Character study: What makes a great character? Slate staffers and some of our favorite critic friends set out to answer that question with a definitive list of the most important 25 characters of the past 25 years. The entries run the gamut, “animated and live-action, wizard and Muggle, human and avian, fictional and based on actual persons, living and dead.” Discover our favorites and why we picked them, and don’t miss the delightful illustrations of each by our intern Franco Zacharzewski.
Hate preachers: In recent years, a number of ultra-fundamentalist pastors, all linked to a movement in the mold of the Westboro Baptist Church, have gained notoriety by professing extreme and homophobic sentiments from the pulpit and going after figures as disparate as Sarah Silverman and Barack Obama. Ruth Graham examines how this group has grown in influence through its media-savvy nature—and is at the same time tearing itself apart.
Queer wisdom: Forty years on, what could the radical self-published book The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions have to offer today’s LGBTQ community? It turns out, it’s more apt than we might have thought. John Russell reviews the reissue of the “sacred text from the queer past.” (He suggests slipping a Xeroxed copy of the bootlegged original to Pete Buttigieg.)
Long shots: Live from the Iowa State Fair, Jim Newell talked to several of the 2020 Democratic candidates for president who might not even make it to the third debate. But is that really relevant to the overall race? The candidates themselves aren’t so sure, and so they’re still out campaigning.
Maybe you could be the next person to solve an archival mystery,