(Most of) what I read in February

If you missed my January post, I’m trying to read 366 pieces of quality journalism in 366 days in 2020, and because I got a late start, I’m still working to play catch-up.

26.) The Myth of Authenticity Is Killing Tex-Mex by Meghan McCarron in Eater

Man, I enjoyed this story so much. This is such a perfect example of how taking a small idea and really digging into it can open up so many avenues to explore far bigger cultural, social and human issue. Terrific piece.

27.) The Last Time Democracy Almost Died by Jill Lepore in The New Yorker

Every story about how WW2 helped save democracy that ignores the fact that we put Japanese Americans into internment camps and the myriad other problems in 1940s society in the US really frustrate me.

28.) China Sacrifices a Province to Save the World From Coronavirus in Bloomburg

29.) An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter by David Freedlander in Politico

Interesting piece that didn’t address the central question I wanted to know: Why does Rachel Bitecofer curse so damn much?

30.) Stop Blaming History for Your All-White, All-Male Movie by Aisha Harris in The New York Times

I went in to this dubious about the premise. Instead, it was an articulate argument about the need for a better understanding of minorities in history rather than a refutation of the movies that have been made.

31.) The Danger of Befriending Celebrities by Michael Musto in Longreads

32.) Late Bloomers by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker

33.) ‘How do you get over it?’ Football, grief and hope two years after Parkland by Andrea Adelson on ESPN

Andrea is such a great writer, but the reporting on this is what makes it. It’s just spectacular.

34.) Behind the Scenes at Rotten Tomatoes by Simon Van Zuylen-Wood in Wired

This is a great example of a story that, at its heart, is about analytics (though I doubt anyone at Rotten Tomatoes would see it that way) where the analytics still aren’t really explained. Why does Rotten Tomatoes do a bad job of comparing the quality of movies? Because that’s not what it measures. It measures the percentage of people who like the movie. It’s still a fine piece of writing, but as someone who deals with stats all the time, I really wish that, rather than lamenting the faults of a place like Rotten Tomatoes, we did a better job of explaining exactly what it is Rotten Tomatoes is trying to measure.

35.) The Insane Story of the Guy Who Killed the Guy Who Killed Lincoln by Bill Jensen in The Washingtonian

This is from 2015, but it’s an excellent Presidents’ Day read. (Or is it President’s Day?)

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