Hannah Pearson
By on June 14, 2014 in Recommended
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The thinking drone’s pick of longform: June 14

This week our top longreads include a whirlwind tour of the dizzying Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech, an ode to the quirks of our fathers, the history of executioners (one for the Game of Throne fans), how we assess the value of objects and a whale who talked to humans.

1. The whirlpool of senses in the central square of Marrakech

Djemaa el Fna, Marrakech – Women on the Road – 10 June 2014 – Leyla Alyanak

Djemaa el Fna at night is smoke rising from dozens of food stalls, thick and clinging in my throat, watering my eyes and whetting my want for the grilled crackle of fatty lamb. It is men in white aprons waving long menus in my face, teasing me, at times crowding my personal space, making me want to run rather than eat.

2. A father’s love for his lawn

Hey, Kids, Get off my Lawn! – Salon – 19 June 2009 – Vincent Rossmeier

It did make a kind of sense. Maybe all this time my father’s fastidiousness was really a carefully manicured display of love — maybe he was nurturing me by nurturing the grass. Could that be why, even at the age of 67, after doting on his lawn for close to 30 years, my dad still gets dewy-eyed when our conversations inevitably turn to fresh sod? 

3. The business of death

A Short History of the Executioner – The Appendix – 11 June 2014 – Stassa Edwards

The history of the professional executioner is a chronicle of perfecting the choreography of death. It’s a story of exacting skill and the never-ending search for a more efficient means to enact (and contain) the spectacle of death. The professionalization of death—a chilling business—was cultivated for centuries by a profane tribe of men who were denied civil status and ostracized from nearly every aspect of daily life.

4. The meanings we bestow on objects

Believers – Cleaver Magazine – Issue no 6 2014 – Elizabeth Mosier

My point is that we value objects (or not) according to the personal meaning that we bestow. Perhaps it’s sacrilegious to say it, but in the months since the sauceboat’s discovery, I’ve often wondered if the pristine Bonnin and Morris pickle stand on exhibit at the art museum escaped the privy pit not because it was treasured, but because it is absurd.

5. A talkative whale

The Story of One Whale Who Tried to Bridge the Linguistic Divide Between Animals and Humans – Smithsonian Magazine – June 2014 – Charles Siebert

There had been numerous claims in the past about the naturally vociferous beluga talking in our language as well. Until Noc, however, no one had ever had an opportunity to do the repeated observations, acoustic recordings and audio analysis required to verify what people had long believed they were hearing.

What was your favourite longread you came across this week? Let us know in the comments below!