paper trail

Reading while black; Pokémon goings-on

Sharon Dodua Otoo

Louizandre Dauphin, a Canadian schoolteacher who is black, was pulled over by police after he “decided to take a drive to the Stonehaven Wharf and sit by the water . . . to pacify my mind by reading the works of Timothy Keller and C.S. Lewis.” Dauphin shared his experience on Instagram, posting a selfie of his skeptical face and writing, “Before any more Canadians get too comfortable on their high horses. . . . This week has not been easy for me. Amidst a number of personal and professional struggles, my mind has been occupied with the latest string of black males killed by the police over the last few days.” Before asking for Dauphin’s license, the officer explained that “a few citizens in Janeville called the police because of a suspicious black man in a white car was parked at the Wharf for a couple hours. My response, ‘Really? I was just reading a book.’ … At this rate, I may never leave my home again.”

“The collision of the digital zeitgeist . . . and a neatly-framed sunset that happens four times a year is just the kind of viral synergy we all need this morning,” reports Gothamist, of last night’s Manhattanhenge—the fourth and final time the arc of the setting sun dipped squarely down the middle of Manhattan’s east-west cross streets this year—coinciding with the metastatic popularity of the smartphone sport Pokémon Go. The augmented reality game has players—whose ranks now exceed the number of Twitter users—traipsing around New York City hunting holograms of creatures such as Pikachu. Last night, crowds of people used their phones in a frenzy, though it was difficult to tell whether they were capturing Pokémon or a postcard-perfect sphere of hot plasma. Running into the middle of the street to take photographs of the sunset is quite dangerous. Pokémon Go can be dangerous too—the game has been used by armed robbers to target distracted people lured to remote locations. It has also bothered officials at Arlington National Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum as their sites, designated PokéStops, are overrun with visitors for whom virtual monsters eclipse historical ones. “We do not consider playing “Pokemon Go" to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC,” @ArlingtonNatl tweeted. “Technology can be an important learning tool, but this game falls far outside of our educational and memorial mission," said the museum.

“All the characters cavorting on horses in Greenwich, Connecticut or New Canaan. . . . it was the same old corny version of rich people, which didn’t seem real at all to me,” Whit Stillman says of the television show Mad Men. Love and Friendship, Whitman’s new film, is an adaptation of the early Jane Austen novel Lady Susan starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny. Love and Friendship will also be released as a two-part novel: Whitman’s reimagining followed by Austen’s full text.

“I don’t read novels. I prefer good literary criticism. That way you get both the novelists’ ideas as well as the critics’ thinking,” says the character Tom Townsend in Stillman’s 1990 movie Metropolitan. Think twice before you try watching it via your ex-boyfriend’s Netflix account: A California court has ruled that using someone else’s password to access an online service such as Netflix or HBO Go without the subscriber’s prior authorization violates federal computer law.

British writer Sharon Dodua Otoo won Germany’s most prestigious literary award, the €25,000 Ingeborg Bachmann prize, for her story “Herr Gröttrup Sits Down.” It’s Otoo’s first attempt at writing fiction in German, and tells the story of a rocket scientist who worked for the Nazis from the perspective of an unboiled egg. Read it in the Deutsch here.