1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The Bad Part of Sports: There is an unwritten rule when it comes to sports journalism. Reporters are given a lot of access to games and players. And in exchange, they pretend (as we all do) that sports scores and stories are actually news and not just another form of entertainment. But the cozy deal can break down when a single brand both broadcasts and covers sports. Earlier this week, ESPN’s Bill Simmons was suspended for three weeks (yes, longer than Ray Rice’s initial suspension) after he called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar and taunted his bosses. Here’s Amy Davidson in the New Yorker: “In every field of journalism, there are questions of access and the threat that, even if one is in the right, sources will dry up, interviews will be cancelled …The only way for that not to destroy journalism as an enterprise is for reporters to have, at those moments, true institutional support. ESPN has done the opposite, doing the work of the angry, powerful people whom it covers for them.”
+ Slate’s Josh Levin on Bill Simmons: “He can go wherever he wants, for any reason he wants, to watch whatever game he wants. But if he wants to be able to say whatever he wants, in whatever medium he wants, then he’s going to have to start his own company.”
+ The Ugly Part of Sports: Jon Stewart airs a “controversial segment” featuring a debate between Native Americans and Redskins fans who feel a strong connection to the team’s name.
+ The Good Part of Sports: Well, Derek Jeter “jetered” one last time. Yes, the retiring Yankee shortstop has achieved verb status as he closes out his career in the Bronx in a manner we’ve come to expect. Here’s the walk-off single that won his final home game.
+ Roger Angell: “Last night’s encounter was the first meaningless game he’d ever played in pinstripes — but then he gave it meaning.” Even Red Sox fans had to have a lump in their throats. (OK, maybe that was just a chunk of a pretzel.)
2. Bomb Them Back to Dark Ages?
“Beheadings, crucifixions, the gouging out of eyes, the use of rape as a weapon, the slaughter of children. All these things belong to the Dark Ages.” So said British Prime Minister David Cameron as the U.K. parliament voted to join the air war against ISIS. There are now more the 50 countries in the alliance.
+ An activist lawyer and human rights advocate was killed in Mosul for comments she made on her Facebook page.
+ The FBI says they know the identity of the masked militant in the beheading videos. But for now, they’re not saying who it is.
3. Weekend Reads
“This is part of my therapy. I’m pacing my life looking forward to these things, and I enjoy them. I enjoy bringing my friends … It’s not a cost-effective way of doing anything except making me happy for an afternoon.” Since being diagnosed with cancer, The Simpson’s co-creator Sam Simon has been racing to spend his fortune on causes he loves. From Vanity Fair: Always Leave Them Laughing.
+ “One day you walk 12 hours, and you don’t feel pain. There is no before or after. The intellect doesn’t drive you anymore. It doesn’t exist anymore. You become what nature needs you to be: this wild thing.” From the NYT Magazine: The Woman Who Walked 10,000 Miles (No Exaggeration) in Three Years.
+ Outside on the people who survive lightning strikes: “When lightning hits a human being, a survivor must reconcile not only what happened but why it happened. Why me? For most victims, it is not the unforgettable horror of an agonizing ordeal that haunts them—many can’t even recall the incident itself; it’s the mysterious physical and psychological symptoms that emerge, often long after their immediate wounds have healed and doctors have cleared them to return to their normal routines. But nothing is normal anymore.”
+ BBC: “He’s spent decades dodging the law. He’s escaped from jail twice by helicopter. He’s given millions to the poor. This is the story of how Greece’s most wanted man became a folk hero.”
4. A Ground Zero Sum Game
There has been a longstanding debate on whether or not respiratory illnesses can be linked to the toxic air around Ground Zero following the 9-11 attacks. According to fire officials in NYC: “Three firefighters who were on duty at Ground Zero during the 9/11 attacks died on the same day from cancer.”
5. Playing with the Percentages
“About half of his money is in private investments, like equity in his own firm. He keeps about 20 percent in cash, and a delicious 5 percent in real estate and ‘luxury assets,’ presumably tamed jaguars and yachts with helicopter landing pads. He owns four houses, each worth about $20 million.” NY Mag on how the 0.00003 percent lives.
6. Bendables are the New Wearables
Is the saga of the bending iPhone really a thing or has it been the unfortunate experience of about nine customers? And what is a phone doing in anyone’s back pocket? None of that matters. It’s a story about Apple, so it’s a big story. And it somehow got as all inside the Cupertino building where Apple tortures the iPhone 6. (I always imagined this chamber would be in Redmond…)
+ And meet the Bendgate Truthers.
7. Next Chapter in Internet History?
And then one day, people got so mad at the social network that they joined another social network. Early adopters are signing up for Ello, a new social network that promises to be “a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life.” From Wired’s Jessi Hempel: Facebook killer Ello doesn’t care about money — so it won’t work. (That’s roughly what my parents think of me spending four hours a day on a newsletter.)
+ The Atlantic: “Ello says you’re not a product, but you are.” (I’ve taken out the garbage and driven my kids to enough soccer games to know I’m a service, not a product.)
8. Green Eggs and Ban
We’re coming to the close of Banned Books Week, and Mic has a list of 15 banned books you should read. And from Mental Floss: Ten twenty-first century bestsellers people tried to ban (and why).
9. Crossing the Spectrum
“In a series that has depicted teenage pregnancy, abortion, alcoholism, a breast cancer battle, and a young war veteran’s PTSD, one of the most emotional, and painful, scenes to watch on NBC’s critically acclaimed Parenthood came when Max Braverman went on his first unsupervised school field trip.” From Buzzfeed: How Parenthood broke down the autism awareness barrier.
10. The Bottom of the News
Could Coke reverse a decade of sagging sales just by slapping a few first names on the side of bottles? Well, Chris, Jess, and Alex, I’m glad you asked.
+ Forty facts about SNL ahead of their fortieth season.
+ The latest rumors have Rachel McAdams starring opposite Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn in season 2 of True Detective. (By now, you’ve probably figured out that the casting of season 2 of True Detective is season 2 of True Detective.)
+ Are you a heavy drinker? Check the chart.