Like last year, I’m doing a Best Things I read on the Internet list. This is obviously in no way complete or comprehensive, it is merely a tiny slice of the internet that I really enjoyed and I hope you enjoy too.
- How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America – Gawker (Kiese Laymon): I’ve read this essay about violence and race and home and promise so many times. There are phrases I’m sure will stick with me forever, “I’m a waste of writing’s time,” and “I wish I could get my Yoda on right now and surmise all this shit into a clean sociopolitical pull-quote that shows supreme knowledge and absolute emotional transformation, but I don’t want to lie.”
- “Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Sociopath?” – New York Times (Jennifer Kahn): In the wake of Sandy Hook, this investigation of psychopathy in children hits particularly hard. How early can you identify the traits of psychopathy, and what do you do about it?
- “Expectations” – The New Yorker (Katherine Boo): This is the story of the uneasy relationship between an aspiring politician, Michael Bennet, and a high school on the edge of disfunction (or maybe over it?) in Denver. We talk about turnaround schools, benchmarks, races to the top, but what does that actually look like reflected back in the faces of teenagers?
- “The Last Tower” – Harpers (Ben Austen) – For you Chicagoans, or those who wish to be Chicagoans, the towers of Cabrini-Green hold a particular and problematic place in our recent history. I walk by the remains of them every day. How did they start? Where they wrong from the beginning? Could they have been saved? Should they have been saved?
- “Transformation and Transcendance: The Power of Female Friendship” – The Rumpus (Emily Rapp): I hate, hate, hate the title of this essay if only because of how many potential readers might be turned off by it’s hippie-dippy enlightenment vibe. It’s so amazing and fantastic that I want every single person to read it. This was the first thing I ever read of Rapp’s, and I’ve been hooked since.
- “Click and Drag” – xkcd (Randall Munroe): This isn’t an essay, per se, but I find it profound and delightful nonetheless. In an interactive cartoon, “Click and Drag” is about finding small pleasures, and remembering how much of the world there always is to explore.
- “Odd Blood: Serodiscordancy, or, Life with an HIV-Positive Partner” – The Atlantic (John Fram): A piece of the HIV puzzle we don’t see exposed very often, “Odd Blood” is a lyrically written account of a relationship in which one partner is HIV-positive and the other is not.
Part 2 coming later this week!