paper trail

How journalists are covering human rights at the World Cup; a profile of Octavia E. Butler

Octavia E. Butler. Photo: Ching-Ming Cheung

At Jacobin, Neil Vallelly writes about the human-rights violations behind the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and reflects on the shortcomings in how those abuses are talked about in the media and larger society: “Appeals to end human rights violations in Qatar focus on the instances of repression without reflecting on the structural causes of that repression.” At Vanity Fair, Tom Kludt writes about the challenges journalists face in covering the tournament. Kludt observes that “in Qatar, the controversy will never be far removed from the competition itself.”  The Athletic has had extensive coverage of human rights in Qatar and reporting on how the nation won the bid to host the tournament in the first place. 

For Vulture, E. Alex Jung profiles the late science-fiction writer Octavia E. Butler. Jung went deep into the archives and talked to Butler’s friends and collaborators, providing an in-depth narrative of the sci-fi pioneer’s life and career. Of Butler’s Xenogenesis series, Jung writes, “Throughout the trilogy, she returns to this core observation: that our intelligence and need for dominance would lead to self-annihilation.” The article is part of a package at Vulture, which also includes work by Andrea Long Chu, Hanif Abdurraqib, and more on Butler’s importance and influence. 

At the New York Times, Joseph Bernstein looks at the rise of Mastodon, a Twitter alternative that has gained popularity after Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. Focusing on the network, which was started by Adam Davidson, Bernstein sorts through the challenges and opportunities that beginning a new online community brings: “It has all been a brutal introduction to the no-easy-answers world of content moderation, one that might have engendered, if not exactly empathy, a better understanding of the challenges that big social media platforms face.”

The New York Public Library has released its list of the best books of 2022; Pitchfork has posted its list of the best music books of the year.