16 Feb 2018

Weekly Reading: Best longreads on the web

2:34 pm on 16 February 2018

Our weekly recap of the best feature stories from around the internet.


This week Wired examine the last two years inside Facebook HQ.

This week Wired examine the last two years inside Facebook HQ. Photo: AFP

Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook - and the World, by Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein, Wired

“The stories varied, but most people told the same basic tale: of a company, and a CEO, whose techno-optimism has been crushed as they’ve learned the myriad ways their platform can be used for ill. Of an election that shocked Facebook, even as its fallout put the company under siege. Of a series of external threats, defensive internal calculations, and false starts that delayed Facebook’s reckoning with its impact on global affairs and its users’ minds. And—in the tale’s final chapters—of the company’s earnest attempt to redeem itself.”

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, Is Young, Forward-Looking, and Unabashedly Liberal—Call Her the Anti-Trump, by Amelia Lester, Vogue

“Ardern is expert at preparing kingfish sashimi, but now Gayford does most of the cooking. “She’s notorious for skipping meals, and so the most important job I’ve got is to make sure she’s eating properly,” he says. The situation is a first for them both, but Gayford’s been in the neighborhood before. When I asked Ardern how he copes with a relationship spent in the spotlight, she says with a knowing smile, “Well, his previous girlfriend was on Shortland Street”—New Zealand’s preeminent soap opera—“so he’s fine.”’

Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand, by Mark O’Connell, The Guardian

“Thiel’s interest in New Zealand was certainly fuelled by his JRR Tolkien obsession: this was a man who had named at least five of his companies in reference to The Lord of the Rings, and fantasised as a teenager about playing chess against a robot that could discuss the books. It was a matter, too, of the country’s abundance of clean water and the convenience of overnight flights from California. But it was also inseparable from a particular strand of apocalyptic techno-capitalism. To read The Sovereign Individual was to see this ideology laid bare: these people, the self-appointed “cognitive elite”, were content to see the unravelling of the world as long as they could carry on creating wealth in the end times.”

The Arrival of Timothée Chalamet, by Daniel Riley, GQ

“I asked him why he wanted to meet in Westwood. I knew he was suspicious of L.A. He'd toyed with the idea of moving out here the past two years but always found himself sucked back home, where he felt more grounded. "I get nervous," he said. "I worry, after all this, about moving to L.A., which is very appealing and a little dangerous. I just can't imagine meeting 26-year-old me that's been living in L.A. and thinking, 'Oh, he was challenged as a human being and he made intellectual strides.' I feel like he would have a Hawaiian necklace on and baggy shorts."’

Hope Hicks Has Been Able To Spin Every White House Scandal Except Her Own, by Anne Helen Petersen, Buzzfeed

“Since the Porter story broke, the Daily Mail has tracked her mood and fashion closely (“The 29-year-old Director of Communications for the White House conveyed her sense of gloom and doom in a black belted jacket and some $800 black-suede, thigh-high Stuart Weitzman boots”). Hollywood Life declared that Hicks “looks distraught after rumored BF Rob Porter’s WH exit over abuse allegations,” peppering the piece with assurances of Hope’s fashion acumen: “While the expression on Hicks’ face was one of sadness, her outfit absolutely crushed it as always”; “Despite turmoil in the White House, she always looks good no matter what new crisis comes up.”’

The Bittersweet Beauty of Adam Rippon, by Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

“That’s a feeling perhaps uniquely particular to the gay experience, the muddied confusion over whether you want to be someone’s companion or if you want to step inside their skin, to inhabit the world as they do. Watching Rippon have his triumphant moment on Sunday night—and give a funny, frank interview afterward—I felt the kind of yearning for a celebrity that I haven’t felt since I was 17, half my life ago. How strange to experience that while watching sports, an area of culture I’m usually pretty alienated from unless it’s Olympics time. Sure there have been plenty of swimmers and gymnasts and whomever else to lust after in Olympics past, but Rippon is something else—a sassy beacon of hope, a gay angel sent to delight and, sure, sadden us a little with all his distant beauty and poise.”