The Nazi everyman

On Hitler’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels

“Goebbels’s reaction to the Night of the Long Knives illustrates the extent of this devotion. He used the bloodletting to advertise his hero worship of Hitler. In his diary he noted: “Strasser dead, Schleicher dead, Bose dead, Clausener [sic] dead. Munich 7 SA leaders shot . . . Frau Schleicher died too . . . Pity, but that’s how it is.””

John Gray | New Statesman

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What happens when a state is run by movie stars?

The bizarre world of fanatical politics in India’s Tamil Nadu

“A raid on her house found 10,500 saris, 750 pairs of shoes and 66 pounds of gold. It is a pittance compared with the 10-billion-rupee hauls some North Indian public servants are said to have amassed. Nevertheless, she was the first chief minister in India to be ejected from office for corruption. Across the state, her followers pelted buses with stones and set them on fire.”

Rollo Romig | The New York Times Magazine

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‘What have I done? I’ve created a monster’

On the legacy of Damien Hirst

“There’s a walk-in refrigerator at Chalford Place, the home Hirst sometimes uses when he’s working at the older and smaller of his two Gloucestershire studio complexes. In this context, the fridge seems sinister, yawning emptily, but big enough for corpses. Chalford Place is one of its owner’s most fascinating creations; unseen and still unfinished, an immersive Disneyland of death.”

Catherine Mayer | The Guardian

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Everything is yours, everything is not yours

Reflections on escaping the Rwandan genocide to a new life in America

““This is from your family, in Rwanda,” Oprah said, handing me a tan envelope. “From your father and your mother and your sisters and your brother.” Claire and I did know that our parents were alive, but we’d barely talked to them because — how do you start? Why didn’t you look harder for us? How are you? I’m fine, thanks, now working at Gap…”

Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil | Matter

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The imperfect science of DNA testing

Investigating the reliability of DNA evidence

“Years later, none of it — not 84-year-old Eleonora Knoernschild’s bloody body on the shag carpet, not the torn bedspread twisted around her neck, not the junk heaped on her corpse so abundantly that only her left foot poked out, not three decades of detective work — none of it would matter as much as the cheese wrapper.”

Katie Worth | Frontline

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Journey into the seductive world of Scientology

Carole Cadwalladr talks to Going Clear director Alex Gibney

“I think he’s a true believer. I think there’s probably a sense of jeopardy, were he ever to become a critic, because they have so much on him, but I think he is very much a true believer. And I know actors and writers who’ve been on the receiving end of his prophesying. So he’s all in, I don’t doubt that for one second.”

Carole Cadwalladr | The Observer

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The perfect man

David Ramsey’s 2006 piece on Billy Mitchell, the master of Pac-Man

“When his sister, a co-owner of the restaurant, spots me, she blurts out, “I don’t know nothing about what he did. He got as far as he could on a game.” Fans come from all over the nation and occasionally the world to get a peek at the gaming legend. “If I get recognized six times in a seven-day week,” Mitchell says, “I call that a slow week.””

David Ramsey | Oxford American

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Vagabonds, crafty bauds and the loyal huzza

Excerpt from Matthew Beaumont’s Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London

“Some of the inhabitants of the city might nervously have recalled the murder that had taken place nearby at 4 a.m. one night in November 1536, little more than six years earlier, when the prominent evangelical Robert Packington, a respectable burgess, was shot dead as he crossed Cheapside to attend early-morning mass at the Mercers’ Chapel.”

Matthew Beaumont | Longreads Blog

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This is Rikers

Inside New York’s penal colony, through the eyes of those who live and work there

“Or, just a few weeks ago, the news about 22-year-old Kalief Browder, accused of stealing a backpack; his three years on Rikers without a trial had been chronicled in The New Yorker. He hanged himself after he got out, as he’d tried to do while in jail. There were ten deaths last year alone, and stabbings and slashings have doubled since 2010.”

Dana Goldstein, Simone Weichselbaum et al | The Marshall Project

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A long walk’s end

The fugitive who spent six years hiking through the wilderness of the Appalachian Trail

“What Montgomery and Humbarger and other Bismarck acquaintances likely did not know is that some believe he did more than allegedly take $8.7 million that was not his. They believe James T. Hammes had committed a crime and walked away once before. They believe he may have played a part in his first wife’s death.”

William Browning | SBNation

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The rule of Boko Haram

Greed, violence and corruption in Nigeria’s ‘unholy war’

“Seven troops in a camouflage-painted pickup truck led the way out of Yola, a hardscrabble city of 400,000 people. Two soldiers leaned out the back of the vehicle, swatting passersby with tree branches—an act of gratuitous violence that, I thought, summed up the contemptuous attitudes of the army, one of Africa’s most undisciplined and brutal forces.”

Joshua Hammer | The New York Review of Books

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The sexual mis-education of America’s youth

On the company providing ‘abstinence’ education to millions of American children

“At first glance, Choosing the Best’s website looked legitimate. It explicitly called its curriculum “research-based,” and included links to “medical accuracy” and “results” pages. The site’s FAQs listed two medical organizations…that endorsed the abstinence-centered model. But the Worthams soon uncovered research about both groups that they found troubling.”

Erica Hellerstein | ThinkProgress

Read It Now (26 min)