Charity Johnson enrolled in 10th grade at New Life Christian School in Longview, Texas, a few weeks before her 34th birthday.
Back then, in October 2013, Charity said her name was “Charite Stevens” and that she was born in 1997 instead of 1979, making her nearly 16, just old enough to score an after-school job at McDonald’s. Her “guardian,” a young woman Charity said was her sister, helped Charity fill out paperwork at the tiny private school, run out of a church in a quiet neighborhood by pastor Stuart Newlin.
Newlin didn’t ask to see Charity’s birth certificate. Why would he?
Superman débuted in 1938, Batman in 1939, Wonder Woman in 1941. She was created by William Moulton Marston, a psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard. A press release explained, “ ‘Wonder Woman’ was conceived by Dr. Marston to set up a standard among children and young people of strong, free, courageous womanhood; to combat the idea that women are inferior to men, and to inspire girls to self-confidence and achievement in athletics, occupations and professions monopolized by men” because “the only hope for civilization is the greater freedom, development and equality of women in all fields of human activity.” Marston put it this way: “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.”
Essentially, we’re constantly inventing narratives about the people who surround us — where he works, what he loves, whether our family would like him. And more than other dating services, which offer up comprehensive match dossiers, Tinder appears to encourage these narratives and crystallize the extrapolation process and package it into a five-second, low-stakes decision. We swipe, in other words, because of semiotics.
“Semiotics” is, quite simply, the study of signs. The field of semiotics tries to figure out how we come up with symbols — even as simple as the word in front of you — that stand in for a larger concept. Why does the word “lake” mean that massive blue watery thing? Or how does the stop sign, even without the word “stop,” make everyone understand not to go forward?
One professor left his home for a 36-square-foot open-air box, and he is happier for it. How much does a person really need?
Most Staten Island enterprises are as their signs describe them. Occasionally, one or two storefronts that look no different from the rest also do a steady, word-of-mouth business in the illegal sale of OxyContin, oxycodone, Percocet, and other prescription painkillers. A neighborhood ice-cream truck playing its jingle might also be selling pills, according to police, who keep an eye on ice-cream trucks. A window-blinds and drapery store sold oxycodone pills until the N.Y.P.D. arrested one of the owners and the store closed. At a barbershop called Beyond Styles, on Giffords Lane, in the Great Kills neighborhood, police arrested the owner and two accomplices in October of 2013 for selling oxycodone and other drugs—two thousand pills a week, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
"A Diagnosis," by Jenny Diski. Read More >
It is becoming a cliché of conversations between twentysomethings (especially to the right of 25) that if you talk about books or articles or strung-together words long enough, someone will eventually wail plaintively: “I just can’t reeeeeaaad anymore.” The person will explain that the Internet has shot her attention span. She will tell you about how, when she was small, she could lose herself in a novel for hours, and now, all she can do is watch the tweets swim by like glittery fish in the river of time-she-will-never-get-back. You will begin to chafe at what sounds like a humblebrag—I was precocious and remain an intellectual at heart orI feel oppressed by my active participation in the cultural conversation—but then you will realize, with an ache of recognition, that you are in the same predicament. “Yes,” you will gush, overcome by possibly invented memories of afternoons whiled away under a tree with Robertson Davies. “What happened to me? How do I fight it? Where did my concentration—oooh, cheese.”
Most people don’t notice I’m polite, which is sort of the point. I don’t look polite. I am big and droopy and need a haircut. No soul would associate me with watercress sandwiches. Still, every year or so someone takes me aside and says, you actually are weirdly polite, aren’t you? And I always thrill. They noticed.
The complimenters don’t always formulate it so gently. For example, two years ago at the end of an arduous corporate project, slowly turning a thousand red squares in a spreadsheet to yellow, then green, my officemate turned to me and said: “I thought you were a terrible ass-kisser when we started working together.”
She paused and frowned. “But it actually helped get things done. It was a strategy.” (That is how an impolite person gives a compliment. Which I gladly accepted.)
In an essay for Essence magazine, Fox sideline reporter Pam Oliver describes her humiliation and shock at being replaced by Erin Andrews.
The 53-year-old Oliver keeps it classy in her first-person piece, praising Fox officials for giving her the news in person and expressing appreciation that she’ll still work the sidelines this fall, albeit with the network’s B-team. Still, the longtime sideline reporter during the Joe Buck and Troy Aikman broadcasts admits that the demotion hurt.
Oliver quickly dismisses any racial component to the move, but isn’t as definitive when asked about age. “Maybe,” she writes.