December 11, 2012

Monthly Wire

Top Reads of 2012

By Monthly Wire

Ten of the best reads from around the world as featured in the Shortlist Daily.

How a high-speed rail disaster exposed China's corruption “He captured a wobbly snapshot of the digital speedometer at the end of the carriage; it showed the kilometre equivalent of 188 m.p.h. Miles ahead, something unusual was happening. At 7:30 P.M., on the outskirts of the city of Wenzhou, lightning struck a heavy metal box beside the tracks.” – New Yorker

Meeting a trollI received a parcel at my home address. Nothing unusual there – I get a lots of post. I ripped it open and there was a tupperware lunchbox inside full of ashes. There was a note included ‘Say hello to your relatives from Auschwitz’ I was physically sick. I was petrified. They had my address.” – Traynor’s Eye

Postscript: Robert HughesHis values rose not from some distant imagined past, but from the European modernism that still vibrated with excitement in the Australia of his youth, where no one yet knew it well enough to have grown tired of it.” (Adam Gopnik) – New Yorker

Global warming's terrifying new math “Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded (for America) - in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the ‘largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.’” (Bill McKibben) – Rolling Stone

Why women still can't have it allI said, ‘When this is over, I’m going to write an op-ed titled ‘Women Can't Have It All’’. You can't write that,’ she said. ‘You, of all people.’ What she meant was that such a statement, coming from a high-profile career woman, would be a terrible signal to younger generations of women.” (Anne-Marie Slaughter) – The Atlantic

Chateau Sucker “Rare-wine collectors are savvy, competitive guys with a taste for impossible finds. The biggest hoax in history took place right under their noses.” – New York Magazine

American Mozart “‘I like Kanye,’ Obama continues, with an easy smile. ‘He’s a Chicago guy. Smart. He’s very talented.’ ‘Even though you called him a jackass?’ ‘He is a jackass,’ Obama says, in his likable and perfectly balanced modern-professorial voice. ‘But he’s talented.’” – The Atlantic

My Drone War “If the conduct of the drone war is mysterious, the terrain over which it is fought is not, at least to me – I have known it all my life.” (Pir Zubair Shah) – Foreign Policy

On the Market: Sotheby’s “The very cadence of a good auctioneer is teasing: coy with one bidder, forward with the other, pitting the two against each other in a charged battle of tiny tics (paddle up, paddle down).” – n+1

Obama, explainedAnd for those who supported him the first time, as I did? To me, the evidence suggests that given a second term, he would have a better chance of becoming the figure so many people imagined.” (James Fallows) – The Atlantic

From the front page

Image of Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese during Question Time earlier this week. Image © Mick Tsikas / AAP Images

Go figure

How did Labor end up with an emissions-reduction target of just 43 per cent?

Image of The Beatles and Yoko Ono during the ‘Let It Be’ sessions. Image © Apple Records / Disney+

‘Get Back’ is ‘slow TV’ for Beatles nuts

Despite plenty of magical moments, Peter Jackson’s eight-hour epic is the work of a fanatic, and will likely only be watched in full by other fanatics

Illustration by Jeff Fisher

Declaration of independents

The success of Indi MP Helen Haines points to more non-aligned voices in parliament

Image of The Kid Laroi

New kid on the block: The Kid Laroi

How Australia has overlooked its biggest global music star, an Indigenous hip-hop prodigy

Online exclusives

Image of The Beatles and Yoko Ono during the ‘Let It Be’ sessions. Image © Apple Records / Disney+

‘Get Back’ is ‘slow TV’ for Beatles nuts

Despite plenty of magical moments, Peter Jackson’s eight-hour epic is the work of a fanatic, and will likely only be watched in full by other fanatics

Image of John Wilson in How To with John Wilson. Image courtesy of HBO / Binge

Candid camera: ‘How To with John Wilson’

Both delightfully droll and genuinely moving, John Wilson’s idiosyncratic documentary series is this month’s streaming standout

Image of Clint Eastwood in Cry Macho. Image © Claire Folger / Warner Bros.

Slow motions: Clint Eastwood’s ‘Cry Macho’

Despite patient filmmaking, the 91-year-old director’s elegiac feature is unable to escape the legend of the man

Image of Anthony Bourdain in Roadrunner. © Focus Features

End of the road: The Anthony Bourdain documentary ‘Roadrunner’

Morgan Neville’s posthumous examination of the celebrity chef hews close to the familiar narrative