Slate Archives

What Happened at Slate This Week? A Lot.

Senior writer Josh Voorhees shares the smartest and most insightful stories of the past week.

Illustration by Charlie Powell.

Illustration by Charlie Powell

Hey Slate Plus-ers!

I’m Josh Voorhees, a senior writer here at the magazine and your afternoon tour guide for everything that was great at Slate this week. (Spoiler: As always, a lot!) The tour will begin momentarily, but first Jennifer and Jeff tell me I should give a fuller introduction of myself, which is odd because I was pretty sure a decent percentage of you are my blood relatives.

I joined the magazine in 2011 after a stint at Politico, where I took the “win-the-morning” ethos a little too literally by voluntarily shifting my workday so that it began at midnight. Before that, I spent several years covering energy and environmental policy and politics for Greenwire and, before that, time at a small daily newspaper in rural South Carolina where I reported on everything from courts and crime to a Halloween costume contest … for dogs. I spent my first three years at Slate running our news blog, The Slatest, and after (rough est.) 737,289 posts and updates on everything from the serious to the decidedly not, I left the blogging world largely behind this spring for the chance to write slightly longer pieces about U.S. public policy and politics. I say largely because just this week, with much of our foreign policy team out on vacation and no one around to tell me not to, I stole the keys to The World, where I spent the week blogging about the latest developments in Iraq.

But enough about—wait, what’s that? You want to know more about me? Well, OK, you paid the price of admission, I can’t say no to you!

I work/live in Slates one-man Iowa City bureau, which means I never get invited to suit up for the New York office’s softball team or go bowling with Team D.C. But it also means that I can get three macrobrew tallboys and a cheeseburger on a Friday night for less than many of my colleagues pay for a single Happy Hour craft beer. So, all in all, it’s probably a push. If any of you ever find yourself in Iowa City, shoot me an email ( or a DM (@JoshVoorhees), and I’ll buy you a drink or non-alcoholic beverage of your choosing (some restrictions apply) and tell you about the time that Plotz spent the better part of a group dinner grilling my long-term girlfriend and me about why we’re not married.

OK, if I ramble on any longer I’ll have nothing left to talk about when we do grab drinks, so on to the task at hand. The news gods seemed particularly angry this week and, at a current events magazine like ours, we usually have to play the cards we’re dealt. And this week that meant writing about death. A lot. Fortunately, my colleagues did so with their usual grace and insight. There was Swansburg’s great piece on the unknowable circumstances surrounding the death of 20-year-old Ken Ward Jr., the sprint car race driver who was run over and killed by Nascar star Tony Stewart. There was Dahlia’s amazing account of the day she spent with Robin Williams, who took his own life his week. And there was Dana’s remarkable—and video-filled!—obit of the late Lauren Bacall.

My colleagues weren’t only smart and insightful this week; they were also brave. As I write this, Jamelle is on the ground covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, where a militarized police force fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd (not to mention arrested at least two journalists without cause).

And there was, and seemingly always is, Weigel, who responded to Williams’ suicide with an incredibly honest post about his own experiences with depression. Dave says he prefers to avoid the first-person pronoun when he can—an understandable and admirable preference for a political journalist—but the Internet’s a better place when someone with a brilliant and unique mind like his breaks the fourth wall and lets us peek inside with lines like this: “Depression is the weak disease that convinces you it’s invincible. And voices of reason can stop that.”

Fortunately, it wasn’t all serious at Slate this week, and I’ll leave you with a trio of my favorite lighter pieces to ease you into the weekend, which by now we can all hear calling through the office window:

Matthew J.X. Malady explains that while the rise of Bro was swift, its demise is imminent.

Rebecca Schuman tells us all to stop (halt/discontinue/terminate) using the right-click thesaurus.

And Prudie, delightful, wonderful Prudie, advises a woman whose husband wears diapers to bed.

Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks again for supporting Slate, both with your hard-earned cash and your time. It’s readers like you who make the work we do possible, and we’re truly grateful.