Hi, Slate Plus-keteers!
Thanks so much for supporting us with your membership. I’m Katy Waldman, a Slate staff writer. I am really lucky in that I get to cover a huge range of topics, from Rainbow Loom to Beowulf to the evils of juice cleanses and the glories of 56-year-old men. I’m especially interested in psychology, mental health, and weird social science, so I work closely with the fabulous Laura Helmuth, who lets me investigate narcissists, conspiracy theorists, and hypochondriac doctors. I also help Dan Kois and David Haglund out with my favorite part of Slate, the Book Review, where I edit and sometimes write about stuff like adjective order, fairy tales, Lena Dunham, comics, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.
But let’s get down to business. What should you read this week? I loved Seth Stevenson’s account of trying to play League of Legends for the first time, and the wondrous Dahlia Lithwick’s dive into a Supreme Court case about “the willful destruction of federal evidence in the form of 18-inch red groupers.” On a more serious note, Carl Wilson somehow wove together the Canadian arts scene and the Catholic Church in his moving, unsettling piece on the Jian Ghomeshi allegations. Rebecca Onion always finds fascinating history to write about, and her story yesterday on the ethics of publishing antique medical photos was a sensitive, provocative look at how context shapes the images we see.
Plus (o Slate Plus), the November Book Review is here! Do not miss Mark Joseph Stern on a new political history of gay marriage, or Jonathan Farmer on an all-too-cosmetic biography of the poet/genius/asshole Philip Larkin. David Haglund took up the theme of Jerks in Literature as well, with his thoughtful analysis of the Richard Ford character Frank Bascombe, who perhaps is allowed to get away with more than he should.
OK, I am aware of the large, triumphant, tax-cutting elephant in the room. Yes, there was an election. Yes, Slate’s crack political team did a bang-up job covering it. There were a lot of highlights, but here are three of my favorites: Betsy Woodruff nailed why no one can beat Scott Walker. (He has a talent for turning unlikelihoods into reality.) Josh Voorhees painted a terrifying portrait of newly-minted Iowa senator Joni Ernst. (“Her less extreme views … include abolishing both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education.”) And John Dickerson explained the real reason Democrats bit the dust. (It rhymes with Fofama.)
I should probably stop talking/writing and give you a chance to click on some of these links. But before I go, thanks again for your time, feedback, and support! You are all the best butter.