9 Feb 2018

Weekly Reading: Best longreads on the web

12:53 pm on 9 February 2018

Our weekly recap of the best feature stories from around the internet.


Legendary music producer Quincy Jones talked to Vulture's David Marchese this week.

Legendary music producer Quincy Jones talked to Vulture's David Marchese this week. Photo: AFP

In Conversation: Quincy Jones, by David Marchese, Vulture

“It’s Trump and uneducated rednecks. Trump is just telling them what they want to hear. I used to hang out with him. He’s a crazy motherfucker. Limited mentally — a megalomaniac, narcissistic. I can’t stand him. I used to date Ivanka, you know.”

My Magical Quest to Destroy Tom Brady and Win a Philadelphia Eagles Mini-Fridge at Super Bowl LII, by Caity Weaver, GQ

“Justin Timberlake's halftime show was one of the eeriest events I've ever witnessed. For nearly his entire performance, the tens of thousands of people seated in the stadium sat motionless. They did not dance. They did not sing. They did not talk. They simply stared politely forward, the way you might if someone were giving a mildly engaging talk just before lunch at a business conference. All sounds of screaming excitement emanated from a group of people who appeared to have been brought onto the field and clustered around Timberlake's temporary stage specifically to provide an illusion of screaming excitement. I never knew something so loud could be so quiet.”

Could New Zealand’s Tough Media Laws Silence Our #metoo Moment?, by Tess McClure, Vice

“Considering a case like Harvey Weinstein brings those differences into sharp relief. As a public figure in the USA, it would be up to Weinstein to prove the allegations published against him were false, or published with reckless disregard. In New Zealand, it would be down to the media outlet to prove every last claim. The nature of sexual harassment cases is that they’re often covert and occur without witnesses. It’s not unusual for sexual assault victims to wait several years before making an allegation. They tend to leave little in the way of a paper trail.”

The Rise of the Social Media Fembot, by Amanda Hess, The New York Times

“Poppy is — to sum up her project most simply — an android-themed pop star. She first appeared on YouTube in 2014, in a video where she eats cotton candy while an overdubbed soundtrack plays oddly pleasant eating sounds. When she speaks, Poppy exhibits the limited range of a chat bot, the oddly formal vocabulary of a digital assistant (she says “New York New York” and “YouTube dot com”) and the late-capitalist tics of an online influencer. In “Hey YouTube,” she repeats vlogger greetings — “What’s up, guys?” and “Hey YouTube!” — until they lose their meaning. In “I am empowered,” she purrs, “I feel empowered when I create high-quality content on the internet” over and over again.”

Is There a Smarter Way to Think About Sexual Assault on Campus?, by Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

“What if, I asked, the idea behind the study was tinkering with the machine, figuring out how to reorient that moral compass? “That makes me think of asking someone to wash the dishes, and they tell you, ‘I’ll try,’ ” Sulkowicz said. “I think that’s the difference between spending two million dollars to try to understand the conditions that create a community that’s conducive to sexual assault versus just doing the right thing—expelling people who sexually assault other students.”’