05.13.11

This Week's Best Journalism

From the United States’ astoundingly counterproductive relations with Pakistan to the failure of American education, The Daily Beast picks the best longform journalism from around the Web this week.

1. The Double Game

Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker

India has become the state that we tried to create in Pakistan. A rising economic star, militarily powerful and democratic, India most importantly shares American interests. Pakistan, meanwhile, is one of the most anti-American countries in the world, and a covert sponsor of terrorism. Politically and economically, it verges on being a failed state. And, despite Pakistani avowals to the contrary, America’s worst enemy, Osama bin Laden, had been hiding there for years before U.S. commandos finally tracked him down and killed him.

2. The Failure of American Schools

Joel Klein, The Atlantic

Who better to lead an educational revolution than Joel Klein, the prosecutor who took on the software giant Microsoft? But in his eight years as chancellor of New York City’s school system, the nation’s largest, Klein learned a few painful lessons of his own—about feckless politicians, recalcitrant unions, mediocre teachers, and other enduring obstacles to school reform.

3. Asian Like Me

Wesley Yang, New York

“Here is what I sometimes suspect my face signifies to other Americans: an invisible person, barely distinguishable from a mass of faces that resemble it. A conspicuous person standing apart from the crowd and yet devoid of any individuality. An icon of so much that the culture pretends to honor but that it in fact patronizes and exploits. Not just people ‘who are good at math’ and play the violin, but a mass of stifled, repressed, abused, conformist quasi-robots who simply do not matter, socially or culturally.”

4. Jim Cramer Hits an All-Time High

Zev Chafets, New York Times Magazine

Like Wall Street itself, the man who personified stock-market mania has rebounded from the financial crisis with a vengeance. But that doesn’t mean he’s over it.

5. Why Don’t We Love Our Intellectuals?

John Naughton, The Guardian

While France celebrates its intelligentsia, you have to go back to Orwell and Huxley to find British intellectuals at the heart of national public debate. Why did the we stop caring about ideas? When did 'braininess' become a laughing matter?

6. Deadly Games

Wright Thompson, ESPN

A white cross rising above the Macacos slum marks the spot where people are burned alive. A starving horse, his ribs poking out, is hitched close by with a thin rope. A nearby soccer field is dotted with pieces of melted rubber. No games are played here. The Amigos dos Amigos gang that runs this favela has a ritual: Members stack tires around their enemies, pour in gasoline and light the tires on fire. This is called microwaving. Black smoke rises into the air. At a school down the hill, near the famous soccer stadium where the 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremonies will be held, the students hear the screams and cover their ears. This is Rio in real life.

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