Michelle Weber
Senior editor, Longreads. Chief Semicolon Advocate, WordPress.com. Professional writer, editor, napper, and dog-snorgler. Knows you are, but what is she?
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  1. To The Class of 2019

    Hilde Lysiak, the 12-year-old writer and publisher of the Orange Street News and one of the people on our 2019 “Anything is Possible” list, shares hard-won journalism advice in a commencement speech to the graduating class of the Reed School of Media.

    Journalism
  2. Entre Nous: Tressie McMillan-Cottom

    In Barb magazine, founder Marcelle Karp has a wide-ranging conversation with author and professor Tressie McMillan Cottom, on the South, black feminism, being a little petty, and much more.

    Authors
  3. Deadland

    The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, is a dying ecosystem — but it has a strange and sad beauty, and residents who hang on.

    Environment
  4. How to Write a Country Music Song: A Lesson from a Nashville Hit-Maker

    “The contemporary production of country music may be the purview of the rich and famous, but its origins come out of life in the heartland, from the shadows of desperation, poverty, and longing, from dark clouds with silver-linings, and from a humble self-awareness that is all too rare in America today.”

    Music
  5. An Honest Living

    Steve Salaita spent 21 years in academia, a committed and passionate professor. Then he got fired. Now he drives a school bus, “one of the few institutions in the United States that protects the powerless from the depredations of commerce. “

    Academia
  6. An Open Letter to Thin People Who Feel Infringed on by Fat People on Airplanes

    “What you want is for us to be weighed at the airport. Your thought is that we should be asked to pay more, and you should be asked to pay less, because you have been successful in your pursuit of thinness. “I eat salads,” you hiss at fat passengers like Norma. I also eat salads, […]

    Personal Essay
  7. ‘If I was waiting for confidence to write, I’d still be waiting’

    Online mag gal-dem sits down with writer and cultural critic Roxane Gay: “Bodies rarely follow rules. We all live in bodies that are complicated, and we should create space for that unruliness instead of always trying to discipline it.”

    Authors
  8. The 21st Century Is Old Enough To Legally Drink

    “I’ve never taken coke or, to my knowledge, had a helicopter doing surveillance on me. Yet, merely because I watched Goodfellas at an impressionable age, and several times since, every time I see a helicopter I feel like I’m on coke and the helicopter is doing surveillance on me.”

    Personal Musings
  9. Potty-Mouthed Professors: Why They’re the Best

    Is it acceptable to curse in college classrooms? For one professor, it’s a cornerstone of his pedagogy.

    Academia
    Photo by Alex Naud via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
  10. Welcome To My New Netflix Show

    “The joy of purging? Ha ha no way Marie Kondo, we’re here to talk about the joy of binging! Binging my new Netflix show, of course. And also stuff. So much stuff.”

    Humor
  11. Too Close to Call

    “Across our 50 states we vote by mail, ranked-choice selection, provisionally, and by absentee— the fact we can know anything on election night is nothing short of a bureaucratic miracle. So the spectacle of election night television should be considered as just that: entertainment only loosely connected to determining the shift in political power.”

    Current Events
  12. I Applied to 200 Jobs and All I Got Was This Moderate-Severe Depression

    “Like most ambitious English majors, I hoped I would find work in either teaching or writing after graduation. Long story short, I ended up graduating magna cum laude, won my department’s award, and learned that no one really wants to talk about E.M. Forster while playing beer pong. Go figure.”

    Academia
    Image from Flazingo Photos via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  13. An Extraordinary Machine

    “Same kid. Different wrapper.” In 2004, the Smartypants family adopted baby Nora. In 2018, they amended Nora’s Certificate of Foreign Birth when Nora transitioned, changing his name Aaron.

    Family
  14. But neither are you free to desist from it.

    “If the hill is civil rights, if the hill is justice, if the hill is moral goodness or righteousness or whatever you personally call that, then the child that is the United States started pulling the sled up the hill in the late eighteenth century. And we didn’t start near the top.”

    Current Events
  15. John Wayne Gacy and the Birth of the Murderabilia Industry

    “Some people collect out of historical interest, some see it as a natural extension of their interest in true crime, while others may see it as a way of keeping controversial artifacts out of the public eye. And, of course, some collectors just get a kick out of owning something attached to a dark history.”

    Art