What Should I Read From Slate This Week? Amanda Hess Shares Her Picks.

Comments
Slate Plus
Your all-access pass
Aug. 1 2014 12:18 PM
Comments

What Happened at Slate This Week?

Staff writer Amanda Hess shares the stories that impressed and intrigued her.

Amanda Hess.

Photo illustration by Slate. Illustration by Charlie Powell. Photo by Shutterstock.

Greetings, readers of Slate Plus!

Thank you for joining us on our incredible bonus-content-packed journey. This week, I’ve been selected to serve as your humble shepherd through the gun-toting, hallucination-inducing, Tofu McNugget­–fed landscape of Slates midsummer programming.  

Amanda Hess Amanda Hess

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. 

But first, a bit about me. I am Amanda Hess, Slate staff writer. I usually write about women’s stuff at Double X, where my greatest triumph was convincing Slate to publish my careful analysis of why boy band members don’t look so constipated anymore, the culmination of years of study of Backstreet Boys and One Direction videos. But I also have free rein to roam to other areas of the site, where I’ve written about my dad marching me to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the poor grizzly who became the first test subject for bear spray, and the untold stories of professional wrestlers.

Advertisement

This week, I had the distinct honor of editing the XX Factor blog while my editor, Allison Benedikt, was off on vacation. Well, well, well, Allison. It appears the student has become the master! Just kidding—the biggest thing I learned by taking on a fraction of Allison’s duties is just how much care Slate’s editors put into supporting the work of people like me day after day. Luckily, Double X’s fabulous writers made it easy for me this week: Check out Jessica Grose’s searing retort to the assumption that women drop out of the workforce because we’re obsessed with babies; Jane Hu’s incisive science report revealing that women fare worse in negotiations because people lie to us; and Willa Paskin’s delicious dive into the complicated sexual politics of The Bachelorette. (For the record, Andi, I’ll always be #TeamNick. Beware the Bachelorette contestant who lists his career as “former” anything.)

My favorite aspect of working for Slate is how my editors encourage me to indulge my weirdness—I still can’t believe that I was allowed to interview The Bachelor’s lead composer about how he writes dopey circus music to undermine the show’s most clownish contestants—and I’m always pleased to see how other writers showcase their quirks on the Slate stage. This week, I bopped my head along to Ben Blatt’s data analysis of why pop songs are so obsessed with names that start with the letter J. I cringed with recognition while reading Phillip Maciak’s argument that the 1983 film the The Big Chill invented the concept of the quarter-life crisis. As Maciak unpacks this “dramedy about the very serious #problems of white people in their early-30s,” he forces millennials like me to confront the fact that even our particular brand of generational navel-gazing was invented by the Boomers. And I was mesmerized by the Slate Book Review’s interactive treatment of an excerpt from Haruki Murakami’s new novel, which paired Murakami’s haunting folktale with its own piano-plucking puzzle.

But my standout Slate read this week came in the form of a cutting take-down of Dan Snyder’s latest craven, pandering attempt to defend his use of a racial slur as the Washington football team’s nickname: A website crafted by a crisis management firm that purports to present the “facts” about why insulting Native Americans for NFL profits isn’t really so bad. Within a day of the site’s launch, Slate had published a full-fledged parody site countering Snyder’s promotional bid with more objective facts about the team’s nickname and its impact on Native Americans. It’s both a sobering, informative read as well as a totally sick burn—and I don’t know of any other group of writers and editors who could have made it happen. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Thanks for being a Slate Plus member!

Amanda

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 9:19 PM The Phone Call Is Twenty Minutes of Pitch-Perfect, Wrenching Cinema
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.