RCL Exclusive

5 Stories From This Week That Brought the Past Into Present Relevance

The only reason you’re still on Facebook and James Brown’s death top the list.

News By

The past is not always left behind, staying put in a neat little box. Sometimes, as the metaphor goes, it comes back to bite us. Just ask Dan Mallory, The Woman in the Window author who’s the focus of a scathing New Yorker feature about his many alleged deceits. Or, if such a person exists, the man or woman who may have killed the Godfather of Soul. And there’s always the environment we’ve been trashing since man first walked our doomed planet.

But every now and then, we’re reminded of something pleasant — like a long, lost Facebook friend’s birthday — or an unresolved wrong that’s finally made right. Ask Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan about the latter. Echoes from the past are a recurring theme among this week’s long-form journalistic forays. Read on to discover more.

long read
According to a new CNN investigations, James Brown could have been murdered. (Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

It might sound ridiculous, but leave it to CNN to make one circus performer’s tale of murder and intrigue seem completely plausible — even in the case of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul who’s been dead for more than 12 years. In a three-part series, the investigative piece lays out the case in startling detail, with documentation and expert analysis to boot.

long read
“The Woman in the Window” author A.J. Finn’s real name is Dan Mallory. (Amal KS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Dan Mallory, the author behind the pen name A.J. Finn and this year’s wildly popular thriller, The Woman in the Window, is able to write about thrillers in such harrowing, pulse-pounding detail because his novel pales in comparison to his life. According to The New Yorker, the writer has undergone electroconvulsive therapy, hypnotherapy and ketamine therapy and was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder. But he’s also a bit of an “imposter.” Mallory is, by all accounts, an incredibly successful and talented author. But time and again, he’s been witnessed bending the truth and editorializing it to rather surprising levels, as the magazine discovers through its investigation, of sorts, into his life.

long read
Billy Corgan was recently reunited with his favorite, long lost guitar.(Scott Dudelson/ WireImage)

After 27 years, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has been reunited with his stolen Gish guitar. About a year after the band issued their trippy debut album, a thief stole the instrument, Corgan’s favorite. The band had just finished a show at Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit in June 1992 when a friend who was acting as a roadie told him that somebody walked out the back door with his guitar. “I was like, ‘How is that even possible? Where’s security? Where were you?’” Corgan recalled for Rolling Stone. Now, nearly three decades later, the rock star and his guitar are back together. “It’s an incredible story,” Corgan said. “It’s a happy day.”

long read
For better or for worse, Facebook is the reason why some people are still in your life. (Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto)

Facebook has been saddled with so many scandals in the past couple of years that it’s hard to keep track of which part of our personal lives the social media platform sold off last. But many of us keep our accounts active, even by bare-minimum standards, largely because the app — with all of its annoying notifications — is the only way we know anyone’s birthday. Or as The Atlantic referred to it in the magazine’s dive into the site on its 15th birthday, “keeping weak connections on life support forever.” Click on to see how it’s largely responsible for so many long-term “friendships.”

long read
The Trump administration has rolled back enough environmental protections to deeply scar the Earth for years to come. (Getty Images)

For the past three years, National Geographic has been tracking how the Trump administration’s decisions concerning the environment have influenced — and likely will influence for many years to come — the Earth’s air, water and wildlife. Most of the Obama-era regulations that required businesses to spend time and money to meet environmental standards have been swiftly reviewed and, in many cases, rolled back. The magazine’s study of these past few years revealed 15 ways in which the world has already been very badly affected.