Notes from a Baby-Names Obsessive

Names channel our identity — or at least our parents’ idea of our future identity — in ways both big (class, ethnicity) and small (subcultural affiliations, self-awareness). When the mother’s American and the father’s French, things get complicated, fast.

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jul 31, 2017
Length: 15 minutes (3,986 words)

America’s Most Political Food

Maurice Bessinger founded a popular South Carolina barbecue restaurant called the Piggie Park that was “worth driving a hundred miles for.” He was also a Confederate flag-waving white supremacist. Civil rights groups led boycotts against the Piggie Park for decades, but after Bessinger died and his children put away the flags, people wondered whether it would ever be acceptable to eat there.

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Apr 17, 2017
Length: 27 minutes (6,772 words)

The Model American

Melania Trump is “the ultimate embodiment of Donald Trump’s bargain with the electorate.”

Source: The New Yorker
Published: May 2, 2016
Length: 15 minutes (3,824 words)

The Spy Who Loved Me

Jacqui met Bob Lambert at an animal-rights protest in 1984, when she was twenty-two. Their son was born the next year. Two years after that, Bob disappeared from their lives, seemingly without a trace. In this piece for The New Yorker, Lauren Collins investigates who Bob Lambert really was: a British police officer part of a massive undercover operation, whose officers— known as “deep swimmers,”—spent years surveilling different radical groups.

Source: New Yorker
Published: Aug 25, 2014
Length: 35 minutes (8,783 words)

Mail Supremacy

“The most powerful newspaper in Great Britain.” A history of the Daily Mail, founded in 1896 as reading material “by office-boys for office-boys,” as a former prime minister said dismissively. Its daily readership is now four and a half million, and its website recently surpassed the New York Times in traffic, with 52 million unique visitors per month:

“On January 25th, the model Kate Moss went to some parties in Paris. The next morning’s Mail read, ‘The Croydon beauty had very obvious crow’s feet and lines beneath her eyes as well as blemished skin from years of smoking and drinking.’ Another journalist, interviewing her that day, asked why she thought the Mail was so focussed on her aging.

“‘I don’t know. ’Cause it’s the Daily Mail ?’ Moss replied. ‘They just get on everyone’s tits, don’t they?'”

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Mar 26, 2012
Length: 34 minutes (8,540 words)

Burger Queen: April Bloomfield’s Gastropub Revolution

Jay-Z, an investor in the Spotted Pig, and a frequent patron, wanted the smoked-trout salad, but the kitchen was out. He and his group settled on the house specialty—burgers, which the restaurant’s chef, April Bloomfield, serves one way: char-grilled, on a brioche bun, topped with crumbled Roquefort. Only Lou Reed, a fixture in the neighborhood, is allowed to have his burger with onions, and that is owing to precedent: an awestruck employee took his order one afternoon when Bloomfield was out.

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Nov 15, 2010
Length: 33 minutes (8,419 words)

Number Nine

Sonia Sotomayor’s high-profile début.

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jan 11, 2010
Length: 49 minutes (12,475 words)

The Oracle: The Many Lives of Arianna Huffington

Dish is her capital—the means by which she makes connections and maintains them. Because she defines the agenda for the Huffington Post, which defines the agenda for so many readers, passing a tidbit her way is, in a sense, an investment. Proprietary hints are the dividend. “She knows the best of everything, from the best person to do yoga with to the best person to do your facials,” Laurie David, the environmental activist, said recently. “If you need anything, you ask Arianna.”

Source: The New Yorker
Published: Oct 13, 2008
Length: 41 minutes (10,375 words)