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Writing Worth Reading

On The Run

“Those who interact rarely with the police may assume that running away after a police stop is futile. Worse, it could lead to increased charges. While the second part is true, the first is not. In 18 months I observed young men running away on 41 different occasions. In 24 cases the man got away. In 17 of the 24 the police didn’t appear to know who the man was and couldn’t bring any charges against him” (3,340 words)

How Japan Became A Pop Culture Superpower

Almost every childhood craze of the past 30 years comes from Japan — Transformers, Power Rangers, Tamagotchi and Pokémon among them; perhaps because in Japan kids’ stuff is for adults too. “One of the strangest things about the country’s culture, which only an anthropologist could explain, is how it ignores puberty … Playtime doesn’t end when you get a job. That’s when you might have the cash to do it properly” (1,055 words)

I Want To Howl

Action-packed review of Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts, by Robert Dowling. Before he was 21 O’Neill had been thrown out of Princeton, fathered a son, divorced his first wife, joined the merchant navy, caught syphilis in South America, and attempted suicide in Greenwich Village. He went on to be a great playwright, a Nobel prize-winner, a mean drunk, a wife-beater, and very nearly a murderer (3,350 words)

Jon Ronson In Conversation With Adam Curtis

Interesting throughout. Curtis argues that journalism has lost its way, not because of the internet, but because power in the world has shifted away from politicians towards financial and managerial systems which are intrinsically boring and hard to understand. Instead of trying to explain these new realities, journalists “simplify the world into a black-and-white picture of terrible dangers that threaten their readers” (3,900 words)

Shrunk

The doctor refers you to a psychiatrist; the psychiatrist talks to you for a while, prescribes an antidepressant, proposes another meeting, and sends you a bill. There seems to be no notion that psychotherapy should follow particular methods, or produce particular results — or, indeed, any results at all. The profession exists for the benefit of its practitioners. The average patient would derive more benefit from getting a cat (1,840 words)

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