In the Shadows. The healthcare and human rights challenges of the LGBT populations of Malawi -- where homosexuality is outlawed. Via
The longform.com guide to standup. Not a ranking, but rather a collection of links to long form articles about some legendary stand-up comedians. [more inside]
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper published a special project recently: The Stolen Ones investigates the local child sex trafficking industry, and documents stories from survivors and their families. (SFW, but some readers may find the content disturbing.) [more inside]
As the 2013-14 NBA season approaches, the last year of the reign of Commissioner David Stern, Sports Business Journal takes an in-depth look at his successor, New Media enthusiast, marathon runner, and fan of competitive balance, Adam Silver. [more inside]
"Reality has caught us" Ubisoft game Watch Dogs, scheduled for release next year, models pervasive surveillance as a game. Polygon's Charlie Hall investigates Chicago's vast camera network and finds the fiction might be not so far away from reality. [more inside]
“Oh,” says the ad man. He’s responsible for the hour of primetime television Revlon has bought and turned over to Belafonte, who, by the way, will not be singing “The Banana Boat Song,” and has also decided that he won’t accept commercials. “Oh my god,” says the ad man. Belafonte grins now, and says what he thought then: “Swallow that sh*t, motherf***er.” The Revolutionary Life of Harry Belafonte.
The Elvis Impersonator, the Karate Instructor, the Fridge full of Severed Heads, and the Plot to Kill the President. In March, Kevin Curtis of Tupelo, Mississippi, was arrested for mailing ricin-laced letters to a local judge, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, and the President - only to be released a week later when another man was arrested for the crime. In the latest issue of GQ, Wells Tower sets out to get to the bottom of the tale and finds himself falling down the rabbit hole into a whole other universe of lost American weirdness. (Know that Moo Cow the dog is okay.)
2001: A Space Odyssey - Discerning Themes through Score and Imagery: As Ligeti's music ends, the first image we see is a celestial alignment of the sun the earth and the moon as Richard Strauss' exhilarating Also Sprach Zarathustra begins. It's critical to note that Thus Spoke Zarathustra is also a novel by Friedrich Nietzsche. This musical choice thus signals that the film deals with the same central issues in this book. [via][more inside]
Football coach Todd Hoffner took a 92 second cell phone video of his children goofing around after bathtime. [autoplaying (sfw) video] A few months later, he lost his job and was under investigation for child pornography. [more inside]
After a receiving a poor prognosis after suffering severe head/body trauma as a six-year-old, Bret Dunbar is now a 39-year-old who runs marathons. [more inside]
Director's cut: "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved": An annotated look back at one of Hunter S. Thompson's greatest hits. [more inside]
Legends Never Die Two decades after a low-budget film turned Washington Square skaters into international celebrities, the kids from "Kids" struggle with lost lives, distant friendships, and the fine art of growing up. Caroline Rothstein writes about the cast of the Harmony Korine / Larry Clark film twenty years on for narrative.ly.
"Like a lot of things in Alaska, the annual Mount Marathon Race in Seward is famously brutal, even dangerous. Which is precisely why Michael LeMaitre ran it--the last day he was seen alive."
Michael Jordan Has Not Left The Building. Wright Thompson of ESPN: The Magazine profiles Michael Jordan as he turns 50 and finds himself in a world where his body may age, but his obsessive drive to compete never goes away.
What turned out to be most notable about the operation, though, was how typical it was. (Chicago Reader, via longform.org)
"In the 1950s, a DJ named Jean Shepherd hosted a late-night radio show on New York's WOR that was unlike any before or since. On these broadcasts, he delivered dense, cerebral monologues, sprinkled with pop-culture tidbits and vivid stretches of expert storytelling. 'There is no question that we are a tiny, tiny, tiny embattled minority here,' he assured his audience in a typical diatribe. 'Hardly anyone is listening to mankind in all of its silliness, all of its idiocy, all of its trivia, all of its wonder, all of its glory, all of its poor, sad, pitching us into the dark sea of oblivion.' Shepherd's approach was summed up by his catchphrase: a mock-triumphant 'Excelsior!', followed by an immediate, muttered 'you fathead ... '" (via) [more inside]
Grantland's Steven Hyden writes the winner's history of rock and roll, in four parts (so far), and charts the death of rock music as a major pop-cultural force in the 21st century by looking at some (not necessarily well-loved) bands that helped to transform it into a Big Business: Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith (and coming up in the next installment, Metallica). Rock isn't dead, by any means. But for better or worse, it ain't what it used to be.
"For those who coached under Walsh, Finding the Winning Edge was a study of the genius beyond his playbook. For those who coached against him, it was a window into the mind of their nemesis." -- The Coaching Philosophy of Bill Walsh. The book is now out of print and even a used copy will cost you $1,249.99 on Amazon.
"We decided to go on an adventure through the financial statements of one bank [Wells Fargo], to explore exactly what they do and do not show, and to gauge whether it is possible to make informed judgments about the risks the bank may be carrying. We chose a bank that is thought to be a conservative financial institution, and an exemplar of what a large modern bank should be."
Sheed and Stack in the Big Apple is a new piece by Grantland's Jonathan Abrams about the NBA veterans Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse
How We Happened to Sell Off Our Electricity is James Meek's dissection of the systematic re-privatisation of the UK power industry.
Are you an enemy of liberal principles if you question the fact that, when local electrical engineers dig up the roads in London, they’re working for East Asia’s richest man, the Hong Kong-based Li Ka-shing? In north-east England, they work for Warren Buffett; in Birmingham, Cardiff and Plymouth, the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company; in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool, Iberdrola; in Manchester, a consortium of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a J.P. Morgan investment fund.
Conceived as sort of a companion to Longreads, Longform, Pocket, Byliner, etc., Nieman Storyboard's Why's This So Good? series looks at why some great long-form journalism and narrative nonfiction pieces are so great. There are over 60 installments of writers talking shop about writing. [more inside]
"Yelp Reviews As Poetry". "A guide to the queer teen stars of YouTube." "Can a video game company save capitalism?" "In Defense of Ke$ha." "Playing golf inside Louisiana's largest prison." "What getting an abortion is like in a Red State." "We may have reached peak infographic." Here ye Here ye! The first (& only?) issue of Tomorrow Magazine [founded by fired Good Magazine editors] is out! [more inside]
Life on Matinicus Island: "Matinicus lies 23 miles out to sea, the most remote inhabited island on the Atlantic seaboard... one of a vast necklace of islands, more than 3,000 in all, spread out along the Maine coast as far north as the Bay of Fundy. A century ago, 200 or more of them were fishermen's communities; today, only 14 are inhabited year-round... Today, two years after putting a bullet into the neck of another lobsterman, in defense, he says, of his daughter, Vance Bunker is a pariah on the island: legally acquitted but privately unforgiven, widely but quietly reviled." (via longform)
How Colonel Gaddafi and the Western Establishment together created a pantomime world - new blog post by Adam Curtis
Narratively is "devoted exclusively to sharing New York’s untold stories—the rich, intricate narratives that get at the heart of what this city’s all about." The site, launched in September, presents one long-form piece of journalism, sometimes text, sometimes video, sometimes a photo essay, sometimes audio.
The Throne of Zion: A Pilgrimage to São Jorge da Mina, Ghana’s oldest and most notorious slave castle
The Fake-Pot Industry Is Coming Down From a Three-Year High - a fascinating read on the multibillion-dollar "herbal incense" business and its latest legal woes after the introduction of more severe legislation on synthetic cannabinoids. Featuring the rise and downfall of Mr. Nice Guy, rogue chemists, warehouses exploding, DEA undercover operations and "the Saul Goodmans of synthetic cannabinoids" - two attorneys specialized in providing "Cutting Edge In Incense Testing and Compliance" services to manufacturers to help them "stay one step ahead of the law". (via longform) [more inside]
"To understand how air-force navigator Tyler Stark ended up in a thornbush in the Libyan desert in March 2011, one must understand what it’s like to be president of the United States—and this president in particular. Hanging around Barack Obama for six months, in the White House, aboard Air Force One, and on the basketball court, Michael Lewis learns the reality of the Nobel Peace Prize winner who sent Stark into combat."
"Hundreds of Kashmiri militants who left home as young men two decades ago have begun to return, middle-aged and disillusioned. What happens to them now?"
Oxford University neuroscience professor Dorothy Bishop delivers a scathing lecture (text version) about the overselling of weak neuroscience, both in the news and within the scientific literature. [more inside]
With the election of Pena Nieto to the presidency, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ends a twelve-year absence from the seat. [more inside]
In 1971, "decades before any state had seriously considered legalizing gay marriage, long before anyone had thought of creating—never mind repealing—a policy called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” before Reagan, before AIDS, before the American Psychiatric Association determined that homosexuality was not a mental illness, and before half the people currently living in America were even born, a man named John Singer stepped into the King County marriage license office in Seattle." Meet Faygele ben Miriam, the radical activist who pioneered the fight for same-sex marriage in Washington State, 41 years ago. Via.
Patrice O’Neal (RIP previously) didn’t just want to be famous, he wanted to be as good as Richard Pryor. To hear his fellow comics tell it, he was—a brutal truth-teller who spared no one, starting with those closest to him. (Print friendly version)
Byliner (prev 1,2) has released its list of 101 Spectacular Nonfiction Stories from the last year from around the web.
"I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave: My brief, backbreaking, rage-inducing, low-paying, dildo-packing time inside the online-shipping machine"
You may have heard about the Michigan high schooler who made a game-winning basket and then died. Here's the rest of the story. [Alternative link]
Syllabi provides context and collects informative links for a wide variety of timely topics. The posts cover material ranging from The Mystery of Whales to The Violinists vs. the Stradivarius to The Finnish Approach to Education Reform. There are also regular roundups of good reads from the previous week. [more inside]
A serial intern in the finance sector speaks: "Applying for internships is so tiresome and bruising. It's like dating, you sit by the phone waiting for a call. Back in my days at university I would get up at 5.30am or 6am. First I'd go jogging, then send out an application for an internship. Every morning. It's so painful to hear 'no' all the time."
The Browser has been mentioned before on Metafilter as a website that collects the best writing around the web. Over the past 3 days they've been posting their year end list of the best essays from 2011. The full annotated list is after the jump. [more inside]