Greg Gerding

2015 Year in Review: Top Articles from The Big Smoke America

Greg Gerding, Editor-in-Chief of The Big Smoke America, celebrates the two-month anniversary since launching (and the New Year) by listing your favorite articles based on what you read and shared most.

 

On November 9th, 2015, we launched The Big Smoke America. Since then, we have published over 100 articles and essays tackling a number of topics, generating a lot of interest, and sparking many debates and discussions.

I looked at the traffic through both our website and social media to review our most popular articles and here’s what I learned about you: you are smart, switched on, sophisticated, and you like a good laugh.

The Big Smoke America is after one thing, and one thing only—fine, edgy, opinion writing. We publish content that we may not agree with. We don’t censor; we provide a platform for debate. We cater to discerning readers like you who want to access ideas differently.

I’m proud of the work we have published so far. We have hardworking writers who are interested in change with an eye on improving establishments (political and cultural) that are either broken or misguided, while writing intelligently and beautifully in an accessible way. Our writers grab readers from the first word and leave them changed after the last.

You were engaged by the thought-provoking articles written by Sean Davis, Sarah Xerta, Jeff Reese, John S. Blake, Jason Arment, Chris Margolin, David Neff, Mark Gundy, and Jesse Valencia. You also enjoyed human interest stories from Ben Werner, Christy Powers, Jason Zenobia, Kari Stiles, and Travis Laurence Naught. You also laughed at the humor and satire from Amelia Cornwald, Paris Portingale, and Stefanie Histed.

As the Editor-in-Chief of The Big Smoke America, I wanted to mark the occasion of our two-month anniversary AND the New Year by listing your favorite article from each one of our major contributors (listed alphabetically by author’s first name).

 

Amelia Cornwald

Bangsgiving: The Official Start to Holiday Hook-Up Season

“This whole shared experience of low spirits ends up creating a beautiful cornucopia of people all longing for a little human comfort, no matter how false and fleeting it might be.”

Bangsgiving: The Official Start to Holiday Hook-Up Season

 

Ben Werner

My Life as a Trophy Husband

“I am a trophy husband—a glistening piece of arm candy while attending formal and informal Navy events with my Lieutenant Commander wife.”

My Life as a Trophy Husband

 

Chris Margolin

Top 10 Quotes from My 11th Grade English Class (2015 Edition)

“This book is based on a true book, right?”

Top 10 Quotes from My 11th Grade English Class (2015 Edition)

 

Chris Valle

American Perceptionalism

“I think we have a large segment of the U.S. population in active denial, and are so uncomfortable with certain well-supported information, that they will embrace and defend nonsense that gives them at least a small emotional bubble to operate within.”

American Perceptionalism

 

Christy Powers

All I Want for Christmas Is to be Cancer Free

“It is the losses that require us to be our bravest. And I am faced with the hard fact that I cannot beat this without a loss. A double mastectomy is in my future.”

All I Want for Christmas Is to be Cancer Free

 

David Neff

Why Gun Control Alone Can’t Stop Violence

“The United States seems to be endlessly deadlocked in the debate over gun violence, with little sign of any real progress. Instead, we should be asking why these attacks keep happening.”

Why Gun Control Alone Can’t Stop Violence

 

Doug Walker

Paris, Friday the 13th, November 2015

“When I got home from work and opened up my social media to catch up on what I missed, my heart sank.”

Paris, Friday the 13th, November 2015

 

Jason Arment

An Understanding of ISIS

“Any analysis of ISIS that doesn’t start off with an unflinching look at what happened for the last century in that region, to include a close examination of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, will simply be unable to grasp ISIS.”

An Understanding of ISIS

 

Interview with an Anonymous Police Officer

“People need to be responsible for their own behavior and treat each other better. It sounds corny and simple, but the government can only do so much. We always seem to look to Big Brother to give us what we need. But discipline and morality can’t be given to us by the government.”

Interview with an Anonymous Police Officer

 

Jason Zenobia

My Tadpole Needs More Wax: There Are Plenty of Things to Regret in Life, but Art Doesn’t Have to Be One of Them.

“I’ve seen some truly regrettable tattoos. Like Chinese characters that you thought meant, ‘Longevity and Peace,’ but actually say, ‘Urinal Out Of Order.’”

My Tadpole Needs More Wax: There Are Plenty of Things to Regret in Life, but Art Doesn’t Have to Be One of Them.

 

Jeff Reese

“They Were All My Friends, and They Died”: Never Forget Your Loved Ones

“Hug your friends, tell them you love them. If you see they are hurting, acknowledge that and tell them you care about them. Because you never know when they might go.”

“They Were All My Friends, and They Died”: Never Forget Your Loved Ones

 

Jesse Valencia

Top 10 BS Ideas I Learned About in Grad School

“Everyone in America has ‘First World Privilege’ and ‘Consumer Privilege’ and should be finding ways to heal the planet, end war, and lift everyone out of starvation and poverty instead of focusing on their little bubble worlds where their feelings might get hurt.”

Top 10 BS Ideas I Learned About in Grad School

 

John S. Blake

We Are Our Own Too-Forgiving Gods: Humanity Is a Body, and the Body Hurts All Over.

“Anger keeps us from Loving each other. Loving each other is the only way forward. Always.”

We Are Our Own Too-Forgiving Gods: Humanity Is a Body, and the Body Hurts All Over.

 

All in the Wrapping: What It Honestly Takes for Social Change in America

“This is a remix of the Tuskegee Experiment; we have now concluded that white bodies also wither and bloom during heroin nods. White bodies, too, jitter and convulse with enough crack. White bodies deserve dignity and our deepest sympathy when they surrender to narcotics; just like bodies with more melanin in their skin.”

All in the Wrapping: What It Honestly Takes for Social Change in America

 

Kari Stiles

Thinking Back About Robin Williams and Our Regard for Mental Illness

“I think it’s fair to say we ALL have hit depression or anxiety at some point in our lives, if it’s not a chronic issue or a generalized yet reasonably functional baseline. We need to continue to open our minds and hearts to mental illness.”

Thinking Back About Robin Williams and Our Regard for Mental Illness

 

Mark Gundy

Landslide: Trump’s Path to the White House

“Trump correctly figured out he could reach more voters by being on television 24/7 than by running boring ads as popular as infomercials and all he needed to do was take a position bound to infuriate the media to turn them into unwitting accomplices.”

Landslide: Trump’s Path to the White House

 

Paris Portingale

A List of Things 2015 Has Taught Me

“If you’re ever drunk and find yourself in a knife fight in a car park or somewhere, you’ve got a couple of options, and 2015 gave me the opportunity to try them both.”

A List of Things 2015 Has Taught Me

 

Sarah Xerta

Gaslighting 101: Untangling the Knots of Pyschological Abuse

“Our society is slow to take abuse seriously and even slower to recognize abuse that cannot be seen, pain that cannot be proven with empirical ‘objective’ evidence.”

Gaslighting 101: Untangling the Knots of Pyschological Abuse

 

Sean Davis

Top Ten Nails in the Coffin of American Intellectualism, 2015

“People need to be reminded that it’s okay to think. Political hashtags might show someone cares, but direct action changes the world.”

Top Ten Nails in the Coffin of American Intellectualism, 2015

 

A Combat Veteran’s View: French Bombing of Syria Is Wrong

“If we commit to the heavy, human cost of war, it needs to be carefully thought-out. If it isn’t, we can find ourselves continuing an endless war, spending the sweat of our laborers, the genius of our scientists, and the hopes of our children.”

A Combat Veteran’s View: French Bombing of Syria Is Wrong

 

Be the Amendment You Want to See in the World

“Instead of feeling indignant about the mention of changing gun laws, help write better ones.”

Be the Amendment You Want to See in the World

 

Stefanie Histed

The 8 Best-Selling Men’s Body Washes of 2015

“Alpha Dog Musk [Body Wash]: A best-seller from the Panty Dropper collection, this is a warm, comforting scent that screams Authority and Derision with subtle hints of Interest and Vanilla.”

The 8 Best-Selling Men’s Body Washes of 2015

 

Travis Laurence Naught

Rah! Rah! Rah! Shouldn’t Professional Cheerleaders at Least Make Minimum Wage?

“The thrill of keeping oneself in better shape than most of the athletes who the dancers are representing doesn’t pay the bills. Neither do the meager checks these women are given.”

Rah! Rah! Rah! Shouldn’t Professional Cheerleaders at Least Make Minimum Wage?

 

Thank you for your loyal readership. We want to shake up and transform America for the better. It’s time. Sometimes that requires rejecting what is already there to try to create something entirely new.

Please stay tuned, we’re just getting started.

 

Greg Gerding

Greg Gerding is the Editor-in-Chief of The Big Smoke America. He is also the founder of University of Hell Press, an indie press that publishes irreverent and thought-provoking literature.

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