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“Theirs was a love the world thought was…adorable.”

Yeah, Carly Rae Jepsen is great:

Jepsen’s latest album, E•MO•TION, was released to near-universal critical acclaim and near-disastrous commercial sales. At last count, the album had sold only 16,000 copies, disappointing by any measure — but the crowd, adults and teens alike, felt like it was made up of every single one of those album-buyers. When the sound of a saxophone signaled the beginning of “Run Away With Me,” the album’s opening track, we all lost it (Jepsen is the best thing to happen to saxophones since Lisa Simpson) — and the energy level stayed at a nearly uninterrupted pitch of attuned devotion. It wasn’t the kind of hyperfan urgency you might find at, say, a Justin Bieber stadium show. There was no screaming, no fainting. Just pure joy and reverence as Jepsen appeared before us like a beautiful sprite in her blunt Joan Jett–style haircut, white blazer, distressed muscle T, and leather leggings. Her look could be described as pulled from the rack labeled “glamour grunge” at the JCPenney Juniors department, and I mean this in the best way possible.

This is the piece everyone is talking about on Twitter, so I feel it would be wrong not to include it here (it gets more bananas as it goes on, it cannot be easily categorized, I am glad to have lived long enough to read it, I denounce it, I celebrate it):

Before I could sit in front of her in Paris I had to find a publication that could ship my pathetic ass across the pond. The bores at New York Magazine said no because I would not be able to get her to say anything interesting. The New York Observer cried poverty at even the tiny budget I proposed. David Remnick at the New Yorker very politely took the time to cut and paste an old profile that his magazine ran ten years ago and to tell me that they never repeat a profile except when it’s a puff piece on Hillary. Although Judith Thurman’s “The Misfit” from 2005 is the smartest one written so far on Ms. Kawakubo the piece was academic, bizarrely self-absorbed and often wrong. Very Reader’s Digest meets GQ, like what the entire New Yorker unfortunately became. CDG hated it because Ms. Thurman committed the crime of lèse-majesté when she said that Adrian Joffe was afraid of his wife. I observed them interacting, he is. Mr. Remnick is nice but he’s no William Shawn, as his past reporting on Russia can attest. They were treasure troves of platitudes and predictions that all turned out to be wrong. I realized Anna Wintour had never invited Rei, the goddess of fashion, worshipped by every single designer from Karl Lagerfeld to Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang, to her insufferable annual ball at the Met. Had Rei refused the yearly extortion of ad buying in Anna’s September issue too many falls in a row? So Vogue was out, which left us with Robbie Meyers at ELLE.

The Mothman Economies:

I attended the twelfth annual Mothman Festival last year, on its final day, a rainy Sunday after the crowd of thousands had dwindled to a scattered hundred or so. The Saturday of the festival is normally the single biggest moneymaking day of the year for Point Pleasant: Bigger than Christmas, it’s the only weekend the historic Lowe Hotel is full, along with hotels in Gallipolis and nearby Hurricane and Ripley. But there was plenty of parking on the street when I visited, and several blocks of abandoned stores to walk past before seeing any people at all. “Closed” or “for rent” signs had been propped in windows, dark and coated in dust. A Mothman roamed around the street in giant wings and a bug-eyed headpiece which obscured his sight; he was accompanied by a teenage boy who kept steering him away from passersby.

The old movie theatre looked abandoned from the outside, but the door was held open by a brick. I passed through the lobby, where a framed picture of a beauty queen hung on the wall, the Pepsi-sponsored snack bar had been abandoned, and the red shag carpeting puffed up dust. Someone was speaking quietly in the auditorium. I entered, stood at the back. A dozen people filled the seats, mostly at the front. A man paced on the stage. He looked large, his arms as strong as the Mothman statue. He spoke confidently about Dog-Man, a creature I had never heard of, but there was a blurry slide of a furred thing. The man—a cryptozoologist—told the crowd that Dog-Man must be a carnivore because “an animal that size is gonna need meat.” Nobody laughed at the Dog Man talk. Nobody made fun. Audience members took notes; I took notes. I left before the house lights came on and the questions began. Some of the other lectures that weekend included such topics as Big Foot, “Murder Victim Ghosts,” and “Mothmen Abroad.”

The great cornbread dividing line:

La’Wan’s corn muffin and Lupie’s cornbread are humble things. But they represent something deeper: The dividing line between black Southerners and white ones. As examples of one of the defining staples of Southern food, they also are a marker of food history that speaks volumes about origins and identity, about family and what we hold dear.

It also raises a question: So many Southern food traditions are shared by both races. Most Southerners, black and white, revere fried chicken, pursue pork barbecue and exalt their grandmothers’ garden vegetables. So why is there such a fundamental difference between two styles of one basic bread?

This look at the career of a dude synchronized swimmer (WHICH IS A REAL SPORT IN CANADA SO KEEP YOUR WISECRACKS TO YOURSELF) was delightful:

Still, no matter how much the world of synchro liked him personally, and no matter how much his female competitors admired his love of their sport, Bill was barely tolerated. Someone — he doesn’t know who — called Bill’s house and told his mother he was a sicko and a pervert for insisting on spending all day with girls in their bathing suits. Bill and his coach, Chris Carver, considered litigation after some competitions wouldn’t allow him in, but they didn’t have the money. Bill’s camp had been optimistic, but the others’ optimism waned while Bill’s still glowed with the painfully American idea that life could be fair, that you could work hard and want something and that just the working and the wanting could win over hearts, knock down barriers and cause change in even the most ossified institutions.

The people who cared most about Bill worried. Dee O’Hara, Bill’s first synchro coach, feared that he had no future. “Just do swimming,” she pleaded. Speed-swimming. Or diving. Or gymnastics. She’d never seen such a gifted athlete. She didn’t understand why he’d waste this kind of talent on a sport that, yes, she loved, but that was never going to welcome him as anything but an oddity and a hassle.

A reminder that I am not a real editor bc if someone CALLED ME with a pitch I would die of a heart attack instantly, and also I learned a bunch from this:

Laura: What’s the most common mistake you see in pitches?

Robin: Most common mistake—pitching a topic, rather than a story.

Christine: The most common mistake I see is freelancers who don’t do their homework and read our website first. I.e., the majority of new pitches we get are for 10,000-word feature stories, like you’d see in National Geographic magazine, whereas we publish mostly 600-word-or-so news stories.

Meg: I’ll agree with Christine that a lack of familiarity with the publication is the most common. Another is presenting a story as something you’re dying to write, rather than as something our reader would be dying to read. Successful pitchers don’t lead with their own desires or credentials. Instead, they focus on what’s amazing about a story and how the story would fit into what the publication is trying to do.

Adam: The most common mistake I see is a lack of familiarity with the magazine—pitches that are aimed as web articles, pitches on subjects we’ve covered (that don’t advance the story), pitches for stories in a format or with an approach that Wired would never do. As an editor, I only want to feel loved, like the writer knows my true soul. Otherwise: no relationship.

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