All the Drama of the Super Bowl, None of the Sports

If those interstitial background stories and interviews about where professional athletes came from are the only interesting thing about sports to you, too, then listen up. J. Ryan Stradal is back at the Rumpus with his annual Super Bowl Preview For People Who Don’t Know Football, and it is excellent:

In 2014, Richard Sherman has made himself known, and we should be thankful for this. His story is a quintessentially American one; it’s banal and heartbreaking to say it couldn’t have happened in any other place or time, but some of what sets Richard apart in his rags-to-riches trajectory is how deeply he wants to be representative of a much larger group of men and women like himself. He is not, as they say, simply along for the ride.

Richard grew up in Compton, California, a place known to most Americans through rap songs, violent films, and piqued news footage. Afflicted by such media, it may be difficult for many to imagine the vast majority of Compton citizens who are simply trying to get by, attend work or school, and feed their children. Kevin and Beverly Sherman are two such people. Kevin rises at 4 a.m. daily to drive a garbage truck, and Beverly is a senior clerk for California Children’s Services.

He highlights a handful of other football players I have never heard of, such as Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Russell Wilson, and Peyton Manning (okay, I have heard of him), and writes about them in a tone that sounds just urgent enough, with material that is just human enough, I can almost squint my eyes and forget we are talking about sports.

Getting Paid for Sex vs. Paying for Sex

Antonia Crane talks to David Henry Sterry about the sex he's bought and sold, about his books about other people's sex, bought and sold, and about how hard it is to find someone who will admit they've paid for sex. ("I didn’t realize the enormous stigma attached to the statement to say, 'Yes, I hire someone to have sex with me.' Easier to get people to admit they are a 'whore' than to get people to admit they hired a whore.")

Famous Writers And Their Other Jobs

Michelle Dean compiled a list of some famous authors' day jobs for The Rumpus.

How Maggie Nelson Made It Work

Speaking of keeping your day job, The Rumpus has a new podcast called Make/Work, hosted by Scott Pinkmountain (now THAT is a good last name):
Every creative laborer has a different story to tell about how they negotiate their relationship between their creative work and their paycheck and how they balance their lives to sustain their creative practice. In Make/Work, Scott will speak with emerging and established artists working in a wide range of creative mediums about how they survive, how they make a living, and how they maintain their work over the long term.

Effectively Mediocre

What do you do if you're a "Jack Zuckerman"?

Navigating Life After Prison

Sabine Heinlin spent two years with three murderers after they got of prison for her book Among Murderers. Amanda Green spoke with her about the book and her experience writing it: “I do remember this one moment in Bruce’s apartment, which was in a kind of seedy building in a not-so-good neighborhood in the Bronx. I was like, What am I doing here all by myself? I looked at Bruce, who is 6’6” and has huge hands, and I thought he could squash me like a fly and no one would even hear me cry. But I immediately caught myself. This was society’s prejudice talking, which is what I was trying to fight. At this point, I had known Bruce for over two years. I respected and trusted him. We cannot judge a person based on one terrible moment twenty-five years ago.”

A Sex Worker Talks to a John

Antonia Crane interviews a John for The Rumpus.