The Best Of The Dish This Weekend

Syrian Kurds Battle IS To Retain Control Of Kobani

And you thought I was exaggerating about the rise and rise of sponsored content:

As The Times’ readership goes mobile, the publication will phase out display ads in favor of native advertising. “Display has real value, but it feels transitional, specifically when you’re talking about a smartphone-centric world. Advertisements are going to have to be in-stream and intrinsically attractive enough to engage readers,” New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said.

It’s worth comparing that to an interview former NYT executive editor Jill Abramson gave only a year or so ago:

In a Q&A with Wired editor in chief Scott Dadich, Abramson expressed reservations about sponsored content. “What I worry about is … leaving confusion in readers’ minds about where the content comes from, and purposefully making advertising look like a news story,” she said. “I think that some of what is being done with native advertising does confuse a little too much.”

Thompson’s euphemism for deceiving readers? Advertising has to be “in-stream.”

Seven picks from the weekend Dish: why women belong on Mars – because they’re much more cost-effective as astronauts; the extremely low cost-effectiveness of art school, if you want to be a working artist; vice-presidents being mauled by octopi; the poignant beauty of shelter dogs minutes before they are euthanized; and Walker Percy on why depression makes sense.

Three videos: when environmentalists shit in the woods; a great yo mama sketch; and the sublime beauty of Matisse’s chapel.

Plus: John Gray on evil;  and Isaiah Berlin on the problem with idealism.

The most popular post of the weekend was The End Of Gamer Culture?, followed by The Right’s Lingering Palin Problem. One reader adds to the discussion about gamer culture, feminism, and the culture of the straight white male:

As a white straight guy, let me just say: Thank you. And not because “my people” deserve anybody’s pity — as Louis CK points out, it’s a damn good stroke of luck to be born a white straight male, as it spares us from the scourge of racism, homophobia and sexism. And let’s acknowledge that if someone is committing racism, homophobia and sexism, it’s usually a white straight male. Along with most mass shootings, school shootings and acts of domestic terrorism. Most of the Gamergate dudes are straight white males, too.

But here’s a theory I can offer from the safety of anonymity: The gains of social progressivism generally and feminism specifically have had a polarizing effect on straight white male culture.

Some of us — myself included — have adopted extreme caution where it concerns expressing sexuality. Because we want to be polite and respectful and most definitely NOT creepy. Long before Yes Means Yes, social mores guided conscientious straight guys to only reveal sexual attraction when the green light was unambiguous — not easy, considering straight women are masters of subtlety. In the meantime, what we’ve been asked to police is a primordial impulse that lies at the very core of our nature. Our conscious mind knows it’s rude to check out a girl’s butt. Our unconscious mind says, “What is ‘rude?'”

Now listen, this isn’t the History’s Greatest Injustice. I’m just saying that repressing one’s natural impulses is tough. So we’re trying, and we’re not always succeeding. Still it’s a helluva lot better to be a woman now than it was 15 years ago, much less 50 years ago, and at least some of the credit goes to straight guys who are willing themselves to be less aggressive and less lecherous than their father’s generation. But in doing so, we are necessarily changing part of our culture; nobody even says “metrosexual” anymore because it describes most every straight guy in a city of more than 100,000.

Then there’s the straight guys at the other end of the spectrum. They’ve reacted not with introspection but with fear and rage. For them, feminism is an adult form of bullying, and there are all sorts of vocabulary rules… and they’ve retreated to a kind of online cultural ghetto, where none of the rules apply. These guys begin to feel so alienated by society, they can justify not just misogyny but acts of extreme violence against the women  they’re attracted to — and all women, for that matter.

Obviously, I’m not saying feminism is at fault. Certainly, the positive effects of the movement far outweigh the negative. But I think we have to acknowledge some areas where it can overreach and call on feminists to communicate to straight men in a more nuanced way, not because we deserve their consideration, necessarily, but because being more inclusive will make their movement less intimidating, less polarizing and much more effective when it comes to achieving their goals of empowerment.

See you in the morning.

(Photo: A Kurdish refugee boy from the Syrian town of Kobani hugs his brother in a camp in the southeastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province on October 25, 2014. The Syrian town of Kobani has again seen fierce fighting between Islamic State and Syrian Kurdish forces. Since mid-September, more than 200,000 people from Kobani have fled into Turkey. By Kutluhan Cucel/Getty Images.)