EDITORS’ NOTE: Happy Sunday! Thanks to all of you who e-mailed us opinions on our revamped newsletter design. After reading your feedback, we've made another tweak, adding the publication name alongside the byline. Thoughts?
Two great stories—one an educational first-person piece on Alabama’s relationship with firearms; the other a political allegory about a small island off Virginia, put at risk by climate change and full of ardent Trump supporters—by one great writer.
We’re going to have Elaina on the next Sunday Long Read podcast, so let us know if you’ve got any questions for her after reading these stories.
The wife of a Muslim religious leader came to America brimming with uncertainty and hope. A suspected hate crime snuffed out the hope.
The Big Lie By Jack Stripling and Megan Zahneis for The Chronicle of Higher Education
A Colorado State chemistry professor fabricates a job offer, with tenure, from another university to get a raise and win his department’s respect. The deception led to the unraveling of the professor’s career while leaving him with few answers to this essential question: “What am I worth?”
Assessing the toll taken by America’s housing meltdown when banks foreclosed on nine million homes, from 2007 to 2010. Millions are still recovering. Everyone uses the same word to describe it: “Nightmare.”
Rudy Giuliani’s combative, bare-knuckles style is perfectly suited to President Trump’s legal and crisis communications needs. Jeffrey Toobin says it’s not at all surprising that Giuliani, the former New York mayor who was a national hero in the aftermath of 9/11, has become “Trump’s clown.”
“Men are doomed. Everybody knows this.” But does everybody know that men have also become increasingly infertile, with predictions that within a generation men may lose the ability to reproduce entirely? What’s causing this mysterious drop in sperm counts—and is it too late to reverse the numbers?
Othea Loggan started working at Walker Bros. Original Pancake House in Wilmette, Illinois on March 30, 1964. Fifty-four years later, Loggan is still bussing tables, commuting two hours to and from work and making minimum wage. A lyrical, lovely story.
Twenty years after writing a widely criticized memoir about her doomed relationship with J.D. Salinger—he was 53, she was 18—Joyce Maynard, now 64, says she expected her phone to ring after the #MeToo movement began last year. “The call never came,” she writes in this heartbreaking essay.
The mantra that the 10,000-steps-a-day regime is good for you has become an embedded part of our culture. But David Cox makes a short, persuasive argument that the science behind this figure is completely arbitrary with “no health guidance that exists to back it.”
"A front row seat at a fashion show, like the corner office, is a hierarchical marker. Signalled through design and architecture, its value comes not just from the view it affords, but through appearing to have it."
THE SUNDAY ORAL HISTORY: The Secret Garden By Andy Wright and Sonner Kehrt for Topic (~35 minutes)
The oral history of how a scientist found a rainforest on top of a mountain, then led a team of 28 scientists, logistics experts, climbers, and others to a place where humans had not set foot for a century or more.
A writer attends a secret three-day dance party in the woods of New England with 250 sex-positive, drug-addled young professionals. It's a piece about being a journalist, about middle age, pain, longing, parenthood and cuddle puddles.
“There are two ways I view toughness and the virtue of it.” BuzzFeed News reporter Albert Samaha has a new book out about a young football team in a changing inner city. But clearly it’s about so much more than that, too. As for what he thinks will happen to America’s most popular sport, Samaha says, “Part of the question is what replaces it.” He also discussed what it’s like working at BuzzFeed, shared how he’s learned to grab attention online, and announced the topic of his next book.
The subject of anonymous sources always brings us back to the Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein thriller, All the President's Men, and their legendary source, Deep Throat. In this piece, journalist Max Holland peeks into the greater Woodstein archives to unmask the other anonymice who help the Washington Post reporters advance the story, a process that redistributes credit for breaking the story.
Classic Read curator Jack Shafer writes about media for Politico.
This is a big month for new podcasts: Kobe Bryant has a kids show; HowStuffWorks seemingly debuts a new series every other day; Slow Burn is back. But this week’s recommendation is for one of my absolute standbys, and a re-run at that. The Guardian reporter Lois Beckett and the OTM staff put together a special last spring (that they just republished) on the roots of American racism. How white America has constructed race through media, religion, and more to preserve their own wealth and power, and why so much of this is so persistent in our culture, politics, and journalism today. This episode is a masterclass, in every sense.
Sunday Pod curator Jody Avirgan is the host of FiveThirtyEight's politics podcast and is heading up the new "30 for 30" podcast documentary series from ESPN.
"I first visited West Alabama Ice House as a doe-eyed 22-year-old during the welcome week for my two-year stint with Teach for America, and I promptly fell in love. With its inviting picnic tables dotting the front, side, and rear of its sizable lot, “Walabama”—as it’s been dubbed by the regulars—is the place where the Montrose community comes together to socialize."
Michael Pollan narrates this examination of a curious American institution: the front lawn. Posted by The Atlantic, this provocative short made me realize I am a total aberration and have led a primarily lawnless life. Watch and you just may change your perception of the suburban ideal.
With the recently released Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick sparking renewed debate, photographer Mark J. Rebilas left the field to pursue a national controversy. Shooting for Reuters, he captured it effectively with this image of a stadium security guard with her hand over her heart as Denver Broncos players Demaryius Thomas, left, and Brandon Marshall sit in silent protest during the national anthem prior to a pre-season game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on Aug. 30.
Patrick Farrell, the curator of The Sunday Still, is the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winner for Breaking News Photography for The Miami Herald, where he has worked since 1987. He is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Media Management at the University of Miami School of Communication.
In the past few months, President Trump has periodically discussed launching (pun intended) a new stand-alone branch of the military called the “Space Force.” On August 16, the Congressional Research Service (CRS)--the legislative branch's in-house research group--published a memo that flagged some of the issues at play in the potential creation of such a “Space Force.” Among the issues, one of the most thought-provoking is whether the Constitution allows for the establishment of a military branch beyond the confines of Earth. According to the CRS memo: "It may conceivably be argued that congressional authority is limited to 'land and naval forces,' including 'Armies' and 'the Navy' as well as the 'Militia' (i.e., the reserve components), and thus would not extend to a new armed force operating primarily in the realm of space."
Sunday Esoterica curator Ryan Rodenberg works as a professor at Florida State University, where he teaches research methods and sports law. He writes a lot of academic articles and some mainstream pieces too.
The best songwriters can make the mundane sound miraculous, and they can seemingly do so just from their own sheer force of talent. But when highly-skilled songwriters endure unthinkable tragedy, the results are often nothing short of transcendent. Native Texan and current Nashville resident Ben Danaher fits into the latter grouping.
With the brilliant Still Feel Lucky, Danaher's newly released full-length album, we are taken through a number of trials and emotions. The impactful feelings that have flowed from deaths of both his father, who died from cancer, and his brother, who in 2010 was shot to death in a highly-publicized "Stand your ground" case, are examined here, as is the death of a relationship with an outwardly religious ex, as well as so much more.
It's an odd role we music fans fill when it comes to enjoying what often results from an artist's heartbreak and rock-bottom moments. It's near impossible to not react positively, even enthusiastically, when we hear a combo of notes and melodies that simply ping our ears in just the right way, yet the words that are nestled in those arrangements can be anything but pleasant, even if they provide catharsis for the artist.
Long Play curator Kelly Dearmore is the Music Critic for the Dallas Morning News. Yes, he's heard your son's demo tape, and he thinks it's fantastic.
Donald Trump: "Isn’t it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost. Don’t know why Washington politicians don’t change libel laws?"
Isn't it a shame that books are published all the time;
that all their information isn't treated like a crime?
If I were made the President, I'd make those authors scram.
Oh wait, what am I saying? The Chief of State I am!
In that case, have a care, you swine, that publish such malarkey—
My apparatchiks will find you; and they can be quite snarky.
Sunday Limerick writer Tim Torkildson is a retired circus clown who fiddles with rhyme. All his verses can be found at Tim's Clown Alley.
The Sund&y Ampers&nd from Nick Aster
The Sunday Ampersand is chosen by Nick Aster. Nick most recently served as founder of TriplePundit.com, a leading publication focused on sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
Founder, Curator: Don Van Natta Jr. Producer, Curator: Jacob Feldman Producer, Curator: Étienne Lajoie Senior Recycling Editor: Jack Shafer Senior Long View Editor: Justine Gubar Senior Photo Editor: Patrick Farrell Senior Music Editor: Kelly Dearmore Senior Limerick Editor: Tim Torkildson Senior Podcast Editor: Jody Avirgan Senior Editor of Esoterica: Ryan M. Rodenberg
Digital Team: Nation Hahn, Nickolaus Hines, Megan McDonell, Alexa Steinberg Podcast Team: Peter Bailey-Wells, Cary Barbor, Julian McKenzie, Jonathan Yales Campus Editor: Peter Warren
Contributing Editors: Bruce Arthur, Shaun Assael, Nick Aster, Alex Belth, Sara J. Benincasa, Jonathan Bernstein, Sara Blask, Greg Bishop, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Maria Bustillos, Chris Cillizza, Anna Katherine Clemmons, Rich Cohen, Pam Colloff, Maureen Dowd, Charles Duhigg, Brett Michael Dykes, Geoff Edgers, Hadley Freeman, Lea Goldman, Michael N. Graff, Maggie Haberman, Reyhan Harmanci, Virginia Heffernan, Matthew Hiltzik, Jena Janovy, Bomani Jones, Chris Jones, Peter Kafka, Paul Kix, Mina Kimes, Peter King, Michael Kruse, Tom Lamont, Chris Lehmann, Will Leitch, Glynnis MacNicol, Drew Magary, Erik Malinowski, Jonathan Martin, Betsy Fischer Martin, Ana Menendez, Kevin Merida, Heidi N. Moore, Eric Neel, Joe Nocera, Ashley R. Parker, Anne Helen Petersen, Jo Piazza, Joe Posnanski, S.L. Price, Jennifer Romolini, Julia Rubin, Albert Samaha, Bruce Schoenfeld, Michael Schur, Joe Sexton, Jacqui Shine, Rachel Sklar, Dan Shanoff, Ben Smith, Adam Sternbergh,Matt Sullivan, Wright Thompson, Pablo Torre, Kevin Van Valkenburg, John A. Walsh, Seth Wickersham and Karen Wickre.
Header Image: Jonathan Bartlett
You can read more about our staff, and contact us (we'd love to hear from you!) on our website: SundayLongRead.com. Help pick next week's selections by tweeting us your favorite stories with #SundayLR.