Saturday, September 05, 2015

Other People's Writing

This month’s OPW is headlined by a powerful piece by my old university friend Shannon Proudfoot, telling the story of a young couple dealing with early-onset Alzheimer’s.  Tremendously moving stuff.

* Here’s the latest of those ultra-specially formatted long-form pieces Grantland runs every few months, this one by David Samuels focused on the long history of the Gracie family’s involvement in (and creation of) Brazilian ju-jitsu and mixed martial arts.  Kudos to the person who got the idea for linking the names throughout the story to the family tree menu on the left side of the page so it was easier to keep track of everything; this was incredibly convenient.  While Samuels’ piece is tremendous and covers a lot of ground, there’s just so much story to be told about all the Gracies throughout history that this piece still feels like just the tip of the iceberg.  That tidbit about a distant relative designing Gracie Mansion (the official mayor’s residence in New York City) was super-cool.

* The story of two twin brothers (naturally) who have owned for decades, as told by Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh.  They’ve hung onto the domain name despite repeated attempts from MLB to purchase it for the Twins’ official website, though the brothers seem open to the idea under a more specific set of negotiations. 

* Grantland’s “Tom Cruise Week” was more than a little overblown, as nobody needed more than a dozen pieces examining the career of a guy who is (let’s be honest) a one-note character actor who just happens to be a) a huge star and b) is admittedly very good at playing that one note.  One of the more interesting pieces of the bunch, however, was Amos Barshad’s look at how the Cruise/Nicole Kidman marriage dynamic was both examined and impacted by their roles in Eyes Wide Shut.  I think I could read about Stanley Kubrick’s weird directorial tendencies all day long, though that being said, I have zero interest in ever seeing EWS again.  I’m sure that 33-year-old me would see the film with more depth than 18-year-old Mark did, yet man, did I ever think that movie stunk.

* A real eye-opener from Grantland’s Jordan Ritter Conn about the Legends Football League (better known as the Lingerie Football League).  The players put themselves through a physical grind for no pay (literally) and more-than-vaguely sexist working conditions all for the love of competition.  Consider how the NFL is only starting to be scrutinized for its practices and you’ll get an idea of how the LFL operates.

* Grantland’s Shea Serrano looks at how he would’ve performed in several famous “hero dad” moments from movies.  He left out Marty McFly braving the perils of time travel to save his punk son from participating in a robbery; I don’t think I would’ve tried that for all the hoverboard time in the world.

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