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Five Posts that Made Us Think

From pop culture to college admissions, these recent posts have sparked lively conversations.

What makes a great blog post? We all have our pet criteria: sharp prose. Enlightening content. Stunning photos. (“Lots of GIFs?” Sure, why not?) Beyond its style or tone, a standout post invites us to take a peek into another person’s home or field of expertise, and offers a glimpse of that individual’s mind at work.

The five recent posts featured here touched a nerve with readers, and have the buzzing comment sections and social media shares to show for it. Read them and you’ll see why: smart, well written, and engaging, you might feel the urge to jump into the conversation yourself.

Does Sean Bean Always Die at the End?

If you’ve been on the internet in the past five years and/or are a Game of Thrones fan (that’s roughly 103% of those reading this right now), you likely know that actor Sean Bean’s characters always die violent, gruesome deaths.

sean bean chart - dave steele

Chart by Dave Steele.

But do they? Science writer and comedian Dave Steele took this piece of conventional wisdom, soaked it in a rich marinade of stats, pie charts, and humor, and ended up with an insightful reflection on the way our perception works, especially when it comes to popular culture.

In Which I Learn Why There Are No Great Women Composers

Back in September, British magazine The Spectator published a polemical article about the supposed dearth of great women composers. Musician-blogger Emily E. Hogstead would have none of it.

Luckily the “goodness” of music is a totally scientific and quantifiable thing that allows no room for personal preference, bias, or interpretation.

Emily E. Hogstead, Song of the Lark

She responded with a sharp, witty, point-by-point takedown of the original article’s claims, while also educating her readers about — surprise! — some great women composers (and their struggles to be recognized).

Why I’ve Stopped Doing Interviews for Yale

It’s college application season in North America, when millions of high school students polish their essays, list (and/or embellish) their extracurricular activities, and anxiously await an invitation to an interview with alumni/ae of their top choices.

Illustration by Ben Orlin.

Illustration by Ben Orlin.

Teacher and math lover Ben Orlin won’t be among them, having decided no longer to conduct interviews for his alma mater, Yale. Orlin bemoans the randomness and excessive emotional toll of the admissions process, and uses his trademark stick figures to make an important point about the American fixation on getting into the right school.

Being Fiction, Instead of Writing It

Michelle, blogging at The Green Study, charts the arc of her writing life, giving us an honest and uncompromising account of her achievements — as well as her struggles and failures.

I’m putting a spin on my forties, when I decided I’d become a martial artist, super mom, Japanese ink painter, personal trainer, officer of the law, marathoner, web genius, everywhere volunteer and organic vegan superfreak. It was all research for writing. It sounds so much better than a midlife panic.

It’s time to ante up or fold. I’ve run off in a thousand different directions and always, always, I come back to writing. And the only opposition to me seriously pursuing it, is me.

Michelle, The Green Study

This post perfectly channels the angst and self-flagellation that often follows writers in their careers regardless of their success. But it ends with a renewed commitment to the act of writing, however frustrating and humbling it might be.

Seeing the Sorrow Anew: Recapturing the Reality of Suffering Through Srebrenica

Matt LaRoche, writing at the The Gettysburg Compiler, a student-led history blog, asks an ever-important question: how can we preserve the lessons learned through the horrors of past wars once the last survivors pass away?

The hundreds of thousands of unknowns of the Civil War were just as raw to the loved ones they left behind as the one thousand-plus unknowns of Srebrenica are to this day.

Matt LaRoche, The Gettysburg Compiler

He goes on to argue that it’s through listening to those who had to endure more recent atrocities — like victims of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia in the 1990s — that we can capture some of the lived experience of war, in the hope that we avoid perpetuating it.

Thirsty for more great reading? Try Discover, our showcase of editors’ picks and recommended sites, or visit Longreads for the best longform stories from around the web.


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15 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. aditichidambaram

    Food for thought, really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Amy Fan

    Math with Bad Drawings is one of my favorite blogs!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Chiradeep Patra

    Thanks for letting these posts come to the front…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Tech Man

    Luckily the “goodness” of music is a totally scientific and quantifiable thing that allows no room for personal preference, bias, or interpretation.
    😉😉

    Liked by 3 people

  5. candidkay

    Perfect timing on the Yale essay! I’ve been watching friends angst over their children’s college choices and it has become insanity . . .

    Liked by 3 people

  6. mellowyellow

    Such a good read😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. veasnamuch

    That’s a great sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. driscotara

    I think its interesting that none of the Top Posts talk about the war being waged today against humanity ie…on all levels of our lives from the food on our table/GMO to the excessive electromagnetic fields from unregulated cell phone towers, smart meters etc…to the chemtrails in our skies and the unnecessary contamination of our water. The list of hazards to our health and well fare goes on as profit before people goes on mostly under the radar. Just sayin!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Ben Huberman

      We feature many posts on topics related to the ones you mention on Freshly Pressed and Longreads — and if you ever see a post that resonates with you, please share it with us on Twitter @Freshly_Pressed. We’re always on the lookout for strong, passionate writing on important issues.

      Liked by 7 people

  9. cricketmuse

    Sean Bean turned out to be a nice guy on Flight Plan. A pleasant surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Emtibu

    That comment about science being quantifiable and quantifiable was rich. I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. faithfulwoman4you

    This topic about the universitities, nice! People do get stressed about their children going to the right one or not so right on!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. melxfab

    Enlightened – great article!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. A Stylish Ho

    This is a really good read.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. brendawriting

    OMG…I clicked once and now am in a crowd of over 22 million amazing people following Longreads.
    I also enjoyed reading the top blog posts. thanks

    Liked by 8 people

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