Five years ago, Peter Thiel gave twenty-four young people (twenty-two men and two women—never mind Title IX) a hundred thousand dollars each to leave college. The Chronicle of Higher Education checks in with nine of them to see what the former students did with the funding. More than a few went back to college, but with an altered perspective on its value. One of the women returned to Princeton and left again just one credit shy of her degree. “The only thing I haven’t done is fulfill the arbitrary requirements,” she says. The most important aspect of the fellowship, most report, wasn’t the money or the freedom but the connections. Seems like a distinction without a difference: Having money usually leads to connections, doesn’t it? And it’s rather harder to get them without it.
Rupert Murdoch got a new puppy. (For the record, Bookforum does not endorse the anti-cat comment at the bottom of this article.)
At the London Review of Books, Elaine Blair writes about Ben Lerner, who, she says, “uses standard comic situations (drunkenness, lechery, lies and misunderstandings, ineffectual strutting and preening) to portray a particular kind of contemporary clown: the extensively educated man with all the advantages who has stretched his youth into his twenties, then his thirties, evading conventional professional responsibilities and deferring personal ones.”
Tablet has announced they’ll start charging people to comment on their stories. Editor Alana Newhouse explains: “Instead of shutting off comments altogether (as some outlets are starting to do), we are going to try something else: Ask those of you who’d like to comment on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation.”
CyberCaliphate, a group claiming to have ties to ISIS, hacked Newsweek’s Twitter yesterday. The hack only lasted fifteen minutes, but the group tweeted several times. The group has also hacked the Twitter accounts of the United States Central Command, the International Business Times, and Taylor Swift.
At Slate, members of the magazine’s audio book club—Parul Seghal, David Haglund, and Katy Waldman—discuss the wide appeal of Elena Ferrante. Bookforum associate editor Emily Cooke wrote about Ferrante in our Dec/Jan issue.
In the “spirit of transparency,” The Verge reports, Jeb Bush has published the names, emails, and private messages—some of which contained home addresses and social security numbers—of thousand of constituents who contacted him while he was in office.