Duchess Meghan and the New Multiculturalism of the House of Windsor


Markle majored in international relations and theatre at Northwestern University, Illinois. Besides becoming an actor, she became a feminist who worked for UN Women as an advocate for political participation and leadership. Yes, she has been praised and criticised as “outspoken”, but her style never risks being “aggressive” or “combative”, or any of the other words thrown at women who are deemed insufficiently graceful when they disagree with men. Even when she makes staunch political statements, her manner astutely — sometimes cloyingly — balances the forthright and the pleasing. She’s learned to use political maxims and assertions very effectively. As in: “It’s time to focus less on glass slippers and more on glass ceilings.” With the word “fairytale” now a ubiquitous…

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Bundyville Chapter Four: The Gospel of Bundy


Leah Sottile | Longreads | May 2018 | 46 minutes (11,600 words)

Part 4 of 4 of Bundyville, a series and podcast from Longreads and OPB.


The best way to get to Bundyville is to drive straight into the desert and prepare to never come back.

The ghost town that used to be home to the Bundy family is reachable only by deeply rutted roads covered with red quicksand so thick that it can suck in even the burliest 4×4 if you hit it wrong.

On the map, Bundyville is actually called Mount Trumbull. But back in the early 1900s, people started referring to it as Bundyville, because, according to one Arizona Republic article from 1951, “every single soul in the tiny village except one person answer to the name Bundy!” There was never electricity, no phones.

Abraham Bundy, Cliven’s great-grandfather established the town with his wife, Ella…

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Politics and Prose


Marie Myung-Ok Lee | Longreads | May 2018 | 15 minutes (3,630 words)

“Walls are built in the mind.” — Wole Soyinka

“The whole country is outraged and outspoken and you should be too

because if you’re not, then you’re not doing your part.”

— Rachel Coye, “New Year”

As a writer, a books columnist for the literary site The Millions, the co-founder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and a literary citizen with prolific and brilliant friends whose readings and performances I could probably ink every night on my calendar, let’s say I go to a lot of book signings. Some have food, some have wine. Some have people who wander in and ask irrelevant questions with disarming earnestness.

At one reading where I acted as interlocutor, the novelist I was interviewing took out a package of Swiss chocolate she’d brought with her from Geneva, and instead…

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Does Outdoor Recreation Correlate With Environmental Values?


It’s easy to assume that people who mountain bike, rock climb, and hike also value environmental protection, but is that true? And do outdoorsy folks do anything to help protect the mountains and rivers where they play? For High Country News, Ethan Linck examines the complex, often flimsy relationship between outdoor recreation and conservation efforts. Linck speaks from experience: he’s a runner, a skier, a climber. He recognizes many failures in the outdoor recreation industry and his own community and the challenges balancing the enjoyment of nature with efforts to protect it. Fortunately, he also sees some promise.

By citing its indirect contributions to federal agencies with widely varied missions and management agendas, the Outdoor Industry Association inadvertently raises a thorny question. That is: What are we conserving in the first place? Should we fight for public lands because they provide us with recreation opportunities, or because they…

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The Manipulative Power of ‘You Understand’


Live journalism serves a few different purposes. It can seek to engage an audience directly in the process of producing journalism, sometimes as a means to combatting mistrust for the profession. It can seek to break news, live, on a stage.

At a TimesTalk featuring Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova and performance artist Marina Abramovic on in Midtown Manhattan on May 14, Melena Ryzik did a little of both.

Tolokonnikova spoke of a recent visit to the city jail at Rikers Island and her horror at the conditions at what she described as a penal colony in the middle of “supposedly progressive” New York. She found them, to her shock, worse that those in Putin’s jails. The pair of artists teased a potential forthcoming collaboration, perhaps stemming from a plan they have to work together on May 27. And at Abramovic’s urging, Ryzik screened two Pussy Riot videos, at least one…

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Bundyville Chapter Three: A Clan Not to Cross


Leah Sottile | Longreads | May 2018 | 29 minutes (7,300 words)

Part 3 of 4 of Bundyville, a series and podcast from Longreads and OPB.


Since Cliven Bundy took in his first desert breath as a free man this past January, the old cowboy has found himself more in ballrooms and meeting rooms and on stages across the West than back in the saddles he fought so hard to sit in again.

Just two days after his release, he stood in front of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department in Las Vegas, bullhorn in hand, goading the sheriff to come outside: “Is this man going to stand up and protect our life, liberty, and property?” he asked the small crowd gathered around him, smartphones livestreaming his words. The sheriff never emerged.

“My defense is a fifteen-second defense: I graze my cattle only on Clark County, Nevada…

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Wild At Heart


Tove DanovichTopic | May 2017 | 12 minutes (2,954 words)

This story is featured in collaboration with Topic, a digital storytelling platform that delivers an original story to your inbox each and every week. Sign up for Topic’s newsletter now.

It was breaking news in New York City. News helicopters thrummed overhead, the police were called in for backup, and a crowd of rubberneckers peered through the chain-link fence at the edge of the Prospect Park soccer field. Over 3,400 viewers watched a livestream online as police exited their vehicles and walked onto the grass, nets in hand, hoping to subdue the escapee: a young chocolate-colored steer with oversize tan ears that stuck straight out from its head, like a disguise that didn’t fit right.

The Brahman steer—one of the most common cattle breeds used in meat processing—had been on the lam since the morning, when it likely…

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In the End, It’s All Just the Stories We Tell


Diana Arterian published a sad, lyrical essay at the Los Angeles Review of Books on the legacy of the Armenian Genocide on descendants and diaspora members, skillfully weaving together family memories and verse by Armenian diasporic poets. At its center is a family story that everyone has heard — but that no one knows the truth of.

There is a story. A shepherd boy, 13 or so, has a dozen brothers. His family lives in a small village near a large mountain. One day the boy is gone — with his flock, or to complete a chore, or perhaps even to find a safer place for the family to stay. He returns and finds everyone in the village dead. His brothers are all decapitated, and his father, too. His mother raped by attackers and dead by suicide. Over many years, he makes his way, somehow, halfway across the earth…

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‘I Feel Closer to My Faith Than I Did Before’: Holding On to Ramadan


For BuzzFeed Reader, poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib considers how holding on to the observance of Ramadan, despite an adulthood spent veering from other aspects of his faith, has been a grounding force in a busy, thoroughly modern life.

I don’t know why Ramadan is the act of faith which has endured for me. I hardly refer to myself as a practicing Muslim these days, but I am still very invested in the rigor of Ramadan. And I suppose that might be it — the rigor is the act I still chase after. A part of this is routine — even when I stopped praying in my early twenties, I found myself still adhering to the commemoration of the holy month. But a part of it, I imagine, is like the home-run hitter who comes to the plate with the bases loaded and his team down by four, swinging for the…

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When the Movies Went West


Gary Krist | Excerpt adapted from The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, and the Invention of Los Angeles | Crown | May 2018 | 14 minutes (3,681 words)

Toward the end of 1907, two men showed up in Los Angeles with some strange luggage in tow. Their names were Francis Boggs and Thomas Persons, and together they constituted an entire traveling film crew from the Selig Polyscope Company of Chicago, one of the first motion picture studios in the country. Boggs, the director, and Persons, the cameraman, had come to finish work on a movie — an adaptation of the Dumas classic The Count of Monte Cristo — and were looking for outdoor locations to shoot a few key scenes. As it happened, the harsh midwestern winter had set in too early that year for them to complete the film’s exteriors in Illinois, so they had got permission to take their…

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