A visit behind the scenes of Maury Povich’s long-running daytime talk show—and how he ended up the reigning king of televised paternity tests:
Listen to the familiar voice of Maury Povich:
This is Tiffany. In two months, Tiffany is marrying her fiancé, Cornelius. But the results of this lie detector test may stop that wedding dead in its tracks.
Cornelius is a rapper. But Tiffany fears he’s using his studio to lay down a lot more than just tracks. And get this: Tiffany has a very good witness — their neighbor, Candice.
PUBLISHED: Nov. 8, 2013
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3994 words)
Rany Jazayerli reflects on his early discovery of Ender’s Game, what it taught him about empathy and about himself, feeling isolated as a young Muslim in the Midwest. And it’s the characters’ empathy that made the anti-gay views of the book’s author, Orson Scott Card, so troubling:
That endless loneliness is what makes it so easy to root for Ender. Card is so deeply sympathetic, so deeply empathetic to Ender’s plight that the reader can’t help but feel the same way. It’s what makes the book essential reading for every kid who has walked away from the protective embrace of his or her parents, which is to say every kid who has ever hit puberty. To be young is to feel alone, like an outcast, like a misfit. Adolescence is alienation.
PUBLISHED: Nov. 1, 2013
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4737 words)
Former players, broadcasters, fans and city officials look back on the Giants-A’s series and the devastating 6.9 quake that rocked Candlestick Park and the Bay Area:
"McGwire: We thought the whole place was burning up like in 1906.
"George Thurlow, fan, upper deck: The mood of the crowd was jubilant and excited and Wow, that was cool until the first radio announcements began. The first one that I have written down was, ‘The Bay Bridge is down.’
"Dolich: They didn’t say a piece collapsed. It was, ‘The Bay Bridge collapsed.’ You can only think, Oh my god, this is a horror movie coming true.
PUBLISHED: Oct. 25, 2013
LENGTH: 47 minutes (11754 words)
A brief history of Harvey Weinstein’s relationship with filmmakers and the editing room. Does he make movies better—or are Good Harvey and Bad Harvey working together?
“Plenty of filmmakers have lambasted Weinstein for his savage butchery — Luc Besson, Mike Leigh, James Ivory — while others have praised Harvey for helping them find their film in the editing room. Scorsese himself told Roger Ebert that the 168-minute version of Gangs — which was Scorsese’s most successful film in the decade since Cape Fear — is his director’s cut, which might be true. But it’s definitely true that any discussion of the editing of Gangs of New York always calls to mind, as critic Peter Bradshaw put it, ‘a butcher — an unprincipled villain who cuts and slashes, mangles and chomps: Harvey Weinstein.’”
PUBLISHED: Oct. 17, 2013
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3131 words)
An open letter to Grand Theft Auto IV's protagonist Niko Bellic about Grand Theft Auto V and video game culture:
"Almost everyone I know who loves video games — myself included — is broken in some fundamental way. With their ceaseless activity and risk-reward compulsion loops, games also soothe broken people. This is not a criticism. Fanatical readers tend to be broken people. The type of person who goes to see four movies a week alone is a broken person. Any medium that allows someone to spend monastic amounts of time by him- or herself, wandering the gloaming of imagination and reality, is doomed to be adored by lost, lonely people. But let's be honest: Spending the weekend in bed reading the collected works of Joan Didion is doing different things to your mind than spending the weekend on the couch racing cars around Los Santos. Again, not a criticism. The human mind contains enough room for both types of experience. Unfortunately, the mental activity generated by playing games is not much valued by non-gamers; in fact, play is hardly ever valued within American culture, unless it involves a $13 million signing bonus. Solitary play can feel especially shameful, and we gamers have internalized that vaguely masturbatory shame, even those of us who've decided that solitary play can be profoundly meaningful. Niko, I've thought about this a lot, and internalized residual shame is the best explanation I have to account for the cesspool of negativity that sits stagnating at the center of video-game culture, which right now seems worse than it's ever been."
PUBLISHED: Sept. 25, 2013
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2650 words)
Picks this week from Mother Jones, Slate, Grantland, The Washington Post, Film Comment, The Paris Review, and a guest pick by The Boston Globe's Baxter Holmes.
Can American football succeed in China?
"Football in America is closely associated with working-class communities, the ready-made tableau of small towns throughout the South or Midwest where collective esteem rises or falls according to how the local team did. This isn't always how it works elsewhere. In England, for example, there remain pockets of middle-class NFL fans who turned to the sport after the hooliganism of the 1980s left them alienated from soccer. In rural China, the NFL's flag football initiatives have helped democratize the playground; nobody grows up playing the sport, so there's no natural hierarchy. They can all — boys and girls — be awful and then learn together. But in cities like Beijing or Shanghai, football seems to represent the cosmopolitan or exotic — it's the distinction associated with being into something others just don't understand."
PUBLISHED: May 2, 2013
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5635 words)
The writer follows the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska in a Super Cub plane:
It turned out that Martin Buser, the musher whom I’d watched start the race, had come up with a strategy that was blowing people’s minds. He wasn’t stopping. Conventional Iditarod tactics call for frequent voluntary rest periods in addition to the two eight-hour breaks and one 24-hour break mandated by the rules. Iditarod sled dogs are bred for stamina, but they need food and sleep. Mushers, who will be almost unimaginably sleep-deprived by the time they reach Nome in any event, need at least token periods of semi-unconsciousness. You know the story of the tortoise and the hare? Yeah, the hare definitely wins the Iditarod. Slow and steady is not the ticket in the long-distance dog-mushing game. You want a lot of naps punctuated by periods of hellish subzero hustling.
Buser, though? He ran from Willow to the Yentna checkpoint and stopped for just 21 minutes. Then he ran to Skwentna and stopped for half an hour. He ran to Finger Lake, in the snow country just before the mountains, and stopped for 26 minutes. Then he ran practically all the way over the Alaska Range on no rest. Through Rainy Pass on no rest. When he reached Rohn, just before 10 on the morning of Monday, March 4, he’d driven his dogs nearly 200 miles in less than 20 hours, and he hadn’t stopped for longer than it took to have a vet eyeball them at the checkpoints. It was demented, was the feeling on the trail. What the pound-sign-percent-asterisk-dollar-sign was the guy thinking?
PUBLISHED: April 24, 2013
LENGTH: 77 minutes (19296 words)