Jay Caspian Kang: My Top 5 Longreads of 2010

Jay Caspian Kang is a fiction writer living in San Francisco. He is the author of The High is Always the Pain and the Pain is Always the High, an essay on gambling addiction that appeared in the Morning News and has been named on several “Best of 2010” lists. 

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In no particular order.

THE LEGEND OF BLACK SUPERMAN — Rafe Bartholomew, Deadspin

I’m typing this in a Starbucks in the Robinson’s Place Mall in Manila. Everywhere I go in this city, I am reminded of Pacific Rims, Bartholomew’s chronicle of the place of basketball in the culture of the Philippines

The excerpt on Billy Ray Bates was my favorite sports read of the year. Any documentary filmmaker who wants a subject…

THE MURDERERS OF MEXICO — Alma Guillermoprieto, New York Review of Books

What else could you possibly ever want out of a journalist? Fearless, measured and whip-smart with an eye for narrative detail that should be the envy of every writer who has ever read her work.

Her reflections, observations and opinions on the war in Mexico should tower over every other work on the subject, the way Orwell towers over the Spanish Civil War. Hopefully, before it’s too late, someone in publishing will drive up to Guillermoprieto’s door with a suitcase filled with money, because if there is going to be another Homage to Catalonia, it will be Alma Guillermoprieto on the Narco Wars.  

INSANE CLOWN POSSE: AND GOD CREATED CONTROVERSYJon Ronson, The Guardian

The perfect companion for the world’s most baffling music video. I wish someone had done this for the Wu, circa 1994.

Ronson also broke open the seal for long-form articles written specifically to explain baffling youtube videos. Like somebody please write 3,000+ words on how they got that fucking bird to dance to that Willow Smith song. Choire Sicha, I’m looking you straight in the eyes and I am saying please. 

PELE AS A COMEDIAN — Brian Phillips, Run of Play

There are so many reasons why this essay should annoy me. It’s about a really kinda bad David Foster Wallace essay, it’s about soccer and it involves a lot of footnotes. And yet, it took me about a paragraph to discard all those hang-ups and just revel in the quality of writing, the intelligence of the mind at work.

RICHARD LAWSON’S AMERICAN IDOL COVERAGE — Richard Lawson, Gawker

The only reason I still watch the show. And, along with temperate weather and Mexican food, one of the three reasons why I love living on the West Coast. Because on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, I can wake up and have Lawson’s mammoth recaps already posted on Gawker.

Sometimes, I find myself typing and deleting twitter messages to Richard Lawson. Mostly, they are about how my day is going. Sometimes, they are jokes about Crystal Bowersox. Once, it was a suggestion he get cloned so he could also write about the Biggest Loser