Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for August 2012

In August, WordPress.com bloggers hit us with their best: Smart takes on the month’s biggest stories. Thoughtful musings on culture. Photographs and art that bring the world to life.

The following ten picks represent what Freshly Pressed is all about: original content that engages readers, timely posts that contribute to a larger discussion, and personal writing that resonates with others. Enjoy!

Glimpses of Iran

This photo essay documents quiet, unexpected moments of daily life in Iran and captures the delicious details and textures of Yzad and elsewhere. The collection of six photographs illustrates quality over quantity—each image is strong, well-composed, and tells its own story.

Frankie V. Debra, Roe V. Wade: Patricia Heaton’s Two Famous Moms, and Can You Still Be a Feminist If You’re Anti-Abortion?

“But I’m still happy to be in their gang, because we don’t all have to think the same.”

This post examines hot-button topics—abortion and feminism—through an original and nuanced discussion of actress Patricia Heaton. We are impressed with the blogger’s honesty, respectful but confident voice, and willingness to ask questions; these elements encourage readers to comment and join the discussion.

Thinking of New Orleans

“Why do we turn to these stories? For shelter. We need an explanation, because “It happened for no reason at all” is somehow too horrifying to face.”

In this reflection on Hurricane Katrina, writer/photographer Kim weaves thoughts on Louisiana, loss, and the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. We especially like her musings on how we create stories to cope, and to make sense of why things happen in the world. Her gallery of evocative images of New Orleans complements the piece.

Armstrong Is Probably Guilty, But It Is Definitely Meaningless

“This whole long, sordid episode ends in two competing realities. The first is that Armstrong – despite his protests – likely is guilty. The second is that doesn’t matter if he is.”

After introducing the story on Lance Armstrong’s battle with the US Anti-Doping Agency, Mark presents an opinionated yet fair take on doping in cycling (and touches on other sports, too). He admits he is not an Armstrong fan, which further illustrates a balanced approach to the issue.

Authors Behaving Badly: The Seedy Underbelly of Reviewing

“As a writer, I’m not comfortable with the idea of someone writing a review of my book if they haven’t read it. I’m not writing so people can pat me on the back, I’m writing because I have stories I want people to read.”

Here, Jo offers her thoughts on an interesting publishing story: an entrepreneur who set up a business in which authors pay him to write a positive review. Solidly written and thorough, the post leads to a discussion for both writers and readers alike. We like how she asks questions at the end to help launch a healthy debate.

Republican Todd Akin: Don’t Worry, You Won’t Get Pregnant From Rape

“The point is, this is a decision that most deeply affects the victims of rape; those victims have to live with the outcomes of that decision as well as the effects of the crime itself; and those women should be allowed to make the decision that is best for them.”

August saw no lull in controversy in the news, and WordPress.com bloggers confronted these issues head on. A post tackling a hot-button issue can become polarized—even angry—but this take on Todd Akin’s statement on rape is at once passionate and professional.

Lie to Me: Five Lies I’m Proud of Telling My Kids

“Actually, Timmy, there’s a really, really good chance that you won’t be an astronaut. Considering your complete inability to understand long division, you’re probably going to sell cars when you grow up. Now let’s talk about Santa Claus.”

Readers enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek list about the lies one father tells his kids. Whether or not you are a parent, you can relate to this lighthearted post, and will likely recall your own childhood and wonder: did my parents lie to me?!

Rethinking Sleeping Beauty

“Before she pricks her finger, she hesitates, her hand outstretched, but then at Maleficent’s urging, she finally touches the spindle. I’ve always preferred to think that she did it on purpose, not just because she was under a spell. I like to see it as an act of rebellion, a refusal to go from Briar Rose to Aurora quite yet.”

We like how Melissa uses a childhood tale to express ideas about coming of age. Musings are particularly resonant when a writer takes something familiar—such as the story of Sleeping Beauty—to illustrate observations on a more personal level. As a result, she engages with her readers, who have made their own connections through her insights.

When Saturday Mornings Meant Something

Cartoons – the word, the concept, the feeling, the religion — is dead.  Dead and obsolete like the Gothic-arched mouse hole where Jerry took refuge.  Drowned in a sea of endless animation.”

This homage to old-school Saturday morning cartoons left readers swimming in a sea of nostalgia. He-Man! Dungeons and Dragons! The shows of Hanna-Barbera! The sharp and entertaining commentary and palpable passion for the subject contribute to this well-received post.

For Neil.

“Rest in peace other Neil.”

We’re always on the lookout for original artwork: illustrations, paintings, sketches, and more. Shortly after learning of Neil Armstrong’s death, (another) Neil shared an illustration celebrating the famed astronaut. The piece is just as much about Armstrong as it is about the artist himself, and this makes the post timely as well as touching.

What do you think about these selections? Were there other Freshly Pressed posts that stood out this month?

If you’re looking for more, peep the latest posts on Freshly Pressed; check out our writing challenges, photo challenges, and other blogging tips and inspiration at the Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the reader.

For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


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Related posts:

  1. Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for September 2012
  2. Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for October 2012
  3. Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for November, Part II
  4. Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for November, Part I
  5. Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves

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