Last December, I highlighted my ten favorite articles that I wrote in 2013, and I’ve decided to try it again this year.
First, here’s a quick summary of my 2014: I continued writing for the Austin Chronicle, mostly covering local news. I’m still the opinion editor for The Horn and still occasionally contribute to the Dallas Observer and The Dallas Morning News. I’ve kept writing for the Texas Travesty, which was named the “Readers Best Local Non-‘Chronicle’ Publication” by the Austin Chronicle (and during the fall, I was the Travesty‘s Senior Food Critic). At school, I’ve studied and written about a variety of topics, including history, Christianity, and hip-hop. In the spring, I rapped for charity. In November, I started working part-time for Pluckers Wing Bar, handling marketing and donations.
All in all, I wrote over fifty articles this year. Below, in chronological order, are the ten of my articles from 2014 that I’m most proud of:
1. “For popular rapper, an unusual calling card: sobriety” – The Dallas Morning News – February 14:
I grew up reading The Dallas Morning News‘ Points Section every Sunday morning, and those articles definitely helped inspire me to write. So it was a dream come true when my essay about rapper Macklemore and his struggle with addiction was published in the Sunday Points section.
2. “Facebook ‘Threat’ Case Unresolved” – Austin Chronicle – February 28:
While an especially frustrating case to cover, the story of Justin Carter is an important story for me – and anyone else who values free speech. My reporting on the case was even cited by NPR.
3. “Online Privacy: Technical, Political, or Both?” – Austin Chronicle – March 28:
As a result of whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s leaks, many Americans are becoming more conscious of their online privacy and security. I interviewed multiple experts for the story, including Phil Zimmermann, Elissa Shevinsky, and more.
4. “Stand up to injustice, even if you stand alone — and remember the ‘tank man’” – The Dallas Morning News – June 5:
The Tiananmen Square protester known simply as ‘Tank Man’ has long been a hero of mine, so I was grateful to get to write about his heroism, twenty-five years after the event.
5. “The Texas GOP Stands on a Platform of Ignorance” – Reason – June 28:
Reason is one of my favorite publications, so I was honored to write for them. Earlier this year, the Texas Republican Party’s 2014 platform condemned homosexuality, arguing that being gay “must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle.” They even supported reparative therapy, a controversial practice aimed at helping homosexuals embrace their “authentic” heterosexual identity. And I wasn’t too happy about that, so I wrote about it.
6. “The Best Bible Verse-Checks in the History of Rap” – On Faith – July 29:
In 2013, I explored the profane by writing about “The 30 Most Disturbing Songs of All Time.” This year, I strayed from the profane and focused on the sacred – I wrote about the best Biblical allusions in hip-hop.
7. “A.Dd+ Chronicle Their Nawfside Love on New Nawf EP” – Dallas Observer – August 12:
Just this last week, Dallas hip-hop duo A.Dd+ won three Dallas Observer Music Awards – Best EP, Best Rap/Hip-Hop Act, and Best Live Act. Back in August, I interviewed the duo about their Nawf EP – which pays homage to ‘Nawf Dallas,’ the neighborhood where the duo is from (and where I’m from as well).
8. “Talking Songs with Joe Purdy” – The Horn – September 10:
Joe Purdy is one of my all-time favorite musicians, and I had the privilege of interviewing the singer-songwriter before covering his concert in Austin.
9. “Pluckers is the bomb – ISIS is not” – Texas Travesty – September 23:
If there’s one thing I love, it’s Pluckers Wing Bar. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s war. So I connected the two in one of my (hopefully) humorous articles as the Texas Travesty‘s Senior Food Critic.
10. “UFC Fight Night Pounds the Erwin Center” – Austin Chronicle – November 24:
While I’m generally not too big of a sports fan, I do enjoy MMA, and I was lucky enough to cover a UFC event for the Chronicle. And before covering the event itself, I had the chance to interview UFC featherweight Cub Swanson.
Every so often, I share some of the articles that I’ve really enjoyed recently, regardless of the subject or length or source. Feel free to check out some of my other recommendations from 2013 (February 17th, June 20th, July 28th, & August 8th) or earlier this year (March 2014), as I try to make my suggested articles as timeless as possible – after all, as Henry David Thoreau suggested in his Life Without Principle, “Read not the Times. Read the Eternities.” Below, in no particular order, are seven articles that I highly recommend. Let me know what you think.
Every few weeks or so, I try to list some of the articles that I’ve really enjoyed recently. (Feel free to check out my lists of recommendations from February 17th, June 20th and July 28th.) So here are my newest suggestions (although the suggestions themselves aren’t all new):
–“From Tom Paine to Glenn Greenwald, we need partisan journalism” by Jack Shafer (Reuters) – An incredible article defending openly biased journalism. “I care less about where a journalist is coming from than to where his journalism takes me.”
–“Who am I to judge the Pope, says gay man” (The Daily Mash) – An absolutely brilliant satirical response to Pope Francis saying, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
–“The Bomb Didn’t Beat Japan… Stalin Did” by Ward Wilson (Foreign Policy) – The article is an extremely well-supported and convincing argument that the use of nuclear weapons on Japan in World War II actually did little, if anything at all, to encourage Japan to surrender. Warning: It’s a long read – but it’s undoubtedly worth your time.
–“The Sad Legacy of Ronald Reagan” by Sheldon L. Richman (The Free Market) – Despite the seemingly infinite claims of President Reagan being a small government saint, his record indicates that he was far from a libertarian. This article echoes the feelings of Dr. Ron Paul in his 1987 resignation letter to the RNC.
–“In U.S., Strong Link Between Church Attendance, Smoking” by Frank Newport & Igor Himelfarb (Gallup) – As they so often are, this recent Gallup poll was really fascinating for me. “Smoking in the U.S. is highly correlated with religiosity, with those who never attend church almost three times as likely to smoke as those who attend weekly.”