Monthly Archives: October 2018

How a smooth Saudi operative charms Washington and defends ‘the indefensible’ – POLITICO


The Last Puerto Rican Social Club in Brooklyn


Carl-Johan Karlsson | Longreads | October 2018 | 13 minutes (3,603 words)

Nestled within the brown, red, and yellow gingerbread houses that line Williamsburg’s Grand Street in Brooklyn, Toñita’s (technically named Caribbean Social Club) is easy to miss, unless you spot the neon Corona sign and the weathered sticker that says We’re open. Inside, there’s a disco ball, a reindeer head mounted on the wall, and a palm tree wrapped in Christmas tinsel. A pool table surrounded by plastic chairs stands in the center of the wood-patterned vinyl floor. Photos of baseball players in eclectic frames festoon the walls. Gilt baseball trophies jostle one another on high shelves. The biggest frame is dedicated to Roberto Clemente — the sainted Puerto Rican right fielder who died in a plane crash in 1972. On the walls, posters for salsa shows and domino tournaments compete for space. A wooden plaque — from…

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Marriage Proposal Follies


Amy Deneson | Longreads | October 2018 | 16 minutes (4,022 words)

This will be the day

That you will hear me say

That I will never run away

– Prince, Diamonds and Pearls

On the day New York State legalized same-sex marriage, I proposed to my girlfriend in the New York Times Modern Love column. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The column’s editor, Daniel Jones, had emailed me to request an essay he’d previously rejected for being too political. He explained the paper was dedicating part of every section in the Sunday edition to Marriage Equality. “If it’s not already committed elsewhere, there isn’t much time.”

I accepted his retraction and, being a personal-is-political kind of lesbian, sent back a few additions to his notes and ended the revision with a marriage proposal.

“Are you sure?” Jones called. “This will be the column’s first.”


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I Believe Her: A Reading List


On September 27, 2018, I sat home alone at my kitchen table, my laptop open to Christine Blasey Ford delivering her opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Outside, the neighbor’s dog barked and a truck throttled down the street, but as Dr. Ford uttered the phrase, “but his weight was heavy,” the world around me, the one I have built for myself here and now, seemed to dissolve. As she testified about Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge’s laughter, “pin-balling off the walls,” I wept. My body tensed. I was no longer seated at my kitchen table, but waking up instead on the cold hard tile of my college dormitory, my assaulter and my best friend both standing above me, laughing.

During the second semester of my freshman year of college, my mattress had been placed directly on the floor because a neurological illness had stolen my ability to safely…

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