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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)

Wrong Answer

Facing increased pressure to perform on standardized tests, a group of Atlanta teachers begin cheating. "After more than two thousand interviews, the investigators concluded that forty-four schools had cheated and that a 'culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation has infested the district, allowing cheating—at all levels—to go unchecked for years.' They wrote that data had been 'used as an abusive and cruel weapon to embarrass and punish.' Several teachers had been told that they had a choice: either make targets or be placed on a Performance Development Plan, which was often a precursor to termination."

PUBLISHED: July 14, 2014
LENGTH: 35 minutes (8962 words)

Love and War

A legendary Special Forces commander was quietly forced to leave the U.S. Army after he admitted to a love affair with a Washington Post war correspondent, who quit her job to secretly live with him for almost a year in one of the most dangerous combat outposts in Afghanistan.

Tyson knew most of the visiting VIPs well from her long stint at the Washington Post, a job she quit to join Gant and write the book, and said she had to keep her presence in Gant's combat "qalat" secret. News media "embeds" in Afghanistan with Special Operations forces rarely exceed a few days and she was not authorized by any task force to be in the Mangwel operation – much less for nine months.

"I stayed out of the picture," she said in the ABC News interview with Gant in Seattle. "We didn't want my presence there to be widely known, but at the same time a lot of people knew about it... I was glad for the opportunity to help the man I had fallen in love with, as well as to write about a potential solution to the incredible suffering I had witnessed over a decade almost."

PUBLISHED: June 24, 2014
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4286 words)

A Sister's Sleuthing Unravels a Teenage Love Triangle Murder Mystery

A twisted tale of teenage love and cold-blooded murder in Hollywood, Florida.

For detectives, the killing at first glance must have seemed an all-too-common crime: another dead thug, likely felled by the same drug culture that had left him homeless and broke. Yet Savage's life and death — as told through hundreds of pages of police records, text messages, and interviews with his family and itinerant friends — were far more complex.

PUBLISHED: June 23, 2014
LENGTH: 26 minutes (6501 words)

Life, After

TV reporter Miles O’Brien’s first-person account of what it’s like to lose your arm:

I’d always heard amputees talk about the stares and the acute awareness of being viewed as different. During my first shoot for the NewsHour with one arm, I was wearing a blazer when I met a researcher I was to interview. She left the lab, and I took my jacket off. When she returned, it was a good thing she wasn’t sipping her coffee, because she would have offered up an amazing spit take. As we both looked at my stump, I shrugged and said, “It happens.” She smiled and nodded and then we pressed on. It didn’t really bother me for some reason—perhaps because of the honesty of her reaction. What makes me more uncomfortable is when I notice people consciously looking away. Is that pity? Revulsion? On the sidewalks, I look straight at people looking at me, and lots of times, they smile. Maybe I am still attractive. Or maybe I’m a freak.

PUBLISHED: June 12, 2014
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2680 words)

Jimmy Iovine: The Man With the Magic Ears

An in-depth 2012 interview with the music mogul turned Apple employee, on how he began his career, working in the studio with John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty:

Did engineering for Spector and Lennon prepare you for Springsteen’s vision of a wall of sound?

With John, I learned to make sure the band felt right around the vocal. That’s how you get the take, not the other way around. You don’t get the music and then sing it. On [U2’s] Rattle and Hum, I wouldn’t record the take unless Bono was there. I didn’t care if he had words or not. I wanted to hear his voice, the moment where it all connects.

I learned all about that power. You can’t really pick out what’s playing. But if you listen closely, you can hear each instrument. Phil called that a wall. Bruce wanted that. My whole life became about that. It was brutally painful, feeling like we were never going to get there. This is beyond all our grasps, what this guy has in his head. We were all deathly afraid of Springsteen.

PUBLISHED: June 2, 2014
LENGTH: 26 minutes (6628 words)

Greet the Enemy

The writer on his experience with night terrors, which he associates with his love of horror films and the work of Tom Savini, a special-effects artist known for working with director George Romero on zombie films:

Savini joined the Army rather than wait to get drafted because enlisted men got to pick their jobs. He served as a combat photographer in Vietnam. After the war, he moved to North Carolina and started acting in a repertory theater. He was still playing around with makeups, still using them to scare the holy shit out of people. (In Vietnam, he had been all, “Mama-san, take . . . a . . . look . . . at . . . THIS!”) In fact, that’s what earned him his early notoriety, the verisimilitude of his wounds. “There’s something about seeing the real thing that sets me apart from, let’s say, some other makeup artists who have never experienced that,” he said in a post-Vietnam interview. “When I’m creating an effect, if it doesn’t look good to me—real—doesn’t give me that feeling I used to get when I’d see the real stuff, then it’s just not real enough for me.”

SOURCE:Tin House
PUBLISHED: June 1, 2014
LENGTH: 21 minutes (5453 words)

Yes, All Women: A Reading List of Stories Written By Women

This week, I present a long list of essays, articles and interviews written by women. Many are about women, too. Some are lighthearted; others reflect on the events of the past week.
PUBLISHED: June 1, 2014

Maya Angelou, The Art of Fiction No. 119

From 1990: George Plimpton interviews the acclaimed poet, who died Wednesday at age 86:

When I finish maybe fifty pages and read them—fifty acceptable pages—it’s not too bad. I’ve had the same editor since 1967. Many times he has said to me over the years or asked me, Why would you use a semicolon instead of a colon? And many times over the years I have said to him things like: I will never speak to you again. Forever. Goodbye. That is it. Thank you very much. And I leave. Then I read the piece and I think of his suggestions. I send him a telegram that says, OK, so you’re right. So what? Don’t ever mention this to me again. If you do, I will never speak to you again. About two years ago I was visiting him and his wife in the Hamptons. I was at the end of a dining room table with a sit-down dinner of about fourteen people. Way at the end I said to someone, I sent him telegrams over the years. From the other end of the table he said, And I’ve kept every one! Brute! But the editing, one’s own editing, before the editor sees it, is the most important.

PUBLISHED: May 28, 2014
LENGTH: 26 minutes (6569 words)