Popular during the Renaissance and Baroque eras, capriccio paintings like this one by Antonio Joli depicted “architectural fantasies” in which buildings and ruins from distinct regions were brought together in imaginatively constructed sceneries. Here, we can see a pagoda from China on the left inserted into a scene in Thailand in Joli’s aptly titled “A capriccio with the French Ambassador approaching the King of Siam’s Palace in a state barge, in October 1685, featuring the White Porcelain Pagoda, from Nanjing, China, on the left.” The work just sold at Christie’s as part of an auction of Ann and Gordon Getty’s collection. (© Christie’s Images Limited 2022, courtesy Christie’s)
  • Celebrity Heidi Klum won Halloween this year with her worm costume:

I mean:

I don’t believe every single one of you curators has it out for disabled people, but sometimes your actions reveal that you weren’t considering disability while you were putting a show together. As someone who struggles to even make it to a gallery, getting there and finding no accommodations have been made can feel hostile, and ultimately it can get in the way of my ability to engage with an artwork. Whole thing can be a waste of time, waste of a taxi fare, and I will be less motivated to come back in the future to see what you’ve done. That’s because I won’t trust you. I think that’s only fair.

For a long time, telehealth was pitched as the future of medicine, even though adoption of the technology lagged behind hype about its ability to streamline and improve access to care. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed life online and telehealth usage increased exponentially. When the American Psychiatric Association (APA) surveyed its members in May 2020, almost 85% said they used telepsych platforms for all or most sessions, compared to just 2% before the pandemic.

… But in practice, some virtual-care startups seem to be falling short, according to people on the inside. Multiple clinicians who spoke to TIME said the fast pace and high volume of appointments made it difficult to establish the strong bond with patients that’s necessary to make progress in mental-health care.

  • How much of the #MahsaAmini hashtag is organic and how much is being buoyed by bots and state players? There’s definitely some suspicious stuff, according to Marc Owen Jones, a researcher in digital oppression in West Asia. Check out the whole thread:

DB: Fascism is more than in the air. How does it compare, then and now? It was a century ago almost exactly, October 1922, that Mussolini seized power in Italy with his March on Rome. That was a full decade before Hitler came to power in Germany.

NC: It’s a timely question: yesterday the main far-right party, the one with neofascist origins, took over Italy. I’m old enough to remember what was happening in the mid-1930s. It looked at the time as if the rise of fascism was inexorable. Mussolini, Hitler; Austria, Czechoslovakia; Franco in Spain—it just seemed it was never going to stop.

At that time, however, the United States was an exception: the country was moving toward social democracy. The 1920s were kind of similar to today. The labor movement had been crushed. Woodrow Wilson’s Red Scare had smashed the vibrant U.S. labor movement and crushed independent thought; the Palmer Raids arrested thousands of dissidents and sent—expelled—hundreds out of the country. It was a period of business triumphalism, enormous inequality, very much like today. There was great excitement about the wonderful future run by American business.

Then came the Depression in 1929. There was very deep poverty and misery, much worse than today. But the labor movement revived. There was industrial organizing, CIO organizing, militant labor action, sit-down strikes. Political organizations were lively; there were a lot of publications. And there was a sympathetic administration in the White House, which made a huge difference. Out of that came the early steps of what came to be social democracy in much of the world, in Europe after the war.

That was then. Now, it’s almost the reverse. The United States is leading the way to a kind of proto-fascism, and Europe is kind of hanging on to elements of social democracy, though they’re under attack. It’s not the ’30s, but there’s enough reminiscence to make it feel severely unpleasant. A sign of what may be the future, unfortunately, are two recent conferences, first in Budapest in May, then in Dallas in August.

The Budapest conference drew together the major far-right parties and movements with neofascist origins. It was in Hungary because Hungary is in the lead—leading the way to a kind of Christian nationalist fascism, this racist far right, crushing independent thought and controlling the press. It is what Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán proudly calls “illiberal democracy”—everything under state control. The main star was the U.S. Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). That’s the core of the Republican Party. Trump gave a virtual speech praising Orbán. Fox News host Tucker Carlson was overwhelmed by Orbán’s magnificence. That’s the future for the United States: racist, right-wing Christian nationalism controlled by state power over independent thought and institutions, control of the universities, the press, and so on.

The study also found that roughly 75 percent of the white students admitted from those four categories [athletes, legacy students, children of faculty and staff, or on the dean’s interest list], labeled ‘ALDCs’ in the study, “would have been rejected if they had been treated as white non-ALDCs,” the study said.

Almost 70 percent of all legacy applicants are white, compared with 40 percent of all applicants who do not fall under those categories, the authors found.

“Removing preferences for athletes and legacies would significantly alter the racial distribution of admitted students, with the share of white admits falling and all other groups rising or remaining unchanged,” the study said.

SANDHYA DIRKS, BYLINE: Is crime really rising? Turns out that question is incredibly complicated. So is the answer. Take the FBI crime statistics for 2021 – at first glance, up on homicides, down on property crimes, similar to 2020. But because of a long-planned change in reporting standards, most cities didn’t report their 2021 crime numbers to the FBI, says Fordham law professor John Pfaff.

JOHN PFAFF: It’s turned our crime data into just sort of a giant black hole.

DIRKS: The stories we tell about crime are filled with holes, rife with misinformation, Pfaff says – even when we have more complete data.

More than a year later, Edmonton police say they have the answer. They allege that it was Kinney himself.

“I just thought it was bizarre,” says Steve Lillebuen, an assistant professor of journalism at Edmonton’s MacEwan University who has studied ethics in crime reporting.

“To have someone accused of reporting on a crime they’re accused of committing? I mean, that just beggars belief, right? Like, would somebody actually do that?”

It’s not clear yet what evidence the police has to support its allegations against Kinney. But it’s a case that will pit police against one of their most vocal critics.

Kinney, 39, is a political gadfly and outspoken head of a non-profit called Progress Alberta, whose take-no-prisoners approach to politics has earned him fans and foes in the Prairie province. (Kinney did not respond to the Star’s requests for comment. He and the Toronto Star are both defendants in a libel suit brought by former UCP candidate Caylan Ford.)

A big chunk of his job is the Progress Report, which produces a newsletter and podcast and, according to its website, focuses on marginal communities and injustice, and rejects the idea that journalists must be apolitical or neutral. While his work has unabashedly championed progressive issues, it has also drawn criticism for sometimes veering outside the lane of what is considered the role of a reporter. 

  • Ever wondered who’s behind your daily crossword puzzle? In an essay for Catapult, crossword puzzle writer Celia Mattson explains what drew her to the craft and how words that commonly pop up in them actually reflect broader cultural biases:

The very concept of the crossword relies on the belief that there is a body of common knowledge that most people will or should know. A Monday puzzle in The New York Times assumes that most of the people solving it will know most of the answers, and the difficulty and obscurity of the clues increases each day. But who decides what’s common knowledge? Crosswords, especially the New York Times crossword, which has a subscriber base of half a million people, have a hand in standardizing what we remember and what we forget.

  • Musicians, labels, and scholars, including Mary J. Blige, Megan Thee Stallion, and Drake, have signed an open letter critiquing the usage of rap lyrics against Black artists in legal proceedings. Rivea Ruff reports for Essence:

“Rappers are storytellers, creating entire worlds populated with complex characters who can play both hero and villain,” the letter reads in part. “But more than any other art form, rap lyrics are essentially being used as confessions in an attempt to criminalize Black creativity and artistry.”

Citing the ongoing legal proceedings against rapper Young Thug (Jeffery Lamar Williams) taking place in Fulton County Georgia, using lyrics recorded by the artist and his frequent collaborators as evidence that his Young Stoner Life (YSL) music label is a front for an organized criminal gang.

  • Union organizing in Louisville, Kentucky, has taken off in the past year, Paula Pecorella writes for More Perfect Union, with the number of union petitions filed in the last 12 months matching those filed over the past three years combined:

“There’s this collective awareness that we’re all suffering the same way and that we don’t have to suffer any more,” said Alex Fitzgerald, a service industry worker who is helping to organize multiple shops across the city.

Workers at Louisville’s Pizza Lupo won a historic union on Monday, creating one of the first independent unionized restaurants in the South in living memory.

Pizza Lupo employees said they began organizing with Restaurant Workers United after drawing inspiration from workers at Austin-based pizza chain Via 313 over the summer. They sent a letter to Lupo’s owners on Saturday asking for voluntary recognition of their union. On Monday, just before the two sides were set to meet, management agreed to the request and recognized the union without an election.

  • Churches might be crossing legal boundaries when they get involved in elections, and the IRS often ignores this. Jeremy Schwartz and Jessica Priest look into this question and more for a joint ProPublica and Texas Tribune report:

While some Black churches have crossed the line into political endorsements, the long legacy of political activism in these churches stands in sharp contrast to white evangelical churches, where some pastors argue devout Christians must take control of government positions, said Robert Wuthnow, the former director of the Princeton University Center for the Study of Religion.

Wuthnow said long-standing voter outreach efforts inside Black churches, such as Souls to the Polls, which encourages voting on Sundays after church services, largely stay within the boundaries of the law.

@hexmarie

Connecting to my German and Pennsylvania Dutch ancestor and identity has been a beautiful experience. It’s worth all the research and struggles. I share my joy and my pain with my ancestors and spirits ♥️♥️♥️ #germanamerican #germany🇩🇪 #folkmagic #ancestors #heathentok #immigrant #decolonizeyourmind #fürdich #fyp #StemDrop001 #pagan #greenscreen

♬ The Loneliest Time – Carly Rae Jepsen & Rufus Wainwright
YouTube Poster
  • Right-wingers lying about journalists perceived as left-wing? No, you don’t say. Tech reporter Taylor Lorenz of the Washington Post explains how she’s been smeared:
@taylorlorenz

Anyone could easily fact check and see I posted about this being a hoax days ago, but they’d rather just fall for fake outrage #news #twitter #elon #elonmusk #influencers #influencer #technews #technology #technologynews #journalist

♬ Sunroof – Nicky Youre & dazy

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

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Lakshmi Rivera Amin

Lakshmi Rivera Amin (she/her) is a writer and artist based in New York City. She currently works as Hyperallergic's editorial coordinator.

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