economy, Hollywood hopefuls are not only competing against other actors and singers. They’re competing against anyone who wants a piece of humanity’s most sought after asset: Your attention. And we all know who’s getting the most of that.
2. Background checkmate
“The GAO created a fictitious law enforcement agency—complete with a fake website and a bogus address that traced back to an empty lot—and applied for military-grade equipment from the Department of Defense.” There’s been a lot of debate about police departments getting military grade equipment from the Pentagon. What happens when a fake police department makes a request? From The Marshall Report: How Fake Cops Got $1.2 Million in Real Weapons.
3. Red Kush?
“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government.” Jared Kushner finally speaks (briefly in front of cameras, and more during a closed session). Here’s WaPo’s parsing of his statement. After the hearing, Jared introduced himself and delivered remarks. It was strange to actually hear him speaking. I expected him to sound more like Barry White.
+ President Trump continued to put the pressure on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, this time calling him beleaguered. And Axios reports that Trump has recently pondered the idea of Rudy Giuliani as AG. (Rudy says he’s not being considered and thinks Sessions was right to recuse himself.)
+ And given the vital importance of health care legislation, this is a pretty remarkable lede from Bloomberg: “Senate Republican leaders must decide which health-care proposal they’ll ask members to vote on this week, in what has become a series of all-out efforts to get their own members on board.”
+ President Trump uses his subtle touch to try to push the repeal along. “Obamacare is death.”
4. Ire and ice
“We used to look at things through the totality of the circumstances when it came to a removal order—that’s out the window. I don’t know that there’s that appreciation of the entire realm of what we’re doing. It’s not just the person we’re removing. It’s their entire family. People say, ‘Well, they put themselves in this position because they came illegally.’ I totally understand that. But you have to remember that our job is not to judge. The problem is that now there are lots of people who feel free to feel contempt.” From The New Yorker: An Ice agent speaks out.
+ “After fetching water, the employee called police, who found eight dead bodies and dozens struggling for their lives in the back of the sweltering 18-wheeler.” LA Times: Ruthless human smugglers blamed for deaths of at least 9 people left in a truck in 100-degree Texas heat
5. Joint Action Committee
We all know that America is currently encountering a drug scourge that has ripped across several states, resulted in many deaths, and increased crime levels. So you’d think the Department of Justice would be doing everything possible to limit the damage related to that drug problem. Instead, they’re getting ready to crack down on marijuana. (These days, you have to be baked out of your mind just to stomach the headlines…)
6. The path of Khan
“Many people in positions of power and influence, they have not broken bread with a Muslim. Part of it is reassuring them: The sky is not going to fall in. You are in safe hands. All the stuff that you worry about, I worry about as well. All the dreams you have got, I have got as well.” It’s a big enough deal that Sadiq Khan is London’s first Muslim mayor. But he’s also trying to run the city during Brexit and in the shadow of a series of terrorist attacks. (And, while being trolled by President Trump.) So far, Khan remains quite popular. The New Yorker: Sadiq Khan Takes On Brexit and Terror.
7. Take the long way home
The jobs are still in the urban centers. The affordable homes are a long way away. The NYT on Extreme Commuting. “About 180 miles to the west, in Bethlehem, Pa., Scott Ubert, a corporate chef in Manhattan, starts his extended day at 5 a.m. An hour later, coffee in hand, he drives 10 minutes to an open-air bus stop where he catches the 6:20 to the Port Authority Bus Terminal—two hours if the stars align. From there, he has a leg-stretching 20-minute walk to work.”
8. Surf’s up
“Scientists are still learning why people say they feel increased amounts of unity, reverence, and happiness in the water, Nichols told me. But if you look at the scientific recipe for flow states—the psychological term for when people are fully and pleasantly absorbed in what they’re doing—being in water checks a lot of the boxes.” The Atlantic’s Jaimal Yogis wonders if surfing is more sport or religion. (I’ve never been able to get up on a board and ride a wave, but in my mind, I’m a surfer.)
+ If water sports are a religion, then this guy must be either Moses or Jesus: Solving A Rubix Cube While Water Skiing.
+ If surfing is religion, then having Michael Phelps race a CGI shark is heresy. (If it had been a real shark racing Ryan Lochte, well now that would be entertainment.)
9. What’s up, Bub?
“Caporella said his company was a ‘financial phenomenon’ that happens ‘when potential is unable to be quantified, but is undergoing excessive growth performance (with no visible end to these remarkable results).'” I can’t really explain what that means. But like most people, I also can’t quite figure out how LaCroix grew to become a fizzy water that draws a cult-like devotion. (Though, I’m pretty sure it’s just that it’s better to drink out of cans than bottles.) Bloomberg’s Stephen Gandel argues that the LaCroix bubble is about to burst as its parent company goes from fizzy to fuzzy.
10. Bottom of the news
“The people who have the hardest time letting go, say camp directors, aren’t necessarily the campers themselves. It’s the parents of campers.” Are Helicopter Parents Ruining Summer Camp? (Looking back, I really respect my parents for letting me face my horrific summer camp experiences without their input.)
+ After more than three decades, Microsoft Paint is getting killed off.
+ Anyone who’s been to a San Francisco Giants game knows that the stadium DJ plays “Don’t Stop Believin'” whenever the team is down in the late innings. This season has been so terrible that they stopped playing the song. (And since the Dodgers are that color, we can’t even sing the blues…)