home Must Reads Must reads: Shitty media men, robots, quacks, Slenderman, Tonya Harding

Must reads: Shitty media men, robots, quacks, Slenderman, Tonya Harding

Before we delve into sharing the longreads we’re loving right now, our most popular post last week was Louise Hung’s sensitive, thoughtful, provocative look at YouTuber Logan Paul’s venture into Aokigahara and the heart of the Japanese psyche. Go check it out if you missed it!

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I Started the Media Men List My name is Moira Donegan.‘ (Moira Donegan for The Cut)

The ‘shitty media men’ list electrified the media community, and when Harper’s threatened to out its creator via a feature by known contrarian Katie Roiphe, the response — to defend her — was immediate, and heartening. But she decided to come out on her own, putting a name to her work and talking about why she did it. Her tale is well worth your time.

Recent months have made clear that no amount of power or money can shield a woman from sexual misconduct. But like me, many of the women who used the spreadsheet are particularly vulnerable: We are young, new to the industry, and not yet influential in our fields. As we have seen time after time, there can be great social and professional consequences for women who come forward. For us, the risks of using any of the established means of reporting were especially high and the chance for justice especially slim.

This Army of AI Robots Will Feed the World‘ (Amanda Little for Bloomberg)

If you’re intrigued by the future of farming and wonder what agriculture will look like in five, ten, or 50 years, check this out; it’s a rich journey along a complicated path that could radically change farming as we know it.

Weeds are elegant masters of adaptation and procreative success, and the Genghis Khan of weeds—the one most hellbent on total domination—is pigweed, aka Palmer amaranth. It can grow as high as 10 feet in the shape of a ponderosa pine, with a stalk the width of a corncob. A single plant can produce a million seeds, and a pigweed-infested field will spew hundreds of millions, raising the probability that a mutation of the plant will come along that can resist an herbicide. “To a farmer, pigweed’s like a staph infection resistant to every antibiotic,” Heraud says.

Goop’s “Trusted Expert” Anthony William Dispenses Junk Science, Say Critics‘ (Rae Paoletta for Inverse)

His fans call him the ‘medical medium,’ but his victims — and their family members — say otherwise. Here’s how the quacky Goop empire crosses beyond simply exploiting credulous rich women for vagina eggs, and into the dangerous, with ‘alternative healing’ that goes very, very bad.

Though he published his first book, Medical Medium, back in 2015, William claims to have used his “gift” throughout most of his life, healing family, friends, and more. He’s not the first person to claim a connection to the divine — the annals of history are full of people who’ve called themselves psychic healers, perhaps most notably Edgar Cayce, aka the “father of holistic medicine.”

Living with Slenderman‘ (Kathleen Hale for Hazlitt)

The Slenderman stabbing was a bizarre episode that cut to the heart of some complicated intersections in US culture: Creepypasta, but also teen girlhood, and the loathing of young women, and violence, and friendship gone sour. In the wake of the trial, this is a compelling read.

As they walked alongside the highway, Anissa says she became disenchanted and homesick. Morgan reminded her that they couldn’t go back. This was their new life. They had brought along two water bottles and pictures of their families. Now that they’d sacrificed in his honor, they would go live with Slender in his mansion, forever. That’s when Anissa recalls she had a “nervous breakdown, and blamed Morgan for everything.”

Tonya Harding Would Like Her Apology Now‘ (Taffy Brodesser-Akner for the New York Times)

Brodesser-Akner shows up in our recommended reading a great deal, and with good reason: She’s an incredible writer, and has a knack with developing profiles that other writers simply can’t get, humanising unexpected people and shining light into surprising corners. Her work is always fantastic, and this delve into the world of Tonya Harding is absolutely spectacular.

So yes, she said. Please call her Tonya Harding. It was Tonya Harding who was the punch line to just about every late-night monologue joke in 1994. Tonya Harding was the name Barack Obama used as a verb in talking about metaphorically kneecapping the competition during the 2007 presidential primaries. “Tonya Harding” is the title of a new and quite lovely Sufjan Stevens song (“This world is a bitch, girl,” it goes. “Don’t end up in a ditch, girl.”) And Tonya Harding is the name invoked in a pile of recent feminist think pieces coinciding with the opening of the movie “I, Tonya,” in which she is played by the famous, beautiful actress Margot Robbie, explaining her side of the story.

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Photo: Aaron Hawkins/Creative Commons