All posts tagged: real world

The Smartphone Kids Are Not All Right

The Smartphone Kids Are Not All Right

[ad_1] I did not know this at the time, but apparently my children were part of a generation of guinea pigs. “It’s as though we sent Gen Z to grow up on Mars when we gave them smartphones in the early 2010s in the largest uncontrolled experiment humanity has ever performed on its own children,” Jonathan Haidt writes in The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness. Haidt convincingly uses data to argue that a sharp uptick in depression, anxiety, loneliness, and suicide among young people is directly tied to the wide distribution of smartphones. He points to surveys that have been asking teenagers for decades questions about mental health, such as: “Life often seems meaningless” or “A lot of times I feel lonely.” Survey results remained pretty consistent, and some numbers were even improving, before they took a sharp, negative turn somewhere between 2010 and 2015. The solution, Haidt says, is “easy.” In this episode of Radio Atlantic, he advocates that parents don’t give middle schoolers …

‘The Zone of Interest’ Sound Design Told Another Story

‘The Zone of Interest’ Sound Design Told Another Story

[ad_1] The Zone of Interest is a Holocaust movie that only ever lingers on one victim of the Holocaust. (He’s a prisoner whose job is mixing ashes of the dead into a German commander’s garden soil.) It’s centered on the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, yet you never see a train, or a vicious dog, or a crying baby. Instead you mostly watch domestic scenes from a German commander’s family, as they eat, play, swim, and tend to the garden. This decision has led some critics to complain that the movie keeps the “horrors at an oblique remove,” as Manohla Dargis put it. But that’s true only of the visuals. Through the soundtrack, the horrors come alive in a whole new way. In this episode of Radio Atlantic, the film’s sound designer, Johnnie Burn—who is nominated for an Oscar along with the sound mixer, Tarn Willers—does a close analysis of key scenes in The Zone of Interest. Early on, Burn and the director, Jonathan Glazer, decided they would not use sounds from actors. Instead Burn collected …

Godzilla Minus the United States

Godzilla Minus the United States

[ad_1] Thirty minutes into Godzilla Minus One, the 33rd film in Japan’s most famous movie series and the first to be nominated for an Oscar, the writer-director Takashi Yamazaki throws the equivalent of a historical-revisionist curveball. Whizzing by in less than 60 seconds, a black-and-white montage flashes at us with the urgent impatience of a newsreel cut for TikTok—classified documents and nautical charts, blipping radar screens and faceless military personnel set to a garbled, quasi-unintelligible voice-over in English and Japanese—all to deliver a jarring message that is nonetheless bracingly clear. A giant, irradiated monster is racing across the seas toward the Japanese archipelago, slicing through American naval destroyers and sending military-grade Geiger counters into overdrive. The United States is not coming to Japan’s defense—quite the contrary: Toward the end of the newsreel barrage, we see General Douglas MacArthur’s official signature on a Dear John letter followed by grainy footage of the man himself, regally saluting his way down the steps of U.S. occupation headquarters in Tokyo, urging Japan “to begin strengthening its security forces” as …

Where Have All the Original Action Movies Gone?

Where Have All the Original Action Movies Gone?

[ad_1] Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle borrows from a lot of very recent spy-thriller history. Apple TV+ January 31, 2024, 2:35 PM ET I have to give some credit to Matthew Vaughn’s new film, Argylle, for one thing: It is not—repeat, not—based on anything. An action movie with a reported near–$200 million budget and no connection to any preexisting intellectual property should be thrilling, a glorious throwback to the days when big films could just be about people punching and shooting each other without referencing some other storytelling universe. But it’s been curious to watch the public perception of Argylle, which is being marketed as a mystery film, in the lead-up to its release. Surely this movie couldn’t be just another guns-blazing spy thriller? What is the twist at the heart of Argylle? Did Taylor Swift secretly write it? I will leave many of the movie’s largest plot swerves to be discovered by viewers, though I can at least say that Swift seemingly has no involvement. But the meta-narratives around Argylle are quite telling, indicating how unusual …

The World is Falling Apart. Blame the Flukes.

The World is Falling Apart. Blame the Flukes.

[ad_1] The 21st century has been defined by unexpected shocks—major upheavals that have upended the world many of us have known and made our lives feel like the playthings of chaos. Every few years comes a black swan–style event: September 11, the financial crisis, the Arab Spring, Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the coronavirus pandemic, wars in Ukraine and Gaza. Even daily life can feel like a roll of the dice: With regularity, some Americans go to school, the grocery store, church, a concert, or the movies and get gunned down in a random act of mass murder. Many of these events were triggered by flukes: small, chance happenings that were arbitrary, even random, and could easily have turned out otherwise. The Arab Spring started after one vegetable vendor in central Tunisia set himself on fire, sparking a conflagration that toppled tyrants and set the region ablaze. Trump may have decided to run for president after Barack Obama humiliated him with a joke at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. And no matter …

‘American Fiction’ and the ‘Just Literature’ Problem

‘American Fiction’ and the ‘Just Literature’ Problem

[ad_1] “Why are these books here?” asks Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, the writer protagonist of the film American Fiction, as he points to four novels stacked neatly on the shelf of a chain bookstore. The name Ellison sticks out from their spines. Monk wants to know why his Greek-tragedy-inspired novels are housed not in “Mythology” but in the “African American Studies” section. A bookstore employee offers the obvious explanation: “I would imagine that this author, Ellison, is … Black.” He has the decency to stammer the response, but this does little to alleviate Monk’s fury. “That’s me, Ellison. He is me, and he and I are Black,” the writer fumes. “These books have nothing to do with African American studies.” He taps one of his titles with an impatient finger. “They’re just literature.” “He is me, and he and I are Black” is something like a thesis statement for American Fiction. Like the 2001 novel on which it’s based—Erasure, by Percival Everett—the film trades on the gap between this he and I, between how Monk is …

The Daily 2023 – The Atlantic

The Daily 2023 – The Atlantic

[ad_1] 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. Claudine Gay engaged in academic misconduct. Everything else about her case is irrelevant, including the silly claims of her right-wing opponents. First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic: When Truth Comes From Terrible People Claudine Gay is stepping down as the president of Harvard University. Her decision is right and even overdue. Despite the results of an investigation commissioned by the Harvard Corporation last month that found cases only of “inadequate” citation, new charges about her work include episodes of what most scholars would recognize as academic misconduct, including plagiarism. Experts consulted by CNN consider the recent excerpts to be plagiarism, and I agree: I was a professor for almost 35 years, at multiple institutions, including Harvard, where I taught courses for their continuing-education and summer programs for 18 years. I have referred students for varying …

Claudine Gay’s resignation was overdue

Claudine Gay’s resignation was overdue

[ad_1] 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. Claudine Gay engaged in academic misconduct. Everything else about her case is irrelevant, including the silly claims of her right-wing opponents. First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic: When Truth Comes From Terrible People Claudine Gay is stepping down as the president of Harvard University. Her decision is right and even overdue. Despite the results of an investigation commissioned by the Harvard Corporation last month that found cases only of “inadequate” citation, new charges about her work include episodes of what most scholars would recognize as academic misconduct, including plagiarism. Experts consulted by CNN consider the recent excerpts to be plagiarism, and I agree: I was a professor for almost 35 years, at multiple institutions, including Harvard, where I taught courses for their continuing-education and summer programs for 18 years. I have referred students for varying …