"'Everyone else is here for the Monkees,' dad said. 'But we’re a Weird Al family.'" Bex Schwartz looks back on her long-time obsession with singer-songwriter and parodist Weird Al Yankovic.
PUBLISHED: July 18, 2014
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1854 words)
10 stories we love right now, featuring The Awl, Harper's, Grantland, the Washington Post, and more.
Our favorite stories of the week, featuring New York magazine, San Francisco magazine, Cincinnati Enquirer, The Awl, and Salon.
How Time Inc. created the entertainment magazine 24 years ago, and how it was soon haunted by a quest for corporate synergy:
EW’s rise, scattered identity, brilliant heyday and slow, gradual decline mirrors the same journey of Time Warner’s conglomerate hopes and dreams. The leading magazine company weds a film and television giant? It all looked so great on paper. But here we are with the EW of today, and it’s clear: Just because it looks pretty in a business plan doesn’t mean it’s a good idea at all.
PUBLISHED: June 10, 2014
LENGTH: 33 minutes (8339 words)
A handy guide to becoming a true professional:
At 6 a.m., I quit email because that’s what writers do if they want to get some motherfucking writing done. But I have to go on Twitter for a second to favorite a few of my editor’s tweets so he’ll know that I’m not mad or anything. It’s so easy for people to think that you’re full of rage when you’re a woman and a writer and oldish and you never, ever get paid! Ignorant dummies. Then I reply to a youngish writer who just moved to LA and hates her job and hates LA and is panicking. “Remember you’re having an adventure!” I tell her, because she’s young and she probably doesn’t have dogs with health problems yet. So then I end up scrolling through my Twitter feed, probably just to remind myself that all of these other writers don’t have 8,204 followers like I do, because I’m so fucking esteemed and accomplished after having done this for almost two decades. I’m a professional, is the thing. I know my fucking shit. I just keep producing high-quality work. That’s why I have 8,202 followers.
PUBLISHED: May 12, 2014
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3339 words)
The writer spends some time with the creators of "Adventure Time"—a wildly popular animated TV series on the Cartoon Network—to discuss what makes the show so magical:
We began by talking about humor. Children’s humor, I suggested, is commonly thought of as a kind of “diversion” from fear or sadness. But Adventure Time confronts very dark themes head on: The apocalypse, the possibility of loss and pain, grief and mortality. Yet somehow it makes these grave things seem so simple, unthreatening, even hilarious.
“It’s funnier when you’re sad, I think,” he said. “I’ve heard laughter is releasing stress from your body, like when you go, ’HA! Haaaa!’—you know, you get it out of you. My favorite kind of humor is dark comedies, because I think, mmm… I guess that’s my personality, maybe I’m more cynical about things, so I laugh stuff off easily, and life is really scary?"
PUBLISHED: April 15, 2014
LENGTH: 45 minutes (11383 words)
Our favorite stories this week, featuring the New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Tin House, The Awl and The Walrus.
PUBLISHED: March 14, 2014
A former barista examines service work and the difficult transition into the creative class:
My kind of service work is not the kind of service work that puts you in the back room washing dishes for 12-hour shifts for dollars because you are considered completely expendable. But my kind of service work is part of the same logic that indiscriminately razes neighborhoods. It outsources the emotional and practical needs of the oft-fetishized, urban-renewing "creative" workforce to a downwardly mobile middle class, reducing workers’ personality traits and educations to a series of plot points intended to telegraph a zombified bohemianism for the benefit of the rich.
PUBLISHED: March 11, 2014
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5621 words)
Our latest Longreads Member Pick is now free for everyone: Matt Siegel’s love story about identity, sex and finding companionship:
It was an acquaintance and former editor of one of those gay lifestyle magazines who advised twenty-year-old me to tone it down if I ever wanted to find a boyfriend. This coming from a man obsessed with anything Disney-related; the walls of his West Hollywood condo adorned with carefully framed Snow White and Fantasia animation cels. “You don’t need to tell them how much you love Belinda Carlisle on your first date,” he said. “But I do love Belinda Carlisle! That quavering vibrato!” I whined. “Well,” he said, “they’ll find out eventually, and by that point they will love you, Belinda and all.” While I hate(d) him for saying it, I understood the algorithm: gay men are attracted to men, so the more you resemble a man, the more desirable you will be to a gay man. [Insert frowny face emoticon.]
PUBLISHED: March 4, 2014
LENGTH: 29 minutes (7343 words)