Things I read this week, vol. 5

This has been a bittersweet week for me—I announced my new job at National Journal, but it was also my last week at Slate. Working at Slate this past year has been so fun it should be illegal, and I spent the year in a near-constant state of awe that I was allowed to work with such smart, hilarious, and kind people on a regular basis. That said, I’m very excited for new ventures. (But sad!) (But excited!)

Anyway. Here are some things I read this week.

RuPaul just gets it:

For Mr. Charles, fame — like everything — is part of what he calls “the hoax.” “There are only two types of people in the world,” he said. “There are the people who understand that this is a matrix” — he knocked on an iron gate, to prove its unreality — “and then there are the people who buy it lock, stock and barrel.” To him, drag exposes everything else as a charade. “Drag has always been under fire, because people resent anyone who breaks the fourth wall,” he said.

Nina Totenberg on being the only woman in the newsroom:

How did sources treat you differently than your male colleagues?

The bad news was you weren’t one of the guys so you didn’t chum it up with them and go drinking. The good news was they assumed you were young and stupid. I was young. I wasn’t stupid. They would very often say the most incredible things to me because they weren’t concentrating on the fact that I was concentrating on them.

I probably scored a number of scoops that way. It’s just hilarious. One time I was doing a story about junkets on Capitol Hill. I think Northwest [Airlines] had inaugurated a new line to Japan and Korea. They had taken on their maiden voyage most of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee, which of course controlled regulation of the airline industry.

So I did a bunch of interviews with people who went, and then I asked the people who didn’t go why they didn’t. I remember [Montana Democrat] Mike Mansfield said something of great integrity. He just said, “Don’t do that kind of thing.” But there was a senator, [New Hampshire Republican] Norris Cotton, who said, “Oriental food gives me the trots.” And that was the subhead in the story! It was just too good.

The Devil and Walt Disney:

Ensconced in my father’s Oldsmobile, we twisted our way through the curlicues of Rock Creek, rising up Porter Street onto Connecticut Avenue. We passed Yuen Hing Palace, the Chinese restaurant where men in dark suits and heavy-framed glasses planned both the Bay of Pigs and Nixon’s visit to China. Today, although it houses a drug store, its façade remains intact, a tendril of D.C.’s secret history hiding in plain sight. In Washington, every block drips with this peculiar company town history; file the right FOIA request—or listen to the right cab driver—and you can unlock its secret past.

And more! Dealbreaker: He’s a prostitute. Shut up, Piers. BREAKING: Wisconsin’s public sector unions aren’t doing so hot. Ned Ryerson remembers Harold Ramis. Whole Foods is America’s affluent, liberal temple of pseudoscience. American journalism is brimming with “once-in-a-generation” talent (/sarcasm). Hey internet, please quit with the happiness articles. The art of running for office as a woman, circa 1990. Can you believe the children of Washington elites are spoiledEmily Nussbaum and Willa Paskin on True Detective (AHHHH WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN). Dark money groups have already spent 75 percent more at this point in the election cycle vs. 2012. Woof. Vanilla Ice, Amish farmer. Spike Lee on gentrification. Marilyn Hegarty, the premiere restaurant critic of Grand Forks, North Dakota, strikes again. This glossary of book club defense mechanisms will come in handy next week when I have to pretend I’ve finished Americanah (which I highly recommend despite my laziness).

Website of the week: Soundboardt
Shade of the week:
“We shouldn’t say that when a woman makes sexual choices she deserves misogynists’s harassment in response to it.” – Dylan Matthews vs. Ross Douthat
Comic of the week:
An Illustrated Account of the 1830s Mulberry Craze
Song of the week: “Rancid Girl” by Sky Ferreira
Video of the week: True Warrior Cats
GIF of the week: Excuse me can’t you tell I’m doing very important work

Have a great weekend, kiddos.

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