1. “Germans End Long Wait: 24 Years and a Bit Extra.” World Cup 2014: Germany Defeats Argentina in Final.
“For years, Brazilians had a phrase they would inevitably utter when things went wrong. ’Imagina na Copa,’ they said after an endless traffic jam or a construction accident or an ugly rash of violence dominated the news—imagine if this happened during the World Cup. It became a foreboding warning, a pre-emptive sigh at the presumed disasters that lay ahead. Over five weeks, though, Brazil avoided any of the major catastrophes it feared. Thrilling games and entertaining soccer—as well as the national team’s own stunning collapse—generally overshadowed any logistical issues, and the tournament was seen as a global success. So it was fitting, then, that in the tournament’s final game, the Brazilians managed to dodge the ultimate on-field nightmare, too. It could have been calamitous. For Brazilians, the only thing worse than their national team’s losing the trophy would have been for their neighbor Argentina to win it, and that possibility hung heavy over the fans at Estádio do Maracanã on Sunday. But there was no coronation for Lionel Messi and the Argentines, no party for Brazil’s biggest rival. Instead it was Germany, on a gorgeous goal from Mario Götze just minutes before the game would have gone to a shootout, that celebrated its fourth World Cup title with a 1-0 victory after extra time.”
2. “The Roar Over the Funds of the Crowd.” Kathryn Shattuck interviews Zach Braff.
“To hear Mr. Braff and his producer tell it, though, he couldn’t get a movie financed. Sure, his nine-season run as Dr. John Dorian on the NBC sitcom Scrubs had made him a celebrity both here and abroad—a wealthy one, with a reported net worth of $22 million (a figure he has denied). But that was television, and the series ended in 2010. Other than Garden State, his biggest film roles had been voice parts—the title character in Chicken Little and a winged monkey in Oz the Great and Powerful. In other words, not the foreign box-office draw on whom financiers like to place their bets. There was also the problem of the achingly idiosyncratic script for Wish I Was Here, with its themes of Judaism, father and sons, and death, featuring fantasy sequences starring Mr. Braff as a space knight escorted by a flying robotic squire. And as great as his desired cast was—Kate Hudson as his patient wife, Mandy Patinkin as his controlling father and Josh Gad as his alienated brother, with bit parts for Jim Parsons, Donald Faison (his Scrubs co-star) and Ashley Greene—a studio might dictate higher-profile replacements.”
3. “Appreciation: Jazz musician Charlie Haden spoke for beauty.” Chris Barton remembers the music legend.
“Fueled by a desire to speak out against the actions of the Vietnam War, he formed the Liberation Music Orchestra in 1969. A fiery, constantly evolving group that featured the arranging talents of Carla Bley as well as Don Cherry, Dewey Redman and Paul Motian, the record featured songs inspired by the Spanish Civil War. While touring Portugal with Coleman in 1971, Haden’s voice landed him in jail for dedicating the group’s piece ’Song for Che’ to black liberation movements in Mozambique and Angola.”
4. “The Sad, Strange, True Story Of Sandy Allen, The Tallest Woman In The World.” A mundane coincidence turns into a mild obsession with the uniquely tragic life of a 7’7” Indiana woman who died a folk hero.
“Though on occasion I’d mention in passing that I shared a name with the tallest woman alive, I didn’t actually think of Sandy often—until 2008. I saw in the New York Times that she had died and I read about the years she spent in a nursing home even though she was only 53. I read how rare gigantism is, and how it ensured poor health and physical pain on top of the constant ridicule and anguish. The deeper I dug, the more I realized how much more there was to consider than a coincidence of names—and the more I realized how wrong Neil Finn turned out to be.”
5. “Sex Without Fear.” The new pill that could revolutionize gay life is reawakening old arguments.
“But for others, a drug that can alleviate so much anxiety around sex is itself a source of concern. They worry that Truvada will invite men to have as much condomless sex as they want, which could lead to a rise in diseases like syphilis. Or they fret that not everyone will take it as religiously as they ought to, reducing its effectiveness and maybe even creating resistance to the drug if those users later become HIV-positive and need it for treatment. And just as the birth-control pill caused single women in the sixties to wonder whether they’d be seen as ’sluts’ and to internalize that real and imagined shame, some gay men wonder how Truvada will play in the straight world; it sends a strikingly different message from the one in the ’Sunday Styles’ wedding announcements. Other gay men worry that the very existence of such a drug is a kind of betrayal: of those who’ve died in the epidemic; of fealty to the condom, an object alternately evoking fear and resilience, hot sex and safe-sex fatigue; and of a mind-set of sexual prudence that has governed gay-male life since the early ’80s. Even after treatments for HIV made it a manageable disease for many, gay men have absorbed the message that a latex sheath is all that stands between them and the abyss. Meaning not only HIV infection but everything it implies: loss of self-control and personal dignity, abdication of civic responsibility.”
Video of the Day: American Horror Story: Freak Show gets its first teaser trailer:
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