2019 — a year that is now over. Goodbye. Here are some of our favorite stories we published.
There's nothing I love more than a clear-eyed and scathing indictment of the world's most awful academic discipline: evolutionary psychology. May the field meet with further approbation in 2020. —Brandy Jensen, Power Editor
The highest praise I can give this essay is that I noticed a marked decline in terrible Twitter threads after it was published. Rosa Lyster is a hero to us all. —B.J.
The miraculous journey of a captive-bred hermit crab
In a year marked by big, blustering personalities and complicated, sometimes inscrutable events, this story — about one woman and her ardent commitment to breeding tiny hermit crabs — punched far above its weight in terms of emotional impact. I feel better about the world knowing Mary Akers is in it. —B.J.
Few writers can say that Kendall Jenner was photographed reading their book, but Darcie Wilder is one of those writers. By tracing the process through which her novel, literally show me a healthy person, ended up in Jenner's hands, Wilder reaches astute observations about the relationship between mainstream and underground, what counts as genuine fame, and why Kendall Jenner should probably go ahead and give her $100,000. —Drew Millard, Features Editor
We spent the day with DaBaby
Sometimes, in the course of profiling the biggest rapper of 2019, you will accidentally cause to believe that you are an active follower of Satan, and sometimes, that is okay. That's what I've been trying to tell myself after I profiled DaBaby, at least. —D.M.
This story was an absolute joy to edit. It had everything: The occult! Good-natured Pagans! Egotistic tech billionaires! Banks! Ultimately, this was a story about a group of people banding together in the hopes of making life suck just a little bit less. —D.M.
Hong Kong has a cum problem
I love when The Outline goes international, and Mary Hui’s dispatch on a curious detail of Hong Kong life said a lot about how language is warped and passed down across countries and generations. —Jeremy Gordon, Deputy Editor
The dangerously cheesy collectible cheetos market
Weird internet culture is Extremely My Shit, and Tove Danovich’s dive into the rare Cheetos market explored how an online joke can sometimes go too far. Plus, it had the best art of any Outline piece this year courtesy of our designer Jack Koloskus — Cheeto Marx! —J.G.
I shopped at Payless 1,000 times as a kid but didn't think much of its closure before Sara Bernstein’s wide-ranging piece, which thoroughly and cleverly captured how Payless was both great and terrible. Capitalist institutions don't always deserve a sendoff, but they'd be lucky to get one like this. —J.G.
A meditation on World of Warcraft, and the simultaneously successful and doomed resuscitation of a video game from 2005. —Noah Kulwin, Future Editor
An antiques dealer from Orange County defends making millions of dollars by reselling Nazi memorabilia. Oh, and he's Jewish. —N.K.
There are many new kinds of technological tools being developed that do stupid and bad things, but which are made by people who don't seem to get that (or don't care). Technology that can claim to recognize and respond to people's emotions is one of those tools. —N.K.
Everything Leah writes is brilliant, but this piece is especially good because it says in a very genuine and intelligent way what we all know deep down: sometimes you need to shut the fuck up. —Joshua Topolsky, Founder of The Outline
The house liquor of the muslim world
I love this piece because it “explains” its topic but never talks down to the reader, and it upends a widely-held cultural trope in a way that is subtle, funny, and deeply personal. —J.T.
I like to think that The Outline has somewhat of a reputation for making the unseen details the focus of a story. This dissection of both a writer and their subject is scathing, thought-provoking, and (especially now) very necessary. —J.T.
This story has everything. It made me care about food when I really don’t, and it managed to find yet another layer of Japanese culture that I didn’t quite understand but would fly over an ocean to experience. —J.T.
Our own Brandy Jensen is a sage of our time, and this column very nearly made me cry. Okay fine it did. —Leah Finnegan, Executive Editor
Nothing so true has ever been said. —L.F.