[This column highlights the best pieces of journalism in magazines each month, all available free online unless noted. Follow it here.]
The other day, my girlfriend got a haircut. This happens about once a year, and since we were having such a pleasant Saturday afternoon together, when her appointment time rolled around, I decided to go with her to the salon. It was the first time I had ever been in one (weird, I know, but my mom had a beautician’s license and cut my hair at home. I cut my own hair now. I’ve been to a barbershop only a few times). I was pleasantly surprised with the free coffee, and also with the magazine selection. I picked up the copy of Rolling Stone with Jimmy Fallon on the cover and thought to myself, “hmm, I wonder why I didn’t get this yet.” I looked at the date.
It was at that moment I realized my subscription to Rolling Stone had ended three months ago, and I was sad (how someone can go three months without realizing a magazine subscription has ended is a story for another column). I’ve grown fond of Rolling Stone in recent years. They’ve gone beyond their well-rounded music/pop culture coverage to put together some serious pieces of journalism. Ten-years-ago-me would probably punch me in the neck for writing this, but I’m going to write it anyway: In a world where journalism is becoming more and more biased, it’s refreshing to know that places like the Rolling Stone take reporting seriously. Maybe that is just a said sign of our times. While they have gone the way of the NY Times and started charging online readers, a few of their articles are available online. Here is a taste of some of what I missed, along with a few extras:
Ok, maybe I shouldn’t champion Rolling Stone’s journalistic integrity and then highlight an article that begins “John Boehner is the ultimate Beltway hack, a man whose unmatched and self-serving skill at political survival has made him, after two decades in Washington, the hairy blue mold on the American congressional sandwich.” But if you’ve read this column before, you know that I am a fan of Matt Taibbi’s political and economic coverage (and, as I pointed out, because RS is now charging for archive access, I didn’t have much to choose from). Yes, it’s highly biased, and yes, Taibbi sometimes comes across as a pompous dick, but if you tend to agree with his viewpoint, he’s an entertaining writer. Plus, c’mon, is there really anybody out there who doesn’t think Boehner looks ridiculous when he breaks into tears?
Unlikely Arms Dealers
Did you read Freedom? Did you also have a hard time believing that Joey could secure a military contract? Honestly, that was one of the two parts of the book I found hard to believe (the other being when Patty felt Gaddafi was a handsome man). But as it turns out, securing a military contract isn’t actually that difficult. Apparently you can sell arms to our Afghani allies while stoned. Military industrial complex?
In the first running of this column, I mentioned Michael Hastings’s profile of General Stanley McChrystal. You probably know the article I’m talking about: it resulted in Obama’s dismissal of McChrystal for insubordination. To replace insubordinate Stan, Obama tapped David Petraeus. In February, Rolling Stone published Michael Hastings’s profile of Petraeus—who was much more well-mannered than his predecessor. Hastings does a remarkable job of covering the wake left by his older article. And we at Chamber Four are proud to call him a contributor.
The Mullet that Broke 1000 Hearts
I tried to base this month’s column solely on RS articles. But I had to Include this profile of Billy Ray Cyrus. Dude definitely had the greatest mullet ever, and he took a lot of shit for it. But this article does what any good profile should do: brings humanity to an often ridiculed persona. Plus it contains this gem of a quote:
there’s an awful childhood tale he shares about waiting outside church with his mother to see whether his father would appear with another woman: “And he did. And it got ugly right there in the church parking lot. My mom jumped on, fought some woman, beat her. I seen it. I seen that happen more than once. I seen my mom pull one woman out of my dad’s convertible by the hair of the head and stomp her ass in the ditch. I seen that.”
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