Recommended Reading: Access Journalism, Mid-Term Voting, and the Tale of the Fake Saudi Prince


Modern online media is all about the signal boost, so every Friday here at Flavorwire, we take a moment to spotlight some of the best stuff we’ve read online this week. Today, some pressing concerns ahead of Tuesday’s elections, along with a jaw-dropping story of con artistry, and a deep dive into the many video iterations of one of our favorite movies.

Katie Rife on the history of Halloween (on video).

This year marked the 40th anniversary of the release of John Carpenter’s wildly influential slasher-horror masterpiece, and there were plenty of commemorations and appreciations (plug). But only the nerds at the AV Club had the gumption to ask the hard questions, i.e., what the hell’s the deal with all of its home video releases?

Peters calls the original Halloween his favorite film of all time. “It was a life changer for me,” he says. When he first saw the movie as a kid (either 8 or 9 years old, he’s not sure), he says, “I’ve never had my heart racing so fast. I liked that feeling of being on a ride.” He’s collected Halloween movies since he was a kid, and worked on the DVD release of Rob Zombie’s Halloween in 2007, so he has experience both as a fan and a professional. For collectors like Peters, new releases of Halloween give him the chance to see his favorite movie in a new way. “When I watched it on DVD, I saw it in wide-screen for the first time. Then I didn’t want to watch it on pan and scan anymore. Then I saw it on Blu-ray, and then I saw the 35th anniversary edition, and each time I felt like I was seeing the movie for the first time. I love that feeling,” he says. So, who’s ready to get granular?

Pitchfork asks musicians why they’re voting on Tuesday.

Hey, have you heard? There’s a mid-term election on Tuesday. We’ve managed to dance right up to the damn precipice of fascism over the past two years, so maybe you should go out and cast a vote that might stem that tide a bit, whaddaya say? But hey, why should you listen to me, some rando Internet writer; Pitchfork polled two dozen musicians and asked them to make the case for casting a vote (that thing people have died for), and they got great answers from the likes of Kim Gordon, Meek Mill, ANOHNI, Jeff Tweedy, and our fave, Kathleen Hanna:

I am voting because watching the Kavanaugh hearings was like having Fred Durst sing “Nookie” into my face for 12 fucking hours. I am voting because the whole Republican/Trump strategy is, “I’m rubber, you’re glue,” aka let’s call the people who are being terrorized “terrorists.” And it is making me so pissed to see the healers and the true soul rebels of this world being cast as villains while the racists are cast as the victims. Trump and friends are actively supporting hate crimes, the erasure of transgender people, and the abolishment of women’s bodily autonomy. They are demonizing people of color to further their agendas and foment fear. I understand being totally depressed right now and feeling like your vote won’t change anything, but that’s another part of Trump Incorporated’s strategy: training us to think we can’t make a difference. Please don’t let racism, sexism, and homophobia win. Things won’t change immediately, but the least we can do is vote.

Sam Biddle on the dangers of access journalism.

One of the issues of that mid-term election — or at least one of the things that our white supremacist president is trying to make an issue, since it’s red meat for his racist base — is the idea of just ending birthright citizenship, because who cares about the 14th Amendment, am I right? He proposed this idea during an interview with upstart news org Axios’ Jonathan Swan, for their new HBO newsmagazine show. And the way Swan handled that information was, as noted by The Intercept’s Biddle, troubling:

At one point, Swan cajoles him into explaining just how Trump might actually execute this unilateral change to the Constitution, prompting Trump to speculate that he might use an executive order. “Exactly!” exclaims Swan, so amped up that he is literally unable to stay in his seat. Palpably thrilled, Swan points an eager finger at the president. “Tell me more!” he says next, all too cheerily, as if he’s conducting a Q&A with The Avengers at Comic-Con — and not being given the opportunity to interrogate the president of the United States. Swan is literally grinning throughout: The feeling that a high-five is imminent is hard to shake off. This is grotesque on the face of it. Politics — particularly the politics of the day — aren’t supposed to be fun, nor exciting, nor any other chipper keywords you might feed into Netflix on a rainy evening. American politics in our present day are anguishing, alienating, bitter, bleak, cynical, and hateful. To take this opportunity to challenge Trump on his immigration policies at this time — when, in just one example, there’s a very good argument to be made that these policies just led to the worst act of anti-Semitic carnage in American history — and not only squander it but enjoy it, that’s something worse than monstrous. “What a revolting display,” Splinter’s Libby Watson remarked. Watson also noted that “when the president says other countries don’t have birthright citizenship, which is a lie, Swan says nothing, and Axios’ story was only updated after publication to reflect that reality.” Revolting, indeed.

Mark Seals on the 30-year con of the fake Saudi prince.

If you’d like a break from politics, no worries: here’s the story of a lifelong grifter and how he took advantage of gullible people around the country. Oh, wait. Anyway, Vanity Fair‘s Mark Seals pens this riveting account of Anthony Enrique Gignac — “an ‘epic con artist’ for whom ‘no scheme is out of reach,’ according to a U.S. attorney” — and how he spent decades racking up millions of dollars in debt by pretending to be His Royal Highness Khalid bin al-Saud, a member of the Saudi Royal Family:

He lived in a penthouse on Fisher Island, the super-wealthy enclave that sprawls across 216 acres south of Miami. But he spent much of his life on his yacht and private jet, which he chronicled religiously on his Instagram account, Princedubai_07. There were pictures of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the fabulously wealthy grandson of the first Saudi king, whose major stakes in U.S. companies alone include Citigroup and Twitter. (“Uncle,” Khalid posted beside one photo.) “My new yacht,” he said in Instagram videos from his travels, “my plane,” and “my Ferrari.” There were endless posts of pieces of jewelry from his vast collection. “Birthday gifts from the fam,” he wrote alongside twin diamond watches draped over $10,000 bundles of cash. His star-struck followers couldn’t get enough. “Ohhh, lawdddd!” groaned one. I had spent weeks tracing Khalid’s incredible trail before his e-mail arrived. “As you might know, my story is not what it looks like,” he wrote. “There is so much to tell and so much that needs to come to the light.” He would tell his story exclusively to me, he promised, if I left out certain parts. Like so many of his offers, it was one that promised a wealth of opportunity, in return for very little. In the end, though, I decided to decline. Because Khalid wasn’t writing me from his yacht, or his penthouse on Fisher Island, or his father’s palace in Dubai, but from a cell at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, where he awaits trial on charges of fraud, traveling on a fake passport, impersonating a foreign official, and identity theft.