231 posts tagged with longform.
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20/20 vision in the world of high-end art

A painting commissioned for the firm’s hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary, “Transport Through the Ages,” hung above the reception desk. Bouvier insists that he never used confidential information from his logistics business to buy and sell paintings. None of the thirty-five works that he sold Rybolovlev were in storage with Natural Le Coultre. “I have the information not because I am a shipper,” he said. “It is because I am clever.”
The high-end of the art market is full of mystery, built on trust, reputation, and secrecy. What happens when someone starts turning all of that on its head? An art shipper, Russian oligarch, and a Rothko in The Bouvier Affair. (Sam Knight, for The New Yorker)
posted by redct on Feb 2, 2016 - 12 comments

'...follow the law or you’re no better than the crook.'

Inside the Snitch Tank. After his arrest for the worst mass shooting in Orange County, CA history, Scott Dekraai poured out his feelings to a jailhouse informant. But instead of nailing down a death-penalty conviction against a confessed killer who was arrested with murder weapons in his car, the bugging of Dekraai’s cell touched off a legal storm over prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants which has delayed justice and drawn national attention. The Orange County Register has set up an extensive website to accompany their ongoing investigation and report.
posted by zarq on Jan 13, 2016 - 17 comments

The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck

"He was a schemer who used the courts for profit and revenge. He was a paranoid, angry meth addict who had been arrested for battery and domestic violence seven times. He had been involuntarily committed, by his family’s count. And yet, in its report on Phoebe’s death, the Florida Department of Children and Families concluded, “There was nothing in the preceding several years that could have reasonably been interpreted as predictive of such an event.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 8, 2016 - 13 comments

215 Of The Best Longreads Of 2015

215 Of The Best Longreads Of 2015 [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger on Jan 1, 2016 - 19 comments

just the sounds of buzzing flies and sobbing

The art of tour guiding
When you’re driving a bus full of tourists through the Australian outback,
a packet of chewing gum may be your only hope.

posted by Joe in Australia on Dec 28, 2015 - 27 comments

Where "schools aren’t a place to learn, they’re a place to fear."

In 2007, the Pinellas County, Florida School Board abandoned integration, joining hundreds of US school districts in former Confederacy states that have resegregated since 2000. The Board justified the vote with bold promises: Schools in poor, black neighborhoods would get more money, more staff, more resources -- none of which happened. This past August, the Tampa Bay Times published an exposé, revealing how district leaders turned five once-average schools into Failure Factories. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 18, 2015 - 62 comments

“Perhaps the next time you hear from me I’ll be dead,”

Dead Air: The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, especially if you’re in talk radio. [The California Sunday Magazine] By Saul Elbein Photographs by Jes Aznar
When Elgin Damasco’s radio talk show was over, his bodyguards would hustle him out of his fortified studio and into his car. They would drive him through the leafy streets of Puerto Princesa, capital of the western Philippine province of Palawan, and bring him home. There he would hunker down until morning. Police had warned him that men had been casing his house. “I don’t even have the freedom to go to the mall,” Damasco told me. Inside the cinder-block walls of his studio, the cherubic 32-year-old felt safe. His sonorous voice was hooked into the most powerful transmitter on Palawan island. He was charging forth, as his station ID went, “to defend the weak and criticize the corrupt.” From 4:00 to 5:30 weekday afternoons, no one could shut him up.
posted by Fizz on Dec 18, 2015 - 3 comments

"I would maybe compare it to... it's like a light monkey's paw."

"There's a snideness about it that is in keeping with the experience and the inner life of being a certain kind of teenager. It's very anti-earnest. There was a moment after the period where that song came out where everything was humorless and grotesque. But after that, it seems like what happened was that everything got pretty earnest." Why Harvey Danger's '90s alt-rock hit "Flagpole Sitta" endures. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Nov 11, 2015 - 115 comments

we just make a little money and we buy a little mercy

"I think there are different kinds of mercy: big Mercy and little mercy. Big Mercy is so big because it is made out of suffering and ultimatums, out of saviors and omnipotence, and out of stories that have only one way of ending, which are brutal and where almost nobody wins... But maybe there's another kind of mercy—mercy so little that it costs almost nothing. So little most of us never notice it." [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 5, 2015 - 14 comments

"Women like me are very lucky and exceedingly rare."

"I've collected the suffering that men so recklessly visited on myself and other women and fashioned it into a livelihood. It is not a fortune but it is a tasteful empire of pain. I might be unlovable but I am not unsellable. I know some women who drink from mugs labeled 'Male Tears.' That's what I've labeled my checking account." Alana Massey for Medium: The Monetized Man.
posted by divined by radio on Sep 30, 2015 - 59 comments

Damn Cold in February: Buddy Holly, View Master and the Atomic Bomb

Someday this country’s gonna be a fine, good place to be. Maybe it needs our bones in the ground before that time can come: An essay on the summer of the Atomic Bomb, by Joni Tevis. Originally published in The Diagram
posted by Rumple on Sep 29, 2015 - 8 comments

nobody likes to be reminded, even implicitly, of his own selfishness.

"Julia is a do-gooder – which is to say, a human character who arouses conflicting emotions. By 'do-gooder' here I do not mean a part-time, normal do-gooder – someone who has a worthy job, or volunteers at a charity, and returns to an ordinary family life in the evenings. I mean a person who sets out to live as ethical a life as possible. I mean a person who is drawn to moral goodness for its own sake. I mean someone who commits himself wholly, beyond what seems reasonable. I mean the kind of do-gooder who makes people uneasy."
posted by divined by radio on Sep 25, 2015 - 125 comments

why do empires care so much about women's clothes?

"Whether it is the covering of breasts in Southern India or the wearing of burqas in Afghanistan, women's comportment and clothing have offered an emotionally powerful shorthand for all that is wrong with native culture and all that must be corrected by the empire." Rafia Zakaria for Aeon: Clothes and daggers. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Sep 22, 2015 - 23 comments

Losing the language of love

Every relationship brings with it a private language built on shared memories and experiences. Maybe it's a joke shared on a date, maybe a saying or misspoken phrase that privately comes to represent so much more. Following the death of her husband, publicist/copywriter and blogger Virge Randall writes about life after losing the shared language of love.
posted by garius on Sep 16, 2015 - 56 comments

#Space

America's Mad Scientist: 24 hours with Elon Musk (Clickhole)
posted by michaelh on Sep 9, 2015 - 23 comments

Take Me Out to the Brain Game

Baseball, perhaps more than any sport, is always straddling that delicate line between old school and new.
posted by MoonOrb on Aug 15, 2015 - 5 comments

A 'constant chorus of skepticism' about the"establishment."

"They Don’t Give a Damn about Governing... Once allied with but now increasingly hostile to the Republican hierarchy, conservative media is shaping the party’s agenda in ways that are impeding Republicans’ ability to govern and to win presidential elections."
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2015 - 81 comments

Or how to get ahead.

Pope Frankenstein, by the erudite and amusing Yanko Tsvetkov.
posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 3, 2015 - 3 comments

All we want from you is just your best

Jennifer Pan’s Revenge: the inside story of a golden child, the killers she hired, and the parents she wanted dead. - Karen K. Ho writing for Toronto Life magazine [via tabs]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 23, 2015 - 32 comments

Powerful And Triumphant And Lonely All At The Same Time

“Happy people don’t need you to say you understand. As an artist I don’t have much to say to happy people. And that works out great because they’re busy being content. For the rest of us, coming to terms with rejection, failure, death, and the fragility of love is very important. Some people are self-conscious about these things and maybe they don’t want to talk about them, but sometimes it just feels good to know you’re not alone. Books and music do this better than possibly anything else."
Author Joe Bonomo explores the sadness, yearning, and warmth of the music of Greg Cartwright. [more inside]
posted by Turkey Glue on Jun 30, 2015 - 5 comments

the essential work of art is to magnify the ordinary

As with anything in this world, excess is excess, but inadequate is inadequate. A writer must know when the weight of the words used to describe a scene is bearing down on the scene itself. A writer should develop the measuring tape to know when to describe characters' thoughts in long sentences and when not to. But a writer, above all, should aim to achieve artistry with language which, like the painter, is the only canvas we have. Writers should realize that the novels that are remembered, that become monuments, would in fact be those which err on the side of audacious prose, that occasionally allow excess rather than those which package a story — no matter how affecting — in inadequate prose.
Chigozie Obioma for The Millions: The Audacity of Prose.
posted by divined by radio on Jun 23, 2015 - 9 comments

"We have a tornado on the ground in town! Tornado on the ground!"

One year later, Wessington Springs High School senior Owen Witte chronicles the story of the tornadoes that descended on his home town and destroyed more than 50 homes and left 77 people homeless. Witte's story artfully conveys the heroism and resilience of his 950-person community.
posted by MrJM on Jun 13, 2015 - 5 comments

"Femininity, as it turns out, can be a barrier to enlightenment."

The psychotherapist Carl Jung, after seeing a photo of the Arctic explorer Augustine Courtauld, remarked that Courtauld's was the face of a man 'stripped of his persona, his public self stolen, leaving his true self naked before the world.' For women, this is doubly true: a woman's life is one lived under surveillance, a system of inner and outer regulations even more restrictive than a man's. Even a simple stroll down the sidewalk becomes an exercise in self-loathing. Suck in your stomach. Straighten your hem. (What if it rides up, exposing you?) Every shop window offers a glimpse of your own reflection. Adjust, adjust, adjust.

It's enough to drive a woman crazy (and isn't this what we're always being accused of?). It's enough to drive any woman to the woods.
So where are all the women hermits? [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on May 6, 2015 - 31 comments

"She's as wild as a caged animal. Try again in a few days."

My mother is like another country I used to live in, familiar but no longer a place I call home. When I visit, I don't stay long; dysfunction is the official language, the terrain is a desert of constantly shifting emotions, and the weather is grey when it's not dark and stormy. Estrangement is so much easier.
posted by divined by radio on Apr 23, 2015 - 14 comments

An odd dance towards a murder, or a suicide by request

This all happened a long time ago, at a time when Baker was smoking a lot of weed. All the strange interactions he had with Doc over the years have blurred together. At a certain point, things began to feel inevitable, all Baker’s small choices gaining momentum until it felt as though there were no more choices to make. And while he insists that he has no regrets about what took place later — it happened the way it should have, the way it had to — maybe if he’d made a different decision that afternoon, he wouldn’t be in prison right now. Because it can all be traced back to that very first time they met, when Doc turned to him and asked, straight-faced, as if it was the most normal thing in the world: “Have you ever thought about killing someone?”
posted by mudpuppie on Apr 22, 2015 - 7 comments

tradition, pride, religion, and patriarchy: a dangerous mix for women

Located in the heart of the Bible Belt, South Carolina is a deeply conservative state where men have ruled for centuries. The state elected its first female governor four years ago, but men continue to dominate elected offices, judicial appointments and other seats of government and corporate power. In many respects, the state's power structure is a fraternity reluctant to challenge the belief that a man's home is his castle and what goes on there, stays there.
The 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service has been awarded to Charleston, South Carolina's Post and Courier newspaper for their seven-part special investigation on domestic violence and femicide in a state that consistently places in the top ten nationally in the rate of women killled by men: Till Death Do Us Part. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Apr 21, 2015 - 26 comments

"May you always know you are loved," I whispered.

"It's completely alone," I said. That baby, that poor baby. What had it done? "Nobody is coming for it."

Softly she asked, "Would it be OK if we called it 'her'?"

It was then as though my therapist's finger grew very long. It arced through the air, crossing the space between us, and touched my chest, the tip of it pressing into my heart, and my body collapsed around it, folded in on itself from pain, the worst pain I had ever felt because it had no source. I was the pain. I saw that baby on her back, alone, and I understood that she was me. In that moment I was flooded—intellectually, emotionally, physically—by the very knowledge I had so long barricaded myself against: that someone had given birth to me. And worse: that I had not been fit to keep.
A meditation on adoption, heartbreak, and healing, by Sarah Church Baldwin for The Rumpus: Build-A-Bear.
posted by divined by radio on Apr 20, 2015 - 29 comments

how many people in rock & roll can sing? Ringo can deliver a song.

"I don't want to bring in the violins, but we all came from hardship," says McCartney. "All of us except for George lost someone. I lost my mum when I was 14. John lost his mum. But Ringo had it worst. His father was gone; he was so sick they told his mum he wasn't going to live. Imagine making up your life from that, in that environment. No family, no school. He had to invent himself. We all had to come up with a shield, but Ringo came up with the strongest shield."

Part of that shield was playing the fool; part of that shield was booze. It led to a lost decade of L.A./London/Monte Carlo partying where Ringo woke up many mornings wondering, "Why are the birds coughing so loudly?" But he's been sober for 26 years, and there's one essential thing that keeps Ringo young: the sticks and the drum kit.
In anticipation of the inimitable Mr. Starkey's imminent (and long-awaited) induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone presents Being Ringo: A Beatle's All-Starr Life.
posted by divined by radio on Apr 17, 2015 - 52 comments

"It's pretty black and white. They didn't do their job."

"If his name was John Brown, he would have been in jail," one criminal justice official with knowledge of the case said. "If a woman says, 'He's the guy that raped me,' and you have corroborating evidence to show they were together and she went to the hospital and she can identify him, that guy goes to jail."
Last week, ProPublica and the New Orleans Advocate published the results of their months-long joint investigation outlining how law enforcement officers in five states repeatedly (and sometimes deliberately) failed to apprehend former NFL star Darren Sharper as he traveled cross-country drugging and raping women: Upon Further Review.

[cw: rape, sexual assault, violent misogyny, law enforcement collusion to cover up same] [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Apr 14, 2015 - 23 comments

crunchy, crispy, meaty sailboats of spicy chemical flavor

[E]ven though the restaurant's cartoonish decor bordered on offensive, it was still a temple to a people and a cuisine that America couldn't ignore. Taco Bells were everywhere. In every strip mall. Off every highway exit. Even the racists, the immigrant-haters, the people who'd laugh at my elementary-school stand-up comedy routine would run for the border.

You can laugh or sneer at Taco Bell. Shake your head at its high fat and salt content. Go ahead and lecture on what true Mexican food is. My mom would probably just roll her eyes at you, and take a broken yellow shard of crispy taco shell and use it to scoop up the pintos, cheese, and salsa.
John DeVore writes about finding the "unexpected, self-affirming solace" of home... at Taco Bell. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Mar 30, 2015 - 61 comments

On Memory: New Writing from Japan

On Memory: New Writing from Japan : a collection of newly translated fiction and non-fiction by Japanese writers, appearing in Words Without Borders magazine.
posted by Nevin on Mar 18, 2015 - 2 comments

Greece: Phase Two

Greek MP Costas Lapavitsas on the economic barriers ahead for Syriza and the challenges of eurozone exit "I want to come clean, and this a good venue to do it, and say the following: the obvious solution for Greece right now, when I look at it as a political economist, the optimal solution, would be a negotiated exit." [more inside]
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles on Mar 13, 2015 - 29 comments

"My business is built on everlasting trust.”

The Pigeon King and the Ponzi Scheme that Shook Canada [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 7, 2015 - 22 comments

People do not naturally assume that my family is a family.

Friends often try to assure me that people mean well, urging me to go easy on them, to be gracious, to give people the benefit of the doubt. "People don't mean to be offensive," they tell me. "They just don't know how to say it without coming across that way."

What these friends don't understand is that when the act of defining your family structure becomes an expected part of every day of your entire life, you grow tired of being gracious. It's exhausting to have strangers view your life as an up-for-grabs educational experience. For my kid, it's to constantly hear the underlying message: "Your life, your family, doesn't make sense to me. Someone needs to explain it to me. You owe me an explanation."

It's the people who live comfortably inside majorities who tend to discount any sort of commentary from minorities as being "overly sensitive." And I imagine that it's hard to step back and grasp the fact that when the world you occupy is built to accommodate you, you fit inside the boxes. You make sense. You are expected.
Nishta Mehra writes about her family's experience with learning how to navigate the landscape of interracial adoption in a "post-racial" America: Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair.
posted by divined by radio on Mar 4, 2015 - 51 comments

Inside, not on, Top.

Carrot Top is known as a Comedian. That is a statement of fact. [more inside]
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon on Feb 25, 2015 - 72 comments

"I love desolate landscapes."

My Saga, Part 1 By Karl Ove Knausgaard [New York Times] Following the trail of the first Europeans to set foot in America, the first of two parts. Previously. Previously. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Feb 25, 2015 - 29 comments

The Carver Mobb: New York City Street Football

Essentially two-hand-touch taken to bloodsport level, with two 25-minute halves, a mostly running clock, and referees to nominally control the mayhem, it's the closest these weekend warriors will come to professional sport, though many are high-caliber athletes.
posted by MoonOrb on Feb 24, 2015 - 7 comments

When Children With Autism Grow Up

"I was 23 and needed a summer job; he was 21 and needed full-time support. He’s one of an estimated half million people diagnosed with autism who are soon becoming adults — and who society is entirely unprepared for." (Note: graphic description of sexual abuse; SL Buzzfeed)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 9, 2015 - 25 comments

“I can’t breathe,”

On Trial for Rape by Ann Brocklehurst [The Walrus Magazine]
"Late last year, in a Toronto courtroom, a young woman faced off against the university student whom she accused of raping her in a school parking lot. The media ignored the story. This is a series about a criminal rape trial that took place in Toronto late last year. The trial lasted eight days; the judge announced his verdict earlier this month." —Ann Brocklehurst
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Jan 29, 2015 - 78 comments

caring for AIDS patients "when no one else would"

In the darkest hour of the AIDS epidemic, Ruth Coker Burks cared for hundreds of people whose families had abandoned them.
Courage, love and the 30-year secret of one little graveyard in Hot Springs, Arkansas. [more inside]
posted by flex on Jan 8, 2015 - 64 comments

The Devil and John Holmes

John Holmes was a porn star. Eddie Nash was a drug lord. Their association ended in one of the most brutal mass murders in the history of Los Angeles. The Devil and John Holmes [more inside]
posted by anazgnos on Jan 7, 2015 - 18 comments

Some of The Best American Essays 2014

The Best American Essays of 2014 Many of the essays are behind paywalls, or subject to monthly article limits. I've linked to those as well because some of you have access through work, school, or subscription. [more inside]
posted by craniac on Jan 4, 2015 - 7 comments

Bhangra dancers, Marlboros, and a girl in a pink dress

The Indian wedding that exploded in violence: a short story by Ranbir Singh Sidhu
posted by Joe in Australia on Jan 4, 2015 - 10 comments

"There is hope!"

As the West African Ebola epidemic stretches into its 10th month: researchers have identified the likely cause of the initial outbreak: a young boy playing with bats in a village in Guinea. The NY Times considers how the opportunity to contain the epidemic was missed and the effects of Ebola on West African economies. Vanity Fair takes a look at the failure to contain the disease within Guinea, Frontline goes to "Ground Zero" in Guinea, and searches for a missing Ebola patient. Meanwhile, West Africans welcomed Christmas (previously) and the New Year. Africa Stop Ebola!
posted by ChuraChura on Jan 2, 2015 - 14 comments

Wreck of the Kulluk

Wreck of the Kulluk (SLNYT) Three years ago, Shell spent millions to send a colossal oil rig to drill in the remote seas of the Arctic. But the Arctic had other plans. [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave on Jan 1, 2015 - 74 comments

Best crime reporting 2014

Longreads Best Crime Reporting of 2014 [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger on Dec 28, 2014 - 6 comments

One flushes and bucks

Rodeo bulls, like the boys who dream of riding them, are unpredictable creatures. They can start out shy and skittish, then suddenly turn ornery. They’ll lie down in the chute one day and try to gore you the next. The most dangerous bull ever ridden, by some accounts, began as a scrawny yellow calf in 1988.
The Ride of Their Lives: Children prepare for the world’s most dangerous organized sport.
– A longform article from The New Yorker
posted by Joe in Australia on Dec 8, 2014 - 7 comments

Longreads Best of 2014

A list of every story that was chosen as No. 1 in Longreads's weekly Top 5 email. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Dec 8, 2014 - 17 comments

"Today, both families hope to do what’s best for Karen."

The Limits of Jurisdiction: in Guernica, Erin Siegal McIntyre writes about her six-year investigation into corruption and crime in international adoptions from Guatemala, as exposed through the story of one little girl. "For the past six years, the child known as Karen has lived in Missouri with her adoptive parents, Timothy and Jennifer Monahan. But Loyda Rodríguez and Dayner Hernández, a young Guatemalan couple, are convinced the child is their daughter, Anyelí, who was kidnapped in November 2006. Although a Guatemalan judge ruled that Karen should be returned to Guatemala in 2011, the Monahans have kept her." [more inside]
posted by nicebookrack on Dec 2, 2014 - 46 comments

The Quiet German

The New Yorker on 'the astonishing rise of Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world.'
posted by Quilford on Nov 27, 2014 - 49 comments

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