Good morning, gentle readers! It’s been a chaotic and fascinating week in news, from the U.S. president posting childish .gifs on Twitter to the tragic and troubling developments in Myanmar. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite longreads, and as always, we want to hear from you about what you’re reading!
‘The Making and Unmaking of Iggy Azalea‘ (Clover Hope for Jezebel)
Good music journalism is about far more than simply music. It’s a criticism and commentary on culture, society, and our own inner lives. This dig into the world of Iggy Azalea is fascinating and compelling — no matter what you think about the artist.
The glamour of hip-hop worked its magic on Iggy, thousands of miles from its roots. “I just knew I wanted to go to America and be a rapper and have a ponytail and a leopardskin jacket that went down to my feet, and like, 20 white, fluffy dogs on one leash,” she told Dazed & Confused in 2012. She felt like an outcast herself, in a town where her rap tastes were rare, so she sought out rappers who were misfits and “caricatures”—Missy Elliott, Ludacris, Andre 3000. After standard jobs in retail and helping her mom clean houses (her dad was a children’s book author), Iggy dropped out of high school.
‘Game: Interrupted‘ (Mina Kimes for ESPN)
The visceral hatred for women in gaming may have made headlines in the US, but it’s not a problem unique to that nation. This South Korean gamer is very, very good at what she does, and she’s been raked over the coals for it.
Geguri started playing video games when she was 5 years old. In 2015, when Blizzard released a trailer to promote Overwatch’s release, she was mesmerized. “When I pictured first-person shooters, there was always so much blood … but Overwatch was bright and animated,” she says. “I fell in love with it before I played it.” After borrowing a classmate’s password to play a beta version of the game, Geguri burned through her allowance going to PC bangs, the omnipresent Korean internet cafés, and practiced for several hours every day at home, sharpening her skills on her family’s sluggish computer. She tried to find partners, but male gamers didn’t want to team up with her when they heard her speak; at one point, she considered buying a computer program to modulate her voice.
‘The Sorrow and the Shame of the Accidental Killer‘ (Alice Gregory for The New Yorker)
While murder carries a weight of its own, involvement in a bizarre, tragic accident is a unique form of torment that accidental killers live with for life. What’s it like to take a human life in a freak circumstance that was out of your control?
She was ushered into the back of a police car, where she sat until a woman who lived nearby approached, offered her a cool towel, and asked an officer if Gray could wait at her house instead. The officer agreed, and Gray sat in the kind stranger’s kitchen, sipping water. It was early evening by the time the Butler County sheriff’s office finished its site evaluation and asked Gray if she would be O.K. driving home. She said no. A professor picked her up and persuaded her to call her parents, in New York. “I said, ‘Mommy, Mommy’—and I never called her that—‘it was an accident,’ ” Gray recalled. Her mother replied, “Of course it was.”
‘Jemele Hill Knows What You Really Want to Call Her‘ (Danielle Tcholakian for Longreads)
We had some comments of our own on the Jemele Hill situation last week, and there’s a mounting body of sharp, incisive commentary on a problem that isn’t going away: Racism, misogyny, censorship, white supremacy, conflicts over what journalism itself means in 2017.
Yes, God forbid, your cable television safe space is marred by the presence of a “chick in a feminist t-shirt.” God forbid a (white) “dude” comes home and has to think about what his black peers think about constantly. God forbid your world is marginally less comfortable until the next commercial break.
‘Undercover in Temp Nation‘ (Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Brendan Kennedy for the Toronto Star)
Undercover investigation has a long and illustrious history for a reason, and stories like this illustrate why: This reporter went undercover to find out what it’s really like inside a bakery chain with a history of dangerous — even fatal — safety violations.
The pace on the production line is crushing. Men feed dough into machines running alongside us, which spit out partially-formed pastries. Half of the women on the line pinch the ends together to form circles. The rest of us scoop up as many clumps of dough as we can between our fingers, packing them as quickly as possible into plastic trays. We need to ensure they are placed the right way, or they deform in the oven and are wasted.
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