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Weekly Reading: The best longreads all in one place

The Wireless logo The Wireless 23/03/2017

Our weekly recap highlighting the best feature stories from around the internet.

© Provided by Radio New Zealand Limited An ad for freelance marketplace Fiverr, as discussed by Jia Tolentino in this week's New Yorker.

The New Yorker

The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death, by Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

“At the root of this is the American obsession with self-reliance, which makes it more acceptable to applaud an individual for working himself to death than to argue that an individual working himself to death is evidence of a flawed economic system. The contrast between the gig economy’s rhetoric (everyone is always connecting, having fun, and killing it!) and the conditions that allow it to exist (a lack of dependable employment that pays a living wage) makes this kink in our thinking especially clear.”

The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency, by Jane Mayer, The New Yorker

“Private money has long played a big role in American elections. When there were limits on how much a single donor could give, however, it was much harder for an individual to have a decisive impact. Now, Potter said, “a single billionaire can write an eight-figure check and put not just their thumb but their whole hand on the scale—and we often have no idea who they are.” He continued, “Suddenly, a random billionaire can change politics and public policy—to sweep everything else off the table—even if they don’t speak publicly, and even if there’s almost no public awareness of his or her views.”’

The Battle of ‘Miss Saigon’: Yellowface, Art and Opportunity, by Michael Paulson, New York Magazine

“I went to see it in London, and I loved the show — it was a show with Asian people, and I was in the business, so I thought maybe I could be in it. But I was way up in the balcony, so I didn’t see him up close. Then I saw an article in a magazine about Jonathan Pryce, and I saw a picture of him in the show, and he was wearing those prosthetics on his eyes to look Asian, and that was the first time I said there was something wrong.”

Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?, by Liza Mundy, The Atlantic

“Women not only are hired in lower numbers than men are; they also leave tech at more than twice the rate men do. It’s not hard to see why. Studies show that women who work in tech are interrupted in meetings more often than men. They are evaluated on their personality in a way that men are not. They are less likely to get funding from venture capitalists, who, studies also show, find pitches delivered by men—especially handsome men—more persuasive. And in a particularly cruel irony, women’s contributions to open-source software are accepted more often than men’s are, but only if their gender is unknown.”

Trump the Destroyer, by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

“We always assumed there was a goal behind it all: cattle cars, race war, autocracy. But those were last century's versions of tyranny. It would make perfect sense if modern America's contribution to the genre were far dumber. Trump in the White House may just be a monkey clutching history's biggest hand grenade. Yes, he's always one step ahead of us, and more dangerous than any smart person, and we can never for a minute take our eyes off him.”

Who Should Pay for Evan Karr’s Heart?, By Anne Helen Peterson, Buzzfeed

“This is the state of health care in America: Even the insured may go deeply into debt or resort to crowdfunding to keep themselves or their children alive. Evan has a relatively rare condition, but the Karrs’ situation is far from unique. In 2016, the annual cost of health care for a typical family of four with employer-insurance coverage was $25,671 — with 43% ($10,473) covered by the employer. That’s triple what it cost to insure an average family in 2001.”

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