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TLDR 2014: 17 Long Form Articles You Absolutely Need To Read

TLDR 2014: 17 Long Form Articles You Absolutely Need To Read

The year is nearing its end and because we love to publish long form articles, we crowdsourced this 2014 end-of-year panorama, consisting of some of the best of what the TLDR web has to offer. Because the Holidays are always a good time to read longer articles, and learn about topics we are deeply interested in (yet require more than bite-sized parcels of distributed information to understand), we thought we'd provide cllbr readers with a list. This one. 

 

To do so, the CMF Trends Blog's Editor Gabrielle Madé and I have reviewed each of the pieces submitted by some of the brightest minds we know, including (in no particular order) Fernando Serboncini (Google), Estelle Métayer (Competia), Louis-Félix Binette (f. & co), Mandeep Basi (Concordia University), Cyprian von Trap, Frederic Guarino (MediaBiz), Catalina Briceno (Canada Media Fund), Stéphane Éthier (HEC Montréal), Cynthia Savard Saucier, Jon Husband (Wirearchy) & Matthieu Dugal (Radio-Canada) and our own findings too ! 

 

Articles are divided in three categories: Geopolitics & Foreign Affairs, Lifestyle & Storytelling and Technology & Media.

 

Geopolitics & Foreign Affairs

 

The Pope In the Attic: Benedict in the Time of Francis

The Atlantic, April 16th 2014

There are currently two popes living in the Vatican, a few hundred meters apart from one another. Having to watch in silence as Francis speaks the will of God — one of sheer openness and flexibility — cannot be all that fun for Benedict the Dogmatic. While the former is embracing what the latter called a "dictatorship of relativism", there is not much choice for him but to sit and watch in silence. [FG]

 

The Ebola Wars

The New Yorker, October 27th 2014

The recent outburst of a fast-mutating strand of Ebola in NorthWest Africa had the world sitting on the edge of its seat for a while. While the virus is a relatively simple one, it is not very good at duplication. Which entails mutation. And an uncertain future for humankind. "Ebola is not a thing but a swarm." [FG]

 

Isis: The Inside Story

The Guardian, December 11th 2014

The invasion of Iraq was never a very good idea, but the way US prisoners were drafted, regrouped and kept together in camps can be directly tied to the rise of the Islamic State. The prisons, it turns out, served as schools for would be senior officials. "We could never have all got together like this in Baghdad, or anywhere else". [FG]

 

"Everything is problematic"

The McGill Daily, November 24th 2014

Describing the radical left from the inside yields a very dark portrait of how pseudo-revolutionary circles have evolved over the last century. Or have they? Dogmatism, groupthink, crusading and anti-intellectualism are on the books. All things we could suspect, but that are described with utter precision by this young, engaged intellectual. The biggest drama here, though, is that the author uses a pseudonym, and is literally impossible to find. [FG]

 

The Hunt for El Chapo

The New Yorker, May 5th 2014

The social and economic position of cartel leaders make the fight against their narcotics distribution empires a very difficult task in Mexico, but also globally. The story of Joaquin Guzman Loera -whose "products" are assumed to have been sold in 50 countries - and his arrest is a case in point of how Mexican culture is deeply influenced by these characters and how their relationship to justice and law enforcement is not quite straightforward. [FG]

 

The Case for Reparations

The Atlantic, June 2014

What if we considered ourselves bound by the deeds of our ancestors? For centuries, Americans have, in a very systematic way, ousted visible minorities from fully participating in its economy and politics. While the equality of chances may be partially restored these days, the starting point of most citizens of African American descent is, statistically, much lower in the food chain. Capital has indeed been denied to them by systematic theft. But how, then, are we to practically repair this historic fault? Ta-Nehisi Coates argues the case. [FG]

 

 

Lifestyle & Storytelling

 

The Human Factor

Vanity Fair, October 2014

On May 31, 2009, Flight AF447 departed from Rio de Janeiro, Paris-bound. 4 hours into the flight, the unthinkable happened ; a simple technical glitch set off a catastrophic series of decisions that ultimately led the Airbus to plunge rapidly to the sea below, instantly killing all 216 passengers, 9 flight attendants and 3 pilots. From that catastrophe sparked a debate ; was the auto-pilot to blame? And if so, what are we to do with it? [GM]

 

My Evil Dad: Life as a Serial Killer's Daughter

BBC News Magazine, November 2nd 2014

By all means a perspective that's generally unheard of in media, the strange account of a daughter turned media sensation for organizing a community of serial killers' families. Second hand victimes in the delusional systems built by these sociopaths, longing for normalcy in their social, family and professional lives. Though no laughing matter, this piece is somewhat of an oddity, with several psychological layers to it. [FG]

 

Tales of the Trash

The New Yorker, October 13th 2014

The story begins with the engaging Sayyied Ahmed, a garbagemen, and the role played by the informal system called the zabal, in which zabaleen, or informal garbage collector, eventually find out everything these is to know about you and your neighbours. Much further, Hessler befriends Ahmed, and uncovers tales of great authenticity, from the suburbs of Cairo to the underpinnings of Egypt's legal system. [FG]

 

Why I Hope to Die at 75

The Atlantic, October 2014

This is not special request placed out to God for more (or less) time on this earth, quite the contrary, E.J. Emanuel serves us with a plea towards pre-programmed euthanasia. This comes from a man who assumes that, when you've reached 75, life has given you the best it had to give, and that, from there, it is mostly nothing but a downward slope. A provocative, yet lucid piece of reflection, it generated a record number of comments on The Atlantic's website. [GM]

 

How Quitting my Corporate Job for my Startup Dream Fucked my Life Up

Medium, September 10th 2014

This article could also have been entitled Field guide to become an entrepreneur and survive social pressure, relationship challenges and sleepless nights. In this very personal, transparent essai, Ali Mese reflects on his transition from unfulfilling but very lucrative corporate life to the liberating but bumpy road of entrepreneurship. [GM]

 

A Birth Story

Longreads, November 6th 2014

If every birth story is special, this one can be described as long, full of ups and downs, painful, joyful and, above all, very special. This article takes us to the heart of over 40 hours of labour, where some decisions had to be made, where strength and courage were mandatory, and where nothing, absolutely nothing, went according to plan. [GM]

 

 

Technology & Media

 

The Leaked New York Times Innovation Report is One of the Key Documents of this Media Age

Nieman Lab, May 15th 2014

An incredibly rich internal-diagnosis report produced by the New York Times’s newsroom innovation team was leaked, allowing us all to dive into this media institution’s reflexions, strategies and dirty laundry. I’d argue this is the most important document in the field of media produced (and released) in 2014. [GM]

 

The Pointlessness of Unplugging

The New Yorker, March 19th 2014

Unplugging, taking a vacation from your online self or going through a digital detox seemed to be one of the most fashionable thing to do in 2014. How many times have you read, in the course of the year “Leaving Facebook for a while to be in the world!” followed by a “Back online. What did I miss?” post a few days / weeks later? While some wrote full reports on how unplugging changed their perspective on life, others, like the author of this article, found the exercice rather absurd, and, well, pointless.  [GM]

 

The Masked Avengers

The New Yorker, September 8th 2014

In an attempt to provide a look "from the inside", David Kushner tells the story of Anonymous, an identity without clear boundaries; and a new species of online vigilantism in which individual attention-seekers are dismissed. Emerging from this organizational chaos are actions, some of them necessary, others damageable, that serve as a cautionary tale of what's coming on the grounds of cyberwarfare. [FG]

 

To Siri, With Love

The New York Times, October 17th 2014

This touching piece takes us in the everyday life of a mother and her 13 year old autistic son, who one day, by chance, discovered the personal assistant function on his mother’s iPhone. Since that day, the teenager has been having daily conversations with Siri, improving his interpersonal conversation skills along the way. [GM]

 

The Most Wanted Man in the World

Wired, August 2014

Without hesitation one of the most interesting accounts of how Edward Snowden rose from Maryland suburbs to international recognition, via a lengthy and in-depth experience of how mass surveillance is enacted in the US. Describing how Nazi bureaucrats got accustomed to public disservice to German citizens, Arendt spoke of "the banality of evil". Snowden feels that, in many ways, the American government has started behaving in similar ways. [FG]

 


 

We thank all those who read, contributed, and supported cllbr in 2014. We will continue to publish pieces in economics, politics, culture and business and exploring new forms of media expressing throughout the coming years. 

 

All images and photographs belong to the media who initially published these articles (unless otherwise specified on the website linked) and are used for representation purposes only. 

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