The Week’s Best Longreads: The Daily Beast Picks December 22, 2012

From Zadie Smith’s reflections on the meaning of joy to a made-up language that went haywire, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

12.22.12 9:45 AM ET

Zadie Smith, The New York Review of Books

What is it, and why does it hurt so much?

Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up
Jonah Weiner, The New York Times Magazine

The comedy star is 58, rich beyond imagination and still working.

Utopia for Beginners
Joshua Foer, The New Yorker

An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented.

How a Gun-Loving West Texas Girl Learned to Fear Assault Weapons
Haley B. Elkins, XOJane

For every outraged indigence about “trampling” on the second amendment, with every word and breath, I am that young woman again, sitting in her truck in a parking lot, alone except for a 911 operator.

The Woes of an American Drone Operator
Nicola Abé, Der Spiegel

A soldier sets out to graduate at the top of his class. He succeeds, and he becomes a drone pilot working with a special unit of the United States Air Force in New Mexico. He kills dozens of people. But then, one day, he realizes that he can’t do it anymore.

The Shit Were In
John Lanchester, The London Review of Books

The failure of Britain’s finances.

For more great longreads, visit our friends at Longreads.com.