STOP ALL THE CLOCKS! Cut off the telephone! Pray silence for the Golden Giraffe Awards of 2018.
The Golden Giraffes recognise and reward the best articles recommended on The Browser in the past year.
The judging panel this year consisted of Robert Cottrell, editor of The Browser; Caroline Crampton, audio editor of The Browser; and Dhashen Moodley, host of Radio Browser.
The judges were presented with a short-list of five articles, which were the articles most popular with Browser subscribers during the year, as measured by click-throughs from our website and newsletter.
The judges were pleased to note that the short-listed articles differed wildly in every respect save for their uniform excellence. They diverged in length, tone, and subject-matter; they were variously wise, angry, sad, funny and helpful; they embraced writing in the first, second, and third person; none came from a mainstream publication. For the statistically minded, 40% of the writers were called Kate.
Our congratulations to the winners, who will receive awards that are both golden and giraffish: a first prize of $1000; a second prize of $250; a third prize of $100; and unbelievably cute plush giraffes all round.
—Uri Bram, publisher
Morgan Housel | Collaborative Fund | 14th November 2018
“If you fell asleep in 1945 and woke up in 2018 you would not recognise the world. The growth that took place during that period is virtually unprecedented. If you learned that there had been no nuclear attacks since 1945, you’d be shocked. If you saw the level of wealth in New York and San Francisco, you’d be shocked. If you compared it to the poverty of Detroit, you’d be shocked. If you saw the price of homes, college tuition, and health care, you’d be shocked. Our politics would blow your mind. And if you tried to think of a reasonable narrative of how it all happened, my guess is you’d be totally wrong” ( 4,830 words)
Tove Danovich | Ringer | 28th February 2018
Proof that genius takes many forms. After serving four prison sentences for robbery and drugs, Dave Dahl joined his family’s bakery business in Portland, rebranded it as Dave’s Killer Bread, hired 100 ex-cons, became a local hero, drank too much, lost a friend, went through rehab, then sold the firm for $275 million. Now he is dealing in African art. “Dave takes a Camel Wide out of his pocket and lights it. It has a strong flavor, which is exactly what he’s after. Alcohol; dealing meth; robbing homes and convenience stores — he says all that is behind him. But smoking is the one habit he hasn’t broken” (6,150 words)
Kate Wagner | Curbed | 11th July 2018
Against the modern fashion for ever-bigger houses. “Nobody is actually using their formal living and dining rooms. Families spend their time in the kitchen and the informal living room. Yet we continue to build these wastes of space because many Americans still want that extra square footage, and for a long time, that want has been miscategorised as a need. These spaces aren’t really designed for entertaining. They’re designed for impressing others. In true American irony, these giant ‘social’ spaces are birthed from a deeply anti-social sentiment: making others feel small. Considering that so often our guests are members of our own family adds another layer of darkness to the equation” (1,720 words)
Kate McKean | Outline | 25th July 2018
A literary agent explains why you shouldn’t write that book. Whatever your friends might tell you, it probably won’t be any good, and it certainly won’t sell, if it gets published at all. “It is my full-time job to find new books and help them get published. When people talk about ‘having a book in them’, or when people tell others they should write a book (which is basically my nightmare), what they really mean is ‘I bet someone, but probably not me because I already heard it, would pay money to hear this story’. Here’s what they don’t know, and what most beginner writers might not realize, either” (1,100 words)
Joe Clark | Fawny | 22nd October 2018
iPhone users, prepare to be gripped. Android users, pass by on the other side. “iPhone owners know how to force-quit apps. They know how to set a ringtone and choose atrocious wallpaper. That’s it. People don’t know that they can swipe up or down from top or bottom of screen. I never see anybody turn wifi on or off that way (it’s almost always through Settings). They don’t know what Control Center and Notification Center are by name. They also don’t know what their iSight camera is. They don’t know what Springboard is, and shouldn’t have to. But do they know what the home screen is? (3,500 words)