Advertising
Advertising

12 New Yorker Stories You Should Read While the Paywall is Down

12 New Yorker Stories You Should Read While the Paywall is Down

Like pretty much every print magazine, the venerable New Yorker has recently decided to rethink its online strategy, with a redesign and lots more online-only exclusive content. They’re also redoing their paywall, and before it goes back up this fall, you’ve got the rest of the summer to read anything from their archive — literally everything from 2007 to this week’s issue, plus plenty of older gems — totally free. Here are some recommendations of what New Yorker stories to add to your late-summer reading list. (P.S., if you like what you see, why not support independent long-form journalism and subscribe?)

1.“Torture at Abu Ghraib,” Seymour Hersh (2004)

newyorker-2004_05_10

    Myers, who was one of the military defense attorneys in the My Lai prosecutions of the nineteen-seventies, told me that his client’s defense will be that he was carrying out the orders of his superiors and, in particular, the directions of military intelligence. He said, “Do you really think a group of kids from rural Virginia decided to do this on their own? Decided that the best way to embarrass Arabs and make them talk was to have them walk around nude?”

    If you don’t think this kind of magazine breaks news, think again. This deeply-reported piece helped turn the whispers that something was going very wrong in Iraqi prisons into an uproar, and showed as a lie the notion that the crimes that took place were simply the work of a few “bad apples.”

    2. “Birdbrain,” Margaret Talbot (2008)

    birdbrain-talbot

      Pepperberg told me that Alex also made spontaneous remarks that were oddly appropriate. Once, when she rushed in the lab door, obviously harried, Alex said, “Calm down” — a phrase she had sometimes used with him. “What’s your problem?” he sometimes demanded of a flustered trainer. When training sessions dragged on, Alex would say, “Wanna go back” — to his cage. More creatively, he’d sometimes announce, “I’m gonna go away now,” and either turn his back to the person working with him or sidle as far away as he could get on his perch. “Say better,” he chided the younger parrots that Pepperberg began training along with him. “You be good, see you tomorrow, I love you,” he’d say when she left the lab each evening.

      A must-read for animal lovers, Talbot closely follows the researcher most widely known for trying to understand how animals’ minds work, and takes readers on a tour through the history of smart (or “smart,” depending who you ask) creatures.

      Advertising

      3. “Happy Feet,” Alexandra Jacobs (2009)

      happy-feet-jacobs

        Unlike most Web sites, including Amazon’s, which seem to be operated by spectral forces rather than by human beings, Zappos prominently displays a toll-free customer-service phone number. There are no limits on call times, and the resulting sessions occasionally resemble protracted talk therapy. On July 5th, a twenty-two-year-old C.L.T. member named Britnee Brown, who has been with the company for a little more than a year, took a call that was a record five hours, twenty-five minutes, and thirty-one seconds long, from a woman on the East Coast interested in Masai Barefoot Technology shoes, which purport to mimic supposedly salubrious barefoot-on-the-beach walking with curved rubber platforms. “We started talking about her sister,” Brown said.

        Stories that take the reader through the ins and outs of how businesses work are surprisingly common in the New Yorker. Perhaps what’s more surprising is how fascinating even the most pedestrian of operations turns out to be, and what these stories — like this one, about Zappos — tell us about the American psyche.

        4. “Offensive Play,” Malcolm Gladwell (2009)

        football-dogfighting

          McKee is a longtime football fan. She is from Wisconsin. She had two statuettes of Brett Favre, the former Green Bay Packers quarterback, on her bookshelf. On the wall was a picture of a robust young man. It was McKee’s son — nineteen years old, six feet three. If he had a chance to join the N.F.L., I asked her, what would she advise him? “I’d say, ‘Don’t. Not if you want to have a life after football.'”

          The epidemic of concussions and related diseases in football was just coming to light when Gladwell published this piece. Looking in unstinting (and upsetting) detail at football and dogfighting, Gladwell really forces you to think about what exactly it is you’re cheering for every Sunday.

          5. “The Catastrophist,” Elizabeth Kolbert (2009)

          Advertising

          james-hansen

            “I had had hopes that Obama understood the reality of the issue and would seize the opportunity to marry the energy and climate and national-security issues and make a very strong program,” Hansen told me. “Maybe he still will, but I’m getting bad feelings about it.”

            Kolbert’s consistent, solid reporting of horrific environmental disasters past and present is so important and eminently readable that it’s hard to choose just one story to highlight. The profile is a classic New Yorker style of story though, and her look at James Hansen — then a climate expert at NASA, now retired to pursue activism and teaching — now reads as an even more damning indictment of our continued inaction on climate change.

            6. “The Cost Conundrum,” Atul Gawande (2009)

            gawande

              I gave the doctors around the table a scenario. A forty-year-old woman comes in with chest pain after a fight with her husband. An EKG is normal. The chest pain goes away. She has no family history of heart disease. What did McAllen doctors do fifteen years ago?
              Send her home, they said. Maybe get a stress test to confirm that there’s no issue, but even that might be overkill.
              And today? Today, the cardiologist said, she would get a stress test, an echocardiogram, a mobile Holter monitor, and maybe even a cardiac catheterization.

              New Yorker contributor Dr. Atul Gawande also has a regular “beat” — the surgeon and public health researcher covers the field of medicine, often bringing in his own perspective as a practitioner. This examination of McAllen, Texas looks at a deceptively simple question — does more costly health care mean better care? — with a complicated answer.

              7. “Standing By,” David Sedaris (2010)

              sedaris-flying

                Of course, you can’t just ask people whom they voted for. Sometimes you can tell by looking, but the grandmother with the many bracelets could have gone either way. In the end, I decided to walk the center line. “What gets me is that they couldn’t even spell ‘motherf-ker’ right,” I whispered. “I mean, what kind of example is that setting for our young people?”

                Like many other writers who are also regular New Yorker contributors, material that winds up in Sedaris’ books often first sees print in the magazine. A master of dissecting the everyday and making even his most intensely personal experiences feel somehow universal, Sedaris is also a whiz at making anything — even air travel horror stories, as here — downright hilarious.

                8. “Funny Like a Guy,” Tad Friend (2011)

                anna-faris

                  “A month before the shoot,” Faris said, “they got me a gym membership and a trainer, which is standard.” She added, deadpan, that after she lost five pounds “they sent me a bouquet — and said, ‘Don’t eat it.'” During the filming, she subsisted on turkey slices and carrot sticks. “I felt they might have pulled the movie if we fought any further,” she said. “But it still bothers me: why would Ally be unemployed and wearing Prada shoes?”

                  If you’ve ever wondered how it can be that, as Paul Feig recently opined on Twitter, making a movie with women in the lead roles could still be a gimmick in 2014, read this profile of Anna Faris. It will leave you both darkly depressed about the state of gender politics in Hollywood and madly in love with Anna Faris.

                  9. “Netherland,” Rachel Aviv (2012)

                  aviv-netherland

                    Samantha and Ryan talked about the “housed world” as if it were an exotic culture, intrinsically superior to their own. They spoke in academic tones, trading theories about the patterns of “housed thinking.” They treated the subway, where they occasionally panhandled, as a human laboratory: people’s impulses toward charity had far less to do with them, they concluded, than with the other passengers riding the train. Few people looked at their faces until the first dollar changed hands, which then created some sort of force field — other passengers would suddenly feel compelled to be generous, too. They rode the trains deep into Brooklyn, because they found that poorer passengers were more likely to hand over their change.

                    Aviv follows the lives of a group of homeless LGBT youth in New York City, chronicling the improvised families that are created on the streets and the ways they stitch together lives on the fringes of society. This story will break your heart.

                    Advertising

                    10. “Altered States,” Oliver Sacks (2012)

                    altered-states-sacks

                      Within a minute or so, my attention was drawn to a sort of commotion on the sleeve of my dressing gown, which hung on the door. I gazed intently at this, and as I did so it resolved itself into a miniature but microscopically detailed battle scene. I could see silken tents of different colors, the largest of which was flying a royal pennant. There were gaily caparisoned horses, soldiers on horseback, their armor glinting in the sun, and men with longbows. I saw pipers with long silver pipes, raising these to their mouths, and then, very faintly, I heard their piping, too. I saw hundreds, thousands of men — two armies, two nations — preparing to do battle. I lost all sense of this being a spot on the sleeve of my dressing gown, or the fact that I was lying in bed, that I was in London, that it was 1965.

                      Many of Sacks’ essays about patients and others he’s encountered as a famed neuroscientist were published in the New Yorker before they made it into books. In this bit of “Personal History” — New Yorker-ese for memoir — Sacks turns the tables and recounts exploring his own mind via assorted controlled substances.

                      11. “Going the Distance,” David Remnick (2014)

                      obama-remnick

                        “You have an economy,” Obama told me, “that is ruthlessly squeezing workers and imposing efficiencies that make our flat-screen TVs really cheap but also puts enormous downward pressure on wages and salaries. That’s making it more and more difficult not only for African-Americans or Latinos to get a foothold into the middle class but for everybody — large majorities of people — to get a foothold in the middle class or to feel secure there. You’ve got folks like Bob Putnam, who’s doing some really interesting studies indicating the degree to which some of those ‘pathologies’ that used to be attributed to the African-American community in particular — single-parent households, and drug abuse, and men dropping out of the labor force, and an underground economy — you’re now starting to see in larger numbers in white working-class communities as well, which would tend to vindicate what I think a lot of us always felt.”

                        The magazine’s editor in chief penned this extra-long, surprisingly candid profile of President Barack Obama. With a broad scope, the article gives a strong sense of a president finding his footing both in the present moment and in history.

                        12. “Here’s the Story,” David Gilbert (2014)

                        heres-the-story

                          In Elysian Park, a growing line of people held hands and weaved through the crowd as fast as they could, the leader the needle guiding the thread. Bobby was somewhere in the middle. It had been too tempting for him to let pass without joining, and he had handed his mother the three balloons and jumped onto the end, holding this position briefly until others grabbed on and the line grew longer, its stitching more intricate. Emma watched from a distance. Every now and then, Bobby swung into view and she smiled and waved, feeling glad to be here, the strangest of Sunday picnics.

                          This taut, nostalgic short story begins with a bit of evidence — “this is what we know” — and then takes you on a trip through intersecting suburban lives. You won’t believe where it winds up.

                          More by this author

                          smooth hair 15 Easy Ways to Get Silky, Smooth Hair best online bookstores cheap books 15 Best Online Bookstores for Cheap New and Used Books reasons to rethink fast fashion 8 Reasons to Rethink Fast Fashion 10 Things You Suffered Through That Your Kids Will Never Understand outstanding baby names for boys girls unisex Get Inspired by These 25 Unique and Outstanding Baby Names

                          Trending in Leisure

                          1 10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day 2 How to Enjoy Life In a Way Most People Don’t 3 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are 4 30 Fun Things to Do at Home 5 10 Things Only Those Who Travel With Friends Understand

                          Read Next

                          Advertising
                          Advertising
                          Advertising

                          Last Updated on July 3, 2020

                          How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                          How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                          Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

                          Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

                          I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

                          You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                          Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

                          When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                          I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                          Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                          Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

                          If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                          Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

                          1. The Inner Critic

                          This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                          • Other people’s words—many times your parents
                          • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
                          • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
                          • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                          The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

                          Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                          2. The Worrier

                          This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

                          The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                          Advertising

                          3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

                          This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                          This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                          The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

                          4. The Sleep Depriver

                          This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                          The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                          • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                          • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                          • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
                          • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                          How can you control these squatters?

                          How to Master Your Mind

                          You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                          Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                          There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                          • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                          • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                          This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

                          The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

                          Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                          1. For the Inner Critic

                          When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                          You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                          For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                          Advertising

                          You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

                          “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                          If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

                          This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                          • They rile up the Worrier.
                          • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                          • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                          • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                          • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                          Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                          Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                          2. For the Worrier

                          Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                          Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

                          You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                          • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                          • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                          • Muscles tense

                          Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                          If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                          Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                          “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                          Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                          If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                          Advertising

                          Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

                          Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                          For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                          “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

                          Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                          Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                          “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                          Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                          3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                          Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                          The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

                          I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                          Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                          Breathe in through your nose:

                          • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                          • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                          • Focus on your belly rising.

                          Breathe out through your nose:

                          • Feel your lungs emptying.
                          • Focus on your belly falling.
                          • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                          Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

                          Advertising

                          One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                          Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                          4. For the Sleep Depriver

                          (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                          I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                          Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                          1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                          2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                          When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

                          From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                          For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                          If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                          You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                          • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
                          • Shut down your thinking
                          • Calm your feelings
                          • Simply focus on the present moment

                          The Bottom Line

                          Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

                          You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                          Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

                          More About Mental Strength

                          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

                          Read Next