BY MARC VELASQUEZ
[This column highlights the best pieces of journalism in magazines each month, all available free online unless noted. Follow it and other ongoing features here.]
I’m convinced. September is the greatest month of the year. The heat and humidity of July and August are gone. TV shows start airing their new seasons. There’s football games five straight nights each week.
And I’m a glutton especially for football on TV. It’s disgusting, really. My girlfriend puts up with it on Thursday because she’s a nice person. But by Monday night, she’s locked herself in her room and is screaming into her pillow.
I get so school-boy giddy about the approaching TV and football seasons that it even dominates my reading patterns. However, I’d feel like an idiot if I used this column to suggest a bunch of articles about rookie cornerbacks and Don Draper—my MFA requires that I pretend to be a bit more refined. So, in an effort to give you a better impression of my reading habits, here are this month’s suggestions:
Why Not Start With Counterfeit Footwear?
I was in China for the 2008 Olympics, and I found out just how huge the knockoff sneaker industry is. There were vendors selling that shit in every market. A friend of mine bought a pair of orange and black New Balance—the label on the tongue warned against exposure to “intense meat.” For those still buying shoes from shopping malls and not from the corner bodega, this could be mind-blowing.
Also, this article contains the month’s best sentence:
the F.B.I. arrested several people of Balkan origin in New York and New Jersey for their suspected roles in “the importation of large amounts of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, oxycodone, anabolic steroids, over a million pills of Ecstasy and counterfeit sneakers.”
A Not So Pleasant Look Into the Near Future
In the check-your-shorts moment of the month, Jeffrey Goldberg tells us that Israel is going to launch an airstrike against Iran, targeting several nuclear test facilities. I figured there was no way this article could be anything but pure speculation, but after reading this excellently written and well researched piece of objective journalism, Goldberg has me convinced that this is going to happen.
Don’t Mess With… Maine?
I’m not really a big fan of lobster. It’s okay I guess, but not something I would go out of my way for. But in Maine, it’s serious business. Maine lobstermen are no joke either—they’re like Crips and Bloods on boats. Remember that Seinfeld when Kramer poached a trap (shrinkage)? In Maine, they would have shot his ass.
Pay Article of the Month
I couldn’t resist; this is just too damn good. Ian Frazier has published a few pieces in the past few months about his travels in Siberia, and they have been some of the best articles I have read. I’m amazed at the way he can weave accounts of his travels together with stories about his childhood and the history of Siberia without delineating from a smooth narrative arc. I’m assuming these articles are all part of Frazier’s book, Travels in Siberia, which comes out on October 12th.
Well, I’ve made it a habit of going back on my word. So what? Here is an insider’s look at what it was like to work with Conan O’Brien on the Tonight Show. R.I.P.
I hate the Jets because I hate New York sports. But I would love to hang out with Rex Ryan. As a loud-mouthed lardass, I think I need more successful, loud-mouthed lardasses to look up to. Now, granted they already lost their opener to the Ravens, but that wasn’t Rexy’s fault. Actually, his team’s penalty yards cost them the game, and their lack of discipline is, in fact, his fault, but who cares? Rex Ryan is still awesome in my book.
Suggestions? send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org