Move over, “Crash,” because Los Angeles Times film critic Justin Chang thinks ‘Green Book’ is the worst best picture Oscar winner in more than a decade (35,000+ shares). In other words, “Ouch,” as Akiko Fujita puts it. Chang isn’t alone in that opinion. Sean Means, for example, says, “I yield the balance of my time to Mr. @JustinCChang of the great state of California.” Shelby Grad notes, “This @JustinCChang essay come from a long history of truth-telling by @latimes film critics... In 2006, @KennethTuran made passionate case against ‘Crash’ over ‘Brokeback Mountain.’” Guy Lodge says it’s “Spectacular work by @JustinCChang, precisely laying out just why GREEN BOOK is both the wrong choice for this moment in history, and a grimly representative one.”
But there were still plenty of highlights at the hostless Oscars ceremony. Margeaux Sippell at Variety has your Oscar Winners 2019: The Complete List.
Other weekend news
“Man, @CaitlinPacific is such a good writer,” tweets Josh Kraushaar, who links to what he calls “A must-read on our political moment”: Caitlin Flanagan’s new piece for The Atlantic, Dianne Feinstein Doesn’t Need a Do-Over (26,000+ shares). Theresa Carey, who shares that she was in San Francisco when Harvey Milk and George Moscone were murdered, adds, “Read this story if you’ve been fooled by the hit job on Sen Feinstein by @sunrisemvmt. ‘You can say many things about Dianne Feinstein, but to suggest she lacks bravery is outlandish,’ @CaitlinPacific writes. Thank you, Ms. Flanagan. Sunrise, apologize.” Flanagan’s point: “Never underestimate an old woman who knows a lot.”
BuzzFeed News’s Tarini Parti was at the “Country Comes to Mar-a-Lago” bash for the Trumpettes on Saturday night, and she quickly discovered, Trump’s Biggest Fans Have Two Obsessions: Socialism And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. On Twitter, she shares, “It wasn’t just the speakers (like Jeanine Pirro) at the event who were bringing up socialism and AOC, I spoke with more than a dozen guests — many of whom brought up both to me without even being asked.”
Meanwhile, at The New York Times, Astead Herndon introduces “A short new story: Elizabeth Warren has announced her campaign will not hold private fundraisers for wealthy donors, do ‘call time,’ or have any tiered system where those who pay more receive access.” Read that story, Elizabeth Warren to Forgo Receptions and Fund-Raisers With Big Donors.
Jim Sciutto links to the new story by Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey and Brady Dennis of The Washington Post, White House to select federal scientists to reassess government climate findings, sources say. Steven Greenhouse predicts “Trump is setting up a panel to counter scientific consensus on global warming. Next, he'll set up a panel to assert that smoking doesn't cause cancer. And after that, Trump will set up a panel to assert that the moon is made of green cheese.” Wait, it’s not? Andrew Cohen calls it the “Confederacy of Dunces.”
As for another ongoing alternative facts debate, The Post’s Ellen Nakashima writes that a bipartisan group of 58 former senior national security officials will be issuing a statement saying that “there is no factual basis” for Trump’s proclamation of a national emergency to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Eric Tucker has been busy putting together all the Mueller pieces, and he’s ended up with quite a complete picture. At The Associated Press, he writes, court records reveal a Mueller report right in plain view (55,000+ shares). Reading this, Jay Rosen thinks, “This should be a whole genre or subfield in journalism. Instead it’s an occasional feature, dwarfed by incrementalism and micro scoops. The AP takes what is known about the Russia investigation and puts it together so we can grasp the thing whole.” Adds Kevin Collier, “This is a really clever idea by the AP. Essentially writing up all the interesting revelations from all of the SCO’s filings into a single cohesive narrative.”
On to other cases, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites of The Washington Post report that Alva Johnson, a former Trump campaign staffer, alleges in a lawsuit that Trump kissed her without her consent. The White House denies the charge. You may have lost count of how many women have publicly accused Trump of groping or kissing them without their consent, but Johnson is the first to do so since he took office.
“A new lawsuit just filed by a former Trump campaign worker, alleging racial discrimination on the campaign and an unwanted advance from Trump, is the latest legal action to call into question his sweeping use of NDAs. Her first interview, in @NewYorker.” Ronan Farrow links to his piece in the New Yorker about the potential lasting legal issues of Johnson’s suit, A Lawsuit by a Campaign Worker Is the Latest Challenge to Trump’s Nondisclosure Agreements.
About power and injustice in America
Patriots owner Robert Kraft was one of the hundreds of men charged with soliciting sex in a Florida prostitution ring, and in her new piece for The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei goes inside the thriving sex trafficking trade in Florida (43,000+ shares). Tweets The Times, “Beyond the celebrity connection lies the wretched story of the women who police believe were trapped as trafficking victims.” As the Martin County sheriff told Mazzei, “I would never consider them prostitutes — it was really a rescue operation. The monsters are the men.”
So, is it finally time’s up for the rich and powerful? Will Bunch thinks so, tweeting, “Robert Kraft scandal isn’t just a punchline and it’s not really about sex. It’s about power and injustice in America - and how men like Kraft, Jeffrey Epstein and, yes, Trump think they can get away with anything. But a huge change is coming.” In his latest column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Robert Kraft, Jeffrey Epstein, Donald Trump and a day of reckoning for America’s billionaires, he writes that it’s not just about revenge: “In the end, we won’t have the America we need until we listen to the women they abused and enslaved, restore their humanity, and help set them free.”
Meanwhile, how is the upper middle class really doing? For answers, turn to David Leonhardt’s column in The New York Times, which gives us “A very brief history of the post-1980 economy: - The pay of the top 1% of earners has risen much faster than economic growth. - The pay of the next 9% has risen with economic growth. - The pay of the bottom 90% has trailed economic growth.” Tweets Derek Thompson, “The huge inequality between the 1 percent and the 0.01 percent (the 1% of the 1%) seems like a fringe story. But I think it's a huge story. It's how the 1 percent can conceive of itself as an anxious middle class.”
A LOT of WTF details
As Amy B Wang says, “There are a LOT of WTF details in @CaseyNewton's story about how these Facebook contractors are micromanaged and feel traumatized. But this dystopian spin on the situation — by an on-site counselor! — is something else.” Prepare yourself for a disturbing read and then head over to The Verge to find out about the secret lives of Facebook moderators in America. For this piece, Casey Newton interviewed a dozen current and former employees of Cognizant in Phoenix, where people work as Facebook content moderators. What to expect? “Imagine the absolute possible worst then read this story from @CaseyNewton You’ll be surprised,” tweets Jessica Guynn.
In case you missed it, one piece getting a lot of shares (117,000+) over the weekend is Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain, by The New York Times’s Kevin Roose. Shira Ovide says, “This @kevinroose piece is so great, and I hope he doesn't see this tweet because he's off lighting a fire or reading a book.” Tom Gara actually feels a little better about things: “I've always just assumed that my phone addiction problem is as bad as it can possibly get but God damn, @kevinroose is a two-packs-a-day man.” And yet, it could be worse. Tweets Michael Luo, “Eeks. My screen time stats are more horrifying than @kevinroose. Send help!”
On to some more relatable reads. Derek Thompson wrote an essay for The Atlantic about the religion of Workism and how it’s making Americans miserable, and it seems to have struck a chord. As Melinda Wenner Moyer tweets, “It me. ‘My sense of identity is so bound up in my job, my sense of accomplishment, and my feeling of productivity that bouts of writer’s block can send me into an existential funk that can spill over into every part of my life.’”
Hari Sreenivasan says this one is a “Fantastic read, but abysmal reality that she is chronicling.” At The Guardian, Caroline Perez offers an edited extract of her new book, Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, revealing the deadly truth about a world built for men – from stab vests to car crashes. “Join me in FURY,” tweets Perez, who spent three years researching the dangers for women of a world built on male data.
Ellen Barry’s new piece for The New York Times goes inside The Making of a U.K. Millennial Socialist. “In which a British 19-year-old, against the odds, makes it to university, takes a good look around, and gives up on capitalism. A look inside the gathering force of the millennial left,” she tweets.
Looking for more on Robert Kraft? Understandable if you’re not, but: Alec MacGillis links to “A typically great @jasongay column on Robert Kraft and our ridiculous veneration of NFL owners, the gods in the stadium box.” For that, read Jason Gay in The Wall Street Journal on ‘Mr. Kraft’ and the Sports Owner God Complex.
Gregg Carlstrom says, “This profile of Pompeo goes out of its way to be charitable, but it still can’t point to a single substantive accomplishment he’s had as secretary of state.” Read that profile of Mike Pompeo by David Sanger and Edward Wong of The New York Times, Defender of World Order or Trump Mouthpiece? Pompeo Is Tested by North Korea, Iran and U.S. Allies. Motoko Rich highlights, “Pompeo’s big mission in Hanoi: ‘keep Mr. Trump, 72, from being duped by the North’s wily leader, Kim Jong-un, who is half the president’s age.’”
And it sounds like Trump might already be a little distracted...‘We fell in love’: Trump and Kim shower praise, stroke egos on path to nuclear negotiations, write Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post. A lot of journalists are sharing this excerpt: “Trump gloats about the half dozen or so letters Kim has written him as if he were a smitten teenager in possession of valentines from a crush. White House officials refer to the diplomatic correspondence jokingly as ‘love letters.’”