Required Reading

Jasper Architects won a competition to design a dune hotel in Kuwait (© Jasper Architects)For the New Yorker, Eric Latch spoke to three of Andrew Cuomo’s accusers — Charlotte Bennett, Lindsey Boylan, and Ron Kim — in the days after his resignation as New York governor:

“He couldn’t resign without first being the victim and blaming all of us,” Bennett, who worked as an executive assistant and senior briefer to Cuomo, told me. Still, before Cuomo was even done talking, Bennett and her boyfriend were celebrating and hugging.

Cuomo’s announcement gave Lindsey Boylan little satisfaction. Boylan, who worked as an economic development official in his administration from 2015 to 2018, was the first woman to publicly accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment. In response, the Governor’s office orchestrated what the attorney general’s report determined to be an unlawful retaliation campaign. Even as the Governor announced his intention to step down, on Tuesday, his office kept up its attacks. Minutes before Cuomo’s speech, his lawyer, Rita Glavin, delivered her own remarks—live-streamed on the state government’s Web site—in which she said, of Boylan, “She was out for some type of revenge against the Governor’s office.”

Read Naomi Fry’s take on the best bingeable series of the summer, HBO’s The White Lotus:

[Director and writer Mike] White is obsessed with reality television; he has even been a contestant on “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor.” Perhaps this is why “The White Lotus” is the most reality-TV-like scripted series I’ve seen in a long time. The naïvely blissful guests on the boat reminded me of the horny contestants on “Too Hot to Handle” docking at Turks and Caicos, not yet knowing that they’ve agreed to participate in a game of abstinence. The character of Tanya, in Coolidge’s hands, is as heartrending and unbearable as any Bravo housewife. And owing to a slew of rivalries, and a foreboding, tribal-drum-heavy score, composed by Cristobal Tapia de Veer, White’s show also has ample tinges of “Survivor.” After duking it out for a week on an island, who will come out alive?

After finding out he had no immunity after his first COVID-19 vaccination, an immunocompromised 78-year-old received an illegal booster shot of Johnson & Johnson. He chronicled it for Intelligencer, saying:

I didn’t take anything away from anyone. If I had done this in March, there were people who were desperate waiting on line. Now, you can’t give it away. And what I did will soon be available and encouraged: Francis Collins, the head of the CDC, said this is not a booster shot — this is attempting to get the first shots right. And that’s right.

On Thursday, the FDA approved a third vaccine dose for those with weakened immune systems. The New York Times reports:

The agency’s decision came a day before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent advisory committee was set to consider and vote on whether to recommend the move. The committee is likely to give its approval, and the C.D.C. would follow with its own endorsement of the additional doses.

The nurse accused of injecting nearly 8,600 people with saline instead of the COVID-19 vaccine has denied the allegations, saying it was “a one-time incident.” More from DW:

She’d panicked after breaking a vaccine vial — and out of fear of dismissal, filled the vial with saline solution to continue doing her job.

The shots administered to patients did contain the vaccine, just diluted with saline, [her lawyer Christoph] Klatt said.

But investigators suspect that the woman had done it many more times than the six times she admitted. Witness accounts at the vaccination center raised the possibility that a larger number of people were affected. The nurse was ultimately fired from the job.

While authorities said the nurse’s motive was unclear, they did note that she aired skeptical views about vaccines in social media posts.

After analyzing the DNA of an early medieval warrior buried in Finland over 1,000 years ago, researchers believe the individual may have been nonbinary, with XXY chromosomes. They seem pretty badass:

The honorable way the warrior was buried led researchers to conclude that the remains were of “a respected person whose gender identity may well have been non-binary.”

“If the characteristics of the Klinefelter syndrome have been evident on the person, they might not have been considered strictly a female or a male in the Early Middle Ages community,” Moilanen said. “The abundant collection of objects buried in the grave is proof that the person was not only accepted but also valued and respected.”

Cutty bangs — Ziploc bags filled with DIY cocktail ingredients — are a San Francisco tradition for folks who want to drink discretely on-the-go. The Bay Area tradition has fascinating roots (though as a New Yorker, I’m partial to nutcrackers):

Although these bagged drinks are legendary in San Francisco, little is known about their true origin story. However, it’s evident that cutty bangs are an integral part of hyphy culture, the Bay Area hip-hop movement of the 1990s and early 2000s. First referenced in hyphy lore by rappers TayDaTay and Big Mack, in the bouncy 1998 single, “Cutty Bang,” TayDaTay croons, “got it from the Third Street liquor store,” while Big Mack spits, “I got the magic potion and I step to the mic and I start explodin’,” clearly referencing the “drink of the year.” Then, in 2000, Kalifornia Noize Terrorists came out with a similar single that pays homage to the sugary, radioactive party drink. 

Legendary chef Julia Child is a cultural icon. These photographs, published in a new book France is a Feast: The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child, show a different side to her: lovely, intimate photos of her and her husband, Paul Child. The New Yorker did a write-up:

A contact sheet of Julia’s long legs, propped up in a telephone booth; her open, ruddy face as she arranges a picnic in a newly mown field; Julia sunbathing with a friend on a Paris rooftop; a nude portrait, silhouetted against a closed curtain in a hotel room. We’re so accustomed to Julia Child the ample lioness, hooting over a slippery chicken, that it’s a shock to see her gamine, gawky as a gazelle in her early days in Paris. In one of the most beautiful photographs collected here, she’s standing on a hillside in Les Baux-de-Provence, arms akimbo, the curve of her stance echoed in the branches of the nearby pine trees. She’s thirty-six. It’s before books—before the thousand-page manuscript that became “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”—before cooking on television, before fame. She’s laughing. She looks like a woman with an appetite.

Wayne Koestenbaum writers for New York Times Magazine that he would rather “floss than fornicate.” His ode to the dental practice is a quirky, worthwhile read:

Teeth and gums, hips and hippocampus — these material presences won’t last forever. As a child, I never flossed. That art demands sophistication. My mother was a virtuoso of the Waterpik, which I considered an instrument of higher learning. But flossing, like calculus and Kant, surpassed the capacities of kiddies. Flossing remained, in my eyes, a mature, remedial privilege, like my parents’ Sealy Posturepedic mattress. My career as a flosser began at age 22, after my gums bled from chewing steamed broccoli. I bought a virgin reel of floss and, like Penelope, set to work on my future, one thread at a time.

Since its inception, TikTok has raised new, important questions about digital ownership and intellectual property. Recently, the creator of the popular #SavageChallenge, Keara Wilson, secured a copyright for the viral dance. But she wasn’t the only creator to do so — read more from Essence‘s Girls United:

Along with Wilson, several other TikTok creators were surprised with their own copyrights at the event, including the Nae Nae Twins, creators of the dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage Remix” featuring Beyonce; Mya Johnson, and Chris Cotter, who created the “Up” dance, Young Deji, creator of “The Woah” dance; Fullout Cortland, who created the choreography to Doja Cat’s “Say So” performance at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards; and Chloe Arnold, who made the “Salute a Legend” choreography for Syncopated Ladies’ tribute to Prince. 

Makeup lovers should read this writeup in the Washington Post about new safety concerns in the beauty industry:

Researchers recently found that waterproof, sweatproof, and long-wearing cosmetics — so popular at this time of year — contain higher levels of a potentially toxic class of thousands of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or (PFAS). The study was led by scientists at the University of Notre Dame and published in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

[…] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked the chemicals to serious kidney, liver, immunological, developmental and reproductive issues. And, recently, it said that there is evidence that PFAS affect the antibody response to vaccines such as those for covid-19.

Legislators are starting to take action. In recent weeks, the House passed the PFAS Action Act, which would require the Environmental Protection Agency to establish national drinking water standards for these so-called “forever chemicals.” A bipartisan Senate bill seeking to ban PFAS in cosmetics was introduced in June by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn).

To the surprise of no one, one of the many Van Gogh exhibitions touring the United States will have a weed-friendly event. Trippy.The stream of memes about the Delta variant swooping in and ruining everyone’s autumn plans is top-tier. (Get vaccinated and mask up — I’m begging!)

My fall plans The Delta variant pic.twitter.com/FmPS4tyVPn

— Carlos Aguilar (@Carlos_Film) August 12, 2021

My fall plans The delta variant pic.twitter.com/omFnFPW7lF

— Spencer Reid Stan Account (@asianting_) August 11, 2021

My fall plans The delta variant pic.twitter.com/HMCjlNrVXl

— toxiana (@kilokyloo) August 12, 2021

my fall plans the delta variant pic.twitter.com/ZEQEg5carl

— Florence Pugh Daily (@bestofpugh) August 12, 2021

Required Reading is published every Saturday, 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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