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The Reading File: Excerpts from interesting articles

TATTERSHALL, LINCOLNSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 19:  Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R), President of the National Trust, talks to Sun Photographer Arthur Edwards on his visit to Tattershall Castle, a 15th Century red-brick castle built by Lord Ralph Cromwell and saved from demolition in 1911 on March 19, 2018 in Tattershall, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
TATTERSHALL, LINCOLNSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 19: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R), President of the National Trust, talks to Sun Photographer Arthur Edwards on his visit to Tattershall Castle, a 15th Century red-brick castle built by Lord Ralph Cromwell and saved from demolition in 1911 on March 19, 2018 in Tattershall, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Published May 18, 2018

Royal photographer

The German news magazine Der Spiegel interviews Arthur Edwards, who "has spent over 40 years photographing the royal family for Britain's Sun newspaper." He'll be at the royal wedding today. To be clear, he is not paparazzi. Read "Forty Years With Britain's Royals: He Calls Me Arthur and I Call Him Sir" in full at http://bit.ly/2LavTD0. Here's how the interview is set up.

Arthur Edwards, 77, has been photographing Britain's royal family for more than 40 years. He's responsible for some of the family's most iconic images: Diana as a nursery teacher with a see-through skirt; Diana standing alone in front of the Taj Mahal; Prince Charles disguised during a ski vacation with a fake mustache; Queen Elizabeth smiling in front of her own photo.

Edwards has accompanied the royal family on around 200 trips. He has visited 120 countries, been to seven weddings, four funerals and eight royal births. All the photos featured in this interview were taken by Edwards.

He is currently preparing for today's wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

We are the 9.9 percent

In the Atlantic, Matthew Stewart looks at American society and breaks it into the top 0.1 percent, the bottom 90 percent and focuses on the slice between them. Read "The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy" in full at https://theatln.tc/2ILzXLu. Here's an excerpt.

In between the top 0.1 percent and the bottom
90 percent is a group that has been doing just fine. It has held on to its share of a growing pie decade after decade. And as a group, it owns substantially more wealth than do the other two combined. ... You'll find the new aristocracy there. We are the 9.9 percent.

So what kind of characters are we, the 9.9 percent? We are mostly not like those flamboyant political manipulators from the 0.1 percent. We're a well-behaved, flannel-suited crowd of lawyers, doctors, dentists, mid-level investment bankers, MBAs with opaque job titles, and assorted other professionals — the kind of people you might invite to dinner. In fact, we're so self-effacing, we deny our own existence. We keep insisting that we're "middle class."

As of 2016, it took $1.2 million in net worth to make it into the 9.9 percent; $2.4 million to reach the group's median; and $10 million to get into the top 0.9 percent. (And if you're not there yet, relax: Our club is open to people who are on the right track and have the right attitude.) "We are the
99 percent" sounds righteous, but it's a slogan, not an analysis. The families at our end of the spectrum wouldn't know what to do with a pitchfork. ...

One of the hazards of life in the 9.9 percent is that our necks get stuck in the upward position. We gaze upon the 0.1 percent with a mixture of awe, envy, and eagerness to obey. As a consequence, we are missing the other big story of our time. We have left the 90 percent in the dust — and we've been quietly tossing down roadblocks behind us to make sure that they never catch up.

History of queer women

At LongReads, Peter Ackroyd chronicles women's same-sex relationships in London from Roman times until now, focusing on the changing social mores. Read "The Roaring Girls Of Queer London" in full at http://bit.ly/2KaOVaO. Here's an excerpt.

The love of woman for woman was veiled behind the acceptance of close friendships between women; the general communication of warmth and affection was considered to be normal, and many queer women were able to mask their more fervent desires. For single women to live together was accepted and acceptable in every period. Women kissing and embracing was no occasion for comment.

If queer women did not challenge the conventional social order, they easily accommodated themselves to its rules. Only in the unlikely event that they threatened the reproductive cycle of marriage would they ever be punished.

Sex between women was not to be treated with any seriousness. There was no legal definition of lesbianism in any case because under English law no such condition existed. A woman could not penetrate another woman. It was a non-event, a nothing. A woman was a passive receptacle and nothing more.

Scientific vision

In Aeon, Gene Tracy wonders "how can our mind's eye learn to see the new and unexpected?"
Read "Behold: Science As Seeing" in full at
http://bit.ly/2k4Fv5H. Here's an excerpt.

When we consider scientific observations — those paragons of a purportedly objective gaze — we find in fact that they are often complex, contingent and distributed phenomena, much like human vision itself. Assemblies of high-powered machines that detect the otherwise undetectable, from gravitational waves in the remotest cosmos to the minute signals produced by spinning nuclei within human cells, rely on many forms of 'sight' that are neither simple nor unitary. By exploring vision as a metaphor for scientific observation, and scientific observation as a kind of seeing, we might ask: how does prior knowledge about the world affect what we observe? If prior patterns are essential for making sense of things, how can we avoid falling into well-worn channels of perception? And most importantly, how can we learn to see in genuinely new ways?