Picking Favourites

On our final day of publishing, we reflect on the best stories we’ve ever done.

Saying goodbye sucks – but let’s leave on a high, shall we? Below, some of mtv.com.au’s contributors try (and fail) to share the one story they’ve loved the most out of some 1500+ that we’ve published together.

“Youn Yuh-Jung Makes The West See Itself” by Reena Gupta

Like anyone else who has seen Minari, I was immediately transfixed by Youn Yuh-Jung’s electrifying performance. For me, someone who has an incredibly surface level understanding of Korean cinema and really only knowing the big ones that cracked it in the west, Minari was my first exposure to her work. But, as she accepted more and more awards, it was apparent that she was thankful, but not beside herself by this en-masse Western recognition. She doesn’t work to impress America, Australia, the UK and so on.

Reena’s words on this, following Youn’s well-deserved Oscar win, immediately struck me. Throughout the pandemic, I noticed how, more than ever, conversations around recovery – and what is and isn’t appropriate during a global health crisis – were all centred around America. The buck started and stopped with America. It was incredibly frustrating, but hardly surprising. I realised that I had temporarily lost sense of how that attitude is adopted here. We’ve seen it every day in weird state rivalries, and futile arguments over who handled what better.

While it’s not exactly what Reena was talking about in this piece, I really admire her ability to step outside of herself and recognise just how silly the Western world must look to nations elsewhere. Her piece not only recognised it, but forced readers to confront it – just like Youn Yuh-Jung has. Reena’s writing is precise, pulls no punches and is so markedly insightful that it always leaves you in reflection – something I could only dream of doing with my own writing.

Read Reena’s story.

- Jackson Langford, senior music and culture writer

“Why Did An SMH Op-Ed Compare Kyrgios To Donald Trump?” By Josh Martin

I’ve spent several hours now scouring the incredible articles that we’ve featured on mtv.com.au in the past 18 months, and I really don’t have a favourite. How do you compare a carefully argued treatise about Why We Don’t Need Another Britney Spears Documentary to an explosion of existential bewilderment about Netflix’s New Costumed Dating Show? You can’t. You literally can’t.

In any case, Josh Martin’s article from February, Why Did An SMH Op-Ed Compare Nick Kygrios To Donald Trump, is one of the greats. Firstly, the fact that a journalist compared Nick Kyrgios to Donald Trump? That’s just really funny, in and of itself. But what’s brilliant is how Josh so effortlessly uses the whole thing as a wider jumping-off point to explore wider cultural flashpoints: the old guard of Australian journalism being completely out of touch with younger generations, and the age-old impulse to use notions of civility to contain confident people of colour. (For shame, Nicholas!).

There’s also a hopefulness to it: the landscape of this country is changing. Second and third-generation migrants are here and we’re not going to be quiet. Sorry!

The piece is also beautifully written, which is typical.

Read Josh's story.

- Reena Gupta, senior culture writer

I’m not doing it

I’ve always wondered how truthful parents are when they claim not to have a favourite child. Do they really not love one even a little bit more than the others? Now, on our final day of publishing, I get it. See, I put myself in the stupid position of picking between my own babies: our stories.

… but I’m not doing it. As editor, I’ve decided I’m breaking the rules. It’s too hard. I am too tired. We are too brilliant. Instead, I’m sharing three stories that I had a lot of fun editing/publishing/reading. I’m reluctant to refer to them as ‘favourites’ – my palms are sweaty just thinking of the many other stories that also deserve to be highlighted – but anyway, here are some things I like:

“Why I Refuse To Use A Goal-Setting Planner” by Reena Gupta

I love when Reena Gupta gets mad. This article – about goal-setting planners, of all things – is just a drop in the ocean when we consider Reena’s many, many incredible contributions to this publication. But it’s one that I find myself coming back to whenever I’m in need of a good chuckle. Reena is one of the few writers whose words can make me feel giddy, her work – in between digging up hidden misogyny and calling out systemic racism – is laugh-out-loud funny. I’d suggest you read everything she’s ever done immediately.

Read Reena’s story.

“Banoffee Finds Independence In Loss” by Josh Martin

When I read journalist Josh Martin’s interview with Banoffee, I was blown away. It’s a beautiful conversation about music, yes, but also friendship and grief and legacy, having taken place shortly after Banoffee lost her friend and fellow musician, SOPHIE. It’s rare that an interviewee will give you this much to work with, and Josh articulated it all so beautifully and thoughtfully, as is his way.

Read Josh’s story.

“JamarzOnMarz Loves His Hair, And Now He’s On A Mission To Help Black Students Love Theirs Too” by Jackson Langford

Jackson has a knack for telling me what to do, and I usually have the good sense to listen. As a result, we’ve celebrated emerging artists that other publications have missed, and told stories that haven’t been given the time of day elsewhere. This JamarzOnMarz profile is just one example where I’ve allowed myself to be led down the garden path by Jackson Langford, and reaped the rewards.

Read Jackson’s story.

- Alice Griffin, editor of mtv.com.au

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Editor’s note: After this week, mtv.com.au will stop producing editorial, with publishing halting on the site from Friday afternoon, Nov 5. MTV fans can continue to follow along with the brand on social media and the channels.

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