8 powerful tweets that made the New Yorker cancel a talk with Trump's most infamous supporter.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Remember Steve Bannon? Most people would rather forget. But in today’s media landscape, that’s nearly impossible.

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is an infamous figure.

Considered by some to be the “brain” of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, he was quickly fired from Team Trump after the 2016 election.


He’s the guy most prominently blamed for igniting white nationalist propaganda, promoting Trump’s trade wars with countries like China and encouraging Trump’s most combative tendences.

Or, you might just know him based on his “Saturday Night Live” appearances as the Grim Reaper himself.

Bannon was scheduled to appear at upcoming New Yorker Festival where he would be interviewed by the magazine’s editor David Remnick.

However, after a number of scheduled attendees threatened to cancel their own appearances, Remnick decided to pull Bannon from the schedule in a letter to his staff.

The whole situation has raised even more questions -- not about censorship -- but about whether people like Bannon deserve a forum in the public conversation at all.

On Monday, actor Jim Carrey tweeted his objection to Bannon and reportedly threatened to cancel his appearance at the festival if Bannon was in attendance.

That was followed by an avalanche of other celebrities canceling their appearances.

Some made it clear that they were happy to engage with people who have different political philosophies but that Bannon crossed a line.

Comedian Paul F. Tompkins tweeted about the whole affair in way that perfectly captured why any “outrage” over the cancelation is a waste of energy:

A few people like best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell defended the idea of having Bannon appear but their arguments were quickly shut down by other who said this wasn’t about equal time for different ideas but literally about not giving racists a platform.

Who thought this was going to go well?

For most people, the story will be about Bannon being pulled from the schedule.

But a number of responses have looked at why Bannon was invited in the first place.

Several publications have pointed out that the entire controversy is ultimately good for Bannon as it gives him the very attention he wanted and suddenly makes a largely discredited and ignored political figure suddenly relevant again.

Here’s Remnick’s full letter to The New Yorker staff:

In 2016, Steve Bannon played a critical role in electing the current President of the United States. On Election Night I wrote a piece for our website that this event represented "a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism." Unfortunately, this was, if anything, an understatement of what was to come.

Today, The New Yorker announced that, as part of our annual Festival, I would conduct an interview with Bannon. The reaction on social media was critical and a lot of the dismay and anger was directed at me and my decision to engage him. Some members of the staff, too, reached out to say that they objected to the invitation, particularly the forum of the festival.

The effort to interview Bannon at length began many months ago. I originally reached out to him to do a lengthy interview with "The New Yorker Radio Hour." He knew that our politics could not be more at odds----he reads The New Yorker----but he said he would do it when he had a chance. It was only later that the idea arose of doing that interview in front of an audience.

The main argument for not engaging someone like Bannon is that we are giving him a platform and that he will use it, unfiltered, to propel further the "ideas" of white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, and illiberalism. But to interview Bannon is not to endorse him. By conducting an interview with one of Trumpism's leading creators and organizers, we are hardly pulling him out of obscurity. Ahead of the mid-term elections and with 2020 in sight, we'd be taking the opportunity to question someone who helped assemble Trumpism. Early this year, Michael Lewis interviewed Bannon, who made it plain how he viewed his work in the campaign. "We got elected on Drain the Swamp, Lock Her Up, Build a Wall," Bannon said. "This was pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls." To hear this was valuable, as it revealed something about the nature of the speaker and the campaign he helped to lead.

The point of an interview, a rigorous interview, particularly in a case like this, is to put pressure on the views of the person being questioned.

There's no illusion here. It's obvious that no matter how tough the questioning, Bannon is not going to burst into tears and change his view of the world. He believes he is right and that his ideological opponents are mere "snowflakes." The question is whether an interview has value in terms of fact, argument, or even exposure, whether it has value to a reader or an audience. Which is why Dick Cavett, in his time, chose to interview Lester Maddox and George Wallace. Or it's why Oriana Fallaci, in "Interview with History," a series of question-and-answer meetings with Henry Kissinger and Ayatollah Khomeini and others, contributed something to our understanding of those figures. Fallaci hardly changed the minds of her subjects, but she did add something to our understanding of who they were. This isn't a First Amendment question; it's a question of putting pressure on a set of arguments and prejudices that have influenced our politics and a President still in office.

Some on social media have said that there is no point in talking to Bannon because he is no longer in the White House. But Bannon has already exerted enormous impact on Trump; his rhetoric, ideas, and tactics are evident in much of what this President does and says and intends. We heard Bannon in the inaugural address, which announced this Presidency's divisiveness, in the Muslim ban, and in Trump's reaction to Charlottesville.What's more, Bannon has not retired. His attempt to get Roy Moore elected in Alabama failed but he has gone on to help further the trend of illiberal, nationalist movements around the country and abroad.

There are many ways for a publication like ours to do its job: investigative reporting; pointed, well-argued opinion pieces; Profiles; reporting from all over the country and around the world; radio and video interviews; even live interviews. At the same time, many of our readers, including some colleagues, have said that the Festival is different, a different kind of forum. It's also true that we pay an honorarium, that we pay for travel and lodging. (Which does not happen, of course, when we interview someone for an article or for the radio.) I don't want well-meaning readers and staff members to think that I've ignored their concerns. I've thought this through and talked to colleagues----and I've re-considered. I've changed my mind. There is a better way to do this. Our writers have interviewed Steve Bannon for The New Yorker before, and if the opportunity presents itself I'll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage.

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Maria Ducasse of Brooklyn is an inspiring example of how one person can unite a community to ensure no one loses their pet because of hardship.

Three years ago, she founded East New York Dog Lovers a nonprofit that has grown to have 29 foster homes, 200 volunteers, and helped reconnect more than 50 dogs with their people. It's a safety net where struggling pet owners get emergency fostering, help with medical bills, and food for their fur babies.

"Our biggest mission is to end pet surrendering," Maria told Chewy. "So whatever help may be needed—food, vet care, whatever you need to keep your pet at home—we are willing to supply and help you."

Maria has arranged for people struggling with homelessness, domestic violence, and medical emergencies to connect with fosters who care for their pets until they're back on their feet. Her hard work keeps families intact and pets safe.

"We just keep getting bigger," Maria says. "Every time we go out there and help somebody, they're like, 'I'm in—how can I help?'"

Maria's wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Community Pet Foster."

Tired of avocados turning brown? Try this simple trick.

Ah, the delicious, creamy avocado. We love it, despite its fleeting ripeness and frustrating tendency to turn brown when you try to store it. From salads to guacamole to much-memed millennial avocado toast, the weird berry (that's right—it's a berry) with the signature green flesh is one of the more versatile fruits, but also one of the more fickle. Once an avocado is ready, you better cut it open within hours because it's not going to last.

Once it's cut, an avocado starts to oxidize, turning that green flesh a sickly brown color. It's not harmful to eat, but it's not particularly appetizing. The key to keeping the browning from happening is to keep the flesh from being exposed to oxygen.

Some people rub an unused avocado half with oil to keep oxidation at bay. Others swear by squeezing some lemon juice over it. Some say placing plastic wrap tightly over it with the pit still in it will keep it green.

But a YouTube video from Avocados from Mexico demonstrates a quick, easy, eco-friendly way to store half an avocado that doesn't require anything but a container and some water.

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Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
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Growing up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan always loved the ocean. It's why she decided to study marine biology. But the more she learned, the more she realized that it wasn't enough to work in the ocean. She needed to protect it.

"I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate change," she says. "I felt powerless and didn't know what to do [so] I decided to pursue my master's in environmental management."

This choice led her to work in environmental protection, and it was fate that brought her back home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one of the last places on earth where species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros still live in the wild today. It's also home to over 300 species of birds, eight of which are endemic to the region.

"When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, diverse vegetation stretched through hills and valleys. The Leuser is truly a majestic landscape — one of a kind."

She fell in love. "I had my first orangutan encounter in the Leuser Ecosystem," she remembers. "As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and having fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the experience."

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

"Over the years," she continues, "the encounters with wildlife, with people, and with the ecosystem itself compounded. My curiosity and interest towards nature have turned into a deep desire to protect this biodiversity."

So, she began working for a government agency tasked to protect it. After the agency dismantled for political reasons in the country, Farhan decided to create the HAkA Foundation.

"The goals [of HAkA] are to protect, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the same time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region," she says.

"Wild areas and wild places are rare these days," she continues. "We think gold and diamonds are rare and therefore valuable assets, but wild places and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural assets that essentially provide us with life-sustaining services."

"The rivers that flow through the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows through our veins. It might sound extreme, but tell me — can anyone live without water?"

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

So far, HAkA has done a lot of work to protect the region. The organization played a key role in strengthening laws that bring the palm oil companies that burn forests to justice. In fact, their involvement led to an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind court decision that fined one company close to $26 million.

In addition, HAkA helped thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged critical habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They're working to prevent mining destruction by helping communities develop alternative livelihoods that don't damage the forests. They've also trained hundreds of police and government rangers to monitor deforestation, helping to establish the first women ranger teams in the region.

"We have supported multiple villages to create local regulation on river and land protection, effectively empowering communities to regain ownership over their environment."

She is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to the Ecosystem Impact Foundation. The small local foundation is working to protect some of the last remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.

"The funds will help the organization keep their ranger employed so they can continue protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats," she says.

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her today!

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When Lyric Holmans was diagnosed Autistic at the age of 29, it was like they were born again. It fundamentally changed how Holmans saw themself and others, and it led to the important realization that they no longer had to live up to neurotypical expectations.

"Finally learning the truth allowed me to grow a skill that I'd been lacking for most of my life—self-compassion," Holmans tells Upworthy. Adding that the diagnosis was like a "guidebook" that allowed them to "finally understand myself, and once I understood myself better, I even began to understand other humans—because I now understood how different people's minds can be."

This rebirth allowed Holmans to create a blog and social media profiles under the moniker NeuroDivergent Rebel. As the NeuroDivergent Rebel, Holmans elevates neurologically atypical voices to broaden the conversation surrounding neurodiversity.

The NeuroDivergent Rebel has nearly 88,000 followers on Facebook and 34,000 on Instagram.

One of the NeuroDivergent Rebel's primary focuses is letting the public know that no one should attempt to turn neurodivergent people into neurotypical people.

"We know that treating people like they are inferior or destined for failure can push them into that self-fulfilling prophecy of not believing in their own abilities," they told Upworthy. "Neurodivergent people, like all people, need to believe in themselves. We also need society to stop asking us to be all the things we're not."

Holmans wants neurodivergent people to take off their "masks" and to be themselves instead of contorting their minds and bodies in an attempt to be indistinguishable from their neurotypical peers. They understand that "masking" is a form of self-protection but it can push people to the emotional and physical breaking point.

"For some of us, myself included, simply being yourself means standing out, which can be dangerous if you are around unsafe people or situations. For me, as an Autistic person, masking often means I am hiding my discomfort or confusion in a situation. I may also mimic neurotypical expressions, cues, and body language, or fake eye contact, because I know non-Autistic people sometimes feel you're up to no good or lying if you won't look them in the eye," Holmans says.

As a leading neurodivergent voice on social media, Holmans has seen how platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are slowly changing the way people understand neurodiversity.

"Social media has given rise to neurodivergent voices. Once upon a time, even as recently as five years ago, when I was first diagnosed, it was very hard to find the words and voices of other neurodivergent adults," Holmans says.

"If you went to Google or any other search engine and typed in 'Autism' or 'ADHD' you would only find stories and resources about children, from medical professionals and worried parents (who were also only finding the medical articles that tend to slant heavily towards the harder parts of the neurodivergent experience)," they continued.

"For those of us, like me, rediscovering ourselves late in life, neurodivergent adults were lost and alone with few resources aimed at helping us. Now we are finally seeing a bit more balance to the narrative, though things are still far from perfect, and we have a long way to go," Holmans says.

Some of the most impactful posts they've made have helped parents understand their neurodivergent children.

Their posts are also a way for neurodivergent people to feel connected to others.

They also allow people to celebrate their differences.

And they're advocating for changes to our classrooms and schools to create a more compassionate, inclusive space for neurodivergent students.

In the end, Holmans is all about helping people improve their understanding of themselves and others to build a more compassionate world. "If I am able to give my readers the gift I received, in learning about neurodiversity that I'm not a broken neurotypical person—and it empowers them to live their lives more boldly, I've won," Holmans says.

Hoda Kotb, Iman and David Bowie.

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly six years since the world lost David Bowie. One of the most tragic aspects of his death at 69 is he was in the middle of a career resurgence after releasing the critically acclaimed albums "The Next Day" (2013) and "Blackstar" (2016) just days before his passing.

In a rare, revealing interview on "The Today Show," Bowie's widow, retired supermodel and entrepreneur Iman, 66, discussed why it's taken her six years to properly grieve the loss.

The couple were married in 1992 and have a 21-year-old daughter, Lexi Jones, together. Bowie and Iman both have a child from previous marriages.

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