National Magazine Awards 2012
April 3, 2012 7:16 PM   Subscribe

The National Magazine Awards 2012 Finalists were announced. Links inside.


The Loading Dock Manifesto (John Hyduk, Esquire)
Notes from one of the best writers in Cleveland on how he makes a living.
Too Much Information (John Jeremiah Sullivan, GQ)
Reading David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King.
Paper Tigers (Wesley Yang, New York)
What becomes of Asian-American overachievers after the test-taking ends?
The Aquarium (Aleksandar Hemon, The New Yorker
A child's isolating illness.


Our Man in Kandahar (Matthieu Aikins, The Atlantic)
On a 33-year-old warlord’s past deeds.
What Happened To Mitrice Richardson? (Mike Kessler, Los Angeles
Searching for answers after the mysterious death of a young woman.
The Apostate (Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker)
Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology
Getting Bin Laden (Nicholas Schmidle, The New Yorker)
What happened that night in Abbottabad.
Echoes from a Distant Battlefield (Mark Bowden, Vanity Fair
The battle of Wanat, seen from three perspectives: a dead soldier, his father, and his commander.


Direct Fail (Natasha Gardner, 5280)
Colorado’s policy of sending kids to adult court.
Tiny Little Laws (Kathy Dobie, Harper's)
A plague of sexual violence in Indian country.
The Big Business of Breast Cancer (Lea Goldman, Marie Claire)
Inside a $6 billion-a-year industry.
The Invisible Army(Sarah Stillman, New Yorker
For foreign workers on U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, war can be hell.


Game of Her Life (Tim Crothers, ESPN the Magazine)

For 14-year-old chess progidy Phiona Mutesi, chess is a lifeline
The Blind Man Who Taught Himself How to See (Michael Finkel, Men's Journal)
Daniel Kish has been sightless since he was a year old. Yet he can mountain bike. How?
Dewayne Dedmon's Leap Of Faith (Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated)
A young basketball player's choice between his mother’s faith and his own heart
Barrett Brown is Anonymous (Tim Rogers, D Magazine)
On the young man who helped overthrow the government of Tunisia from a Dallas apartment.


"Heavenly Father" (by Luke Dittrich, Esquire)
The stories of two dozen strangers who survived the Joplin, Mo., tornado by hiding in a walk-in beer cooler.
The Man Who Sailed His House (Michael Paterniti, GQ)
Two days after the Japanese tsunami, after the waves had left their destruction, as rescue workers searched the ruins, news came of an almost surreal survival: Miles out at sea, a man was found, alone, riding on nothing but the roof of his house.
You Blow My Mind, Hey Mickey (John Jeremiah Sullivan, New York Times Magazine)
A journey to Disney World with kids and weed.
A Murder Foretold (David Grann, New Yorker)
In Guatemala, unravelling the ultimate political conspiracy.
Arms and the Dudes (Guy Lawson, Rolling Stone)
How two American kids became big time weapons dealers.

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posted by AceRock (15 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you! And now back to madly Instapapering.
posted by Cuke at 7:25 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am excited to start reading these - I bet there's a ton of good stuff. However, also disheartened by this:

John, John, Wesley, Aleksandar, Mattieu, Mike, Lawrence, Nicholas, Mark, *Natasha, *Kathy, *Lea, *Sarah, Tim, Michael, Chris, Tim, Luke, Michael, John, David, Guy.

*All women represented can be found in the "public interest" catagory.
posted by latkes at 7:26 PM on April 3, 2012

Yay! I look forward to these every year, to point me to all the awesome stuff I missed.

But UGH, the first one I tried was that David Foster Wallace piece by John Jeremiah Sullivan in GQ!

If I were a magazine editor, I would strictly forbid people who are writing about DFW from using footnotes and lengthy parenthetical asides. JUST STOP IT ALREADY IT ISN'T CLEVER WHEN YOU DO IT. (It was only BARELY clever when HE did it.)
posted by ErikaB at 7:40 PM on April 3, 2012

The Aquarium (Aleksandar Hemon, The New Yorker
A child's isolating illness.

Oh holy shit, that summary really does nothing to capture the enormity of emotional and physical suffering that piece contains. Why do I do these things to myself? I absolutely cannot read things like that now I'm a parent. Holy fuck, the raw pain therein, rendered so clearly. That's the saddest thing I've read in years.
posted by smoke at 8:31 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ah, that Wesley Yang piece. It infuriated me so much when I read it, but I do respect his intention. A way better and more arguably effective article on what its like "Being Asian American" today was this Jay Caspian Kang article about Jeremy Lin. Yeah, may not be as heavy or long, but that one hit me.

(Note, quasi-derail: when I went to the NYMag site, it redirected me to the malware site Just a heads up to anyone clicking on it that link that there's apparently a malware circulating big sites like NYMag and Overclocked and others. (Maybe I have a latent virus in my system, but I don't think so.) Whatever it may be, for the love of god, don't update your drivers because a popup tells you to!)

posted by jng at 8:48 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, not to go overboard on the Asian-Am stuff, but New York Magazine's article on the death of Danny Chen by Jennifer Gonnerman was incredible (previously). It had me shaking with rage. I might say it was robbed, but I guess the competition in the reporting category (or whatever you'd put it in) is ultra fierce. Can't say for sure what I would take out.
posted by jng at 8:55 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

ErikaB, that's how JJ Sullivan does a lot of his pieces, not just the one about DFW, it's no accident he was chosen to write about DFW, JJS is often compared to DFW, though I think he's not of the same intellect but has a few good pieces.
posted by stbalbach at 10:44 PM on April 3, 2012

Ooooh, I love this kind of post! Thank you!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:35 AM on April 4, 2012

JJ Sulivan is way more successful when he tries to be a smart Chuck Klosterman rather than a dumb DFW.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:33 AM on April 4, 2012

Some really good ones in here as well as some I've never read- thanks for the post. I'm a bit disappointed though that Popular Mechanics' article about the crash of Air France flight 447 wasn't included. One of my favorite reads from the last year. (I'd link it but I'm on my phone)
posted by triggerfinger at 11:56 AM on April 4, 2012

Why can't I favorite this post more than once?!

Thank you so much for posting this. I've got long-read fodder for weeks now!
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:48 PM on April 4, 2012

jng, I had almost no connection at all to Kang's piece, but Yang's resonated with me much more (but not entirely, either). It's not that I didn't see what Kang was talking about, I know of Asian-Americans whom likely grew up in that sort of environment, it just wasn't how I grew up.
posted by thebestsophist at 12:55 AM on April 5, 2012

Thanks Phreesh! It's a nailbiter of a story - I highly recommend reading it to anyone who has not already.
posted by triggerfinger at 1:03 PM on April 5, 2012

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