Dear Slate Plus Readers,
I’ll be honest—I’m writing to you in something of a drained state.
The past few weeks have been a blur on my primary beat, Outward, where we cover news and culture from an LGBTQ perspective. Pride season just wrapped up, and of course, last Friday saw one of the most important legal decisions for queer people in America’s history—marriage equality is finally the law of the land!
I was obviously personally thrilled to hear this news, but I could hardly acknowledge it (by giving my own partner a quick kiss) before ramping up our already ongoing coverage and responding to interview requests from other media outlets. By the time the dust settled this week, Outward had published dozens of smart and moving pieces on the marriage decision, and “straight Slate” had joined in with much more great stuff besides. All-in-all, it’s been an amazing—if exhausting—stretch.
Now, as we prepare to head out on a much-needed holiday break, I’m in a festive mood. I thought a good use of this space would be to look back at items from the past week that made me smile. After all, as excellent as Slate is at covering serious stories like marriage equality, we’re equally game to have a little fun. As our fearless leader Julia Turner likes to put it, we should delight our readers as well as inform them.
Last weekend, I was profoundly delighted by my Outward colleague Mark Joseph Stern’s post on the “ISIS flag” that CNN spotted in a Pride parade … a flag that actually turned out to be decorated with sex toys that only looked like Arabic script. I also adored the cosmic justice of a local Girl Scout group earning back a retracted $100,000 donation and then-some when they stood up for the inclusion of transgender girls. Now, if we could just get the boys to be as progressive, this Eagle Scout would be even happier.
The most intellectually delightful article in the magazine this week was, for me, music critic Carl Wilson’s fantastic exploration of Kacey Musgraves and “country for people who don’t like country,” not least because it relied on scholarship from my fabulous college adviser, Aaron Fox, for part of the argument. On the sillier end of the spectrum, Brow Beat’s Magic Mike XXL quiz, in which one is invited to identify the actor based on his abs, made for a lovely dessert after Wilson’s critical main course.
Other things-that-made-me-grin this week included my first appearance with Mike Pesca on The Gist, the notion that monkeys might be domesticating wolves, and the fact that I was able to convince June Thomas to let me turn a Slack chat about Roland Emmerich’s forthcoming Stonewall movie (musical?) into a goofy post.
But the winner of the biggest, most delighted smile goes to my fearless colleague Aisha Harris, for her video investigation of real male strippers and the songs they use to delight their lady-fans. That’s real journalism, folks—both informative and delightful—and if you don’t smile watching Aisha wrangle these Adonises, then your soul may be in need of a lap dance.
Speaking of strippers, I need to go write my own thing about Magic Mike before my weekend can begin in earnest—such a tough subject, I know. Have a great Fourth of July, and, as always, thanks for your support.