Medium Highlights of the week, 6/10–17
As I was wrapping up the collaborative book “The Tao of Blogging,” I found a ton of great writing in the last week. I found a couple of “new” writers, only in the sense I had never seen them before, and some great stuff from of heavy weights.
Michael Zadoorian is a published writer, so I’m not really helping out our new writers this week. But his story, The Appropriate Weight of Grief is one of the most important stories a person could read as it deals with love, grief and society’s messed up perceptions about what men should and should not do emotionally. Even dog owners can empathize, because we feel exactly the same way when we lose one of our beloved family members.
The Mastery of the Feline Philosopher
Thaddeus Howze wrote two great essays on race. One was a rebuttal to some poor low-information human who seems to be living in a parallel dimension, which is right in the wheelhouse of our resident expert in all things comics.
But it is his delicately titled tome on racism that just blew me away:
“Say ‘reverse racism’ one more motherfucking time. I dare you…”
♬ Listen to this Story or Read it
I had read about the slave trade in the past, and was aware that it is referred to as the second Holocaust, because of the millions of people who died making the crossing, or were killed in “correctional” camps in Cuba that tried to get control of the more rebellious slaves. Take the time to watch this animated simulation of the slave trade, while imagining that “each dot represents a ship filled to the brim with Human cargo.”
This Haunting Animation Maps the Journeys of 15,790 Slave Ships in Two Minutes
For the full interactive version, use a larger device. Interactive by Andrew Kahn. Background image by Tim Jones…
[I would like to add my own comment that the only difference between American slavery and the Nazi Holocaust was the way in which economic resources were harvested. Every slave represented an income stream by staying alive and working regardless of how badly they were treated. Jews, on the other hand, while attacked and oppressed over the centuries (here’s a great story on how they became bankers), had found cracks in the system and many of them had earned great wealth.
The German “miracle” of the 1930’s was financed in no small part by the property confiscated by the Jews being sent to camps. The ability of salesmen, tailors, lawyers, musicians and professors to perform slave labor didn’t represent as good an investment of resources as the farmers and factory workers taken from Eastern Europe. As sick as it sounds, it was an easy economic decision (in addition to the insane hatred) that they would be eliminated.
I’m writing about this comparison because it represents my own altered consciousness of the evil of slavery after watching the movie 12 Years a Slave, which showed the insidious way slavery created a false reality in every human involved. It was not a life sentence, but a very drawn out death sentence to every slave (even if they lived to a ripe old age) up until the Emancipation Proclimation. They knew their fate, and worse yet, they knew the fate of their loved ones and children, which made it even more crushing.]
One last thing, Mr. Howze wrote a killer quote for the end our book, The Tao of Blogging, which should be shared with everyone who is hesitating to hit that publish button. Let this be an inspiration to anyone who doubts that their voice deserves to be heard.
The Destruction of our Culture
You’d think I’d go back to my wheelhouse of funny stuff, wouldn’t you? Are you mad? Disappointed? Well, here comes another story about destruction of a different kind, but equally important to consider, a great in-depth exploration of how history is made and broken by pollard, cayce:
The Lost Art of Lost Art
We assume that history is an unbroken line, then burn libraries and fail to evolve our digital eyes.
The sad thing is this incredible story has gone completely unnoticed for over a year. Meanwhile, we get listicles teaching us how to becoming willfully ignorant getting voted by a Medium editor as one of the most important self-help stories of 2015.
Okay, enough with the ranting…
Let’s end this with some laughter.
If anyone is still reading after all the tragic stuff I got into, here’s a few really tasty treats, sprinkled with great humor.
JoJo Magno, our ninja editor and quasi-pseudo noob went to the shop and brought back a half dozen tantalizing giggles in
24. Ways to Annoy People
1. When they complain that Pluto isn’t a planet anymore, tell them they have to take a test on the names of the 1000…
If you feel like I do, comment in ALL CAPS, demanding that she furnish the other 18 ways to annoy people! (Sherry Caris, you of all people will appreciate this joke)
Meanwhile, in a different universe, Class-M star Tom Mitchell hilariously humblebrags through a summary of some of his great past writings in:
Top 10 derogatory Medium responses.
If I were any good at writing, I’d be on The New Yorker staff by now. But, despite this disappointment, I enjoy telling…
I’m sorry to come down so hard on you, Tom, because I love your stuff, but responses to the story about your four-year-old son that read like this are pretty tame:
6: “I am conflicted about the privacy, he should’ve approved you emptying the contents. Don’t get me wrong, as a teenager he might mistrust you respecting his privacy, that may become an issue…”
I mean, seriously, it’s not like you’re a woman sports writer getting death threats (although I’m sure you were flustered by that NSA investigation).
On the other side of the Atlantic, Gutbloom is truly becoming a master of dreck. Either he’s getting funnier as time passes, or my mental faculties have unobtrusively eroded since I started following him. This was just a response to a response to my response to, well you get the picture and are free to follow this thread is it goes down one of Medium’s many rabbit holes, but this particular story cracked me up like a piñata bursting with goodies as he wove an intricate story of piñatas, his newspaper office and the Hindu death goddess Kali:
Lon Shapiro, you’ve just solved a problem for me.
Yes, it’s true, Colette, piñatas are spiritually and metaphorically important to many Medium writers. We have a piñata…
He also scribed a wonderful story about his difficulties hiring a newspaper sidekick in the often unbearable world of PC policing:
Pee Wee’s Replacement
It’s hard to start this story because I don’t have a flunky with whom to share my fictional burdens, but I’m on the…
In this article, he actually describes a Yankee fan in this way:
Joe spoke in a high pitched Bronx accent and that he smelled good… like lavender talcum powder.
Seriously? Have we sunk to the point where we can’t even insult the fans of rival teams? Well, I stand by you, sir. And in solidarity, allow me to declare to all of basketball fandom
Suck it, Celtics!
And now, the laugh of the week…
My prize goes to another “professional” writer (although I’m not sure what term we should be using these days as journalists are getting squeezed to death in a dying newspaper world). His exclusive interview with the city of Asheville and its decision to move out of North Carolina was uproarious, as were some of the angry comments he received in response:
Entire Fucking City of Asheville Moving Out of North Carolina
“It’s been a good 220 years, but we’re done here…”
So, Jordan Stephens, you’ve just won this week’s Super Bowl of laughter. What are you going to do next?
As I have stated in my open letter to open letters by self-help, life-hack and tech-bro haters, there is a ton of great writing on Medium which is getting ignored by the attention paid to the content marketers and the ranters.
Here’s a thought: spend more time exploring Medium.
Look at where most of my reading came from this week:
I found Jordan’s article on Asheville because of a comment he had written in response to Tom Mitchell’s post.
I found Pollard Cayce’s piece reading through comments, I think, on another article written by the same guy who last week wrote The Greatest Article Ever Written on Medium.
Gutbloom was inspired to write his brilliant comment because he saw my callout and read Colette’s comment on one of my posts.
Are you starting to see a pattern here?
If you enjoyed this article, please show your love and RECOMMEND THEIR STORIES, NOT MINE.
I’ve already got my little group of friends on Medium; I don’t need any more attention. I threw this thing together after work this evening, so please bear with my typos.