Mitchell Sunderland, Broadly
The actual, real life story of how two attention addicts became the most infamous reality TV couple ever, and how their love endured. Here's a sample, because my words could never give Speidi's justice:
"Mostly, though, Spencer talks about how much he loves Heidi. Over the course of five months of interviews, phone calls, and texts, Spencer tells me why Heidi (or 'the boss,' as he calls her) is the best woman on earth. 'I love Heidi because she's the most special angel I have ever come across,' he says. 'Heidi is like the sunset.'" 🌇
Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker
"Just over a billion years ago, many millions of galaxies from here, a pair of black holes collided," the tale begins. "They had been circling each other for aeons, in a sort of mating dance, gathering pace with each orbit, hurtling closer and closer." This is a love story: two black holes finally reach each other and become one, the evidence reaches us, and Einstein's hundred-year-old prediction of general relativity is proved by scientists who spent ages trying to make "the most sensitive instrument in history insensitive to everything that is not a gravitational wave." It was just a tiny chirp that this instrument detected this past September, from waves made billions of years ago, but that tiny chirp will change, basically, the way we see everything. “We are opening up a window on the universe so radically different from all previous windows that we are pretty ignorant about what’s going to come through,” one of the astronomers quoted in the article said. “There are just bound to be big surprises.” If that's not romance, then I don't know what is.
Sarah Ratchford, The FADER
In an investigation of OVO members' use of Tinder, Ratchford deftly explicates the way in which datings apps are becoming a testing ground for emotional consent and approachability. "Men with more localized notoriety have begun to use Tinder and analogous dating apps to set up meetings with the same women they meet in person," Ratchford writes. "But why? It's because dating apps help men skip the awkward step of waiting for a woman to assess their fuckability face-to-face."
Alana Massey, The Guardian
Alana Massey (of "Against Chill" fame) debunks claims of Valentine hatred. For instance, to those who complain that Valentine's Day is "such a corporate holiday," Massey replies: "In a world where you have your pick of Shell Oil and the Koch Brothers and Walmart, the real problem with the world is Hallmark Cards, Inc? They’re a family-owned company based in Missouri that also owns Crayola." Love conquers all!!
Marlon Bishop, The FADER
Marlon Bishop's profile of Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin for the cover of The FADER's Global Issue (on newsstands this March) sheds light on both J Balvin's experience with stardom, and his desire to make enough waves—without translating his lyrics—that even Rihanna will pick up his phone calls. Bonus: you can read it in Spanish, too
Melissa Jelsten, Huffington Post
On January 1 in the U.S. this year, at least eight women were killed by a husband, boyfriend, ex, or lover. And, according to this HuffPo piece, "Experts consider intimate partner homicides among the most predictable and preventable of all murders, because they tend to follow well-established patterns." It's a terrifying reality that seems to be an unstoppable feedback loop of fear and violence that needs way more public attention. "In our findings, at least half of the women killed had left their partner or were in the process of leaving before the fatal incident," Jelsten reports. "Two women who had already split from their partners were killed while returning to their homes to pick up their things. One woman died on the same day she broke up with her boyfriend."
Naomi Zeichner, Anupa Mistry, Doreen St. Felix, and Judnick Mayard, The FADER
A roundtable discussion of the meaning of Beyonce and the impact of the "Formation" video (which dropped last Saturday, if you live under a rock), black women narratives, visibility, responsible pop music in 2016, and why "To believe that Beyoncé is so rich and loved that she doesn’t experience racism, that she doesn't feel traumatized by the images of murdered black bodies is to erase her."
Frankie Noone, The Walrus
Simply put, this is a beautifully illustrated graphic essay about the history of Mardi Gras, from the Maritimes to Louisiana.
Sharon Mesmer, New York Times
In this earnest, funny opinion piece for NYT, Sharon Mesmer asks why women don't mark the end of menstruation (aka menopause) the way we do its beginning. Bat and bar mitzvahs, Quinceañeras, and confirmations are rituals to celebrate the start of a new part of life, so why not have one later in life as well? "Why is it that we’re lauded and celebrated when we’ve only just embarked on the journey?" Mesmer asks. "Why do we stop marking, ritually, the accomplishments along the way? The hurdles that we overcome?" She describes her ideal menopause ceremony thusly:
"I want us to be sung to by a choir as we march into a secular temple, possibly some combination of the old Fillmore and the Society for Ethical Culture. Once inside, we gather in a circle around a huge ring of fire and, at an appropriate moment, accompanied by chanting, we reach into our purses and toss into the flames that unused old tampon that we’ve been carrying around for five years." 🎉