Bongreads of the Week: Football, Fake News from a Fake News Debunker, and Floods of Piss
Start your week with a history lesson on piss in ancient art.
Published on September 25, 2017

Did y'all watch sports this weekend? Totally normal, definitely-nothing-out-of-the-ordinary sports happened this weekend, and Donald Trump definitely didn't turn sports into the newest battleground for the race war he seems intent on starting to satisfy his dumb ass ego. Anyways, before you click the below links to writing about all sorts of stuff, you should click this link, to David Remnick's essay about how you're not insane and Donald Trump is in fact trying to direct his base's white supremacist rage against the NFL, and also this one, in which Dwyer Murphy discusses how Trump's rage about NFL players refusing to stand for the National Anthem momentarily distracted from the NFL's terrible treatment of its players.

Now that you've eaten your internet-reading vegetables, here's some more esoteric internet-reading dessert.

"Doing Good, All Night Long"
Mark Hay for The Awl

It's not exactly a secret that whenever a corporation acts in an altruistic manner, they're usually gunning for public relations brownie points. But what happens when that company is the biggest porn site on earth? That's the exact question that Mark Hay tackles for The Awl, examining how PornHub has spent years throwing sexy spaghetti at the wall to see what they can do to gain mainstream acceptance, and decided that "doing good" is the best shot they've got.

"Snopes and the Search for Facts in a Post-Fact World"
Michelle Dean for Wired

If I were extremely corny, I would write something like, "Snopes has been busting fake news before fake news was a thing. All the more ironic, then, that the objective truth of what happened when its married co-owners severed their personal and professional relationships almost simultaneously." Instead, I am just extremely lazy, so I went ahead and wrote the corny thing and am surrounding it with a bunch of self-aware qualifiers to save face.

"How Novelty Ruined the Novel"
Brianna Rennix for Current Affairs

Over at Current Affairs, Brianna Rennix delves into something that I've been thinking about for a while — how "experimental" novels have become the norm in mainstream literary publishing, and have ceased to feel fun or interesting. Instead, as Rennix writes, "Postmodern writing… prioritizes conveying a mood rather than telling a story, and writing a 'striking' descriptive sentence over presenting a fully-realized three-dimensional character." It's debatable who's to blame for this — MFA programs? Lazy agents and publishing houses? David Foster Wallace? — but it's indisputable that the literary novel's head is up its own literary ass, and as such, it can't help but produce a mountain of literary shit.

"A Secret History of the Pissing Figure in Art"
Dan Piepenbring for The New Yorker

Before there was porn, there was art, which in antiquity served as a haven for steady-handed weirdos to get away with showing the world all sorts of ostensibly benign images that worked double-time to get their psychosexual jimmies a-rustlin'. This most definitely includes, as Dan Piepenbring, writing for The New Yorker reminds us, piss. Take it away, Piepenbro:

[A] river of piss runs through art history. For centuries, painters and sculptors have depicted the act of urination. Men piss. Women piss. Most of all, young boys piss, so much so that scholars assigned a latin term, puer mingens, to their ubiquitous appearances... They pissed into vases and basins and shells and conchs, onto snowdrifts and poppy husks and flocks of cupids. They pissed into the mouths and anusues of other boys, who themselves pissed into more mouths still. These were no ordinary boys. Spritely and seraphic, often winged and laurelled, they charmed their way into old churches, where they patrolled the transepts and friezes, pure of heart and full of bladder.

According to me pressing command+f and typing in the word "piss" on the page for Piepenbring's piess (er, uh, piece), "A Secret History of the Pissing Figure in Art" contains the word "piss" 55 times, not counting the title.

Follow Drew Millard on Twitter

Drew Millard
Drew Millard is a freelance writer and dog owner living in Durham, North Carolina. His writing has appeared in VICE, High Times, Hazlitt, SPIN, and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @drewmillard.
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