What Happened at Slate This Week?

I came back from vacation and personally, singlehandedly, all on my own, made the magazine great.

Image by Slate, illustration by Charlie Powell.

Image by Slate, illustration by Charlie Powell.


Hello, Slate Plus member! As always, we thank you for your support. It’s due to members like you that we are able to produce the incisive, hard-hitting journalism that Slate readers demand. Of course, your support also helps pay my salary, which is, in the end, when all is said and done, at the end of the day, in the sum of all things, the most important thing that Slate does.

But don’t worry! You’re getting plenty of value for that salary. Here’s a complete rundown of my favorite stories from this week in Slate, and what, specifically, I did to make them great.

I poured one out for the soon-to-be-missed film site the Dissolve in this Brow Beat post. Then, callous scavenger that I am, I got Keith Phipps to transform his unpublished Dissolve review of this week’s horror film The Gallows into a Brow Beat post on the crappiness of the found-footage conceit.

I hassled Jeff Friedrich about the new episode of the History of American Slavery, then eagerly listened to it. I made like two slightly useful suggestions about this lively video explaining how the inmates on Orange Is the New Black might have made a shank out of Jolly Ranchers. I saw a great BBC document on Facebook but didn’t bother reaching out to anyone to allow us to republish it—Rebecca Onion did that. I approved the use of the beloved Slate term of art “A Slate Investigation” for Laura Bradley’s crucial A Slate Investigation into TV afghans.

I was supposed to edit this incredible Amanda Hess piece about teens and 9/11 jokes but then I went on vacation, so Laura Bennett edited it instead. (I tweeted it tho.) Same with this great Waldman post about “zeitgeist” and its overuse. Same with this great Jack Hamilton review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ magisterial book. (I went on vacation at exactly the right time, just before everyone filed their copy!)

I showed this Slate video of the first four goals in the Women’s World Cup final to my mom. I decided against showing this video about shark attacks in North Carolina to my mother-in-law. In conversation with my dad, I pretended I read this Jordan Weissmann post on Piketty and the Germans and the Greek debt well before I actually read it.

I LLOL’d at this Bennett headline on Slack, and nominated this Elliot Hannon headline for the Nobel Prize for Headlines on Twitter. I got 9 out of 15 right on this impossible Desegregation or Same-Sex Marriage Defiance quiz. I kept the lead photo on this post about Key & Peele’s hair and makeup team open in a tab all day just so I could return to it and laugh all over again. I played the videos in this post about rick-rolling EDM DJs way too loud in my office. I laughed at the GIF in this A-plus Brow Beat tweet.

I edited much of the July Slate Book Review, including this essay about the weird 17th-century genius Thomas Browne, this clear-eyed review of Joshua Cohen’s much-hyped Book of Numbers, and Laura Hudson’s sinus-clearingly harsh review of Ernest Cline’s Armada. I also wrote this short piece about the great cartoonist Ethan Rilly. (BUY HIS BOOK.)

Oh! And I both edited Gabriel Roth’s wonderful essay about crying at children’s books AND hired Gabriel Roth to cry full-time as the editorial director of Slate Plus! He joins the team July 27, and his hiring reaffirms Slate’s commitment to building a really great membership program. Gabe’s a critical thinker about the future of media and a terrific writer to boot. I’m excited to see where he takes Slate Plus! I just hope that he knows I’ll always be there for him—there to give advice, to offer emotional support, and to say I’ll edit a piece yet for some reason be unavailable at the exact moment the piece is filed.

Thanks, as always, for your support. Never forget that this is still the wrongest piece ever published in Slate.