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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Can Netflix Survive In The New World It Created?, by Joe Nocera, New York Times

Just because Netflix had essentially created this new world of internet TV was no guarantee that it could continue to dominate it. Hulu, a streaming service jointly owned by 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBC Universal, had become more assertive in licensing and developing shows, vying with Netflix for deals. And there was other competition as well: small companies like Vimeo and giants like Amazon, an aggressive buyer of original series. Even the networks, which long considered Netflix an ally, had begun to fight back by developing their own streaming apps. Last fall, Time Warner hinted that it was considering withholding its shows from Netflix and other streaming services for a longer period. John Landgraf, the chief executive of the FX networks — and one of the company’s fiercest critics — told a reporter a few months ago, “I look at Netflix as a company that’s trying to take over the world.”

The Ad Campaign That Convinced Americans To Pay For Water, by Elizabeth Whitman, Priceonomics

Americans weren’t always so open-minded about opening their wallets for H20. Mere decades ago, they would have laughed at paying astronomical markups for a liquid that flows freely, and usually safely, from their taps at home.

That all began to change in the 1970s, with a crazy idea from a Frenchman who wanted Americans to buy fizzy water in green glass bottles shaped like bowling pins.

The Concrete Buildings Of Brutalism Are Beautiful, by Barnabas Calder, Aeon

I love Brutalism, and am increasingly clear that it is not merely the equal of any other period’s architecture, it is better. There has never been a more remarkable period of architectural achievement.

Breakfast At Denny’s In Japan, by Sonoko Sakai, Lucky Peach

Denny’s was my father’s favorite neighborhood famiresu. I remember my father talking about Denny’s when it opened in Shibuya in the mid-eighties. Back then, it was a fashionable place—the idea of being able to drive and park your car at the diner was like something out of a Hollywood movie. My father liked Denny’s because it brought back a taste of America, where we had lived on and off in the fifties, sixties, and seventies. Denny’s was not only a good place to get coffee, he said, the food was decent, too. When I visited, he encouraged me to try it, but I never took his advice. I live in Los Angeles; I didn’t visit Japan to eat American food.

I Saw The Figure 5 In Steel, by Luc Sante, The Paris Review

A junk shop is not an antique shop, where the focus is on merchandising and the display favors popular and expensive items. A junk shop, by contrast, will often give the impression that commerce is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. Some junk shops are a roiling chaos, down to being underlit and perhaps smelly, while others are highly and even compulsively organized—but generally not in a way that makes any sort of mercantile sense. The items in a junk shop may seem like components of a conceptual artwork or a vast personal shrine or an extraterrestrial museum of human culture.