August 16, 2017

Michiko Kakutani

At New York magazine, Boris Kachka reports on what led the New York Times’s Michiko Kakutani to take a buyout last month, and the book that Kakutani is working on now. Sources say that Kakutani felt at odds with the new direction of the book review under Pamela Paul. “Lone wolves hurling thunderbolts from their garrets gave way to affable co-critics doing online chats . . . writing personal essays and exploring their own biases,” Kachka writes. “For a very long time, Michi got her way,” one anonymous source said, “until very recently people started pushing back in a big way, and I think that was part of her leaving.’ She could be a diva, says this source, ‘but in a way I fucking admire it. The world would be a sorrier place without divas.’” Currently, Kakutani is working on a book with Tim Duggan. “A cultural history of ‘alternative facts,’” The Death of Truth will be published next year.

Former deputy prime minister of the UK Nick Clegg is writing a book. How to Stop Brexit (And Make Britain Great Again) will explain “precisely how this historic mistake can be reversed and how the country can be reunited in the process.” How to Stop Brexit will be published by Bodley Head in October.

The Verge looks at how the right-wing violence in Charlottesville is changing tech companies’ commitment to content neutrality. “In the aftermath of public violence by explicitly white supremacist groups,” writes Russell Brandom, concerns over free speech and neutrality “have less sway than ever before. The result is newfound scrutiny among platforms and service providers, and new questions about what that scrutiny will mean outside of hate groups.”

n+1 previews Jarett Kobek’s The Future Won’t Be Long, which will be published in August by Viking.

At the New Yorker, Raffi Khatchadourian profiles Julian Assange. Although Assange has been unable to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the last five years, his social life is still active. One regular visitor who stopped by while Khatchadourian was there was Pamela Anderson. “Assange led her to the conference room, and they spoke for about an hour—their conversation disguised by white noise, though Assange’s voice dominated, in long soliloquies. (‘I’m being persecuted!’ he declared at one point, loud enough to be audible through the walls,)” Khatchadourian recalls. “After their meeting, the two emerged. Anderson held a notebook and a pen. ‘Hours go by, and I take a lot of notes,’ she later told me.”

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