Hannah Pearson
By on June 28, 2014 in Recommended
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The thinking drone’s pick of longform: June 28

We’ve trawled the web this week and hauled in a variety of longform, from what Kathy Acker made of the Spice Girls to finding Richard III’s body in a Leicester carpark, the stories our scars have to Pope Francis and, whether the Oxford comma is really as important as some would have you believe.

1. What a cult figure of the punk movement made of the Spice Girls

All together now – The Guardian – 3 May 1997 – Kathy Acker

Feminism, especially female intellectuals, had become extinct. ‘Where have all the women gone to?’ I asked. Then came a twist named the Spice Girls. The Spices, though they deny it, are babes – the blonde, the redhead, the dark sultry fashion model – and they’re more. They both are and represent a voice that has too long been repressed. The voices, not really the voice, of young women and, just as important, of women not from the educated classes.

2. The serendipity of finding Richard III’s grave in a carpark

Unearthing Richard III: The Luckiest Find in History – Mental Floss – 7 May 2014

On the morning of August 25, 2012, an orange mini excavator punctured the asphalt over the exact spot where, nearly a decade prior, Langley had felt goosebumps. Langley, Ashdown-Hill, a team from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, the Leicester City Council, and a documentary crew all looked on. The lead archaeologist, Richard Buckley, put the odds of finding the grave at a million to one. And it wasn’t just the body Buckley was skeptical about; he doubted they’d even find the church.

3. Will Pope Francis rebuild or wreck the Catholic church?

Francis’s Holy War – Matter at Medium – 4 June 2014 – Alma Guillermoprieto

What may not have been so clear to the cardinals who chose him above all others at that conclave is that Francis would enter the Vatican like Jesus into the Temple or a bull into a china shop, knocking over conventions and rules with abandon. And what stunned everyone was that, from the moment he stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter’s for the first time on that drizzly evening, he would channel a ravening hunger for change among millions of people all over the world. 

4. Can you read someone’s life story through their scars?

Scars: A Life in Injuries – The New Yorker – 19 March 2012 – David Owen

When my daughter was ten, a careless boy at the ice rink cut the back of her hand with his skate, and I drove her to the emergency room to be sewn up. She was frightened and in tears, so on our way to the hospital I told her that some of my happiest, most vivid memories involved accidents. I showed her my dimple and told her about the scars on my arms and my big toe, and I ran down most of the rest of my inventory of falls and fractures and stitches and chipped teeth. I suggested that we think of her hurt hand not as a tragedy but as a potentially interesting adventure, which we would both remember with more than ordinary clarity, and by the time we got to the hospital she had cheered up.

5. Giving up on the Oxford comma

Nobody. Understands. Punctuation. – Still Drinking – 7 June 2014 – Peter Welch

He reminded us that English is a rich and flexible language, and sifting something new out of it is half the fun. He reminded us that the structure of a sentence can be funny or sad. Most of all, he reminded us that writing is about communication. Writing is the most explicit art form; you can communicate enormously complex ideas or explore the oddest and most trivial quirks of the human experience.

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