Plus Roundups

What Happened at Slate This Week?

Departing editorial assistant Dee Lockett shares the highlights of this week, from anti-vaxxers to ’90s nostalgia.

Dee Lockett.

Illustration by Charlie Powell

What up, Slate Plus-ters!

I’m Dee Lockett, Slate’s editorial assistant for culture in the New York office. Over the past year, you might’ve spotted some of my work on Brow Beat, where I’ve written about both the music I love and, on weeks like this, the occasional crotch explosion. And here on Slate Plus, you’ve hopefully seen our monthly Spotify playlists, curated exclusively for you by both myself and a few of my colleagues.

Before I begin, I must share the bittersweet news that today is my last day at Slate. (Though, happily, I’ll be moving just a subway stop away to New York magazine.) So, here is where I give saying goodbye to the wonderful people at Slate—along with all you supportive readers—my best shot. And what better way to reflect on my year here than sharing some of what I thought were the best stories the magazine published this week. Let’s get started!

I’ve spent my time at Slate as one small moving part in our invaluable culture pod. (I say “pod” because, in New York, we all sit together at one large table where culture editor Dan Kois is known to pop up on one of his many surprise visits from D.C.) We recently sent longtime Slatesters Forrest Wickman and Aisha Harris off to Park City, Utah, along with our video producer, Ayana Morali, to cover the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Not to my surprise, they returned with a boatload of smart, funny, and delightfully original videos, all of which you can watch right here. Who else snagged an interview with the unforgettable Otis Day (of Animal House fame) and comedian Tig Notaro in the same week?

In the wake of the escalating measles outbreak in California, the vaccination debate re-entered the news in a big way this week. And Slate’s got the issue covered from top to bottom. My favorite take so far has been Jamelle Bouie’s tremendous strategy for how to engage with anti-vaxxers. (And as a supplement to that, it’s worth reading Ann Bauer’s fascinating personal essay on what it’s like to have to raise an autistic son in a neighborhood full of them.)

This week, Slate also experienced a spike in ’90s nostalgia: Jimmy Fallon, after years of failed attempts, finally staged his Saved by the Bell reunion on The Tonight Show; Torie Bosch spoke fondly of her former Backstreet Boys fandom in her review of their new documentary; and Mark Joseph Stern wrote what is likely the best part eulogy, part explainer of the short-lived Beanie Baby phenomenon you’ll ever read. It all made me, a proud ’90s baby about to turn 25, experience a sudden rush of “shit, I’m getting old!” panic.

Speaking of over-the-hill anxiety, if you haven’t read Will Oremus’ honest (and wildly hysterical) confession of how, at 32, not understanding Snapchat triggered an early onset midlife crisis, do it now. And when you’re done, spend some time with Justin Peters’ extraordinary play-by-play of his experience losing $225,000 in 10 seconds on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?; it’s probably my favorite thing I’ve read in 2015 so far. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t give Leon Neyfakh’s detailed and heartbreaking examination of the downfall of Bobby Shmurda its well-earned shoutout.

And so I avoid ending on a sour note—but mostly because I have to brag—my must-read of the week goes to Seth Stevenson and Will Oremus’ definitive take on why my New England Patriots did far more than capitalize on a historically bad play call to win their fourth Super Bowl title since 2001. To quote Seth’s brilliant middle finger to Pats haters: “Go ahead, curtsy, as one ought when one finds oneself amid NFL royalty.”

*peace sign emoji*,