Things I’m Verbing: Why we need mammoths, delayed swanhood and dictator chic

I’m taking a social media detox at the moment, which feels great (yes, I’m going to do one of these). As I watch myself try to find the Twitter app on my phone, I definitely realize how often I reach for it as a numbing agent — and how outrage itself can be a numbing agent. On my commutes, instead of draining my battery and my data trying to refresh my feed underground, I’m going for Pocket and actually catching up on all the longreads I meant to finish when I had time.

So hey, happy Friday! Happy St. Patrick’s Day (and happy birthday to one of my very favorite people in the world since middle school, the incredible Out There podcast creator Willow Belden). Have some really excellent longer “slow journalism.”

  • More on that wilderness thing: You must, you must read Ross Andersen’s “Pleistocene Park” for the Atlantic. It’s an intersection of climate change, land management and resurrecting charismatic megafauna that I never saw coming. It’s also a nice antidote to (or at least a bit of hope versus) excellent but gloomy pieces like Laurie Penny’s “The Slow Confiscation of Everything.”
  • Sarah Menkedick’s “The Making of the Mexican-American Dream” for Pacific Standard is the best blending of personal experience, good reporting and national policy. She beautifully explores the identity Mexican-Americans do and could have in the United States, and the way they’re poised to define American identity going forward.
  • I found Marshall Allen’s ProPublica piece “What Hospitals Waste” from a tweet proclaiming it “one of those stories you’re immediately jealous of.” It’s an inspired and inspiring work of investigative reporting about the conflicting requirements of desperate communities and cleanliness protocols.
  • Another great, sideways piece of analysis: For Politico, Peter York analyzes Trump’s decorating style and how it compares to other regimes historically and around the world in “Trump’s Dictator Chic.”
  • Finally, in a much lovelier look at art, Irina Dumitrescu reflects on the joys of learning ballet as an adult, and what the lives of professional ballet dancers mean, in the wonderfully titled “Swan, Late.”

Stay brave, friends.

Image credit: How to Clone a Woolly Mammoth

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