Karla Cornejo Villavicencio never wanted to do something as clichéd as writing about immigration. But when she was a senior at Harvard University, she wrote an anonymous essay for The Daily Beast about being undocumented. Soon literary agents were asking for a memoir. “I was really offended by that,” Cornejo Villavicencio, now 31, said, “because it wasn’t about my writing. I knew that’s not why they were reaching out.” It wasn’t until the day after the 2016 election, feeling shellshocked by the results, that she felt ready. She had to do something , she thought, to give voice to the millions of people living in the country illegally who, like her, feared what might happen to them under a Donald Trump presidency. The result was “ The Undocumented Americans ,” published in March, in which Cornejo Villavicencio chronicles her own immigration story and profiles undocumented immigrants across the United States: the trauma of those recruited to clean up ground zero; the … [Read more...] about ‘I Came From Nothing’: An Undocumented Writer Defies the Odds
Self esteem vs self confidence
In 2017, I was two years into my first open and Dom/sub relationship. It was a fraught and frequently stoned time in my life. On the one hand, I’d come into my queerness and was having the kind of sexual and romantic adventures I’d previously only fantasized about. On the other, my primary partnership with a man named Adam was increasingly characterized by gaslighting and jealousy. I’d recently formed an intense text-based friendship with Adam’s long-distance girlfriend, Leah, and was steeling myself for her week-long visit to Los Angeles for Adam’s birthday. I felt a pressure to be a “cool polyam girl”—to be “good” at non-monogamy, and to have just as much of my own shit going on. Which indeed, I made sure I did. Below is a chapter from my forthcoming reported memoir, Open , called “Reverse Pretty Woman.” It tells the story of my time dating a sugar daddy during this period. Like many experiences in the book, it exemplifies the seemingly conflicting ways in which I found … [Read more...] about How I Blew Up My Reverse Pretty Woman Arrangement
Zootopia , Disney’s latest animated feature, is as cuddly and familiar as they come. It stars adorable talking animals in human-like clothes who work adorable, human-like jobs in places like farms, ice cream shops, and police departments. And at first, it seems to embrace the same message touted by most children’s movies of the past decade: You can be anything you want to be, if you just work hard and believe . That mantra and movie magic may have worked to turn a sewer rat into a five-star French chef in Ratatouille , a snail into an Indy 500 champion in Turbo , and a chubby panda into a master martial artist in Kung Fu Panda . But in Zootopia , we quickly learn, life is more complicated than that. Forget a lack of self-esteem—these fluffy heroes’ primary obstacles are insidious real-world forces like racism, sexism, fear, and corruption. As a hulking Cape buffalo voiced by Idris Elba snaps at our bunny protagonist, Judy Hopps (an effusively charming Ginnifer Goodwin), … [Read more...] about ‘Zootopia’: Disney’s Antidote to Donald Trump’s Racial Animus
“It haunts me that celebrities are just theater kids that made it,” a Tumblr user once shudderingly observed . To some, there will always be something utterly spine-chilling about the fact that just underneath the red-carpet poise of their favorite actor lies the beating heart of someone who was once, at any given point, roughly two opening chords away from bursting into a show tune. Or worse—still is. Rachel Zegler, more than most, wears that heart on her sleeve. The 20-year-old actress made her film debut in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story , after being chosen over 29,999 other would-be Marías in a 2019 open casting call. As a regular teenager in New Jersey, Zegler did what lead sopranos do, and got cast as the star of all her high school musicals. Then she was catapulted into household-name territory. This kind of whiplash, even if she had wanted to, would not have allowed Zegler the chance to bury or shed her theater-kid self. There are no second chances at a first … [Read more...] about How Rachel Zegler Is Becoming the New Anne Hathaway, the Theater-Kid Actress People Love to Hate
At various points over the last five years, Girls has been the most exciting new comedy on TV, and it’s been overhyped. It’s been feminist, brave, and groundbreaking. It’s been alienating, racist, and too racy. It’s been the voice of a generation. Now, it finally gets to just be a TV show. Sunday night’s Season 5 premiere of Girls arrives, for the first time, outside the zeitgeist. The award-winning critics’ darling—and conservative whipping boy—is settled and confident, and no longer the shiny new thing. Once the generator of so many think pieces it might single-handedly be responsible for turning online pop culture criticism into self-parody, it now bubbles under the radar. (As much as any show created by Lena Dunham, who has turned her designation as human megaphone for millennials into a gig as one of Hillary Clinton’s most visible and vocal campaigners .) The critical handwringing—and, good lord, the think pieces—have moved on to other lightning rods. Godspeed, … [Read more...] about Is a Controversy-Free ‘Girls’ Still Worth Watching?
Illustration: Philip Burke This article was featured in One Great Story , New York ’s reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it nightly. There’s a story that progressives like to tell about Larry Summers. The doyen of Establishment economics is dining out with a populist politician. The two have made it through the meal with minimal awkwardness — their ideological tensions eased by booze and food — when Summers leans back in his chair and offers his left-wing foil a hard-won insight. There are two kinds of political actors in this world: insiders and outsiders. Outsiders are free to speak their truth, Summers explains. But the price of such freedom is irrelevance in the halls of power. Insiders, by contrast, have a seat at the table where history is made. But to keep those seats, they must take care not to criticize other insiders. So, Summers asks his dining companion, which are you? The anecdote has an apocryphal air. It makes Summers sound like … [Read more...] about Was Larry Summers Right All Along?
Conservatives may not agree with liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer on much. But they should celebrate his legacy as he retires later this year, because he has stood up for judicial independence — something Democrats now oppose. It was Breyer who wrote the majority opinion in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning (2014), in which then-President Barack Obama tried to declare the Senate in recess so he could appoint left-wing board members to the NLRB. The Court smacked Obama down with a 9-0 unanimous opinion that included Obama’s own appointees, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Breyer delivered a careful rebuke to Obama’s attempt to exceed his constitutional powers. Breyer also joined a part of the majority opinion in NFIB v. Sebelius (2012), the Obamacare case, in which he agreed efforts to force the states to accept the Medicaid expansion violated the Tenth Amendment — an argument Democrats had ridiculed. And Breyer respected religious … [Read more...] about Pollak: Stephen Breyer’s Legacy of Defending Judicial Independence
SINGAPORE — Lee Kuan Yew, who transformed the tiny outpost of Singapore into one of Asia’s wealthiest and least corrupt countries as its founding father and first prime minister, died here on Monday. He was 91. His death, at the Singapore General Hospital, was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mr. Lee’s eldest son. Mr. Lee was prime minister from 1959, when Singapore gained full self-government from the British , until 1990, when he stepped down. Late into his life he remained the dominant personality and driving force in what he called a First World oasis in a Third World region. The nation reflected the man: efficient, unsentimental, incorrupt, inventive, forward-looking and pragmatic. “We are ideology-free,” Mr. Lee said in an interview with The New York Times in 2007, stating what had become, in effect, Singapore’s ideology. “Does it work? If it works, let’s try it. If it’s fine, let’s continue it. If it doesn’t work, toss it out, try another one.” … [Read more...] about Lee Kuan Yew, Founding Father and First Premier of Singapore, Dies at 91
ZHUOXI, Taiwan — The smell of damp earth filled the air on a recent moonless evening as the hunter wove through the dense mountain thicket, clutching a homemade rifle and with only the narrow white beam of a headlamp to illuminate his prey. But the hunter, Vilian Istasipal, was confident. He knew this terrain well. A member of the Bunun, one of 16 officially recognized Indigenous groups in Taiwan, Mr. Vilian, 70, has been hunting on this land for more than 60 years. Some of his earliest memories growing up in Zhuoxi, a town of around 6,000 people in eastern Taiwan, involved going on dayslong hunts with his father deep into the mountains where he learned skills considered essential to being a Bunun man, like how to lay a trap, shoot a flying squirrel and skin a boar. “We kill them, but we also pay respect to their lives,” Mr. Vilian said in the courtyard of his home in Zhuoxi, also known as Takkei in the Bunun language. On display behind him was a visual testament to … [Read more...] about Taiwan Hunters Contend With Taboos, and Trials, to Uphold Tradition
Retired entrepreneur Jeff Paul was once an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump. But that was before Paul went toe-to-toe with Trump over the former president’s 2020 campaign slogan and Paul saw the lengths to which Trump and his band of lawyers would go to trample over his supposed intellectual property. The slogan? Keep America Great! The outcome? Not so great! Exactly one week before Trump took office in 2017, Paul logged on to the campaign website and fired off an inquiry. It was, he said, a sort of business pitch. The subject line had three words and one piece of punctuation: “Keep America Great!” “The original idea was to start a PAC,” Paul told The Daily Beast in a phone interview. “I’d seen how much money he had raised during the election, and, you know, that was hundreds of millions of dollars.” Paul wanted to “get in on some of the moneymaking,” and though he didn’t see himself as a true political player, he figured that just running a Trump PAC “won’t … [Read more...] about This Fan Sent Trump His Idea. The ‘Dirty Bastard’ Stole It.