July 21, 2016

On Tuesday night, Charles Kinsey became the latest victim of a police shooting—a particularly baffling case since Kinsey, an unarmed African American caretaker trying to help an autistic patient playing in the street, was lying on the ground with his hands in the air when cops shot him in the leg. Kinsey survived and told the Miami Herald that the police “realize this was something inappropriate regarding the shooting. If [they] admit fault, that would probably go a long way.” As the Times reports, Silicon Valley wants to take on the problem of police violence, but have so far settled for trivial interventions: Uber made its car icons into small peace signs and advised users to take “one minute to reflect on gun violence” while waiting for their ride, while Twitter attempted to commission a “#StayWoke” mural for their New York offices. As Jenna Wortham writes, “what the tech industry really cares about is ushering in the future, but it conflates technological progress with societal progress.”

When Donald Trump Jr. gave his RNC speech, his resemblance to a certain serial killer made “Patrick Bateman” start trending on Twitter, reminding us of the Donald’s starring role in Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel American Psycho.

At a Buzzfeed party in Cleveland celebrating blacklisted journalists—which featured “scenes of McCarthy-era hearings played via giant projector” —BuzzFeed’s DC bureau chief, John Stanton, was wrestled to the ground by Rudy Giuliani’s security team. Stanton’s offense? Attempting to ask the former New York City mayor, who was also attending the party, a question.

As former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage offers breakfast interviews at the RNC in Cleveland, and reports criticize the Cameron government for not creating a contingency plan in case of a “Leave” vote on the Brexit referendum, Zadie Smith reminds us that while walls, literal and figurative, can protect, they can also leave us “separated, private, paranoid, preoccupied with security.” In “Brexit Blues,” journalist and novelist John Lanchester tries to figure out how a proposal that was ridiculed in 1997 was realized in 2016: “One of the characteristics of the story is a distinctly British unseriousness: tragedy and farce, as so often in this country’s political life, were hard to tell apart.”

Jean Stein. Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

Jean Stein. Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

A committee that includes Hulk Hogan and others who are owed money by Gawker are asking whoever buys the site to take down “defamatory, tortious content that’s currently on the web pages.” Gawker founder Nick Denton, who is on the hook for $10 million of the $140 million court penalty, has hinted that he too might file for bankruptcy. Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley titan who bankrolled the lawsuit and will be speaking tonight at the RNC, likely agrees with the nominee’s feelings on libel laws: “We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when the New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace . . . we can sue them and win money.”

PEN America has announced two new awards, one of which includes a $75,000 prize, in honor of author Jean Stein, whose oral histories include Edie: American Girl and West of Eden: An American Place. Selections will be chosen and judged by an anonymous panel.