Skimping on news of the world this week, but a lot of personal essays and longreads. First off, though, in case you haven't seen it, here's your one-stop shopping for explaining to your FB friends why the Philippines really does not need donations of your old shoes and crap. By Jessica Alexander at Slate. (Jia Tolentino has suggestions for how to send money for aid and recovery here.)
"A vast majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real and at least two-thirds of those want the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions, new research revealed on Wednesday." Suzanne Goldenberg at the Guardian.
"In the business world, successful businesses thrive and weak, underperforming ones wither and shut down. Proponents argue that when this principle is carried over into public education, the resulting competition lifts the bar of expectation and results for everyone. But in practice, schools are not businesses and communities don’t function the same way as markets, and school closures haven’t left a trail of academic success stories in their wake." Sobering and aptly titled report by Julianne Hing at Colorlines on "The Brutal End of Public Education" in Philadelphia.
"The cancellation crisis is a product of certain Obama weaknesses—his faith in the obviousness of his own good sense, his failure to measure his opponents—and may turn out to be the single thing he’s done that will most help those who call him a deceiver and a fraud." Amy Davidson at The New Yorker.
"But the free clinic is also where some people learn that there is no hope for the chemotherapy or surgery that they need but can’t afford. When UTMB refuses to treat them, it falls to us to tell them that they will die of diseases that are, in fact, treatable." This essay by Rachel Pearson at the Texas Observer should be required reading at every medical school in America. Also you should read it. (Via Melissa del Bosque.)
"It’s hard to know where to begin, so Dr. Theresa Cheng concerns herself with what she knows best as a dentist: his teeth." From Sarah Zhang at The Seattle Times, a Veterans' Day story.
"That’s part of the genius of the program: By segregating and fast-tracking the veterans from students who might have never treated a wound or seen a patient, they can adopt a go-fast approach that gets them into the job market." From Carol Rosenberg at The Miami Herald, another Veterans' Day story.
'It makes no sense,' said Dr. Leone. 'The people who are really transmitting are the ones who are sort of getting away with not disclosing.'." Seriously good explanation of how complicated and variable a diagnosis of "herpes" really is, by "An HSV-Negative Lady" at The Hairpin.
"When I saw the girls staring, their eyes like marbles, I knew I had to be the calm one because there would be no one capable of saving me except me." I do not even know what to say about this essay by Ariella Yendler at The Toast about being beaten with a tire iron, except that she is a badass, and you should read it even if you have to slide your eyes really fast over all the graphic parts (like I do).
"'He’s alive now,' I said, looking at the person in my left hand. The voice said that he understood, but that it wouldn’t last, and that he would send an ambulance for us right away." This piece by Ariel Levy at The New Yorker is pretty much unbearable reading, and I strongly advise that you do not click on it if you have ever had a traumatic pregnancy loss, unless you're prepared to cope with PTSD all over again. The piece is terribly beautiful if you can handle it, though.
"The same woman can wake up one morning with regret, the next with relief—most have feelings too knotty for a picket sign. 'There’s no room,' one woman told us, 'to talk about being unsure.'" Twenty-six women tell the stories of their abortions. By Meaghan Winter at NY Mag.
"When Hana died, she became one of at least dozens of adoptees alleged to have been killed at their adoptive parents' hands in the past 20 years, and part of a far larger group of children who become estranged from their adoptive families—frequently, as it turns out, large families with fundamentalist beliefs about child rearing." Another wrenching piece from Kathryn Joyce at Slate on abuse of international adoptees.
"A lifetime spent holding a part of yourself in reserve does not resolve with the birth of a child. We mothers are still entitled to unknowable parts, if we want them." A very fine short essay on the particular tension of being an introvert and a mother, by Stacia L. Brown.
"The hostility is not directly specifically at black women, but as the presence of black women in this space as avatars of change. Our hypervisible invisibility in spaces like Austin portend a demographic shift that a country that will tell our president to go back to Africa is obviously not equipped to process. To be the sole black person in any space brings its own challenges. But to find yourself as the sole honest black friend to numerous white people is more than a full-time job. It becomes a second identity, a shadow." At PostBourgie, Joshunda Saunders writes about leaving Austin, Texas.
"Bangs are not historically accurate. Mom worried that the other women would remark upon them." If you never thought you'd have any reason to read anything about Civil War re-enactors, Leigh Stein is about to change your mind. At The Toast.
"Lamenting my age, at this point, even in jest, feels ungrateful. It's sort of an insult to the integrity of my intact life, without which I would not be sitting here. You pull out any of the pieces, however much I may have hated them at the time, and the results would be unpredictable. This is where I am, this is how long it took." Because how can I not link to this essay at NPR by Linda Holmes when she is so approximately my vintage? (Via Jody T.)
"Like most people in New York City, I daily expect to find myself walking the West Side Highway with nothing but a shopping cart stacked with bottled water, a flashlight, and a dead loved one on my back, seeking a suitable site for burial. The postapocalyptic scenario—the future in which everyone’s a corpse (except you)—must be, at this point, one of the most thoroughly imagined fictions of the age." Zadie Smith again at the NYRB, and hooray for that.
"People stroll in and out of the Loaf 'N Jug, a lady with Pringles, a guy slapping a fresh pack of Marlboros, a teenager sipping something blue. It's a clear May day in Colorado, and the hit man is a good listener." At GQ, Jeanne Marie Laskas with the most amazing story you will ever read about undercover agents who pose as hit men.