Blockbuster Video Store Sign
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This week, we’re sharing stories from Justin Heckert, Hannah Louise Poston, Anne Helen Petersen, Jiayang Fan, and Rachel Greenwald Smith.

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1. For One Last Night, Make It a Blockbuster Night

Justin Heckert | The Ringer | July 19, 2018 | 37 minutes (9,282 words)

What’s the major difference between renting a movie at Blockbuster and streaming it on Netflix? As Justin Heckert reports for The Ringer, as the last Blockbuster video stores close, the people of Alaska won’t just miss the blissful comfort and simplicity of family movie night. They’ll miss the human interaction that can be the best part of visiting the video store in person: the colorful people, the jokes, the laughs, and the delightful camaraderie of discovering a shared favorite film at the checkout counter.

2. The News From the World of Beauty

Hannah Louise Poston | VQR | June 11, 2018 | 24 minutes (6,073 words)

When the personal is political, even the things we do to escape from politics become politics.

3. The New Gwen Stefani Is A Lot Like The Old One

Anne Helen Petersen | BuzzFeed | July 18, 2018 | 30 minutes (7,684 words)

“Stefani has always been a study in contrasts: a sexy tomboy; a rock star who loves her man and her manicures. So why are we still surprised every time she tells us who she is?”

4. How E-Commerce Is Transforming Rural China

Jiayang Fan | The New Yorker | July 18, 2018 | 32 minutes (8,008 words) is China’s second-largest e-commerce company. By using rural villages’ social networks to recruit new customers and employees, the company is capturing the country’s growing online retail market, improving Chinese life, and possibly giving villagers an incentive not to leave for the city.

5. Friends and Enemies: On Slogan Tees

Rachel Greenwald Smith | Los Angeles Review of Books | July 16, 2018 | 10 minutes (2,702 words)

“Rather than a sign of increased polarization, of increased political energy, the popularity of the slogan tee is evidence of the dissolution of the political.”