All posts tagged: public figures

How Kanye West Keeps Coming Back

How Kanye West Keeps Coming Back

The funny thing about the concept of cancel culture is that its popularization coincided with the demise of the mechanisms through which a person might truly be exiled from public life. The mainstream is now fractured into pieces; former gatekeepers in the media and entertainment industry are constantly undermined; the internet has created anarchic new routes for public figures to reach an audience. When an entertainer is canceled, it mostly means that certain moneyed interests—such as a publicly traded company that must cater to the diverse sensitivities of investors or consumers—are more hesitant to work with them. But it doesn’t mean that regular people can’t, or won’t, still engage with whoever succeeds at grabbing their attention. These facts have been proved time and again in popular comebacks for disgraced figures, but the recent success of Ye, formerly Kanye West, is a particularly telling example. Las week, “Carnival,” off his recently released collaborative album with Ty Dolla $ign, became his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since 2011.  It’s an eerily apt hit for …

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

This past December, I threw a party to celebrate a major milestone in my life: the 1,000th day of my New York Times crossword-solving streak. My friends, none of them fellow cruciverbalists, poured in wearing their black-and-white best, armed with outsize praise for my presumed intelligence: How smart I must be to complete the Times puzzle every day! Their comments affirmed that the crossword—and particularly the Times one—carries a certain mystique. For 1,000 consecutive days, I had passed this bourgeois aptitude test, proving my linguistic and cultural acumen in my guests’ eyes. Since its invention in 1913, the modern American crossword puzzle has undergone something of a reputational shift, from frivolous distraction to status symbol. In reality, the crossword is many things: a site of play, a cultural forum, a daily pleasure. And, because it traffics in language—the stuff people use to form identity, signal belonging, and ostracize others—it’s also a political entity. The writer and crossword constructor Anna Shechtman knows that casting such a pastime as political might sound ridiculous. As she writes in …

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

This past December, I threw a party to celebrate a major milestone in my life: the 1,000th day of my New York Times crossword-solving streak. My friends, none of them fellow cruciverbalists, poured in wearing their black-and-white best, armed with outsize praise for my presumed intelligence: How smart I must be to complete the Times puzzle every day! Their comments affirmed that the crossword—and particularly the Times one—carries a certain mystique. For 1,000 consecutive days, I had passed this bourgeois aptitude test, proving my linguistic and cultural acumen in my guests’ eyes. Since its invention in 1913, the modern American crossword puzzle has undergone something of a reputational shift, from frivolous distraction to status symbol. In reality, the crossword is many things: a site of play, a cultural forum, a daily pleasure. And, because it traffics in language—the stuff people use to form identity, signal belonging, and ostracize others—it’s also a political entity. The writer and crossword constructor Anna Shechtman knows that casting such a pastime as political might sound ridiculous. As she writes in …

Why Are We Still Flu-ifying COVID?

Why Are We Still Flu-ifying COVID?

Four years after what was once the “novel coronavirus” was declared a pandemic, COVID remains the most dangerous infectious respiratory illness regularly circulating in the U.S. But a glance at the United States’ most prominent COVID policies can give the impression that the disease is just another seasonal flu. COVID vaccines are now reformulated annually, and recommended in the autumn for everyone over the age of six months, just like flu shots; tests and treatments for the disease are steadily being commercialized, like our armamentarium against flu. And the CDC is reportedly considering more flu-esque isolation guidance for COVID: Stay home ’til you’re feeling better and are, for at least a day, fever-free without meds. These changes are a stark departure from the earliest days of the crisis, when public-health experts excoriated public figures—among them, former President Donald Trump—for evoking flu to minimize COVID deaths and dismiss mitigation strategies. COVID might still carry a bigger burden than flu, but COVID policies are getting more flu-ified. Read: The flu-ification of COVID policy is almost complete In …

Pour One Out for Ron DeSantis

Pour One Out for Ron DeSantis

The Ron DeSantis campaign for president ended the same way it began: as a punch line. What started with a disastrous launch event using the Twitter Spaces audio-chat service in May sputtered to a finish yesterday afternoon with a video uploaded to the social platform, which has since rebranded as X. The Florida governor, in both his scripted remarks and his social-media posts yesterday, misquoted former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. “It is,” Justin Reash, the executive director of the International Churchill Society told me, “one of the most commonly used misattributed quotes of Churchill in existence.” So recurrent is the misquotation, in fact, that it appears on the society’s website in a list of commonly bungled comments, right alongside this classic: “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.” To end his campaign-trail hell, DeSantis or some unfortunate member of his staff quoted Churchill as saying, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Mark Leibovich: Just wait until you get to know Ron DeSantis The …

The Big Questions About AI in 2024

The Big Questions About AI in 2024

Let us be thankful for the AI industry. Its leaders may be nudging humans closer to extinction, but this year, they provided us with a gloriously messy spectacle of progress. When I say “year,” I mean the long year that began late last November, when OpenAI released ChatGPT and, in doing so, launched generative AI into the cultural mainstream. In the months that followed, politicians, teachers, Hollywood screenwriters, and just about everyone else tried to understand what this means for their future. Cash fire-hosed into AI companies, and their executives, now glowed up into international celebrities, fell into Succession-style infighting. The year to come could be just as tumultuous, as the technology continues to evolve and its implications become clearer. Here are five of the most important questions about AI that might be answered in 2024. Is the corporate drama over? OpenAI’s Greg Brockman is the president of the world’s most celebrated AI company and the golden-retriever boyfriend of tech executives. Since last month, when Sam Altman was fired from his position as CEO and …

The Death of a Gun-Rights Warrior

The Death of a Gun-Rights Warrior

This article is a collaboration between The Atlantic and The Trace. One Saturday night in April 2017, Jenn Jacques and Bob Owens stayed up late drinking at an outdoor bar in Atlanta. They had worked together for more than two years, and Owens had become like an older brother to Jacques. On this Saturday, Owens seemed relaxed and was looking forward to the future; he talked about an upcoming family vacation. “That was such a special night,” Jacques told me. “I can say that there was no warning.” They were both in their 40s, and had spouses and kids back home. Jacques lived in Wisconsin, and Owens in North Carolina. They were in town for the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting. Together, they edited a popular gun-rights news and opinion website called Bearing Arms. As a blogger, Owens was often combative and blunt. He had a tendency to mock those who disagreed with him; he believed that gun-control advocates were performative and that they ignored inconvenient facts. A few days earlier, he’d written that protesters …

Farewell to an Easy ‘SNL’ Target

Farewell to an Easy ‘SNL’ Target

The now-former Republican representative George Santos was a perfect fit for the show’s satire. Will Heath / NBC December 3, 2023, 12:23 PM ET Saturday Night Live loves to put a politician in front of a piano. Most famously, Kate McKinnon, playing Hillary Clinton, sat down in front of the keys and earnestly belted Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” following Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. It felt like a moment of contrition for the program that had invited Trump on as host during his campaign, to much criticism. Last night’s episode had another political piano bit, but this time it was a lot less solemn. As George Santos, the now-former Republican representative who was expelled from the House this past week, Bowen Yang made like Elton John and crooned his own version of “Candle in the Wind,” retitled “Scandal in the Wind.” “They’ll think of me as the modern Princess Diana and the modern Marilyn Monroe,” Yang explained before bursting into the song most commonly associated with both of those women and …

Why GOP Candidates Are Fighting about Shoes

Why GOP Candidates Are Fighting about Shoes

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here. In an unserious Republican primary race, low blows have been flying—including about candidates’ footwear. The insults are petty, but they help reveal what’s become of national politics in 2023. First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic: Cowbot Boots and a Suit Republican primary candidates are avoiding the elephant in the room. None of the candidates at this past Wednesday’s debate have a good shot at beating Donald Trump, and instead of taking him on, some have stooped to petty jabs and personal attacks. As my colleague Tom Nichols wrote in this newsletter yesterday, the debate was an unserious spectacle. One particularly unserious topic of conversation? Footwear. At the debate on Wednesday, Vivek Ramaswamy used the phrase “Dick Cheney in three-inch heels” to describe Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis, to which Haley retorted that she was actually wearing …