10 Outstanding Long-Reads, Just In Time For Memorial Day

This holiday weekend has been a long time coming. You deserve to relax.
With that in mind, we've selected 10 excellent articles that have hit the Web in the last couple months. Sit with them on the beach or on an airplane. Read them in the corner when you should be socializing and barbecuing. Netflix will still be there next weekend.
Advertisement
Some of the stories are hilarious, and some will bring you to tears. Some will even convince you to stop showering altogether.
1 of 10
Photo: Courtesy of the New York Times.
Title: "My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment" (The New York Times, May 22)

By: Julia Scott

The gist: The author replaces her usual toilette with an experimental regimen of live "good" bacteria that soaps normally wash away.

Best line: "I slept with a towel over my pillow and found myself avoiding parties and public events. Mortified by my body odor, I kept my arms pinned to my sides, unless someone volunteered to smell my armpit. One friend detected the smell of onions."
2 of 10
Photo: Courtesy of The Atlantic.
Title: "The Case for Reparations" (The Atlantic, May 21)

By: Ta-Nehisi Coates

The gist: Coates takes a devastating look at America's legacy of racism, with a focus on economic segregation and Chicago's exploitative housing market.

Best line: "The kind of trenchant racism to which black people have persistently been subjected can never be defeated by making its victims more respectable. The essence of American racism is disrespect."
3 of 10
Photo: Courtesy of The Los Angeles Review of Books.
Title: "The Los Angeles Review of Cups" (Los Angeles Review of Books, May 19)

By: Maria Bustillos

The gist: A critical analysis of Chipotle's new "Cultivating Thought: Author Series" program, in which short writings by Toni Morrison, George Saunders, and Jonathan Safran Foer appear on disposable cups.

Best line: "Foer’s casual presumption and smug moral certainty drove me up a tree in record time."

4 of 10
Photo: Courtesy of Lucky Peach.
Title: "Infectious Confection" (Lucky Peach, Issue 11)

By: Harold McGee

The gist: The archbishop of food science, Harold McGee, takes a look at how to bake with Clostridium perfringens, a relative of the pathogen that causes botulism and eats your flesh.

Best line: "The social historian J. C. Furnas, who learned to love salt-rising bread as a child in the early twentieth century, wrote that 'the flavor was once well defined by my sister as like distant dirty feet,' but to his older and more discerning self it tasted 'as if a delicately reared, unsweetened plain cake had had an affair with a Pont l'Eveque cheese.'"
Advertisement
5 of 10
Photo: Courtesy of The Millions.
Title: "Thug: A Life of Caravaggio in Sixty-Nine Paragraphs" (The Millions, May 16)

By: Stephen Akey

The gist: Who knew that the famous painter, who barely survived a disfiguring attack, balled so hard?

Best line: "The infractions were racking up: carrying his sword without a license, insulting a police officer, assaulting (big mistake) a mid-level Vatican functionary. Impossibly touchy where his honor was concerned, he threw a plate of artichokes in the face of a waiter who had made the mistake of serving them with insufficient deference. A Roman police blotter preserves his furious words: 'It seems to me, you fucking prick, that you think you’re serving some two bit crook.'"
6 of 10
Photo: Courtesy of New York magazine.
Title: "'Let's, Like, Demolish Laundry'" (New York magazine, May 21

By: Jessica Pressler

The gist: An overview of Washio, a laundry delivery startup, and its competitors — which is a hell of a lot more interesting than you'd probably guess.

Best line: "In reality, when people in a privileged society look deep within themselves to find what is missing, a streamlined clothes-cleaning experience comes up a lot. More often than not, the people who come up with ways of lessening this burden on mankind are dudes, or duos of dudes, who have only recently experienced the crushing realization that their laundry is now their own responsibility, forever. Paradoxically, many of these dudes start companies that make laundry the central focus of their lives."
7 of 10
Photo: Courtesy of GQ.
Title: "Mugaritz: The Most Adventurous Restaurant in the World" (GQ, May issue)

By: Michael Paterniti

The gist: A profile of one of Spain's most famous restaurants, run by Andoni Luis Aduriz.

Best line: "In the world of haute cuisine these days, the kitchens of such Michelin multiple-starred restaurants as Mugaritz, as well as those of steampunk upstarts looking for their first star, have become the crucible for a certain war between faux and haute, fuff-and-noise and authenticity, between extreme dictatorships and imperfect oligarchies, between plates served with miniaturized affectations delivered in designy settings and true artistry exercised in such a way that both challenges our sensibilities and redefines food, making it unforgettable."
8 of 10
Photo: Courtesy of Buzzfeed.
Title: "The Worst Day Of My Life Is Now New York’s Hottest Tourist Attraction" (Buzzfeed, May 19)

By: Steve Kandell

The gist: Kandell, whose sister died on in the attacks on the Twin Towers, visits the new 9/11 Memorial Museum and describes the conflict he faces with it.

Best line: "[You] should have to see for yourself how little your pain matters to a family of five who need to get some food before the kids melt down. Or maybe worse, watch it be co-opted by people who want, for whatever reason, to feel that connection so acutely."

9 of 10
Photo: Courtesy of LA Weekly.
Title: "How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star" (LA Weekly, May 20)

By: Amy Nicholson

The gist: Nicholson makes a convincing case for a specious argument — that the evolution of online viewing makes Tom Cruise seem crazy, or at least crazier than he really is.

Best line: "[We've] become more cynical about click-baiting headlines, even as celebrities have figured out the new rules. After the summer of Cruise and the couch, celebrities go on network TV fully aware that anything they say could go viral. Actors weaned on the web can wield it to their advantage — think Emma Stone lip-synching on Jimmy Fallon."
10 of 10
Photo: Courtesy of GQ.
Title: "Where the Wild Things Go Viral" (GQ, March 2014)

By: Zach Baron

The gist: It's a profile of the Buzzfeed team that brings you such posts as "The 50 Cutest Things That Happened This Year."

Best line: "'Ugh, I fucking hate babies,' Jack says. Then he reconsiders a bit. 'Some of my favorite cute-animal pictures are animals and babies interacting, and that's cool.'"
Advertisement