Rachel Syme, Medium
Though this article may take you an hour to read (as per Medium's helpful reading-time stamp), it's worth it: it is one of the most interesting, insightful, thought-provoking examination of the selfie phenomenon to-date. It comes in seven chapters, each on a different aspect of the world's obsession with and derision of selfie-taking. The second chapter, for instance, is titled "The one where we met three dead photographers who would have loved the iPhone," in which Syme wonders what three deceased female photographers would have done with more opportunity to snap and share their beings. The following passage in chapter one is particularly articulate, setting the stage for Syme's full exposition:
"When you tell someone that they have sent too many images of themselves into their feeds, when you shame them with cries of narcissism and self-indulgence, when you tell them that they are taking up too much virtual space (space that is at present, basically limitless, save for the invented boundaries of taste): you need to question your motives. Are you afraid of a person’s ambition to be seen? Where does that come from?"
Adrian Chen, The New Yorker
This is the story of how a woman who used to be deeply involved in the Westboro Baptist Church used Twitter to spread her views and make people angry (like, celebrating AIDS or the death of Ted Kennedy). Comedians Michael Ian Black and Rainn Wilson discovered her account and began retweeting and mocking her, and she suddenly found she had thousands of followers. When she began questioning the end-of-world predictions of the WBC, she turned to Twitter (under a new account with a fake name) for answers. This shit is full-on crazy.
Stephanie Eckardt, The Cut
The metal scene in Botswana is thriving; it's become home to the Marok, which means "rockers" in Setswana. South African photographer Paul Shiakallis went to Botswana to photograph the women involved in the Marok scene, who call themselves the Queens, and the portraits of these ladies are so cool.
Kate B. Maxwell, The FADER
As the weed becomes increasingly more accepted and the growing industry expands, tons of people are looking to scheme up some ways to make money off of it. Maxwell delves into the lives of the women growers who've been growing marijuana in Northern California for generations, and why they're not being included in this current countrywide growth.
Jonathan Ringen, Billboard
Missy Elliott is back in business. We all realized the full extent to which Missy is back when she dropped the video for the Pharell-produced "WTF (Where They From)." In advance of that, Billboard's Jonathan Ringen spent some time with the comeback queen we've all been waiting for and they talked about, like, everything.
Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics
This super cool piece on what life is like to be a teenager in a smartphone world follows a few individual teens for a few days. Detwiler focuses specifically on how instant access to the web and apps, etc. makes contemporary teens' lives different from past teens, who didn't grow up with smartphones. Detwiler's success with this article comes mainly from the fact that she never even comes close to condescension; she just wanted to take a peek into what growing and learning is actually like when you can google the answer to a question in mere seconds.
Sophie Lucido Johnson, Guernica
If you've never experienced a panic attack, it can be difficult to understand exactly what a panic attack is. There's a lot of stigma around mental illness and the symptoms and occurrences that are related. In this beautifully written personal essay, Sophie Johnson explains both visually and verbally what it means to have a panic attack, what it means to (maybe) be bipolar, and why it's so hard to understand. But Johnson's highly intelligent, empathetic words and images that manage to convey that amorphousness. Maybe if we all try to communicate better with each other there will be less ignorance and fear of the unknown.
Duncan Cooper, The FADER
This week The FADER unveiled the first cover of its 101st issue. And it's Zayn Malik. Former member of boy band One Direction (heard of 'em?), now a grown dude with a lot on his mind and a lot to share with the world.