Teddy’s Top Longreads of July (so far)

Inspired by colleagues and friends who write and blog, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring. My ideas of writing humor, sports takes or general life thoughts have come and gone frequently (those mainly reside on my twitter). However, I’ve finally taken my colleague Natan’s suggestion, and will begin to periodically write a blog linking to my favorite articles (usually longreads/longforms) that I’ve read recently.

Most of the articles I read are found on Twitter, longform.org, longreads.com or one of a number of media columns I scour weekly (Richard Deitsch of SI is amongst my favorites). At the end of every workday my favorite thing to do is go home, turn on the TV, open up my Pocket app, and try to check off at least one or two articles from my queue every night. While I often share many of my favorite articles with friends and family, this is a way for me to share with more of my reader friends. The hope is that I can update this once a week, but don’t hold me to it. Also, PLEASE send me articles you love so I can include them in future posts!

Below I present to you, Teddy Bennett’s top reads from the last few weeks, in no particular order (links to the articles are in the notes next to each headline):

Photo Illustration by Joel Salcido

The Talented Mr. Khater, Francesca Mari, Texas Monthly

This was, by far, my favorite of the articles included in this post. In what will become abundantly clear as this blog is maintained, I love crime stories, and this one did not disappoint. A supposed ultra-marathoner, Youseff Khater, is actually a violent criminal with a history (and possibly, a future) of injuring and stealing from the people he charms into trusting him. This article will leave you looking over your shoulder and digging through Google when you’re done. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Blink-182 at the Whiskey in Los Angeles in 1996. (Photo: Daniel D’Auria/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 2.0)

I Made a Linguistics Professor Listen to a Blink-182 Song and Analyze the Accent, Dan Nosowitz, Atlas Obscura

As someone who shamelessly loves 90s alternative rock, and who spent countless college nights mimicking (read: mocking) Rob Thomas, Tom DeLane and Eddie Vedder, this article put a scientific spin on an inside joke. It was funny, thorough and adds an interesting historical perspective to the music that has enriched American pop culture for decades.

Andrew Jennings

How a curmudgeonly old reporter exposed the FIFA scandal that toppled Sepp Blatter, Michael Miller, Washington Post

This article is from early June when the FIFA scandal was still front-page news, but I had to include it since it’s one of my favorites from the year to this point. As someone who loves investigative journalism, I was ashamed for having never heard of Andrew Jennings. He’s spent his career taking on organized crime, most notably the International Olympic Committee and FIFA. Jennings did all the dirty work required to break a story of this magnitude: met FIFA employees in alleyways, confronted officials at press conferences, scoured through thousands of pages of documents. Ultimately, his hard work was rewarded in early June when all the top FIFA officials were arrested and Sepp Blatter stepped down. Jennings is an inspiration to anyone who aspires to be a writer, or who loves great journalism.

Tim Donaghy

Does This Ex-Con Know the NBA Better Than LeBron?, Pat Jordan, NY Mag

Anyone who is a big sports fan will remember the story of Tim Donaghy, the disgraced former NBA official who gambled on basketball games and got caught. Although he swears he never fixed any games, he was arrested and, of course, banned from reffing basketball ever again. This article talks about Donaghy’s post-basketball life as a handicapper, and his philosophy on how the histories between specific coaches and referees plays an enormous factors in the outcome of games. While I found all that interesting, my biggest takeaway had more to do with Donaghy’s personality than his profession.

Illustration by Oliver Munday

Revenge Killing: Life and death in a Louisiana Parish, Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker

This is the heart-breaking story of a young father questionably charged with the murder of his own child and sentenced to death by a judge whose stance on the death sentence is so steadfast and severe, that some of his peers think he’s literally lost his mind. It’s a gut-wrenching story and one that will undoubtedly make a lot of people think deeply about the death penalty and America’s criminal justice system, in general. Hopefully some good can come out of a story so sad.

Press Association via Associated Press

Bonus Article: Read this obituary of the man who saved 669 children from the Holocaust, New York Times

This is the obituary for Nicholas Winton, a British man who lived to be 106. What he did during those 106 years makes him a hero. He deserves to be more well-known than he ever was.

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