Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
Fascinating and creepy reporting by Reeves Wiedeman about the Broaddus family, who bought the home of their dreams — 657 Boulevard, in Westfield, New Jersey — only to be ruthlessly terrorized by scare notes from someone calling themselves “The Watcher.” The family struggles to identify the stalker, their investment drains away, and eventually their neighbors turn on them, which is the most normal and believable thing that happens in this crazy story.
657 Boulevard is anxious for you to move in. It has been years and years since the young blood ruled the hallways of the house. Have you found all of the secrets it holds yet? Will the young blood play in the basement? Or are they too afraid to go down there alone. I would [be] very afraid if I were them. It is far away from the rest of the house. If you were upstairs you would never hear them scream.
Well, here’s a head-scratcher. While some dedicate November to drafting a novel, epigraph to epilogue, and others grow mustaches to promote better health (odd, but well-intentioned), the isolated young men of the internet are … giving up masturbation? To punish women? Oh, for a world where this would be simply ridiculous, instead of the tip of an iceberg of misogyny and viciousness.
The NoFap sub-Reddit began in 2011, when one Redditor discovered a study that argued men who abstained from masturbating saw huge spikes in their testosterone levels after a week. While initially built merely on this foundation, the NoFap community has become linked to wider sexism and misogyny, reducing women to sexual objects to be attained or abstained from and shaming sexually active women. And this is no niche philosophy. The NoFap sub-Reddit, at the time of writing, has 377,000 subscribers.
Kevin Alexander visited more than 30 cities to find the best burger in America. At the top of the list: Stanich’s, in Portland, Oregon. It looked like a huge win for the family-owned business, until a flood of food tourists crashed against the doors, overwhelming the staff and driving out regulars. Today, Stanich’s is closed, its future uncertain.
This isn’t the first time a small business has been overwhelmed by internet fame. Who’s the villain here? Stanich’s owner made good decisions about his business as he knew it; Alexander had the best intentions about drawing attention to an awesome little restaurant. Even the foodies who mobbed the place were just hoping to discover something great. Still, these feel like cautionary tales, not just bad luck. Don’t they?
If there was one main negative takeaway from the raging fires of food tourist culture and the lists fanning the flames, it was that the people crowding the restaurant were one time customers. They were there to check off a thing on a list, and put it on Instagram. They weren’t invested in the restaurant’s success, but instead in having a public facing opinion of a well known place. In other words, they had nothing to lose except money and the restaurant had nothing to gain except money, and that made the entire situation feel both precarious and a little gross.
Speaking of cautionary tales— I don’t usually promote internally, but I loved this essay by co-founder Paul Constant. There’s something Trumpian about how quickly we seem to forget the bad deeds of Seattle’s favorite big employer, distracted by the next shiny object Jeff Bezos puts in front of us. Paul has a long memory, though, and, of course, a sharp, sharp wit.
The truth is, Amazon has always been a bad neighbor. The Seattle Times in 2012 called Amazon “a virtual no-show in the civic life of Seattle,” and that still sounds about right today. Unless it’s looking for publicity for a new Echo gadget, the self-described “bashful company” is notoriously silent. In my 10 years of reporting on Amazon in Seattle, its PR department has never once returned one of my dozens of requests for comment on its business practices. It’s not just the media that’s being stonewalled — Amazon’s management also failed to establish any meaningful relationship with local elected officials. As New York saw with the HQ2 beauty pageant, Amazon prefers to keep everyone guessing what its next move will be.
You guys. Spoiler. We lost.
On November 9th, at the 6th Annual Book Sorting Contest against Seattle, New York City’s book sorting team gathered together to take back the title of champion sorters in the United States. The race took place on both coasts, beginning with New York’s course at the Library Service Center in Long Island City and then the King County Library System’s course, several hours later, outside Seattle. Each machine would run for exactly one hour, zealously sorting books, getting them out to the numerous libraries in the area and ultimately into the hands of the patrons.