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Cooler Ranch Flavored Content Chips

The Slate Plus Digest for Sept. 29.

Big Summit Prairie ranch, in Oregon’s Ochoco National Forest, during the solar eclipse. 

AFP/Getty Images

Sorry but I have a lot of really good links for you this time. I should have saved some of them for next week. Although obviously links are like Doritos: Crunch all you want, we (by which I mean the internet as a whole, not Slate specifically, although it works that way too)’ll make more.

From Slate

  • Christina Cauterucci on the whitewashing of Hugh Hefner’s unpleasant legacy.
  • Jim Newell thinks Alabama’s Roy Moore is the start of a wave of right-wing extremists headed for the U.S. Senate.
  • Katy Waldman spends time with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a movement dedicated to defending the dream of white Southern innocence in the Civil War.
  • Dana Stevens’ review got me really excited for Richard Linklater’s new movie, Last Flag Flying.
  • Henry Grabar reports on a genuine outrage: Cash-strapped states raise money by confiscating driver’s licenses, trapping millions of Americans in debt.
  • Puerto Rico is Trump’s Katrina, writes Phillip Carter—but will anyone notice?
  • Don’t miss this great Isaac Butler piece about Transparent, and how Transparent is about Judaism, and what Judaism is about.

And have you been reading Always Right, our pop-up blog about customer service? If not, you’ve been missing some classic Slate:

  • Ruth Graham argues that jobs are good for teenagers—so it’s worrying that fewer and fewer teenagers have jobs. (And, remarkably, teens from rich familes are more likely to have jobs than poorer ones: “The after-school job is becoming a luxury experience.”)
  • You’ve been wronged by a company. Should you complain about it on Twitter? Will Oremus has some advice.
  • For a pure, uncut taste of the customer-service experience, listen to the Grazie! Voicemail, a remarkable artifact of the Groupon era, and then read Jeremy Larson’s hilarious annotation thereof.
  • Toast editors Nicole Cliffe and Mallory “Dear Prudie” Ortberg reunite with an important message: If you get upset when a cashier replies to “Thank you” with “No problem,” you are a terrible person.
  • April Glaser points out an ugly side effect of the automation of customer service: When people get mad at robots, they take out their rage on human employees.

Not from Slate

  • The Trump administration’s response to the devastation in Puerto Rico is the latest and most devastating chapter in a long history of neglect, writes Joshua Rivera.
  • This crazy Wired story about self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and a new religion, captures the messianic fervor of Silicon Valley in 2017.
  • Slate alumna Jessica Winter on breast pumps, and why Silicon Valley doesn’t seem to want to disrupt them even though they’re awful.
  • If you enjoy imagining a future without capitalism—but, like, really imagining it, not just musing idly about it—you should read this fascinating piece from Jacobin.
  • New York Times obit of the week: “Edgar Smith, Killer Who Duped William F. Buckley, Dies at 83.” (I had never heard this amazing story.)

Thank you for your Slate Plus membership, which makes our journalism possible. See you next week!

Gabriel Roth
Editorial director, Slate Plus