Michael's Favorite Reads of the Week: The Week of December 29

Each and every week, I will share some of my favorite articles and columns from the previous week. I hope you enjoy this regular feature, and that you'll be introduced to some great writing and ideas. If you find an article that you think is perfect for this feature, leave it in the comments or email me at michael (at) michaelrwear (dot) com. Read last week's favorite reads here.


Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic: How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood

After months of research and analysis, Madrigal enthusiastically shares with us his findings that "Netflix has meticulously analyzed and tagged every movie and TV show imaginable. They possess a stockpile of data about Hollywood entertainment that is absolutely unprecedented. The genres that I scraped and that we caricature above are just the surface manifestation of this deeper database." There was a lot of reporting on how the Obama campaign revolutionized the way data is incorporated into presidential campaigns. Well, folks, big data has made it to Hollywood and entertainment. I think I'm going to need to write something criticizing this massive intrusion of our...OOOooooooo Netflix found me something to watch!  

The Wolf of Wall Street

I wrote something about Wolf this week that has more views than my homepage. So if you want my homepage to feel even worse about itself, you can read my thoughts on The Wolf of Wall Street. Alissa Wilkinson wrote a great review of Wolf at CT which I share in my post, but I also liked reading her review of Blue Jasmine with some of the ideas I wrote about in mind. As she closes: "Heed Allen's warning about 'seductiveness of fantasy and the cruelty of reality.'"

Reid Cherlin for New Republic: Please, Liberals: Stop Abusing 'A Tale of Two Cities'

Cherlin, a former White House staffer (and colleague of mine), calls on liberals to find a new analogy to call out income inequality. The whole article is good, but it's the sub-header "It was the best of lines, it was the worst of lines" that really pushed it over the top. 

Adam Cayton-Holland for The Atlantic: Ghosts I've Known

This was haunting. It was beautiful. Most of all, it was heartfelt. It was a love letter. 

Cayton-Holland reflects on how his sister helped bring him out of depression, and how the severity of his sister's depression prevented him from doing the same for her. 

READ OF THE WEEK: Jason Koebler for Politico Magazine: The Congressman Who Went Off the Grid

Finally, a politician who follows through on his promises! Congressman Roscoe Bartlett warned of the vulnerability of our nation's power grid that, if attacked by an enemy, would have apocalyptic consequences for our way of life. He lost his seat due to redistricting, and has since moved to the hills of West Virginia to create a nearly self-sufficient home for himself: the type that would go relatively unaffected should our power grid ever go down. This is one of the best political profiles I have read in months.