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Good Stuff You Read This Week 9/12

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Double Down, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Thought we might start weekly threads that are sort of a catch-all for links of good stuff we've read. Doesn't have to be long, doesn't have to be sports, just has to be something that you enjoyed and it doesn't necessarily warrant you starting a whole thread about it. I read stuff all the time that I think is good, but it doesn't quite rise to the level of its own thread here.

    Seth Wickersham on John Elway
    Why John Elway's drive never ends

    Favorite read of the week. IMO, just a masterclass in how to establish a theme early (first sentence) and carry it throughout the story. One of Wickersham's best pieces.

    Chris Heath on the Uber Killer
    The Uber Killer: The Real Story of One Night of Terror

    Dick Whitman gets credit for pointing this out to me. This uses a simple, but very effective storytelling technique of alternating sections where people talk about James Dalton, and then we see James Dalton as he commits these senseless killings. It does a great job of maintaining the suspense, even though you know what's coming, and asks a lot of complicated questions that are sort of haunting.

    Jordan Ritter Conn on Justin Blackmon

    Write arounds are hard, specifically when you're writing about someone who has been in trouble with the law. I think this has a lot of empathy to it, and that's one of the most important things as a writer. Conn is never judgmental about Blackmon, which a lot of writers might have been. And that makes the story so much richer.

    Kristin Coulter on giving up drinking
    Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink

    I like that this tackles a topic we mostly don't address: When women joke about self medicating with wine in our culture, which happens constantly, what does it mean? Is fun drinking the modern Instagram filter for the pressures of being a modern woman? What happens when you decide to waltz through life sober instead?

    Justin Heckert on Andrew Luck
    Luck determined to prove he's worth $140M

    What I like about this piece is, even though some of this ground has been plowed previously (Andrew Luck is a nerd! He's the anti-celebrity!) you still learn a lot of new information about him in Justin's profile. He runs his own book club! He climbs the gate when he can't get into his own parking space. Heckert is really good at finding telling details like those.

    Pete Thamel on Josh Rosen
    UCLA QB Josh Rosen is a bonafide star. Now how well can he handle the ensuing fame?

    I didn't know shit about Josh Rosen before I read this (I barely follow college football) but this was just a fun read.

    Nick Bilton on Theranos House of Cards
    Exclusive: How Elizabeth Holmes’s House of Cards Came Tumbling Down

    I linked to this in the politics thread. It's great. The scene early in this piece where all the Theranos employees are chanting "Fuck you, Carryou!" about the Wall Street Journal reporter who pulled back the curtain on the sham that was Theranos is amazing.

    Oral History of Bush Finding Out About 9/11, And Jumping on Air Force One
    ‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’

    Really fascinating read. Every single Bush aide is interviewed.

    Katie Baker on Jim Harbaugh

    Just another fun read. Lot of great scene and detail in here.

    Abraham Reisman on Stan Lee and the history of Marvel Comics
    Why Is Stan Lee’s Legacy in Question?

    I'm not really into comic books, but I feel obligated to understand them because they're so pervasive in culture now. This piece was from February, but bounced around my Twitter feed for some reason this week. Learned a lot.

    Jessica Contrera on what happens when teens start sexting as early as 7th grade
    The 7th grader’s sext was meant to impress him. Then he shared it. It nearly destroyed her.

    Contrera is quickly becoming one of the best feature writers in the country. I'm so frightened to raise my daughters in this fucked up world.

    Feel free to share yours, debate any of these, or ignore. Just figure a thread a week might be a good landing spot for links that you enjoyed, and selfishly, I want your links since it's impossible to read everything and we have pretty good taste here. It's a good filter.
  2. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    In honor of this day, I picked the 9/11 oral history link among all these to read.

    ‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’

    It was a good choice.

    I was struck by the fact that, whatever you might think of George W. Bush, the idea that he really did get a lot right, and handled things well, in this situation actually does ring true here. Despite it all, I got a sense of calm -- eerie calm, but calm -- from this read.

    The sense of what it must have been like really came though, particular in the idea that they must have felt like they were in the Twilight Zone, just flying around up there. I had that very same impression/thought, although the words in my mind were that it must have seemed like a ghost town, or like they were flying around on an alien planet. Just that surreal...
  3. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I stopped reading Junod's piece on the Falling Man after the first graf or so. Went all NIU shooter looking into the mirror device.

    The Falling Man

    In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity's divine suction or by what awaits him. His arms are by his side, only slightly outriggered. His left leg is bent at the knee, almost casually. His white shirt, or jacket, or frock, is billowing free of his black pants. His black high-tops are still on his feet. In all the other pictures, the people who did what he did—who jumped—appear to be struggling against horrific discrepancies of scale. They are made puny by the backdrop of the towers, which loom like colossi, and then by the event itself. Some of them are shirtless; their shoes fly off as they flail and fall; they look confused, as though trying to swim down the side of a mountain. The man in the picture, by contrast, is perfectly vertical, and so is in accord with the lines of the buildings behind him. He splits them, bisects them: Everything to the left of him in the picture is the North Tower; everything to the right, the South. Though oblivious to the geometric balance he has achieved, he is the essential element in the creation of a new flag, a banner composed entirely of steel bars shining in the sun. Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else—something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man's posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end. He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, accelerating at a rate of thirty-two feet per second squared. He will soon be traveling at upwards of 150 miles per hour, and he is upside down. In the picture, he is frozen; in his life outside the frame, he drops and keeps dropping until he disappears.

    The rest of the story might talk about who the jumper is/was and maybe I'll return to the story to find out. Not right away though.
  4. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    You should finish it, 'Bird. Good piece.
  5. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    You should get the "Longreads" App, DD.

    A lot of this stuff is in there, including the one about Theranos. What a scam. Thanks for the links.
  6. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

  7. John

    John Well-Known Member

    lcjjdnh likes this.
  8. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    That 9/11 Air Force One piece was tremendous. The stenographer who smoked -- and got a whole lot of new smoking friends that day -- was a great detail.
    Double Down likes this.
  9. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    The boy who escaped Trump country — FT.com

    Sometimes a narrow focus and a simple structure is best. I thought the reporter did a fantastic job of telling a big story by focussing on one person. Some very descriptive writing, too.
  10. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    The Lives of Poor White People - The New Yorker

    It's essentially a New Yorker book review of "Hillbilly Elegy," written by a Kentucky/Ohio native who joined the Marines, went to Yale Law School and now works for Peter Thiel's investment company in San Francisco.

    All the same, he comes to believe that his community suffers from “cognitive dissonance”; there is, he writes, “a broken connection between the world we see and the values we preach.” If family is all-important, then why are alcoholism and domestic abuse so common? If hillbillies are so hardworking, then why do so few people in Middletown work? Plenty of people, of course, work hard, often struggling to assemble a livelihood out of part-time jobs. But they live alongside able-bodied neighbors who are lifetime welfare recipients (and experts at gaming the welfare system). One friend quits a good job because he’s “sick of waking up early,” then takes to Facebook to bemoan the “Obama economy.”
    Ace and Double Down like this.
  11. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    "Hillbilly Elegy" is a damn good book. Very highly recommend.
  12. Seen a LOT of recommendations for "Elegy" in my FB feed, based on a radio interview or podcast done by the author.
    I'm tempted.
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