1. Why is the World’s Gayest Sport Stuck in the Closet? — BuzzFeed
Men’s figure skating has always been caught between its public image and its conservative culture. But with anti-LGBT policies haunting the Sochi Olympics, the sport’s biggest stars are under more pressure than ever to set the record straight. Read it at BuzzFeed.
2. Times They Are a Changin’ — Rolling Stone
Mark Binelli on the ‘gentle’ revolution of Pope Francis: “After the disastrous papacy of Benedict, … Francis’ basic mastery of skills like smiling in public seemed a small miracle to the average Catholic. But he had far more radical changes in mind.” Read it at Rolling Stone.
3. In the Beginning, There Was Nipple — ESPN The Magazine
Marin Cogan writes about the 9/16 of a second of visible Janet Jackson breast that scandalized the nation a decade ago: “If our children or our children’s children ever dig up a time capsule from the beginning of the new millennium, they will find that in February 2004, America collectively lost its damn mind.” Read it at ESPN The Magazine.
4. Dear America, I Saw You Naked — Politico Magazine
Confessions of former TSA screener Jason Edward Harrington: “In private, most TSA officers I talked to told me they felt the agency’s day-to-day operations represented an abuse of public trust and funds.” Read it at Politicio Magazine.
5. Sinners in the Hands — Texas Monthly
The story of an Arkansas couple whose grown, accomplished daughter one day abandoned her life to join what they would discover to be a separatist, extreme congregation in Wells, Texas. Sonia Smith asks: what distinguishes a church from a cult? Read it at Texas Monthly.
Since 2005, police have failed to the solve the suspected serial murders of eight women in one Louisiana parish. After a long investigation, journalist Ethan Brown asserts a different, in some ways more sinister, theory: “It should have been obvious all along that these deaths were not the handiwork of a serial killer.” Read it at Medium.
7. A Normal Day in the Unusual Life of Michael Keaton — Esquire
A fragmented profile of the actor by Tom Chiarella. “For a week, every man I meet — the basketball coach, the guys I play poker with at the American Legion, contractors, teachers, bartenders — all sound like Michael Keaton. They even start to look like him: their belt hitches, head tilts, that all-summarizing sniff of confidence, the icy stare, the lips slightly parted in puzzlement when figuring out what’s wanted from him. Either he gave this to American men, in a bunch of movies over a bunch of years, or it’s an echo in my head.” Read it at Esquire.
8. The Drug Revolution That No One Can Stop — Matter
Designing your own narcotics online isn’t just legal, as writer Mike Power demonstrates in this story, it’s also incredibly easy. This new wave of substances has substance enthusiasts thrilled, authorities frustrated and doctors — who now can’t always easily identify what someone might be overdosing on — alarmed. Read it at Matter.
9. I Was Tailed by a Private Investigator — Vocativ
When Aram Roston realized he was being followed, he had little idea why, or whether it was even true: “Sitting in my car with the engine on, watching this mystery man in the black car, it crossed my mind that I was being paranoid.” Read it at Vocativ.