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Angie Wang for BuzzFeed News

 

In what feels like more innocent times, mere days ago, I was, like much of the U.S., riveted by the unfolding college admissions scandal. It is an encapsulation of everything that’s wrong with American society, as well as being, as Slate’s Willa Paskin writes, “stupidly fun.” It's also a more extreme demonstration of how stacked in favor of rich kids the college admissions system is, as an anonymous former admissions officer reminds us in an essay we published this month.


For more annals on the obnoxious doings of the rich, senior staff writer Scaachi Koul went to the Oscars and then spent some time with the Soundcloud rapper Lil Pump, who likes to pee on his money.


We’ve also got a fun revisitation of Cruel Intentions on its 20th anniversary by Shannon Keating and the actual interview with author Esmé Weijun Wang; apologies for the production error last month that meant an interview with the lovely Katie Heaney ran in its stead.


—Tomi

 

Personal Essays

Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News
Celebrities like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin don’t need to resort to criminality to get their kids into elite schools — college admissions already favor the wealthy.

Ryan Adams And The Betrayal Of Teenage Girls  by Anna Held 

When I was a teenager, Adams’ songs convinced me that men had feelings too. But just because someone is sensitive doesn’t mean they care about you.

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Matt Petit / A.M.P.A.S. Handout via Getty Images

 

At this year’s Academy Awards, I found two different ceremonies: a beautiful dream inside the theater, and a bleak reality at the lobby bar.

Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News; Jac Martinez

 

"There is a reason why you like it," Jet replies, "and that reason is shame." (An excerpt from T Kira Madden's Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls).

“I’m A Person, Not The Harbinger Of Some Cultural Apocalypse”: Traveling In Texas While Trans by Samantha Allen 

An excerpt from Samantha Allen’s Real Queer America: LGBT Stories From Red States.

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BuzzFeed News; Courtesy Dennis-Benn Nicole, Jason Berger


I learned very early that to be an immigrant in this country meant I didn’t have the luxury of choosing what I wanted. (An excerpt from the anthology The Good Immigrant.)

Who Bleeds American Blood? by Mitchell Jackson

My mom says giving blood is the most patriotic thing she does. Less than a hundred years ago, she would have been banned from the blood bank. (An excerpt from Mitchell S. Jackson's Survival Math.)

Newsletter exclusive: Deputy Culture Editor Rachel Sanders tells us what she’s into

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As far as fresh, local fruits and vegetables are concerned, the East Coast is still going through an extremely bleak stretch of late winter. The carrots and potatoes and apples at the farmer’s market are starting to show their age after months in storage. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with wrinkles, the aging process is natural, and EVERY carrot is beautiful — except to the people stocking NYC supermarkets, who are governed by more superficial concerns and at this point have mostly given up on anything that isn’t from California or even further afield.


What I realized, while on a trip to visit big trees and friends in the San Francisco Bay Area this past weekend, is that that trick works both ways. If we’re burning a reprehensible amount of airplane fuel either way, why pay the middleman to bring California produce to me, when I can bring myself directly to the California produce?


On this trip I was lucky enough to stay with a friend who lives two blocks away from Berkeley Bowl. This grocery store is legendary (in certain circles) for its vast array of fruits and veg, among other items (you may have spotted Samin Nosrat shopping there in the last episode of Salt Fat Acid Heat). I can find something to love in almost any grocery store, no matter how nondescript, but after growing up in the birthplace of Wegmans and moving to the city of Fairway, I wouldn’t say I’m easily impressed. At Berkeley Bowl, I was impressed.


Did you know there’s more than one kind of fresh ginger? (They sold at least four). I counted more than ten different colors of carrots, more mushrooms than I’ve ever seen in one place in my life, and then there was the citrus. The citrus! At the peak of California citrus season, the Bowl’s produce section revolved around a vast field of bins heaped with glowing orbs in every shade of yellow and orange. I wanted to make a citrus salad for brunch, but the depth of selection was too much for my deprivation-stunted Northeastern brain; did I want organic? Conventional? Pesticide-free? Would I like the stem and leaves attached? Which of eight varieties of grapefruit was the one? In the end I picked two grapefruits at random, two kinds of oranges (bloody-purple Moro and pretty pink Cara Cara), and some lovely Meyer lemons.


The next day I supremed my bounty into sections (takes forever, but worth it on special occasions) and we sat down to eat the citrus salad alongside baked eggs with greens and toast. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and it was a great reminder of how lucky we are to be alive on what is, despite humanity’s best efforts, still a wildly rich and abundant planet. Which brings me to my recommendation this month: that you take a moment to stop and appreciate the edible bounty the natural world has to offer — whether it’s where you live, or somewhere you’re just passing through. I still find real satisfaction in taking those wrinkly New York state potatoes and apples and turning them into something delicious. But every place in the world has something different to offer, at every moment. And there’s no rule saying you can’t, if only for a few days, export yourself.

Features

Brinson+Banks for BuzzFeed News 

Even Lil Pump Can’t Have It All by Scaachi Koul  

The 18-year-old rapper’s Instagram flexes about money, drugs, and women have earned him millions of fans. In person, things aren’t quite so fun.

Elizabeth McCracken’s Weird Fiction Breathes Life Into Old Tropes by Maris Kreizman

“I think all writers have this Platonic ideal of the book they’re going to write next, and then you realize that you’re hamstringed by your own obsessions.”

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Kiersten Essenpreis for BuzzFeed News

Money, and how we spend it, is emotional. Financial therapists could help us talk about it.

Books

Read The First Chapter Of Helen Oyeyemi's Fantastical New Novel Gingerbread

 Harriet Lee's homemade gingerbread has something close to magical powers — but it's not enough to earn her entry into the social circle she most covets.

These Are The 5 Books Chosen For The 2019 "One Book, One New York" Program by Arianna Rebolini

Voting will begin April 1. 

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BuzzFeed News; Courtesy Sophie Mackintosh

Read the dream-like dystopian novel along with BuzzFeed community's most avid readers.

24 Books That Will Help You Face A New Beginning

It's never too late to start again.

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A mysterious woman is found unconscious in a cemetery — next to a bag containing one corset, one bowling ball, one candlepin, and 15 pounds of gold.

Cultural Criticism 

Frank Micelotta Archive / Getty Images

 

How Rosie O’Donnell Became Daytime TV’s “Queen Of Nice” by Ramin Setoodeh

 

Rosie talked to Ramin Setoodeh about how she avoided being “a hypocritical fuck” before she came out, living with depression, and why she’ll “never talk to Ellen again.” (An excerpt from Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of “The View”).

 

 “Leaving Neverland” Reveals The Monster We Didn’t Want To See In Michael Jackson by Niela Orr 

 

In telling the gut-wrenching stories of two boys who survived Jackson’s alleged abuse, the HBO documentary digs deep into the most painful contradictions of a cultural icon.

I Wish More TV Shows Ran For Just One Season by Alison Willmore

 

Must the reward for a successful TV show always be for it to keep going until it's not as good as it used to be?

Columbia Pictures 

 

Back in 1999, when nihilism was cooler than niceness, the shameless teen debauchery of Cruel Intentions sparked a generation’s sexual awakening.

Even Going Home Is Political On Solange’s New Album by Bim Adewunmi 

 

When I Get Home is a vessel for both the personal and the political, making space to think about what our ongoing moment means.

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Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed News; Getty Images

From R. Kelly to Michael Jackson, men accused of preying on children often use idealized versions of fatherhood to maintain their innocence and hide their abuse.

Greta Is A “Murder Me, Mommy” Meme Come To Life by Alison Willmore 

French acting legend Isabelle Huppert is the rare fave who seems like she really could run you over with a car if you asked nicely enough.

Another newsletter exclusive: an interview with a writer we love! This month: Esmé Weijun Wang, whose new book, The Collected Schizophrenias is out now. 

 

What are you reading... Esmé Weijun Wang?

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Kristin Cofer 

 

"Publication is a wild ride, to be sure, and I'm currently working on getting the word out about my new book, The Collected Schizophrenias. But I've also finally broken the dry spell that I've been in for ages with a book that came out on the same day as mine: Where Reasons End, a novel by Yiyun Li, which is a novel unlike any I've ever read.

 

I approached this book with a bit of trepidation, as I knew the story behind it—Li's teenaged son died by suicide in recent years, and this book is about a mother and her dead son who are having a conversation in an unknown space outside of time. I thought the sadness of it might break me. But this book is also so beautiful, and Li is one of my favorite writers; I am about twenty pages in and I know that I will keep reading. It is a tender novel, and I am finding snatches of time to read from it here and there in between other things. I hope that it finds a wide audience. I am grateful for it already."

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