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Kanye West: A Brand-New Ye

"I just want to do crazy, colorful shit like that that has more nudity." An interview with Kanye West.
AUTHOR:Zach Baron
PUBLISHED: July 21, 2014
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5680 words)

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our favorite stories of the week, featuring GQ, The Stranger, Missoula Independent, Washington Post, and Rolling Stone.
PUBLISHED: June 7, 2014

Who Wants to Shoot an Elephant?

The writer joins a Texas couple on an elephant hunt in Botswana and questions whether a regulated hunting industry could help the elephant population in the country:

“If he charges, I’m gonna shoot him,” Robyn says. The entourage begins a dainty heel-to-toe march into the spiky undergrowth. As it turns out, it is not one elephant but two. One is the big, old, shootable bull. The other is a younger male. Elephants never stop growing, a meliorative aspect of which (elephant-hunt-misgivings-wise) is that the mongo bulls that hunters most want to shoot also happen to be the oldest animals, usually within five or so years of mandatory retirement, when elephants lose their last set of molars and starve to death.

For the record, this detail does not soothe me as the guns make their way toward the elephants under the tree. I have not yet figured out how to dislike elephants enough to want to see one shot. In private treason against my hosts, I am thinking, Not now, not now. Let it please not get shot today.

PUBLISHED: June 4, 2014
LENGTH: 32 minutes (8196 words)

The Guardian At the Gate

It broke the WikiLeaks story, then the Snowden scandal, now Alan Rusbridger's crusading newspaper is trying to break America. But with its US campaign on the brink of disaster, has the deadline passed to beat a dignified retreat?

News outlets want to break big stories but at the same time not be overwhelmed by them - a certain detachment is well advised. It is an artful line. But the Guardian essentially went into the Edward Snowden business - and continues in it. It's a complex business, too: to ally yourself with larger-than-life, novelistic characters, first Assange, and then Snowden, and stranger-than-strange middle men, like the Guardian's contract columnist Glenn Greenwald, who brought in the story. The effort to pretend that the story is straight up good and evil, that this is journalism pure and simple, unalloyed public interest, without peculiar nuances and rabbit holes and obvious contradictions, is really quite a trick.

PUBLISHED: June 2, 2014
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3909 words)

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our favorite stories of the week, featuring GQ, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Priceonomics and The Hollywood Reporter.
PUBLISHED: May 16, 2014

Dating in the 21st Century: A Reading List

This week's picks from Emily include stories from GQ, The Toast, Infinite Scroll, and The Atlantic.
PUBLISHED: May 15, 2014

The Undefeated Champions of Defeat City

A Little League is helping transform a city plagued by drugs, addiction and violence:

For Bryan, baseball is a multipurpose tool: It can unify the neighborhood, and it pits the diamond against the corner. Since the dealers recruit kids at about the same age as the coaches do, Bryan's in a tug-of-war for the souls of these 12-year-olds, some of whose parents are out there slinging, too. "Look," Bryan says, "we can all agree on children, you know? That they should be free to be kids. And if Dad or Mom is at a game for a few hours a week, they're not hustling. They're at a game."

Bryan's philosophy in a nutshell: Don't let circumstances dictate your behavior. Reverse that dynamic. Fill the parks with kids and families and eventually the junkies and the dealers will drift away. Pretend that you live in a safe place and maybe it will become one.

PUBLISHED: May 13, 2014
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6333 words)

The Horrible Bosses of Hollywood

It sounds so glamorous, working in Hollywood. Doesn't it? Sure, if you're a studio chief or an actor with your own trailer. But if you're a powerless minion, it's a special kind of hell.

M— and L— seem mismatched as a comic team. They're both type A personalities, with no foil, no straight man. Like the worst kind of Funny Guys, they are always, oppressively, “on.” Every time they see you, they do not merely crack a joke; they molest you with comedy. Their assaults are rapid-fire, cringe-inducing, often offensive. (“Nice jacket, Jim. What, did you buy it from a sand nigger in Morocco?” Grunt.) Surely, they must think, this is the way to become noticed as a formidable comic force—to launch one's hilarity from across the room. No one is immune to it. When they walk into a pitch meeting with the Columbia execs, L— invariably begins the meeting with an antic gag, tripping, Dick Van Dyke-like, over a hassock, or a pair of crossed feet, nearly somersaulting across the room, then rubbing his knees and grimacing in theatrical pain. You can see the same pain flickering in the eyes of the execs.

AUTHOR:Jim Nelson
PUBLISHED: May 1, 2014
LENGTH: 21 minutes (5350 words)

Naked and Famous

A profile of photographer Ryan McGinley, whose work has influenced advertising, film, music videos, and Instagram:

One of McGinley's portraits of McChesney—taken in the bathroom of a gay club into which he dragged a mini trampoline for her to bounce naked on—was used as the lead image for his Whitney show. In it, Lizzy is caught in midair, feet a blur, mouth caught in the earliest milliseconds of a smile. The background is bisected at her torso—from the waist down, it's all graffıti, but from the waist up, it's a celestial mural. Her head pops up between two spacecrafts; her breasts—obscured by her own wrist—look to be about Saturn-sized. Twelve years later, it's still one of McGinley's most collectable photographs. José Freire calls it “one of the most beautifully optimistic things you'll ever see.”

PUBLISHED: April 10, 2014
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5028 words)