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Nina Simone's raised voice

“My skin is black,” the first woman’s story begins, “my arms are long.” And, to a slow and steady beat, “my hair is woolly, my back is strong.” Singing in a club in Holland, in 1965, Nina Simone introduced a song she had written about what she called “four Negro women” to a young, homogeneously white, and transfixed crowd. “And one of the women’s hair,” she instructed, brushing her hand lightly across her own woolly Afro, “is like mine.”
posted by ChuraChura on Aug 6, 2014 - 23 comments

"Even Jay Silverheels knew it."

Why Do So Many People Pretend to be Native American?
posted by box on Aug 5, 2014 - 144 comments

There were difficulties.

"This project started with my dad on Thanksgiving. He was reminiscing about Doug Williams, who in 1988 became the first black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl. All these years later, he was still proud of Williams, whose name to some may be that of a half-remembered player from the past but to millions of others remains a powerful symbol of progress. It stayed with me, and it seemed that it was worth telling the story not just of Williams, but of everyone—of all those generations of players who struggled so that Russell Wilson could be, simply, a good young quarterback." Deadspin's The Big Book of Black Quarterbacks.
posted by davidjmcgee on Feb 6, 2014 - 16 comments

Straight Menace

"I talked to a lawyer about suing, but there wasn't nothing we could do.... Because [The First 48] shows 'All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty' at the beginning of the program, they're covered."

A&E shirks responsibility for episodes that broadcast incorrect information, and spokespeople confess the channel doesn't re-edit or correct flawed programs beyond stating at a show's end that murder charges were dropped. "We simply film the investigations as they unfold," a spokesperson said. "Every episode states clearly that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty."

posted by frimble on Jan 31, 2014 - 53 comments

Best Longform of 2013

2013 had a lot of great longform writing. Longreads and Longform lead the way with their best of lists. Lots of sites provided year end lists: The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Business Week Buzzfeed, The Daily Beast, Dazed Digital, Deadspin, Esquire UK, FlavorwireGawker, Inc., Impose Magazine, Indiewire, i09, Lifehacker, Maclean's, Mashable, Mother Jones, National Geographic, National Journal, The New Yorker, On Earth, Out, Pocket, ReadWrite, Slate, Spin, Sports on Earth, The Electric Typewriter, The Verge, The Voice Media Group, and The Washington Post. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 30, 2013 - 37 comments

You are either In or you are Out

There is a fundamental disconnect between large-scale, for-profit media and the crushing power of enthusiasm, which is that when they try to control it, it instantly isn't real. It's patently unreal. It's excitement given life by force, Pet Sematary-style. But when they don't control it, it isn't profitable. And that means that when they run into people excited about their stuff, they vacillate between an Ebenezerian lack of generosity and a Professor-Harold-Hillian smarm. To own enthusiasm and to exploit it are competing instincts, much as they often seem to be twins. You can, in fact, sometimes best exploit it — or only exploit it — by leaving it alone. -- In what could be considered a Metafilter Manifesto, Mefi's own Linda Holmes takes on the multivariate economics of fandom and the internet.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 20, 2013 - 23 comments

Some Essays by Hilton Als

This year's critical darling essay collection -- Junot Diaz's favorite read of the year (#), Michael Robbins's pick for best book of the year (#) -- is White Girls by Hilton Als. Mentions of Als are infrequent on Metafilter, so I thought I would share a Readlist collection of his stuff (that has a bit of overlap with the book).
posted by AceRock on Dec 16, 2013 - 3 comments

“We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does"

Honor and deception: A secretive Air Force program recruits academy students to inform on fellow cadets and disavows them afterward.
posted by no regrets, coyote on Dec 2, 2013 - 33 comments

Every one of them words rang true, and glowed like burning coal

Shelter From The Storm – the inside story of Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Nov 15, 2013 - 28 comments

The Girl in the Closet

From the Dallas Morning News, an 8-part profile of Lauren Kavanaugh, who was kept in a closet for six years before being rescued at age 8 weighing 26 lbs, and of the remarkable people and recovery that has followed. [Warning: this story and the accompanying photos and videos are immensely hard to read, watch and listen to, and this piece is a trigger for every possible kind of abuse.]
posted by DarlingBri on Oct 31, 2013 - 92 comments

How to get out of an Egyptian jail

Free, Tarek and John: Longread by Justin Podur about the campaign to free Canadian filmmaker John Grayson (among his films is the South Africa-based Proteus) and doctor Tarek Loubani, who were on their way to Gaza via Egypt in August 2013 when they were detained. Insight into what went on behind the scenes and what political and strategic calculations were made.
posted by larrybob on Oct 27, 2013 - 7 comments

The Stolen Ones

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]
posted by zarq on Oct 25, 2013 - 15 comments

Lost Soul

"I’ve been waiting 10 years for someone to ask about his life, not his death". The amazing life — and mysterious death — of former NBA player Bison Dele.
posted by no regrets, coyote on Oct 23, 2013 - 19 comments

As a conversation topic, witchcraft can elicit all sorts of reactions

Portrait of an Iranian Witch [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 9, 2013 - 7 comments

Use Only as Directed

ProPublica.org and This American Life partnered for a special report on acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol), the active ingredient in Tylenol, which is also found in many other over-the-counter medications. The narrow therapeutic index of acetaminophen means that often, the difference between safe use and overdose can be as small as one gram. From ProPublica.org: "About 150 Americans die a year by accidentally taking too much acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, federal data from the CDC shows."
posted by fiercecupcake on Sep 23, 2013 - 76 comments

What's worth preserving out there anyway?

Inspired by the NYT Pulitzer prize-winning “Snowfall” report, the Charlottesville VA paper the C-ville Weekly decided to "take our last best shot at untangling the Gordian Knot that is the Bypass problem" in one long, media-rich article.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Sep 6, 2013 - 43 comments

Landays: Poetry of Afghan Women

You sold me to an old man, father. May God destroy your home, I was your daughter.
posted by DarlingBri on Jun 3, 2013 - 16 comments

Well I walk into the room, passing out hundred dollar bills

When We Held Kings: The oral history of the 2003 World Series of Poker, in which an amateur named Moneymaker turned $39 into $2.5 million and the poker boom was born.
posted by Horace Rumpole on May 25, 2013 - 18 comments

Looking back at Hunter S. Thompson's classic Kentucky Derby story

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]
posted by AceRock on May 6, 2013 - 11 comments

Lose cash now! Ask me how!

Income At Home, Herbalife, and the $8 billion pyramid. Exposing the iconic brand behind Scamworld’s most visible ‘biz opp’. [Previously 1, 2]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Mar 27, 2013 - 75 comments

Meet Afghan military's first female helicopter pilot

"Malalai has seen more of Afghanistan than many of the white-bearded men who run this country. She's been travelling in the cockpit of military helicopters since she was two months old; her mother is an Afghan army pilot." This is a beautifully illustrated long read.
posted by puffl on Feb 14, 2013 - 8 comments

"Life on the Mangubo compound, unlike the world outside the jungle, was both peaceful and egalitarian."

A trip like this may seem strange to you. You could reasonably accuse us of a kind of exoticism. But people travel for lots of reasons. There’s beach tourism, sex tourism, wine tourism. This trip, for me, offered something a lot more interesting: a chance to feed our long fascination with the idea of pre-agrarian society. For 40,000 years, from the rise of behaviorally modern humans until the development of agriculture 9,000 years ago, all of our ancestors had lived somewhat like the Mbuti do today. More than anything, Dan and Chris and I just wanted a glimpse of what that past might have looked like.
Of Men, Okapi, and Rebels, or, looking for Mbuti hunter-gatherers in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 1, 2013 - 6 comments

The Ultimate List of Gawker Media Longreads

The Ultimate List of Gawker Media Longreads for 2012
posted by reenum on Dec 31, 2012 - 15 comments

The brief and beautiful life of Stella Joy

The Toronto Star has recently published a three-part story (1, 2, 3) on the life and death of toddler Stella Joy, who was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) at age 2. As this disease is considered 100% fatal, Stella's mothers (link to blog) chose not to have Stella undergo radiation treatment in order to preserve as much quality of life as possible. The love of Stella's family and community as they support her and each other through her death is truly inspiring. [more inside]
posted by fiercecupcake on Dec 17, 2012 - 13 comments

Why's This So Good?

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]
posted by AceRock on Nov 26, 2012 - 7 comments

"Criminal issues from herbal incense? We can help."

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]
posted by bitteschoen on Sep 15, 2012 - 37 comments

Offline: One Year Without the Internet

Offline: Paul Miller, writing for The Verge, is taking a year off from the internet. Among other things, he can't install modern video games and he must figure out how to pay his bills.
posted by secretseasons on Jul 14, 2012 - 52 comments

The Cooler Me

I'd always been fascinated by the trope of the doppelgänger and its long literary life, from Dostoyevsky to Nabokov to Spider-Man. Often, in books, these physical doubles represent the worst a character is capable of. Lately, though, perhaps because at age 41 I'd begun feeling less like the captain of my life and more like its deckhand, I'd started wondering if there was someone out there who embodies not your worst self, but your freest one—a person who encapsulates everything you've ever dreamed of becoming. Let's call him your Cooler Self. All those dreams that got lost along the way, the ones that were casualties of chance or duty or cowardice: There's a "you" out there—a mountain climber or war photographer or race-car driver—who brought them to fruition.

So I vowed to hunt down my
Cooler Self.
posted by AceRock on May 13, 2012 - 64 comments

Modern snake oil salesmen

Scamworld: in which the Verge investigates "a network of pitchmen who have used the internet and fear of a failing economy to play the ultimate long con."
posted by doublesix on May 10, 2012 - 61 comments

National Magazine Awards 2012

The National Magazine Awards 2012 Finalists were announced. Links inside. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Apr 3, 2012 - 15 comments

Korean Rapper, Stanford Alum, Cyberbullied

The Persecution of Daniel Lee: Korean rapper was a victim of an online smear campaign that said he didn't go to Stanford. But it gets worse... [more inside]
posted by k8t on Jul 22, 2011 - 53 comments

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