The Best of the Beast, March 23-29

Our favorite stories for your weekend reading list.

03.30.14 10:45 AM ET

This Man is the Future of Westboro
By Caitlin Dickson

Steve Drain was Fred Phelps’s closest disciple inside Kansas’s rabidly anti-gay Westboro Baptist. But did he orchestrate the excommunication of the church’s late founder?

U.S. Keeps Saudi’s Worst Secret
By Eli Lake

The most comprehensive study of Saudi textbooks ever commissioned by the U.S. government was completed at the end of 2012, but to this date the State Department has kept it from the public.

Why Is it Cool to Hate Coldplay?
By Andrew Romano

Hearing Coldplay premiere its new album Ghost Stories before a small group in L.A. (where you could have sensed Chris Martin’s and Gwyneth Paltrow’s impending divorce) makes it clear that hating the band says more about you than them.

Can Jesse Benton Unite the GOP?
By Sam Youngman

He helped Ron and Rand Paul tear down the Republican establishment. Then the ‘sellout’ went to work for Mitch McConnell. Meet the operative who just might bring the party back together.

How Hollywood’s Most Realistic Sex Scenes Were Made
By Marlow Stern

From nifty CGI trickery to having their actors actually have sex, here’s how some of cinema’s most famous sex scenes were made.

Inside the World Trade Center Base Jump
By Michael Daly

He set in place the beam on the 104th floor signed by President Obama and the First Lady. Then, last September, ironworker James Brady parachuted from the top of One World Trade Center, filming his dramatic descent.

Are You Safe in Your Uber?
By Olivia Nuzzi

Private car services are popular among women who want to stay safe, but reports allege sexual harassment by drivers. Is it time to rethink services like Uber?

The Power of Survivor Blogs
By Alisa Harris

They collect documents, interview sources, and get thousands of Facebook shares. Meet the army of ex-fundamentalists exposing the misdeeds of the organizations they left.

Sex Won’t Kill You, Young Adult Heroine
By Amy Zimmerman

Divergent’s bold step into the battle over rape culture and teen sexuality is actually a meek regression, as its heroine remains deathly afraid of what’s hiding under her own covers.

The Scotland of India
By Tunku Varadarajan

India has become known for the congested traffic and crowds of the cities. To escape the madness, Indians head to Coorg, a land of lush beauty, traditional food, and—sigh—tranquility.