MENTAL YOGA SUNDAY / 5 FAVORITE LONG FORM READS THIS WEEK / ISSUE No. 14
17776 (SB NATION)
The year is 17776, and Americans are still obsessed with football. That’s the simplest explanation of a multimedia fiction project written by Jon Bois that is currently being published in daily installments by the sports site SB Nation, where Bois is the creative director. The site began posting chapters of the story—which combines text, YouTube videos, tacky Muzak, eerie maps and graphics, and found archival documents—earlier this month, and the series is slated to wrap up later this week. According to Vox Media, SB Nation’s parent company, the story has received, as of Wednesday, more than 2.9 million page views. - Chapter 1
"...We are sitting here, doing this, because my father has recently been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. The disease has metastasized widely throughout his body, including his bones, liver, and brain. It is going to kill him, probably in a matter of months.
So now my father is telling the story of his life. This will be the first of more than a dozen sessions, each lasting an hour or more. As my audio recorder runs, he describes how he used to explore caves when he was growing up; how he took a job during college loading ice blocks into railroad boxcars. How he fell in love with my mother, became a sports announcer, a singer, and a successful lawyer. He tells jokes I’ve heard a hundred times and fills in biographical details that are entirely new to me.
Three months later, my younger brother, Jonathan, joins us for the final session. On a warm, clear afternoon in the Berkeley hills, we sit outside on the patio. My brother entertains us with his favorite memories of my dad’s quirks. But as we finish up, Jonathan’s voice falters. “I will always look up to you tremendously,” he says, his eyes welling up. “You are always going to be with me.” My dad, whose sense of humor has survived a summer of intensive cancer treatments, looks touched but can’t resist letting some of the air out of the moment. “Thank you for your thoughts, some of which are overblown,” he says. We laugh, and then I hit the stop button." - Read Full Story
"In July of 1991, Tim Keck moved to Seattle from Madison, Wisconsin, to launch a newspaper. He’d recruited a handful of friends and colleagues from the Onion, the satirical weekly he’d cofounded and recently sold (yes, that Onion), to help him conceive a new, irreverent publication—one which sent-up the weekly newspaper format and had equal doses of reporting and criticism as it did satire.
Among those who joined him were James Sturm, Peri Pakroo, Nancy Hartunian, Wm. Steven Humphrey, Christine Wenc, Johanna “Jonnie” Wilder, Matt Cook, Andy Spletzer, and, later, Dan Savage.
Armed mostly with hubris, a few thousand dollars, and three slow-as-fuck computers, they initially set their sights on appealing to University of Washington students, but quickly found their real audience among the queers and weirdos who (used to) populate Capitol Hill. Their coverage of Seattle was necessarily informed by their perspective as outsiders, transplants… (are you really going to make me say it?) strangers.
You could make the case that The Stranger‘s relationship with its adoptive hometown has not always been frictionless. That’s not entirely accidental. Making people uncomfortable—while entertaining and serving them—is an important part of the job.
“The only way I see myself becoming one of the cherished traditions of the Village,”Norman Mailer wrote of his column in the Village Voice in 1956, “is to be actively disliked each week.”
Mailer only lasted 17 columns in the Voice. The Stranger just turned 25. Here’s how it got started." - Read Full Story
The Unlikely Rise of … Shuffleboard? (The Ringer)
"Tom Petty and REO Speedwagon boomed off the grandstand seats. Players were illuminated by twinkling white Christmas lights hanging from the rafters above the open-air setup. The hubbub was punctuated by the rhythmic smacking of heavy plastic discs against each other and the intermittent eruption of cheers. I stood, stunned into silence, marveling at this unfettered display of youthful vigor. When did shuffleboard — that bastion of geriatric time-killing — become cool?" - Read Full Story
How Russian Propaganda Spread From a Parody Website to Fox News (The New York Times)
"Born in the shadowy reaches of the internet, most fake news stories prove impossible to trace to their origin. But researchers at the Atlantic Council, a think tank, excavated the root of one such fake story, involving an incident in the Black Sea in which a Russian warplane repeatedly buzzed a United States Navy destroyer, the Donald Cook." - Read Full Story