longformpodcast:

Episode 15: Jonah Weiner

Jonah Weiner, contributing editor at Rolling Stone, pop critic at Slate, and contributor to The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker, interviewed by Aaron Lammer.

“The thing that I’ve found useful is really actually to delete everything that I’ve written and go at it fresh, and re-envision it again: this is going to be my new lede now. That’s really the best way to do it, because if there are these vestigial sentences, and vestigial sequences or paragraphs that are in the draft, for me, that’s just going to snap me back to where my head was at, in an unproductive way… Often, I’ll find that that is just this great cure-all. Just delete it all, go for a walk or whatever, and then sit down and start writing an entirely different feature about the exact same subject.”

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week’s episode!


Show notes and links:

  1. “Prying Eyes” (New Yorker • Oct 2012)
  2. “Kanye West Has a Goblet” (Slate • Aug 2010)
  3. “The Brilliance of Dwarf Fortress” (New York Times Magazine • Dec 2008)
  4. Interview: Vanessa Grigoriadis (The Writearound • Sep 2011)
  5. jonahweiner.com
  6. The Writearound
  7. @jonahweiner
  8. Weiner on Longform

Further Reading: “Wild Things” and Zoos

Further Reading is a new blog feature in which we take a deeper look at topics from stories featured on Longform. It is produced along with Pitt Writers.


The early days of the Bronx Zoo.

Last week, Longform reprinted "Wild Things,” David Samuels’s wide-reaching exploration of zoos’ troubling history through the lens of the Bronx Zoo, one of America’s largest and oldest metropolitan animal menageries. Samuels dissects the metaphors inherent in caging animals for the benefit of spectators:

The fantasy that today’s zoos engender is clearly more benign than that of the early-twentieth-century racists, and yet it is not entirely dissimilar. Employing the familiar techniques of Saturday-morning cartoons, zoos use anthropomorphic logic and illusion to maintain the link between a love of animals and the desire to escape the evils that men inflict on both animals and their fellow human beings. Zoos promise us a refuge from the horrors engraved in the hearts of men and born of the conditional nature of our existence—which are therefore permanent and ineradicable. Zoos are a distinguishing and representative feature of a world of cages and enclosures inhabited by men and animals alike.

Here’s further reading on the benefits and detriments of zoos, their possible future, and the conservationist movement’s dark history: 

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"Wild Things" by David Samuels, now available in full on Longform

Big thanks to David Samuels, the latest guest on our podcast and the latest author to let us reprint a classic piece that was not previously online. "Wild Things," a look at the Bronx Zoo that was years in the making, was published this summer in Harper’s and quickly became one of those rare paywalled stories that breaks out on Twitter despite the fact that non-subscribers can’t read it. Enjoy.

Further Reading: “The Truck Stop Killer”

Further Reading is a new blog feature in which we take a deeper look at topics from stories featured on Longform. It is produced along with Pitt Writers.

Last week, Longform picked Vanessa Veselka’s “The Truck Stop Killer” about her search for possible connections between her hitchhiking days and a murderer:

If there was any way to connect my story to [Robert Ben] Rhoades, it would be through the body of the girl in the Dumpster. Records on her would provide a date and a place that could then be checked against Rhoades’s trucking logs. To at least one of my questions—was Rhoades my guy?—I’d have a clear answer, a simple yes or no.

Here’s further reading on memory, Veselka, and Rhoades:  

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Further Reading: “Death of a Giant”

Further Reading is a new blog feature in which we take a deeper look at topics from stories featured on Longform. It is produced along withPitt Writers.

Last week, Longform picked a 1994 Harper’s piece by John Seabrook about giant bluefin tuna fishermen who answer the lucrative demands of Japanese sushi markets rather than the conservationists’ concerns about overfishing. Following one giant tuna from a coastal Maine harpoon hunt to its butchering after auction in Japan, Seabrook explores the reasoning behind the dismissal of reports that the fish’s numbers are dangerously dwindling:

I ask Brooks and Steve why they want to catch tuna so much. Steve says, “I love these fish. But I love to catch them. God I love to catch them. And I know you need some kind of catch limits because I’d catch all of them if I could.” He thinks for a minute. “Most guys I know don’t do this for the money. They tell you they do it for the money, but it’s not true.”

Brooks says, “The money is just a way of keeping score. It’s hard to explain what it is. It’s weird. A lot of things come together when you stick a fish.”

Much has happened in the world’s oceans, fishing ports and conservation movements in the 18 years since Seabrook’s article was published. Here’s further reading on the current status of bluefin tuna, the changing fishing industry, sushi’s role in overfishing and how to keep eating (certain) oceanic fare without feeling bad.

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longformpodcast:

Episode 10: Chris Jones (Live in Romania)

Episode 10: Before a live audience in Bucharest hosted by the Romanian magazine Decât o Revistă, Evan Ratliff interviews Chris Jones.

“It just feels good to fucking win… If you want to say ‘Let’s get rid of [journalism awards],’ no problem. But if they exist, I want to win them. Just because I won two—I know Gary Smith has won four. I want five. Unless Gary Smith wins five, and then I want six. That’s just how I work. And maybe that’s a terrible, competitive, creepy thing. But journalism is competitive.”


Show notes and links:

  1. “The Honor System” (Esquire • Sep 2012)
  2. “Animals” (Esquire • Mar 2012)
  3. “The Things That Carried Him” (Esquire • Mar 2008)
  4. “TV’s Crowning Moment of Awesome” (Esquire • Jul 2010)
  5. “Roger Ebert: The Essential Man” (Esquire • Mar 2010)
  6. Jones on Longform
  7. @mysecondempire
  8. Decât o Revistă magazine

Further Reading: “The Blind Faith of the One-Eyed Matador”

Further Reading is a new blog feature in which we take a deeper look at topics from stories featured on Longform. It is produced along with Pitt Writers.

Last week, Longform picked a piece from GQ’s Karen Russell on the comeback of Juan Jose Padilla, a Spanish matador left partially blind after being gored through the face by a bull’s horn. Russell explores the cultural tradition of bullfighting and the dangerous glory it promises its toreadors. Some readers, however, found more compassion for bull than fighter:

Here’s some further reading on matadors and the ethical arguments around bullfighting, plus a pair of dispatches from the most famous writer to explore the sport: 

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Further Reading: “Death on the Path to Enlightenment: Inside the Rise of India Syndrome”

Further Reading is a new blog feature in which we take a deeper look at topics from stories featured on Longform. It is produced along with Pitt Writers.

Last week Longform picked a Details piece by Scott Carney on the sometimes-perilous journey of Westerners seeking spirituality in India. Carney tells the stories of several young people, including a 28-year-old named Jonathan Spollen, who have gone missing, lost their minds, or both:

Stories like Spollen’s feel like Eastern versions of Into the Wild, the 1996 book about a young adventurer who died after trying to live off the land in Alaska: They’re tales of willful idealists whose romantic notions of remote lands lead them to embark on quixotic journeys.

In case you missed Into the Wild, Christopher McCandless’s story, here’s Jon Krakauer original article for Outisde: “Death of an Innocent.” And here’s more reading on yogis, meditation, and, of course, the Beatles in India:

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Now Available: Longform for iPad 1.1
We’re thrilled to release our first major update to Longform for iPad, which you can download now in the App Store. This new version includes a slew of improvements, including three biggies:  
Dark Mode
Our most requested feature will be requested no more: dark mode is here. Now you can read at night without fear of bothering your bedmate. Toggling between dark and light mode is easy—you can switch in the global settings menu or while reading an article. 

New Fonts and Fine-Grain Control
Longform 1.1 includes three gorgeous new fonts: Hoefler Text, Tisa and Palatino. You’ll find them in our redesigned font menu, which now allows for fine-grain control over text size, line height, and column width.

More Magazines
With 1.1, we’ve nearly doubled the number of magazines you can follow. Fans of Longform.org will see several familiar names—The New Republic, Gawker, and ProPublica are now in the app—while readers with particular interests in design, sports, and tech will all be pleased. We’ve also added some amazing international magazines, including The Caravan from India, The Global Mail from Australia and Germany’s Der Spiegel. Here’s the full list:
Ars Technica
Boston Review
The Caravan
The Classical
Deadspin
Der Spiegel English
Design Observer
Edge
Gawker
The Global Mail
Interview
The Millions
The New Inquiry
The New Republic
Pitchfork
ProPublica
The Rumpus
Salon
Scientific American
Smithsonian
The Verge
Other features in Longform 1.1:
iOS 6 compatibility 
Redesigned top bar for improved reading experience
New fonts and a more fine-grained text control
One-touch sharing with Readability, Instapaper and Pocket
Faster updating
Numerous bug fixes and performance improvements
Download the update from iTunes.

Now Available: Longform for iPad 1.1

We’re thrilled to release our first major update to Longform for iPad, which you can download now in the App Store. This new version includes a slew of improvements, including three biggies:  

Dark Mode

Our most requested feature will be requested no more: dark mode is here. Now you can read at night without fear of bothering your bedmate. Toggling between dark and light mode is easy—you can switch in the global settings menu or while reading an article. 

New Fonts and Fine-Grain Control

Longform 1.1 includes three gorgeous new fonts: Hoefler Text, Tisa and Palatino. You’ll find them in our redesigned font menu, which now allows for fine-grain control over text size, line height, and column width.

More Magazines

With 1.1, we’ve nearly doubled the number of magazines you can follow. Fans of Longform.org will see several familiar names—The New Republic, Gawker, and ProPublica are now in the appwhile readers with particular interests in design, sports, and tech will all be pleased. We’ve also added some amazing international magazines, including The Caravan from India, The Global Mail from Australia and Germany’s Der Spiegel. Here’s the full list:

Other features in Longform 1.1:

  • iOS 6 compatibility 
  • Redesigned top bar for improved reading experience
  • New fonts and a more fine-grained text control
  • One-touch sharing with Readability, Instapaper and Pocket
  • Faster updating
  • Numerous bug fixes and performance improvements

Download the update from iTunes.

Further Reading: “Joe Arridy Was the Happiest Man on Death Row”

Further Reading is a new blog feature in which we take a deeper look at topics from stories featured on Longform. It is produced along with Pitt Writers.

Last week, Longform picked a piece by Westword’s Alan Prendergast about the 1939 execution of a mentally disabled man coerced into admitting to a crime he didn’t commit. A year after Colorado issued Joe Arridy its first-ever posthumous pardon, Prendergast explores the circumstances leading to the execution and the fight—70 years later—to clear the young man’s name. Suggestions for further reading about coerced confessions, wrongful convictions, the insanity defense and the death penalty:

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