The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

Cinema Crudité. Writing in the August 2010 issue of Harper's, Tom Bissell dives deeply into what many people consider the most strangely-engrossing worst movie ever made, The Room. Having seen the movie isn't requisite to enjoy the article, and it will likely cause the reader to go see the movie post haste after finishing.

20 Hidden Jokes in Arrested Development. On Mental Floss, Rudie Obias dispassionately rattles off some of the overlooked jokes sprinkled liberally throughout the first three seasons of the television show Arrested Development. Notably, some of the jokes foreshadow events a full season before they happen.

The Confidence Economy: An Interview. In Public Books, interviewer B.R. Coen talks with cultural historian T.J. Jackson Lears about the use of confidence (as in the same type used by confidence, or con, men) as the basis for the advertising consumer economy. Lears' interesting views and easy manner rescue what should be a bone dry interview and make it interesting.

The Greatest Vendetta on Earth. In an August 2001 multi-part post on Salon, writer Jeff Stein chronicles the bizarre story of an eight-year campaign to derail the life of a writer, led by the head of the company that owns Ringling Bros. - Barnum & Bailey Circus. The CEO hired a former CIA chief and all manner of shady types to carry out his dirty tricks simply because he didn't like an article the woman wrote about his family.

Think Fast, Are We Really Getting Dumber? David DiSalvo writes in Forbes about a recent study that suggests that people today are a full 14 points lower in our intelligence quotient scores than our counterparts during the Victorian era and why that probably isn't true.

Jaron Lanier: The Internet Destroyed the Middle Class. In an interview with Scott Timberg in Salon, Internet pioneer and deep thinker Jaron Lanier talks about the crux of his new book, that the model of commerce and consumption that we've created for the Internet age provides great reward for a very few and ultimately reduces the middle class. By extension, this reduced middle class means a less healthy democracy.