Jason Collins Comes Out, Mel Brooks Joins Twitter, Discovering the Eater of Darkness, the Unraveling of an Academic Con Man, and a Healthy Helping of Shoegaze and Dreampop / by Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

jason collins sports illustrated.jpg

Jason Collins' brave decision to come out a gay professional athlete made reading the news completely worth it today (and even forced me to shake off some of my uselessness and get back to working on this site). While there's a sense that things have taken a positive corner in the fight for equal rights and tolerance in this country, that isn't necessarily the case in the hyper-masculine world of American professional sports. For Collins to be the first active professional athlete in this country to come out is big, and I hope it's just the start.

Obviously there are going to be worrisome reactions to Collins' announcement—and it's sad that a 49er set the standard for ignorance in this regard—even of the less virulent (but still troubling) kind demonstrated by Mike Wallace, formerly of Pittsburg and now on the Dolphins' roster. Still, I hope that, as has been the case so far, the reaction to Collins' announcement is positive overall (see: Kobe's tweetthe Washington Wizards' reaction, and others) among athletes, fans, and sports journalists alike. It's a damned brave thing Mr. Collins has done, and I applaud and commend him for doing so. I hope his example, his honesty, and his courage resonate throughout the world of sports.

In less big news, Mel Brooks was forced to join Twitter—an event that actually highlighted one of Twitter's biggest drawbacks (and, arguably, one of its strengths): "Tweeting is hard. You've got to squeeze the joke."

One of my favorite aspects of the Flipboard app is that I continuously stumble upon interesting stuff I never did with RSS feeds. (Yes, I know, I was probably using them wrong.) My example today: Richard Poynor's article on Robert M. Coates' The Eater of Darkness, a novel I didn't even know existed until today even though Gertrude Stein, the godmother of modernism herself, helped facilitate its publication in 1926. Poynor first became interested in the novel due to his research into visual prose (also known as visual writing), and his article touches upon a number of interesting aspects of modernism and the advent of reissuing books (and how much can get lost in these updates). Definitely worth a look, especially as Poynor's article is both intriguing and not terribly long.

And in case "not terribly long" doesn't get your blood pumping, the New York Times Magazine has a lengthy, wonderful piece on an academic fraudster: Dierderik Stapel, once a highly respected Dutch researcher, who made up studies analysing human nature with fake results that he believed we wanted to hear. If you have some time on your hands, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee's piece is truly worth a read.

If music's more your kind of thing, I can't say enough about the site Sounds Better with Reverb. A little over a week ago, the site put up its favorite releases of the year so far, and its a list deserving of exploration. Among my favorites are the Italian shoegazers Brothers in Law (which I felt compelled to write about after having discovered them courtesy of Sounds Better with Reverb) and Dråpe, a group of talented dreampop upstarts from Norway's capital city. You can hear more over at Dråpe's bandcamp site.