The Best Things We Read on the Internet This Week: Ukraine, Black Metal, and Ghost Hunters of LA

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Listicles, tweets, your ex’s Facebook status, picture of dogs wearing costumes — the internet offers no shortage of entertaining stuff to look at. But there’s plenty of substantial writing out there, too, the pieces you spend a few minutes reading and a long time thinking about after you’ve closed the tab. In this weekly feature, Flavorwire shares the best of that category, and this week we have a very smart take on Ukraine, pickup artist boot camp, Shirley Jackson, and a lot of Black Metal.

“Ukraine, Putin, and the West” by the editors of n+1

In a week when BuzzFeed tried to explain Vladimir Putin Invading Ukraine by using GIFs from The Hills, there was also n+1, offering up a clear and concise take on the matter.

“Prepare to Become the Last of the Human Race” by Victor LaValle, Slate

Victor LaValle wrote the foreword for the latest edition of Shirley Jackson’s The Sundial, and all is right with the cosmos.

“Paranoid Narcissim: What Dostoevsky Knew About the Internet” by Rosa Inocencio Smith, American Reader

“Dostoevsky, writing in 1846, was of course not thinking of the Internet. Yet he saw people lonely and paranoid and vain, isolated and beset by their imaginary selves, and he wondered, perhaps, over human beings’ chances for connection.”

“The End of the Hunt: The Rise and Fall of LA’s Real Ghost Chasers” by Colin Dickey, The Verge

Think you know about ghost hunting because you watch television? Colin Dickey’s essay shows how connecting with the paranormal can border on obsession, and explores the community it creates.

“I Never Personally Said That I Created the Death Grunt” by Michael Robbins, Slate

Come because the image is so awesome, but stay because you get to read Michael Robbins on Black Metal.

“Black Metal Is Sublime” by Adrian Van Young, The New Inquiry

Adrian Van Young connects Black Metal with Romanticism, and suddenly you will never listen to Emperor in the same way again.

“Is This Pickup Artist Actually… Helping People?” by Sharon Adarlo, The Awl

Ever dream of going to a pickup artist boot camp? No? Us neither. Thankfully, Sharon Adarlo did it for us, and the results are a mix of entertaining and kinda pathetic.

“Train in Vain” by Evan Kindley, n+1

Evan Kindley takes a closer look at the Amtrak writer residencies. Are they really such a good thing?