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Randal

Randal

The Best American Magazine Writing 2017 - Sid Holt, The American Society of Magazine Editors

"The Best American Magazine Writing 2017" is, just as it says, a collection of great magazine articles written in 2017. Duh! Now, how to write a review based on a wide-ranging selection of stories.....
I found some of the articles to be fascinating. Jeffrey Goldbergs "The Obama Doctrine", written for the Atlantic, was one. It really brings the sometimes confusing style and thinking of President Obama into focus. A thorough examination, it's not one based on the 30 second sound bites we received from the national news. Rather, it appears to get through the hype and really explain Obama's reasoning. I only wish Obama himself could have explained himself better, to a wider audience, in language they could understand. Then, maybe, people would appreciate him more.
Another great article was by Matt Taibbi, of Rolling Stone. "President Trump, Seriously and "Appetite for Destruction" and the Fury and Failure of Donald Trump. A serious examination of how we (America) got to where we are today. The failure of the two party system. I'm going to quote some of the article, but it really helps to get the gist of it. "Lie No. 1 is that there are only two political ideas in the world, Republican and Democrat. Lie No. 2 is that the parties are violent ideological opposites, and that during campaign season we can only speak about the areas where they differ (abortion, guns, etc) an never the areas where there's typically consensus.....Lie No. 3 is that all problems are the fault of one party or the other, and never both. Assuming you watch the right channels, everything is always someone else's fault." How true!
My favorite article was written for Mother Jones, by Shane Bauer. It was called "My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard". Bauer spent four months working for a private, for-profit prison. I, myself, worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons for 21 years. It was interesting to see the growth of Bauer as he worked as a correctional officer. I experienced many of the same emotions and questions, found myself at similar crossroads, and thought many times whether or not I was crazy for choosing this career. The author has a way of putting into words many disparate thoughts and ideas that he had. While his stint was for a pay-to-play company, and I think a much less "honorable" organization, he learned some valuable lessons about himself. There is one line in the article that really, really shows me that the author "got it". When he realized what an inmate told him was true, and could make his life in prison a lot easier...."Just know at the end of the day, how y'all conduct y'all selves determines how we conduct ourselves. You come wit' a shit attitude, we go' have a shit attitude". That ladies and gentlemen, is the one thing you need to learn is you want a career in corrections. Spot on!
There are many other articles in the book, some great, some good, some not-so-good. It all depends on your own perspectives. But there is something for everyone in here!