Immigrants Of New York: Brighton Beach, Brooklyn

Brighton Beach Waiter

Waiter at Café Volna Source: Tyler Bird

A neon hammer and sickle sign flickers in angry, vindictive red as soon as I exit the Brighton Beach subway stop in Brooklyn, New York. Except it’s not there to promote communism; it’s a flashy attempt to sell mid-grade booze. At first this strikes me as a bit odd, but then what is communism if not–like capitalism–one of the most enduring, elaborate and nastiest marketing campaigns this world has ever seen? Besides, I figure, it’s probably best not to try to make too much sense of everything I see today. After all, I am in Little Russia.

Brighton Beach Women

Source: Tyler Bird

Brighton Beach is Coney Island’s eccentric, slightly bedraggled aunt who thinks it’s funny to spike your 14-year-old cousin’s drink at the dinner table but then looks at you spitefully when you ask why he’s passed out at the table. Wizened 70-somethings sport gilded “Odessa” sailors’ hats while eating smoked herring at the boardwalk bar; babushkas in floral muumuus dot the well-worn street corners with a grimace chillier than the Cold War; battered and bruised men crowd around chess boards and toss half-empty beer cans to the ground not necessarily to dispose of them but perhaps to say—and loudly—“I am here”.

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How Photojournalism Killed Kevin Carter

Warning: some photos in this article are graphic and disturbing.

Kevin Carter Vulture Photo

Kevin Carter’s most famous photo Source: The Unsolicited Opinion

When this photograph capturing the suffering of the Sudanese famine was published in the New York Times on March 26, 1993, the reader reaction was intense and not all positive. Some people said that Kevin Carter, the photojournalist who took this photo, was inhumane, that he should have dropped his camera to run to the little girl’s aid. The controversy only grew when, a few months later, he won the Pulitzer Prize for the photo. By the end of July, 1994, he was dead.

Kevin Carter Trash Can Lid

Photojournalist Guy Adams took this shot of Carter during township violence; behind him, a man uses a trash can lid as a shield Source: Miko Photo

Emotional detachment allowed Carter and other photojournalists to witness countless tragedies and continue the job. The world’s intense reactions to the vulture photo appeared to be punishment for this necessary trait. Later, it became painfully clear that he hadn’t been detached at all. He had been deeply, fatally affected by the horrors he had witnessed.

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Meet Quincy Symonds, The World’s Best 6-Year-Old Surfer

Only surfing (and skating) for a little over a year, Symonds’ athletic abilities will absolutely shock you. While her fearless athleticism is impressive in its own right, it is especially so given the fact that she has an adrenal disease that requires intensive medical treatments.

20 Must See Documentaries Streaming On Netflix

It turns out that if you spend days on end watching documentaries for an article, you begin to believe the world is going to end. Now. Or next week at the latest.

But seriously, here are twenty hand-picked documentaries you can–and should–stream on Netflix:

Best Netflix Documentaries: Paper Clips (2004)

A tearjerker that follows one Tennessee school’s project to gather six million paper clips in order to understand the massive number of people murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Jesus Camp (2006)

The filmmakers attempted an unbiased look at a summer camp that trains children in the ways of evangelical Christianity. But the film caused such controversy that this camp was closed. Still, this type of indoctrination continues throughout the country — the above is a deleted scene.

Cropsey (2009)

Like a real-life Blair Witch Project, filmmakers go on a search for Cropsey, a childhood legend that had some actual victims: children who were abducted in the 1970s and 80s from Staten Island.

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