Conversation Pieces: 5 New Articles Worth Discussing This Weekend


Welcome to Conversation Pieces, where Flavorpill curates five articles from the past week that you should read. Some are long, others are short. Some are from major publications, others aren’t. The only thing all these articles have in common is that they’re interesting. This week we examine The Strokes after 10 years, Dan Savage as America’s moralist, the science behind awful dancing, why rape is a sensitive issue and should remain that way, and more. After the jump, find something exciting to discuss this weekend in the home, at the bar, or on the street.

1. The Strokes After a Decade

Most didn’t think they’d last, including Pitchfork. Another bunch of dudes with leather jackets, guitars, and a who-gives-a-crap attitude — can the public handle another quintet of this sort? After 10 years, however, The Strokes are still here, and they have a new album called Angles coming out later this month. Read this well-written piece about their journey from relative obscurity to absolute prominence.

Pitchfork: “This Is It: Ten Years of the Strokes”

2. Dan Savage: America’s Moral Guru

Every nation needs an ethical leader, especially in a time when traditional institutions (e.g. church, family) are no longer fulfilling that role. So, is sex columnist Dan Savage our answer to this void? With Savage’s “It Gets Better” project for gay youth and after 20 years of dispensing advice in his column, Savage Love, author Benjamin J. Dueholm thinks it may be time to give the Seattle media pundit his due. Or perhaps not.

Washington Monthly: “Rules of Misbehavior”

3. The Message Should Remain Clear When Discussing Rape

The New York Times has been receiving a lot of attention lately, but not for good reasons. Many are upset and even surprised by a recent article about of a group of men raping an 11-year-old girl in Texas. It’s not that facts are wrong or that people are shocked by the degree of horror some men inflict on women, but that reporter James C. McKinley, Jr. seems to demonstrate an uncomfortable amount of sympathy for the accused with his choice of quotes and general framing of the piece. Read a poised critique of why this matters.

The Rumpus: “The Careless Language of Sexual Violence”

4. Can’t Dance? Perhaps It’s Not Your Fault

That’s right — scientists have yet again transferred a phenomenon from the realm of human responsibility to that of disease, disorder, and hey-don’t-blame-me. A group of researchers have discovered a man who is such a terrible dancer that they’ve invented a condition to describe him: “beat deafness.” The term is reserved for people who “can’t feel music’s beat or move in time to it.” Sound like anyone you know?

Discovery News: “Beat Deafness: A Man Lost in Musical Time”

5. Will the Next Revolution Happen in North Korea?

The current world order is undergoing a massive upheaval. At least, in some regions. But what about North Korea? Read an in-depth article about a ragtag group of North Korean, South Korean, and Japanese activists who are bringing information in and out of the isolated state, and what that might mean for Kim Jong-il and his regime’s future.

The Atlantic: “North Korea’s Digital Underground”