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Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Rise Of Virtual Citizenship, by James Bridle, The Atlantic

Citizenship and its varying legal definition has become one of the key battlegrounds of the 21st century, as nations attempt to stake out their power in a G-Zero, globalized world, one increasingly defined by transnational, borderless trade and liquid, virtual finance. In a climate of pervasive nationalism, jingoism, xenophobia, and ever-building resentment toward those who move, it’s tempting to think that doing so would become more difficult. But alongside the rise of populist, identitarian movements across the globe, identity itself is being virtualized, too. It no longer needs to be tied to place or nation to function in the global marketplace.

Hannah Arendt called citizenship “the right to have rights.” Like any other right, it can be bestowed and withheld by those in power, but in its newer forms it can also be bought, traded, and rewritten. Virtual citizenship is a commodity that can be acquired through the purchase of real estate or financial investments, subscribed to via an online service, or assembled by peer-to-peer digital networks. And as these options become available, they’re also used, like so many technologies, to exclude those who don’t fit in.

The Redemption Of Chris Hughes, by Concepción De León, New York Times

Mr. Hughes is one of the co-founders of Facebook, for which he did “three years worth of work for nearly half a billion dollars,” as he puts it, emphasizing the extreme nature of his success. He and Mark Zuckerberg were roommates at Harvard, and early on, Mr. Hughes ran the company’s communications and marketing department. The social network’s colossal success fast-tracked Mr. Hughes’s career. In 2008, he joined Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign to launch and manage, a robust system that organized Obama supporters and was viewed as instrumental to his victory. In 2012, when Facebook went public and The New Republic came up for sale, he bought it, hoping to herald the publication into a digital future and expand its reach. His tumultuous ownership ended in 2016, when he sold the magazine. Later that year, he partnered with Mr. Warren and Ms. Foster to form the Economic Security Project.

In his new book, “Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn,” out this week, Mr. Hughes, 34, traces his ascent to show how the forces that influenced his and Facebook’s success — technological advancements, globalization and the rise of private equity firms — have created a “winner takes all” economy in which only a small group of people succeed.

The Sisters Grimm, by Sophia Booth Magnone, Public Books

Modern retellings bring the horror into sharp focus. Drawing upon the fantastic, otherworldly logic and familiar narratives of the fairy-tale genre, Machado’s stories dwell upon the inescapable queerness of embodied life for women in a patriarchal world—where queerness describes not only unruly sexual desire, but also a whole spectrum of peculiar, delightful, and devastating things that can happen to a body. If living in a feminine body is a party, as the book’s ambivalent title may suggest, the precise nature of the occasion might be more Donner Party than Cinderella Ball. Some conditions are often mundane in their horror: the pressure to conform to beauty norms, the difficulties of pregnancy and childbirth, the lasting trauma of sexual assault.

Sight By Jessie Greengrass Review – A Stunning Debut Novel Abput Minds And Bodies, by Lauren Elkin, The Guardian

What we can know of our bodies, ourselves, or each other is the subject of Jessie Greengrass’s debut novel. The author of an award-winning short story collection, An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It, Greengrass adapts to the novel format with enviable flexibility. Or rather, she adapts it to her own specific literary sensibilities: ruminative, taking a judicious distance from things, just far enough to see the links between them, but not so far she misses their textures.