Slate Fare

Best in Show

Readers pick their favorite Slate stories from 2005.

Last week, we ran a list of the 10 most-read articlesSlate published in 2005 and invited readers to nominate any favorites that didn’t make the cut. The results are in. Some ballots were a bit vague (we received a vote for “the one by the gal who tried to teach her beagle to dance“), but all of them were impassioned. One Slate fan even provided an annotated list of all the stories he’d forwarded to friends over the course of the year.

There were a few consensus favorites. Deborah Barton, like several others, thought that “by far, the best thing in Slate this year was Blake Bailey’s series ’My Year of Hurricanes’—his story was so compelling, and compellingly told.” And a number of readers singled out Slate’s legal team for its extensive coverage of the Supreme Court comings and goings; Dahlia Lithwick’s dispatches from John Roberts’ confirmation hearings were particularly popular.

But the rest of our voters made idiosyncratic picks. Kit Cutler, who read Seth Stevenson’s dispatches from the Michael Jackson trial while working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, liked them because “They reminded me of the wackiness that is America.” Jean Beaman lauded William Saletan for writing “the best articles I have read on the Terri Schiavo situation.” Bob Armstrong called Jack Shafer’s “Crack Then. Meth Now.” “a sharply written story exposing lazy journalists addicted to the myths churned out by propaganda artists in the War on Drugs.” And Kevin Miracle cracked that he found Teresa Riordan’s piece on the history of the vibrator “deeply interesting, scintillating, even sensational.”

Other Slate fans devised new categories. Ray Hafner nominated The Has-Been’s Bruce Reed for “Best Newcomer”: “His rants, musings and condescending lectures reminded me of the cantankerous uncle who’s always talking, but becomes a fascinating listen after the first stiff drink goes down.” Nancy Holeman Holmes extolled the virtues of Today’s Papers guru Eric Umansky—”he summarizes like a sunuvagun and throws in a lagniappe with every column!”—and noted that “the one with the links glossing Condi’s statements about torture received rave reviews from everyone I sent it to.”

Below, you’ll find the complete list of nominees; thanks to everyone who voted.

The New Blue Federalists
The case for liberal federalism.
By Richard Thompson Ford
Posted Thursday, Jan. 6, 2005

Marjorie Williams (1958-2005)
Washington’s most dangerous profiler.
By Jack Shafer
Posted Monday, Jan. 17, 2005

Chris Rock
The William F-ing Buckley of stand-up.
By John Swansburg
Posted Thursday, Feb. 24, 2005

Dunkin’ Donuts
A more perfect pastry.
By Bryan Curtis
Posted Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2005

Culture Vultures
Terri Schiavo’s persistent legislative state.
By William Saletan
Posted Monday, March 21, 2005

Dispatches From the Michael Jackson Trial
By Seth Stevenson
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Deathbed Conversion
The lesson of Tom DeLay’s mortal hypocrisy.
By William Saletan
Posted Monday, March 28, 2005

The Big Applebee’s
The restaurant at the top of the casual-dining heap.
By Brendan I. Koerner
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005

Dispatches From the Michael Jackson Trial (continued)
By Seth Stevenson
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Coal Miners Hotter
Sex sells. But can GE use sex to sell coal?
By Seth Stevenson
Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Sideshow Bob
Is Robert Horry the NBA’s best clutch shooter or its best con man?
By Felix Gilette
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2005 

For Pleasure
A history of the vibrator.
By Teresa Riordan
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Dog Dancing
My beagle and I try America’s weirdest pet hobby.
By Emily Yoffe
Posted Monday, July 18, 2005

Crack Then. Meth Now.
What the press didn’t learn from the last drug panic.
By Jack Shafer
Posted Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2005

My Year of Hurricanes
I lost everything in Katrina.
By Blake Bailey
Posted Friday, Sept. 2, 2005 

An Imperfect Storm
How race shaped Bush’s response to Katrina.
By Jacob Weisberg
Posted Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005

The Gaming Graybeards
Can two thirtysomethings survive on Xbox Live?
By Seth Stevenson and Chris Suellentrop
Updated Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005

Confirmation Report
By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Monday, Sept. 12, 2005

A weeklong electronic journal.
By Judd Apatow
Posted Monday, Sept. 26, 2005

Aiming High
A beer ad without any stupid jokes? Is Miller nuts?
By Seth Stevenson
Posted Monday, Oct. 10, 2005

The Things He Carried
A Slate soldier goes to war.
By Phillip Carter
Posted Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2005 

Realism in Darfur
Consider the horrors of peace.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, Nov. 7, 2005 

My First Literary Crush
The books famous people loved in college.
Posted Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005

Attack of the Career-Killing Blogs
When academics post online, do they risk their jobs?
By Robert S. Boynton
Posted Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005

Confessions of a College Journalist
Why aspiring writers should be allowed to fail in private.
By Bryan Curtis
Posted Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005

The Formerly Great Writ
Goodbye, habeas corpus. Hello, executive detention.
By Emily Bazelon
Posted Monday, Nov. 28, 2005

Gland Inquisitor
Pope Benedict’s antigay tendencies.
By William Saletan
Posted Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2005

Messy Condi-meant
By Eric Umansky
Posted Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005

Follow That Bird
Why does every white basketball player get compared to Larry Legend?
By Josh Levin
Posted Monday, Dec. 12, 2005

Uncivil Liberties
Why won’t the Bush administration obey the law?
By Dahlia Lithwick
Posted Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2005 

After Katrina
What is going on in New Orleans?
By Witold Rybczynski
Posted Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005

Bitter Brew
I opened a charming neighborhood coffee shop. Then it destroyed my life.
By Michael Idov
Posted Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005