Is it bad that the first thing I thought of was Charles Xavier?
Read This, Not That is 6 Months Old!
Hope everyone here in the states had a pleasant holiday weekend. As of yesterday, we’ve been operating outside the newscycle to curate the finest long reads on the internet for half a year now.
The feedback we’re getting is great, and the follower count continues to grow, so we must be doing something right. And thanks to everyone, for reading and sharing and showing that there is an audience for long form content on the internet—yes, even on Tumblr!
To celebrate the occassion, we’ve updated our So What The Fuck is Read This, Not That? page and gathered our Top 10 Favorite RTNT Posts of all time. Read ‘em, and as always, let us know what you think:
1. Trial By Fire: Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man?
A sloppy investigation and a broken justice system lead to the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham for the alleged murder of his three children.
David Grann, New Yorker, September 2009
2. Speak, Money
How power has shifted away from the electorate in the United States.
Roger D. Hodge, excerpt from The Mendacity of Hope, October 2010
3. Within the Context of No Context
Brilliant exposition on the state of American culture and twentieth-century life.
George Trow, New Yorker, November 1980
4. Debt: The First 5,000 Years
The development of our system of money was neither inevitable nor necessarily beneficial.
Aaron Bady, New Inquiry, February 2012
5. The Science of Why We Don’t Believe in Science
When confronted with evidence that contradicts their views, people have a worrying tendency to ignore the evidence.
Chris Mooney, Mother Jones, June 2011
6. Raise the Crime Rate
Reform isn’t enough—the prison system is a moral catastrophe and must be dismantled.
Christopher Glazek, n+1, January 2012
7. The Elusive Big Idea
We have access to and consume more information than ever before, but it’s not doing us any good.
Neil Gabler, New York Times, August 2011
8. Dumb Like a Fox
Fox News’ agenda isn’t political, but commercial—the network has simply mastered the cable news format better than its competitors.
Terry McDermott, Columbia Journalism Review, April 2010
9. The Way it Was
Stories of what it was like for women before Roe v. Wade.
Eleanor Cooney, Mother Jones, October 2004
10. Generation Why?
We limit our idea of what a person is when we reduce our complexities to the confines of Facebook.
Zadie Smith, New York Review of Books, November 2010
How about you? Has RTNT changed your reading habits? What are some of your favorite pieces you’ve read so far? Share them with us via the submit feature, and we’ll make a readers’ choice list this Friday!
And changes you would like to see to RTNT’s programming or any new features you’d like on the website? We have some ideas in the pipeline, but we want to hear from you!
We hope this audience continues to seek out the long form journalism that is so crucial to the well-being of our society. We also hope that you encourage those close to you—your co-worker who goes on about celebrity headlines, your friend who watches hour after hour of MSNBC, your relative who relays the partisan talking points of the day—-to alter their media diet, abandoning the junk in favor of something more substantial.
Thank you, and always remember, you are what you read.
As an idealistic, energetic young doctor, Desai imagined he would spend his career in Zambia, serving those in desperate need. But over the months at the hospital, he found himself fantasizing about another life — as a doctor in America. And in 2004, after he finished his internship, Desai quit his job at the hospital and began studying for the exams for a training position at an American hospital. Even while he did so, he told himself that after his stint in America, he would return to Zambia. His fellow Zambians, he knew, suffer from some of the gravest health crises in the world, not least of which is that Zambia’s doctors tend to leave the country and never come back. “After completing residency training in the United States, I hope to return to Zambia and work where the need is the greatest, the rural areas,” he wrote in a personal statement when applying for jobs in the United States in 2005. “I am Zambian, and I am committed to improving the quality of care that fellow Zambians receive.”
The question is, will he return?
(Source: New York Times)
Meet Ben. He’s a high school senior from a middle class family in Massachusettes who is choosing where to attend college next year. He’s down to two schools: prestigious Boston College, or the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, his state’s top public campus. Even with the generous financial aid package from BC, he would still graduate with a big mound of loans. UMass, meanwhile, would be more than $15,000 a year cheaper.
Which should Ben pick? Prestige or price?
With the cost of higher education climbing every year, and student debt surpassing $1 trillion, more and more young people will have to decide whether to make that trade-off. It begs the question: Does it really pay to go to an elite university, financially speaking? Researchers have been investigating this issue since at least the 1980s. And their findings tend to show that when it comes to future earnings, where you go to college counts.
According to a new Pew study, increasing your earning potential may require literally moving on up: If you aim to climb the income ladder in the United States, your best bet might be to move north and east—and definitely stay out of the south.
Yea, but the cost of living is so much higher in the Northeast, too. Take it from someone about to rent a something the size of my closet for $1,000 a month in Brooklyn. XD
“Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don’t do it for money. That’s not what it’s about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They’re fans, but they’re not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.”
Damn, Lev Grossman wrote this article? This is way too knowledgeable about fandom and fanfic for it to be written by someone looking in on it (I’m looking at you, Entertainment Weekly!). Lev, I know you’re in here somewhere!
Fictional worlds, while they appear solid, are riddled with blank spots and unexposed surfaces. There’s a moment toward the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Dumbledore suggests offhandedly that Sirius Black should “lie low at Lupin’s” for a while, referring to Harry’s former teacher Remus Lupin. What exactly did Sirius and Remus get up to there, chez Lupin, while they were lying low? How low did they lie? (Cough, slash, cough.) Rowling never says, but that one little gap has given rise to so much fan fiction that “lie low at Lupin’s” has become a recognized trope of Harry Potter fan fiction, a sub-subgenre in its own right.
There is, of course, a ton of sex in fan fiction. It’s a monument to the diversity of human sexual whim. There are stories that take any and every character you can name and pair them up romantically or erotically or pornographically. (One of the axioms of Internet culture is known as Rule No. 34: “If it exists, there is porn of it.”) A lot of alien plants turn out to produce pollen with powerful aphrodisiac effects. You’d be amazed.
And that’s the tame end of the spectrum. Fan fiction mines some dark veins, and you can follow them down as far as you want. Wherever you choose to stop, you’ll see that somebody else has gone further. Incest is not off-limits (nor is “twincest”). There’s a genre called Mpreg, which is about male characters getting pregnant, and it’s way more popular than you’d think. There is such a thing as “dubcon” (short for dubious consent) and “rapefic.” Responsible writers of explicit fan fiction add warnings to their stories. At the well-curated fan-fiction website Archive of Our Own, the menu of possible warnings includes “Graphic Depictions of Violence,” “Major Character Death,” “Rape/Non-Con” and “Underage.”
Seriously…this is someone who did his research XD
In 1950, a young man from Central Point, Virginia, went seven miles down the road to hear some music. Seven brothers named the Jeters were on that night, playing bluegrass in a farmhouse. The young man had come for the music, but couldn’t help noticing a young woman in the audience. The man, Richard Loving, was white; the woman, Mildred Jeter, was black and Cherokee. Seventeen years later, as a result of their meeting, the Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, along with anti-miscegenation laws in fifteen other states, ending the legal prohibitions against interracial marriage.
On view until May 6th at the International Center of Photography, “The Loving Story” highlights the human element of the Loving v. Virginia case, bringing the ardor that fueled the Lovings’ half-decade of appeals into heart-rending focus…- For more selection of photographs of Richard and Mildred Loving: http://nyr.kr/wLrC3t
This week’s cover story examines the return of the culture wars and how Obama set a contraception trap for the right.
Here’s a preview:
The more Machiavellian observer might even suspect this is actually an improved bait and switch by Obama to more firmly identify the religious right with opposition to contraception, its weakest issue by far, and to shore up support among independent women and his more liberal base. I’ve found by observing this president closely for years that what often seem like short-term tactical blunders turn out in the long run to be strategically shrewd. And if this was a trap, the religious right walked right into it.
Take a look at the polling. Ask Americans if they believe that contraception should be included for free in all health-care plans and you get a 55 percent majority in favor, with 40 percent against. Ask American Catholics, and that majority actually rises above the national average, to 58 percent. A 49 percent plurality of all Americans supported the original Obama rule forcing Catholic institutions to provide contraception coverage. And once again, American Catholics actually support that more controversial position by a slightly higher margin than all Americans, with 52 percent backing it. So on religious-freedom grounds, the country is narrowly divided, but with a small majority on Obama’s side.
And on the issue of contraception itself, studies have shown that a staggering 98 percent of Catholic women not only believe in birth control but have used it. How is it possible to describe this issue as a violation of individual conscience, when no one is forced to use contraception against their will, and most Catholics have already consulted their conscience, are fine with the pill, and want it covered? This is not like abortion, a far, far graver issue. Even the church hierarchy—in a famous commission set up by Pope John XXIII to study birth control—voted to allow oral contraception under some circumstances, only to be controversially vetoed by Pope Paul VI in 1968. And the truth is, there is no real debate among most actual living, breathing American Catholics on the issue, who tend to be more liberal than most Americans. They long ago dismissed the Vatican’s position on this. And after the sex-abuse scandal, they are even less likely to take the bishops’ moral authority on sexual matters seriously.
Read the whole thing by picking up a copy on newsstands tomorrow, on iPad today—or just read it on the Beast right this minute.
This week’s issue features William Finnegan’s piece about a Manhattan night-life baron’s race to save the world’s rarest species of tortoise: the angonoka, or plowshare tortoise, which is coveted by collectors on the illegal market. We sent the South Africa-based photographer Jonathan Torgovnik to Madagascar, home of the last remaining habitat for these animals, to capture that night-life baron, Eric Goode, in the field with the tortoises he has committed himself to protect.- For more of Torgovnik’s photos from Madagascar: http://nyr.kr/xNAjAh
That last picture….X3
“One would become a doctor. One would become a cellist. One would become a UPS driver. One would kill herself. One would kill his father.”
In 1988, two wealthy businessmen offered free college tuition to a classroom of underprivileged kids in Washington. In a three-part series, Paul Schwartzman finds out what happened to the fifth graders from Seat Pleasant Elementary School.
The real Onion-like headlines Tumblr is one of the best blogs I’m following, no lie.
Books win their audiences for a reason. Most popular books wear their artlessness on their sleeve: Stephenie Meyer, the author of the “Twilight” series, is an awkward writer with little feeling for construction, but the intensity of emotion with which she imbues her characters is enviable. You never doubt her commitment to the material, which is half the battle won. So to say that Paolini is an unskilled narrator and a derivative mythmaker is more or less beside the point. What is it, then, that makes the books enter kids’ consciousness?- Adam Gopnik on “The Lord of the Rings, “Twilight,” and popular young-adult fantasy books: http://nyr.kr/snuFvq
Another interesting piece from Adam Gopnik. Also, it favorably compares the moralism in X-Men to that of LOTR. XD
This despite less than 1% of the US population having Celiac disease.