Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
This is the must-read of the week, and not just because it’s Claire Dederer, which means it’s sharp and funny and expresses anger and feelings in the most satisfyingly vulnerable-but-also-take-no-prisoners way possible. I mean, that’s a perfectly good reason to read it. We could stop there.
But also read it because it turns out that our creator-heroes don’t just have feet of clay, they have been absolutely wading through shit, and it’s spattered all of us. Now we have to deal with what that means for everything important and beautiful they made — all the important and beautiful things that became part of us — and the making of important and beautiful things at all.
The thing is, I'm not saying I'm right or wrong. But I'm the audience. And I'm just acknowledging the realities of the situation: the film Manhattan is disrupted by our knowledge of Soon-Yi; but it’s also kinda gross in its own right; and it's also got a lot of things about it that are pretty great. All these things can be true at once. Simply being told by men that Allen's history shouldn’t matter doesn’t achieve the objective of making it not matter.
What do I do about the monster? Do I have a responsibility either way? To turn away, or to overcome my biographical distaste and watch, or read, or listen?
And why does the monster make us — make me — so mad in the first place?
Thanksgiving — especially in the American West, a scant year after the police attack on protesters at Standing Rock (and a scant week after the largest spill yet from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota) — represents some of our nation’s very worst moments, all knotted up with family and tradition and community in a way we just can’t seem to tease apart. Elissa Washuta writes brilliantly about reclaiming a sense of belonging from the sticky tangle of America’s most problematic feast day.
It's been a decade since I spent a Thanksgiving with my parents. After I moved to the West Coast, the holiday wasn't important enough to me to justify the expense of a cross-country flight. For the last ten years, I've spent Thanksgiving with friends or relatives or alone. I've never liked Thanksgiving and for a while, I couldn't figure out why: I like and love my family and I like to eat. I decided it was the football, or the years of packing my body with stuffing while suffering from undiagnosed celiac disease, or the anxiety, later, of trying to avoid both gluten and the anxious shame of making others think about it. Really, though, I'm uncomfortable committing to a six-hour stretch spent with other people (even those I'm fond of), no activity planned but eating, no hiding place for me to retreat to, and no way to silence the mean critic in my head who begins analyzing my words at the two-hour mark. I dread any event that fits this description. Thanksgiving is only different because my Nativeness has let me get away with hating it.
You’ll find this correspondence between reporter John Branch and Walter Peat, father of an NHL “enforcer” with concussion-related health and behavioral issues, nestled between headlines celebrating the sport on the hockey page on the New York Times website. It’s a short read, but a unique perspective on how badly big-money sports organizations are failing their players — a raw appeal for help that had not, at the time of publication, yet appeared.
I am at a loss of what to do, and who to turn to for help. Many night, I lose countless hours of sleep, thinking of what will happen, and am I doing the right thing. There are so many people who prefer to put a paper bag over their head and ignore the fact that Stephen or so many players suffer from these injuries. But, the injuries just don’t stop there, as the emotional, financial, and in some cases, physical injuries suffered by family members. I am living the nightmare of the movie "Concussion."
Remember when the Seattle Police Department’s public affairs office tried using the streaming video game platform Twitch as a way to connect with the public about sensitive issues like the Charleena Lyles shooting? Here’s an insanely fascinating article by Taylor Clark about the people who make a living as Twitch personalities, sometimes playing 60 hours or more straight to build and keep an audience. That this exists at all feels crazy, much less that it’s getting professionalized in exactly the same way as any other digital marketing medium.
Perhaps the best embodiment of the effort to master Twitch is Ben Cassell, O.P.G.'s first client, who broadcasts, as CohhCarnage, from his farmhouse in North Carolina. After nearly quitting Twitch in 2013, when sixteen-hour streams weren't winning him an audience, Cassell instead dedicated himself to research. "This medium is brand new," he explained. "There's nowhere to go to see how to succeed on Twitch." So he built data-tracking software, and studied scheduling, game selection, and the market's niches: hard-core professional gamers, lighthearted jesters, "boobie streamers," histrionic yellers, baseball-cap-wearing frat bros. Based on his findings, Cassell reinvented his channel as upbeat and safe-for-work; to followers, he told me, "my channel is "Cheers.' " Every day — and he has logged more than fourteen hundred in a row, including the one on which his first child was born — he begins his stream at 8 a.m., right before Twitch's audience crests.