Best O' Best Of
December 19, 2013 5:13 PM   Subscribe

What were your favorite long read articles + accompanying threads on the blue in 2013?

Last year this question was asked and I wound up going back to it while travelling over the holidays a few times for reading material. This year I've got a full on planes-trains-and-automobiles trip lined up over the next two weeks, much of it without wifi, so I'd like to save a bunch of articles and threads to my hard drive.

Any subject, any post from the past year is fair game, although personally I'm especially interested in stuff from March - July since I didn't have much time for Metafilter around then. They don't have to be super long, and the threads could be serious or joking or both ... basically I just want one or two well written articles to read, and an interesting or comical thread to dig through after. Thanks!
posted by mannequito to MetaFilter-Related at 5:13 PM (53 comments total) 106 users marked this as a favorite

GQ article on ricin letters which I remembered because of the dude's dog named Moo Cow

Grantland on the Iditarod
posted by elizardbits at 5:38 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Big discussion and many links on a close analysis of Homeric "wine dark sea."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:45 PM on December 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes! This will be awesome for loading up the Kindle during the winter break from grad school (shoutout to Instapaper for making that really easy).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:51 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not as sure about the discussion, but TFA in The Bible as fanwank is comical, interesting, and well-written.

Since there's a non-zero amount of SF/F in your posting history, I'll also shout out for the same author's co-written Mageworlds books, which are what Star Wars novels ought to be.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:36 PM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


That ricin letters article is great. Choice bit, better in context:
Hand-to-hand showdowns, Dutschke explained later, are not uncommon among martial artists. “That’s just part of the code. This kind of thing happens all the time.”
I liked Grantland's article on hockey in Tennessee.

Here's the thread, which is quieter than I remembered it.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:48 PM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This answer skirts the edges of your request a little bit, but I think you'll be interested.

Remember the Christopher Dorner manhunt back in February? It went viral, got live coverage by the mainstream media, and we had a realtime discussion thread about it? Sure you do. You've got the first comment, wondering if we'll ever get to know the full story.

Well, over the past week the LA Times has published, chapter by chapter, a 20,000 word reconstruction of events leading up to and during the manhunt, painstakingly assembled from 10 months of interviews and investigative research.

I found it a gripping read and was hoping I could find a place to share it here since the original thread is closed.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:24 PM on December 19, 2013 [18 favorites]


oh fuck yeah, I had a weird fascination with the whole Dorner thing and didn't know about the LAT series.
posted by mannequito at 7:28 PM on December 19, 2013


are you kidding me? That should be a new thread. Awesome content.

Idgaf what anyone says, I love the parallax scroll thing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:34 PM on December 19, 2013


My favorite longread that I personally posted was this doozy of a feature story on Harry Belafonte from VQR/
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:59 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Hunt for the Death Valley Germans.

Also, I'll be travelling up over the mountains, and across the plains to see my wife for the holidays. We'll be getting the house ready for sale and visiting friends and relatives, so I won't be around very much.

Don't post anything cool till I get back, K? Probably around Jan2. Thanks!

posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:11 PM on December 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


There were also at least 2-3 different awesome threads about Hannibal: one with the food stylist; one with Bryan Fuller interviews for each episode (IIRC); and at least one more.
posted by elizardbits at 9:28 PM on December 19, 2013


The Death Valley Germans post is amazing; the Tom Mahood link was what really made the post memorable.

For something entertaining - One Day At Work I Fall Into Brine and They Close the Lid Above Me. Only part one of four is linked in the post.
posted by variella at 9:44 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know Dave Chappelle's work, and would have missed "If He Hollers Let Him Go: Searching for Dave Chappelle Ten Years After He Left His Own Show" if not for evil otto's FPP. Reflective, thoughtful, and well worth the time. Thanks again, evil otto.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:11 AM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


"The Last Days of Stealhead Joe" was a terrific read. Thanks to nevercalm for calling my attention to it in this FPP.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:44 AM on December 20, 2013


A first person account of working at an Amazon fulfillment center was easily the best thing I've read all year.

The science and marketing of junk food is long NYTimes article
posted by euphorb at 5:49 AM on December 20, 2013


I can't find it now, but there was a great article posted to the blue that lead me to Nautil.us for the first time. Now it's one of my favorite sources for long reads (including Lucky Peach, which I also found through MetaFilter).
posted by slogger at 6:06 AM on December 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


What Kind of D&D Character Would You Be?

This is the Hannibal thread elizardbits is talking about. I think it was the genesis of Whelk/t3lepath's MeFi/Hannibal crossover fic.
posted by griphus at 6:11 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


there was a great article posted to the blue that lead me to Nautil.us for the first time.

Was it "Unhappy Truckers and Other Algorithmic Problems"? Chrysostom's FPP, P only equals NP if that bridge doesn't go out, was a good one.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:18 AM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Indeed it was MonkeyToes! That's a great read...
posted by slogger at 7:17 AM on December 20, 2013


On the Alaska front, I found this thread about some remaining Old Believer communities fascinating.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:21 AM on December 20, 2013



I Met A Convicted Serial Killer, And He Made Me Feel More Loved Than Anyone Else In My Life


Everyone wants to believe they are special
discovered on front page here.

Striking. Will stick with me for a long time. Now when I meet charismatic people, I wonder if its just a ploy.
posted by bleucube at 8:30 AM on December 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Chrysostom: "On the Alaska front, I found this thread about some remaining Old Believer communities fascinating."

Ugh. I regret the direction that thread went in.
posted by zarq at 8:43 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fair enough. I found the original links very interesting - thank you, zarq!
posted by Chrysostom at 8:56 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I regret the direction that thread went in.

Bah, it was a good FPP, you're not responsible for whatever blather blatherers blather in it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:32 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Crap, I can't find it but there was that great post/thread about the reclusive Japanese mathematician who is working on some incomprehensible proofs of something.
posted by griphus at 9:37 AM on December 20, 2013


Alvy Ampersand: " Bah, it was a good FPP, you're not responsible for whatever blather blatherers blather in it."

No, I know. (and thanks) but I like it when the discussion is fun/productive/interesting, you know?
posted by zarq at 9:41 AM on December 20, 2013


Loved the Frank Sinatra article and thread.
posted by Diskeater at 9:53 AM on December 20, 2013


The Girl in the Closet. Heartbreaking.

New annual tradition?
posted by Melismata at 10:54 AM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Crap, I can't find it but there was that great post/thread about the reclusive Japanese mathematician who is working on some incomprehensible proofs of something.

It was The Paradox of the Proof.
posted by gleuschk at 11:05 AM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Re: I Fall Into Brine... this is probably one of my major failings, but I will never not find anything read in a faux-Russian "strong like bull" accent funny.
posted by Madamina at 11:35 AM on December 20, 2013


Is acquired taste.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:32 PM on December 20, 2013


That reminds me of something Hannibal said after dining on a bass, tenor, alto, and soprano all in one meal.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:47 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Two favorites: Grantland on the Piggyback Bandit and this horrifying, heartbreaking piece about a free clinic in Galveston.
posted by ActionPopulated at 2:10 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is both a useful thread, as a reminder of stuff (much of which I seem to have missed or forgotten), but also as a nudge towards the better kinds of posts on MetaFilter. Going through my cyclical angst about what/why doing FPPs (determined to be a better MetaFilter community member in 2014), and looking at the suggestions on here for what is most cool/interesting helps a lot.
posted by Wordshore at 4:24 PM on December 20, 2013


I read so much stuff here that I never would have sought out because the subject matter didn't seem interesting.

It would be great if there were some sort of [add to Instapaper] functionality next to the links.
posted by desjardins at 4:40 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


OH ALSO there was this thread on the Doc Johnson dildo factory.
posted by elizardbits at 11:35 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cannot believe I missed that thread.

Splooge McFuck.
posted by zarq at 1:52 PM on December 21, 2013


Oh this is where those favorites are coming from. Was slightly startled that everyone was suddenly interested in my opinions about dildos again.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:47 PM on December 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I read so much stuff here that I never would have sought out because the subject matter didn't seem interesting.

Exactly. I didn't know quite whether to put this observation here, or in Potomac Avenue's FPP, "You are either In or you are Out" (which itself features a long argument about enthusiasm, written by one of MeFi's Own), but these long reads make me appreciate writers having enough interest in their subjects, doing the work required to sustain a long narrative, and having a platform that affords them the space to dive deeply. The long reads I mentioned above compelled me to spend time with them even though I didn't know that I was at all interested in Dave Chappelle's background, or fishing, or transportation logistics -- and I am so glad that other MeFites posted them despite the risks of conversation going bad, or of no one responding to them, or of being judged for them. I love that although some posts here come with "preawareness" of MeFites' tastes (the enthusiasm essay speaks to this), so many more do not. They take a risk. And although I will follow and sometimes comment in threads on subjects I have an interest in, wow, am I pleased when I discover something that's new to me and did so because someone else found it compelling on its own merits. I guess it's the difference between posting something because "Metafilter will love this" and "I feel so strongly about this thing that I have to share it." So if you're going to be nudged toward different posts, guys, I hope you're inclined to trust your own sense of what's good rather than trying to follow what you see as trends on the site.

That said, heck yes, Long Read Roundup needs to be an annual thing. Thanks, mannequito!
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:58 PM on December 21, 2013


Metafilter: Long Read Roundup needs to be an annual thing.

Metafilter: Was slightly startled that everyone was suddenly interested in my opinions about dildos again.
posted by The Whelk at 5:12 PM on December 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh my god. Miracle Jones.

Do you know how, when you're falling out of love with someone, and everything they do annoys you and you don't like feeling that way so you're avoiding them but not even really admitting to yourself that you're doing it. And then you're hanging out at some point, and they suddenly do an awesome thing that's exactly like the way they used to be but aren't ever anymore, and you feel this intense rush of emotion that is simultaneously joy and loss?

That FPP is exactly how you used to be all the time, MetaFilter.

posted by R. Schlock at 5:50 PM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Opinions about dildos.

This is both a useful thread, as a reminder of stuff (much of which I seem to have missed or forgotten), but also as a nudge towards the better kinds of posts on MetaFilter. Going through my cyclical angst about what/why doing FPPs (determined to be a better MetaFilter community member in 2014), and looking at the suggestions on here for what is most cool/interesting helps a lot.


Honestly, I mainly patrol the sites I read daily for their longform articles (which is why I wind up posting a lot of Grantland and sports FPPs) and pick out ones interesting enough I feel compelled to share them without requiring detailed knowledge of the sport/field in question. And sports stuff doesn't pop up as much here so I feel like it's a niche I can fill with interesting stories I find. That and longform.org pieces that haven't popped up here are probably 90% of my FPPs.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:54 PM on December 21, 2013


Everyone wants to believe they are special

That was definitely mine. So many different weirdie parts to it and a lot of thoughtful discussion with folks (and some RARAR) about that whole idea of being a lonely vulnerable young person. Likewise the Craigslist Killer thread. Every time I've wanted to answer some "Come caretake a remote location, loners welcome!" ad I think twice because of that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:47 AM on December 22, 2013


( retreads the dodo factory thread)

Why does everyone associate me with captain America sex toys
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 PM on December 22, 2013


Soooo many fantastic replies, thanks guys. Damn straight this should be an annual roundup.

That Chris Dorner longread got me through a horrible 5 hour cross-Canada flight (6 with a delay in Calgary) on Friday. Now I've got a few lazy days with my family before continuing on east to Montreal and New York, so I can't wait to dig through some of these.
posted by mannequito at 11:52 PM on December 22, 2013


One of the reasons I favorite so damn many things is so I can go back later and find things I liked. I rarely seem to do that, but this thread seems like a good opportunity. Might have to wait a few days though, as I have posts of my own to make and arbitrary, self-imposed deadlines to make them in.
posted by JHarris at 4:19 AM on December 24, 2013


Why does everyone associate me with captain America sex toys

Lyra's lament: you do something weird once and you get a reputation.
posted by JHarris at 4:19 AM on December 24, 2013


Metafilter: Long Read Roundup needs to be an annual thing.

More than that, maybe bi-annual? Er, I mean twice a year, not every two years. Whichever word that is.
posted by JHarris at 4:21 AM on December 24, 2013


I think it is used to mean both, which is irritating.
posted by elizardbits at 11:31 AM on December 24, 2013


Prefix "bi-" represents "two of", as in bi-cycle, bi-plane, or bi-partisan.
For prefix "semi-", read "part of", as in semi-circle, semi-tone, semi-solid.

So, 6 months is semiannual, or bi-quarterly.

posted by ceribus peribus at 11:40 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why does everyone associate me with captain America sex toys

But you shag ONE sheep...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:16 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's a fresh one I liked.
posted by TedW at 8:06 PM on December 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


NYTimes- Invisible Child: Dasani's Homeless Life
posted by rollbiz at 8:16 PM on December 29, 2013


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