Proust on an Android, For-Profit Colleges, Cannes and More: Today’s Recommended Reading


Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘net are doing, too. Today we have a piece about for enrollment at profit colleges at the height of the recession, a comprehensive look at the evolution of Anohni’s performances, a piece that makes a case (at least, a convincing personal case) for reading Proust on a smartphone, and more.

Vauhini Vara writes for The New Yorker about the spike in enrollments at for-profit colleges right at the peak of the economic recession in 2010 — when the unemployment rates in the country were at their highest, and when a college education seemed like a way out. Now, the students who enrolled have considerable debts and often degrees that aren’t always taken seriously. Vara speaks specifically with former students of Corinthians College, who are now protesting the collection of their debts:

The Corinthian Fifteen—and more than a hundred other Corinthian students who later joined the strike—were among the millions of students who enrolled at for-profit universities during the last ten years. Students who went to these schools have come to account for a disproportionate share of the country’s unpaid student-loan balance; they also default at higher rates than other students. So they have been bearing a particular burden in the broader student-debt crisis, which has, since 2010, seen student loans overtake credit-card debt and car loans as the second-largest form of outstanding debt in the U.S.

In the Atlantic, Sarah Boxer writes about having given up on finishing Proust’s In Search of Lost Time…until she began reading it on her Android:

Finally, in the fall, shortly before my father turned 95, I began where I left off, in Sodom and Gomorrah, reading Proust on my cellphone at night when everyone else in the house had gone to sleep. When I tell people this, they look at me like I have drowned a kitten. And when I tell them that not only did I finally finish all of Sodom and Gomorrah on my cellphone, but the rest of Proust’s opus, too, and in time to tell my father, they back away from me very slowly.

The New York Times has a piece about rapamycin, a drug that has “significantly lengthen[ed]” the lives of laboratory mice, and more generally about geroscience — the study of the biology of age — a branch of research often has trouble finding funding because it doesn’t target a specific disease, but rather the processes that make people more prone to those diseases.

While the diseases that now kill most people in developed nations — heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer — have different immediate causes, age is the major risk factor for all of them. That means that even treatment breakthroughs in these areas, no matter how vital to individuals, would yield on average four or five more years of life, epidemiologists say, and some of them likely shadowed by illness…A drug that slows aging, the logic goes, might instead serve to delay the onset of several major diseases at once.

Whether or not the guesses will prove to be accurate, if you want a thorough rundown of the films that are making a big impression at Cannes this year — and are in the running for the Palme d’Or — Indiewire posted a look of the likely winners, with German film Toni Erdmann coming in first:

German director Maren Ade follows up her acclaimed 2009 debut “Everyone Else” with this touching, nuanced look at a young workaholic (Sandra Hüller) whose goofy father (Peter Simonischek) attempts to mend their broken relationship by going under cover to invade her personal life. The film’s mixture of comedy and drama has drawn raves for its subtle emotions and is a definite Palme contender; it could also nab a screenplay prize as well as acting prizes for Hüller, Simonischek, or both.

In advance of her anticipated performances at the Red Bull Music Festival, Pitchfork has devoted a long piece solely to Anohni’s evolving modes of performance, across which the publication examines how the phases in her life manifested themselves onstage. Here’s a bit about what she was up to onstage in 1990:

After two years at University of California-Santa Cruz, Anohni transferred to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she attended the Experimental Theatre Wing. Anohni quickly began to absorb the history within queer New York—the continuing AIDS-related traumas, the activists, even the nightlife kings and queens. In 1992, she and Johanna Constantine formed the Blacklips Performance Cult, an avant-garde musical theater troupe that expanded to include many characters of the downtown NYC arts scene. It’s amusing to imagine the now noble and stoic Anohni as Fiona Blue, engaging in a more hardcore take on John Waters’ gross-out theatricality, often covering both audience and cast in buckets of blood.