Zach Baron, GQ
The magnificent Mahershala Ali had a great year — he co-starred in both Moonlight and Netflix's super fun Marvel series Luke Cage. In this interview, Ali tells how he did it.
Emmett Rensin, The Outline
The general perception of Silicon Valley is one of great power — its most high profile CEOs are often compared to dictators or super villains. "Even President Obama speaks of Silicon Valley as if it were an industry for madcap geniuses alone," wrote Rensin. With tech execs claiming their mission is to make the world a better place, it's easy to think of tech as a different plane of business entirely. But, it's not: "They are simply robber barons, JP Morgans and Andrew Mellons in mediocre T-shirts...The Pirates of Silicon Valley do not have imperial ambitions. They have financial ones."
More from The Outline this week: The Sickening Business Of Wellness.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic
We've been waiting for a post-election Ta-Nehisi Coates piece, and now we have it, thank god. For the cover of The Atlantic, it's a history of the Obama presidency in six poignant chapters. A blessing that will make you weep.
Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker
The internet has come to a consensus that 2016 was the worst year ever, exemplified by the "Me at the beginning of 2016, me at the end of 2016" meme. "But it doesn’t mean anything to say that 2016 was the worst year ever," Tolentino wrote. "It’s a tic, or a token—a prayer that next year will somehow be better, which it won’t." Nope, 2017 will not be better than 2016. Tolentino argues, "The interfaces that were intended to cheerfully connect us to the world have instead spawned fear and alienation. I’m worried that this sense of relentless emotional bombardment will escalate no matter what’s in the news."
More from The New Yorker this week: Gawker's Demise And The Trump-Era Threat To The First Amendment
Ann-Derrick Gaillot, The FADER
In 2016, religious organizations spent more money on billboard propaganda and recruitment efforts than ever before. Definitely not a good thing. For this piece, Gaillot went deep and investigated the unsettling phenomenon.
Tina Nguyen, Vanity Fair
Nothing pisses off president-elect Trump like bad press. Nguyen's review of Trump Grill, in the lobby of Trump Tower, is scathing — by the second paragraph she's already described dumplings as "flaccid" and "gray." She also compares the trashiness of Trump Grill to PEOTUS himself. "The allure of Trump’s restaurant, like the candidate, is that it seems like a cheap version of rich," she wrote. Genius.
More Trump nonsense from this week: Did Private Prison Contractor Illegally Boost Trump? [Daily Beast], 6 Questions We Would Have Asked Donald Trump At His Canceled Press Conference [NPR]
Tim Evans, Mark Alesia, and Marisa Kwiatkowski, IndyStar
This week, IndyStar published the report of their investigation into sexual abuse in U.S. gymnastics. Here it is, the story of the 20 years of sexual exploitation by predatory coaches who moved from gym to gym, not unlike the Roman Catholic priests of the 2003 scandal in Boston.