George Saunders explains the inspiration behind his new book A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, reveals how Chekhov’s work inspired him to become a story writer and goes over what makes a good story.
George Saunders explains the inspiration behind his new book A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, reveals how Chekhov’s work inspired him to become a story writer and goes over what makes a good story.
A novel written by a Jewish author in 1938 after he escaped Nazi Germany is climbing the book charts.
A pleasant-sounding stranger said hello. The stranger knew where the IRS agent's kids went to school, where they played. Nice kids. Case closed.
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyIt was the persistence of gun violence that helped convince Nesrine Malik that certain myths propagated by the right wing were creating an alternate American reality.A London-based columnist for The Guardian, Malik believes the never-ending slaughter is partially a function of corporate and elite interests convincing the public that buying guns is a fight against the “political correctness” of gun control, and that this also plays into the myth of a “virtuous history to justify gun ownership as foundational to America.”But, adds Malik, whose new book, We Need New Stories: The Myths That Subvert Freedom discusses six current social/political misconceptions, the whole gun myth “typifies why myths are bad for everyone. Firearms increase violence in a society for everyone and claims lives across social classes and races. We think that guns create a society that is based on freedom, but actually gets in the way of people living free from fear and grief.”Seth Meyers Slams Sean Hannity’s ‘Sociopathic’ Response to Gun ViolenceMalik’s well-researched, densely written, and impassioned work takes on cultural myths that include everything from the so-called political correctness crisis to the alleged harm of identity politics, the fantasy of national exceptionalism, a free speech crisis, and the illusion of gender equality. But lurking beneath the surface of Malik’s analysis is one unmistakable factor that helps create and perpetuate these myths: what the author calls “the myth of the reliable narrator… unreliable narrators from academia, the publishing world, and from the journalism industry have been a roadblock to addressing structural inequality,” she says in the book. “We believe in their neutrality, and thus do not question the accounts of the world which they have recounted to us.”It all comes down to messaging. Malik notes that the opinion-making class in the U.S. is overwhelmingly white, male, and politically center, right of center, or right-wing. She also points out how the right has created an intellectual infrastructure of think tanks and institutes that promote its values, leaving the left in total catch-up mode.“It’s mostly down to funding,” she told The Daily Beast in an email interview. “Right-wing think tanks are much better endowed and have networks that have been established for far longer. The financiers of right-wing think tanks and media also tend to be wealthier because they have an interest in creating an intellectual environment that is hostile to redistributive left-wing ideas.”What this means in part is that the old liberal belief that the best way to counter bad speech is with better speech may not be operative anymore. Malik notes this principle might be good in theory, but questions whether this good speech has “the same access to platforms, to the media, to the halls of power. It’s like how we cling to this concept of ‘the marketplace of ideas.’ No market is perfect, with everyone having the exact same ability to push their wares.”So We Need New Stories takes pains to show how “free speech principles are now being used by the powerful to attack the weak;” how when it comes to discussing identity politics, “the constant denial that race is relevant to how white people behave politically helps prop up the myth that only other races are motivated by identity;” and that the myth of political correctness is basically a get-out-of-jail card for those who hold intolerant views but do not wish to be held accountable for them.“Branding PC as oversensitive, elitist, inauthentic, and oppressive has been so successful, that defending it has become toxic for the left,” says Malik in the book.But We Need New Stories is not some take-no-prisoners catalog of wokeness, and Malik, despite the intense commitment to her vision, is not some rigid Stalinist apparatchik. She admits that like every other political entity, the left sometimes goes too far in its critiques and actions, and that “social media in particular has been a disaster because it lends itself well to these emotional excesses.” When it comes to free speech issues, she doesn’t want to “write hard and fast rules” about what can or cannot be said by edgy comedians, because “dark comedy plays an important, almost healing role in society, and most of the time you will find that people do have a sense of humor about topics that you would think were off limits.”And she also agreed with this writer that instead of tearing down statues honoring Confederates, slaveholders, and other racists, it might be more educational to leave them be, with the addition of plaques explaining their Jim Crow-era origins and what they really stand for.“I talk in the book about how we should add an ‘addendum’ history to the current accounts,” she says. “But you see, because there has been such little space to even discuss that sort of measure, people take matters into their own hands.”Malik’s book was about to go into galley form when the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol occurred, which meant it was too late to change the text to comment on the event. But that doesn’t mean “We Need New Stories” didn’t, in its own way, predict what was going to happen, and why. The stolen election was a myth on a grand scale, and its consequences fit comfortably into Malik’s overall thesis.“The Capitol insurrection was the epitome of what I call in the final chapter ‘myths eating their young,’” says Malik. “Myths that stigmatize and smear movements for equality don’t just hurt the cause of freedom, they hurt everyone. Except for the very few who spread them. They create a state of paranoia that breaks down trust in the system. In the end, those who spread the lie, Trump and his cohort, got off while the people they goaded now have to crowdfund legal fees as they face years in jail. Myths hurt those who believe in them eventually.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Just when you think they’ve done it all, actress Gabrielle Union and former NBA superstar Dwyane Wade have joined forced to pen a children’s book in honor of their daughter, Kaavia James. The power couple sat down with theGrio to discuss all things Kaavia, their secret behind modern-day parenting and the legacy they hope to leave behind for their family.
Popular Science. Field and Stream. Saveur.
Sasha Marcus, a wellness influencer on the brink of her big break, has been canceled. Enter Dyson, her childhood friend who’s a washed-up aspiring actor and has never been relevant enough to face that risk. In the meantime, hordes of white men have become a menace to society, as they spontaneously group up to perform activities as benevolent as rescue a kitty or as lethal as mass suicide. What are Sasha and Dyson to do? Why, start a cult, of course. Fame and global domination will surely follow.
The author and war correspondent dealt with trauma by hitting the road on foot. "Freedom" documents his journey and rethinks American ideals.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo disclosed Monday that he was paid a $3.1 million advance to write his COVID-19 leadership book last year and under his publishing contract will make another $2 million on the memoir over the next two years. At least 52,987 people have died of COVID-19 in New York, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. Cuomo, a Democrat, had for months declined to say how much money he made from writing “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic," published by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.
Getty ImagesOn July 16, 1860, 84 years after the American colonists signed the Declaration of Independence and officially stated their intention to form a union of their own, a decree was issued dissolving the United States of America entirely.That Monday, San Franciscans woke up to a momentous proclamation: “Whereas, it is necessary for our Peace, Prosperity and Happiness, as also to the National Advancement of the people of the United States, that they should dissolve the Republican form of government and establish in its stead an Absolute Monarchy.”The Civil War is Not Just For AmericansIt was something of a formality as the man behind the edict, the self-proclaimed Emperor Norton I, had already declared himself “Emperor of the United States” a year earlier, thus establishing the American monarchy. But he had allowed the United States democracy to continue, even as its representatives ignored his orders to attend meetings to revise the country’s laws.But in that year leading up to the outbreak of the Civil War, America’s benevolent ruler had had enough. There was too much animosity and strife—the bad behavior had gotten out of hand. It was his duty to take over.If you were awake for even a single day of school during your entire education, you will know that this proclamation also went unheeded. Norton may not have made it into mainstream American curriculum, but in a city that produced a history book full of characters, the man who declared himself emperor is one of the most distinct and beloved. With the clarity of hindsight, we can also say our country might have fared a bit better if we had heeded our one and only monarch.Emperor Norton I was born Joshua Abraham Norton around 1818 in London, though his family emigrated to South Africa when he was 2. Norton’s father was a businessman in the shipping industry, and Norton decided to follow in his footsteps.But early adulthood was a rough time for young Norton. By the age of 23, his first shipping venture had gone bankrupt; within a few years of that failure, he lost both of his parents and all of his siblings. As his thirties neared, he decided it was time for a change. With the money left after settling his family’s affairs (some accounts have put his inheritance at $40,000, though there is no hard evidence for this number), Norton left South Africa and moved to Gold Rush-era San Francisco in 1849.Norton quickly made a name for himself in the small but booming frontier town. He continued his work in shipping and sales, while also dipping a finger into the real estate market. Within three years, he had considerably increased his fortune enough to be considered a member of San Francisco’s high society.“He was in with all the right people, attended all the right clubs and all the right restaurants,” John Lumea, founder of the Emperor Norton Trust, told KQED.But all it takes is one bad business decision for one’s social standing to come tumbling down. And that’s what happened in 1852.When Norton became emperor, he committed his reign to the betterment of society. While some of his decrees were outlandish, many of them also had a grain of truth to them, diagnosing what was wrong with American society and offering concrete suggestions for improvement.But the deal that took the civilian Norton down was one that was not so civic-minded.At the end of 1852, China was in the middle of a famine. To combat the scarcity of food its own citizens were experiencing, the government outlawed all rice exports. This move was felt around the world as the price of rice dramatically increased. According to Dana Schwartz, host of the Noble Blood podcast, the price of rice in San Francisco rose from four cents a pound to 36 cents a pound.Around this time, Norton was approached about a new opportunity. There was a ship full of Peruvian rice in the harbor, the last ship of its kind expected for awhile, he was told. Norton bought 200,000 pounds of rice—the entire shipment—for around $25,000. He planned to be the sole dealer in the commodity for the foreseeable future.One can only imagine what went through his mind when, soon after the deal was complete, several more ships sailed into the harbor, each weighed down with the coveted grains.The ensuing fallout destroyed Norton’s finances and his place in San Francisco society. Several of his business partners sued him in a case that lasted for four years and made it all the way to California’s Supreme Court. In 1858, Norton filed for bankruptcy and disappeared.Just over a year later, on September 17, 1859, “a well-dressed and serious-looking man” entered the offices of the San Francisco Evening Bulletin. With zero fanfare, he handed the editors a document and asked them to run it in the evening’s paper. They read it, and agreed.“At the peremptory request of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last nine years and ten months past of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these United States,” the bulletin in the paper read.The reign of Emperor Norton I had officially begun, if only in Norton’s mind.Many have speculated as to what happened to Norton to bring about this turn of events, but what hasn’t been disputed is that Norton truly believed in his royalty and in the responsibilities that position entailed. (Throughout his reign, he would send several letters to Queen Victoria urging her to marry him so that their two countries could once again be aligned.)At first, the strange man was largely ignored, no doubt an easy attitude to take in a city that was full of Gold Rush eccentrics. But then he acquired a military uniform and began making rounds in the streets to check on his citizens, and people began to take notice.His presence was not always received with the open arms that his memory is today. Particularly in the early days of his “rule,” he was sometimes ridiculed, particularly by newspapers who weren’t his chosen megaphone for his latest edicts.But slowly the city began to embrace him, and he become shorthand for anyone trying to make a civic point. (In 1868, the San Francisco Examiner good-naturedly evoked the name of “Emperor Norton I” to protest a local government alcohol restriction that the paper did not agree with.)It wasn’t hard to embrace his reign once he established his progressive agenda. His decrees may have been ignored by the democratic government of the U.S., but many of them probably shouldn’t have been.In December of 1859, he ordered the removal of the governor of Virginia for executing the famous abolitionist John Brown. In 1869, he “dissolve[d] and abolish[ed]” the Republican and Democratic parties because he was “desirous of allaying the dissensions of party strife now existing within our realm.” (The penalty for any politician who ignored his decree: imprisonment for up to 10 years.) Later that year, he ordered Sacramento to clean up its streets and install street lights.In 1863, he took on a new title “Protector of Mexico” after Napoleon invaded the country. (He gave it up nearly a decade later, declaring "It is impossible to protect such an unsettled nation.”)Perhaps his most prophetic decree came on Sept. 21,1872, when he ordered San Francisco to begin a serious inquiry into erecting either a bridge or tunnel to connect the city with Oakland. Sixty-one years later, the Bay Bridge would be built to do just that.When Emperor Norton I wasn’t trying to right the wrongs of the U.S. or make improvements to the cities of California, he could be seen among his subjects. He walked the streets in his military uniform (often gifted to him by tailors who would then advertise their honored position with a window sign: “by appointment to His Majesty”); he attended the theater in seats generally comped to him; and he often paid for his dinner and other very modest expenses with his own royal currency, issued by a local printer and accepted by many in town.He lived a pauper’s life in private, but his public activities were avidly reported on. In a 1944 article in the California Historical Society Quarterly examining the historic 1860 visit to San Francisco by the first Japanese emissaries to the U.S., George Hinkle notes that the San Francisco Bulletin didn’t even mention the Japanese emissaries in attendance at the McGuire Opera House on the evening of March 28. Instead, their report had eyes for only one honored audience member: “No one was desirous to intrude upon his Imperial Majesty, and so he had a row of front seats all to himself. He looked ‘every inch a king.’ His nose particularly—and this is the feature of which he feels most proud—is said to closely resemble that of George IV. Blood will tell.”On Jan. 8, 1880, the reign of America’s only monarch came to an end after more than two decades when Emperor Norton died of what was probably a stroke. Local papers ran his obituaries while tens of thousands of people from all classes of San Francisco society turned out to his funeral. They made sure that he was buried as a king, and not laid to rest in a pauper’s grave.“Now that we’ve moved past fiefdoms and protectorates, maybe the entire notion of royalty, of someone being born more worthy of power than someone else, is a little bit insane,” Schwartz says. “And there’s certainly nothing more American than a man who decided what he wanted to be, and then lived it.”Today, his subjects can still make a pilgrimage to his gravesite in Woodlawn Cemetery, where his gravestone proclaims, “Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) reportedly earned $3.12 million last year from his book on running the state during the pandemic and could earn roughly another $2 million over the next two years, the New York Times reported Monday.Why it matters: These figures come from financial disclosures released by Cuomo's office Monday afternoon, revealing that earnings from the book far eclipsed his governor's salary of about $225,000, per the Times.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeRichard Azzopardi, a spokesperson for Cuomo, told the Times Monday that the governor had earned only about $1.5 million after expenses and taxes and that part of the earnings had gone to New York's COVID relief effort and into a trust for Cuomo's daughters.The big picture: Cuomo's book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic," was published last October and became a best-seller, partly in due to Cuomo's then-popularity and frequent televised briefings during the start of the pandemic. But, but, but: Book sales slowed this year as Cuomo became entangled in controversies regarding nursing home deaths and sexual harassment allegations.In March his publisher Crown halted promotion of the book and any plans for a paperback edition amid the federal investigation into New York's pandemic nursing home deaths.Of note: According to the Times, it's not yet clear whether Crown will pay Cuomo the full amount stipulated in his contract, for more than $5 million through 2022, or whether the decision to scrap the paperback version will ultimately affect Cuomo's earnings.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo disclosed Monday that he was paid a $3.1 million advance to write his COVID-19 leadership book last year and under his publishing contract will make another $2 million on the memoir over the next two years.
Lamm spent 37 years defining Road & Track. These were the books behind his voice.
The podcaster has just been named Erno Laszlo's global wellness adviser.
Cuomo previously refused to say how much he was being paid for the book, which is already the subject of a probe by the state Attorney General's office.
An insider's take on how the series borrows from (and winks at) reality in its final season, airing now.
Marking further dynamic expansion, ViacomCBS International Studios (VIS) and Ricardo Siri Liniers, Argentina’s best known cartoonist and children’s book author-illustrator, have announced they will adapt Liniers’ latest graphic novel, “Wildflowers.” The project rolls off a development deal between VIS, ViacomCBS’ global production arm, and Liniers that was announced by VIS Kids at Kidscreen in February. […]
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is reportedly set to receive a whopping $5 million for his book about the COVID-19 pandemic, which controversially debuted while the pandemic was still unfolding. Cuomo has reported that he earned $3.12 million in 2020 from his book American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, and under the contract for the book, another $2 million will be paid over the course of the next two years, The New York Times reported on Monday. A spokesperson for the governor told the Times that Cuomo netted a total of $1,537,508 from the book last year after expenses and taxes, a third of which was donated to United Way of New York State for COVID-19 relief and vaccination efforts. The rest of the money will be given to "a trust for his three daughters equally," the spokesperson said. Cuomo faced criticism last year for his decision to release a book about New York's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in October 2020 before the pandemic was over. In the subsequent months, his administration became engulfed in multiple scandals, including surrounding its handling of the number of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents and allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo. Last month, The New York Times also revealed that Cuomo was facing an investigation into allegations that he used state resources while writing American Crisis. Cuomo has said some staff volunteered to work on the book but has denied improperly misusing state resources. Given that Crown, the publisher of American Crisis, previously announced it would not release a paperback edition of the book, the Times reported it was unclear whether the full advance would be paid. But the Times also notes that with about 50,000 copies sold, book sales for American Crisis "have been anemic." More stories from theweek.comThe GOP's blatant disregard for democracy7 scathingly funny cartoons about Liz Cheney's ousterThe White House is apparently overrun with flies
Australia’s oldest-ever man has included eating chicken brains among his secrets to living more than 111 years.
This month’s Scary Mommy Book Club pick is ‘The Lost Apothecary’ by Sarah Penner We are excited to announce that our Scary Mommy Book Club pick for May 2021 is The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. Why did we make this pick? What we love most about this book is its atmosphere: we are whisked 
The duo, who first worked together more than four decades ago, are now coeditors at Air Mail.