#363: Looking for Clarence Thomas
I warmly invite you read, annotate, and discuss this month’s Article Club selection
Happy Thursday! Last week, loyal reader Reginald asked me, “Who are your favorite writers of Highlighter articles?” There are many who come to mind, but I keep coming back to The Big Three: Kathryn Schulz, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Brian Broome.
But after I recently read “Looking for Clarence Thomas,” this month’s Article Club selection, I decided it’s time to add Mitchell S. Jackson to the list.
His 2020 article, “Twelve Minutes and a Life,” a profile of Ahmaud Arbery, won not only the Pulitzer Prize but also the National Magazine Award. It was also named this publication’s best article of the year. If you haven’t read it yet, stop everything you’re doing (yes, even pause reading this newsletter!) and get right to it. It’s deeply moving and brilliantly written.
Now Mr. Jackson is out with another gem of a piece, this time a profile of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a figure who elicits strong emotions. (Perhaps you, too, have strong emotions about Justice Thomas?)
I won’t blurb the article here as I usually do, because I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it’s clear that Mr. Jackson’s writing engages the reader in a way I haven’t seen before. I hope you’ll feel the same way. Here’s a glimpse:
You want to understand Clarence Thomas? Hatred directed not outward but inward, where it does the oppressor’s work for him. The man’s a human being, so his self-hatred couldn’t have been a conscious choice. But be that as it may, my concern for a single suffering human ain’t the purpose of this writing. My purpose is to try to understand Clarence Thomas not because of what the world did to him but because of what he’s doing to us.
➡️ Click here to read the article
This month, I warmly invite you to read, annotate, and discuss “Looking for Clarence Thomas” as part of Article Club.
If you’re interested, this how things will go:
This week, we’ll read the article
Next week, we’ll annotate the article as a group
The following week, we’ll listen to our interview with Mr. Jackson
On Sunday, Oct. 23, 2:00 - 3:30 pm PT, we’ll discuss the article
If this will be your first time participating in Article Club, I’m 100% sure you’ll find that you’ll feel welcome. We’re a kind, thoughtful reading community. Feel free to reach out with all of your questions.
Last week’s article, “I Wish I Was A Little Taller,” was a big hit and sparked visceral reactions. “OUCH!” wrote loyal reader Kati, who called leg-lengthening “the last frontier in plastic surgery.” She added:
The article again answers the question of body insecurity and whether it affects all of us, regardless of our gender. (It does.) Unrelated, I’ve always wished I could have long lean hands and fingers. I have childlike stubby little fingers. Maybe that will be the next innovation!
My fingers are stubby, too, Kati! In fact, they’re like sausages. I’ll be right there in line with you to get finger-lengthening once it comes out.
Loyal reader Beth also found the piece disturbing, lamenting that our society makes short men feel they need to subject themselves to “expensive, painful, risky surgery to find a partner.” She added that perhaps there are alternatives:
If these men invested instead in things like therapy, they might actually be happier and have more success with finding a partner (just a hypothesis).
Thank you again, Kati and Beth, for sharing your thoughts. Loyal readers, don’t be shy. Get your perspective out there, either by emailing me or leaving a comment.
Thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Highlighter Article Club. Hope you liked it. Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback. I’d love to hear from you.
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