Our Favorite Stories About Figuring Out Who We Are and Where We Come From

Stories from the Medium universe that tackle titles and identity

Each week on Medium Rare, I’ll be sharing stories you might have missed that are definitely worth a second look. Got a suggestion for a piece we should feature? Pop it in the responses below!

  • After being identified by broadcast news networks as an “expert” on North Korea, writer and journalist Eric Stinton unpacks the absurdity of such labels: “Imagine an interview with an ‘America Expert.’ What would that even mean? What aspect of America would their expertise be in? Economics? Politics? Culture?”

The untold story about the inflatable flailing tube man

Eden Dranger tells the story of how her dad, AKA LouLou, AKA Arieh Leon Dranger, was part of a team that created the first wacky-armed flailing tube man.

Before they were ubiquitous at festivals and used car dealerships, the inflatable air dancer was the original hype man for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. Dranger shares the backstory of how LouLou’s collaborators, Peter Minshall and Doron Gazit, teamed up to make history:

Gloria Estefan was scheduled to perform. The Olympic committee wanted a vibe that would make everyone just get up and dance. The sketch Minshall showed Doron and LouLou was his design called the “Tall Boy,” reminiscent of the tall Carnival puppets. Minshall asked if there was any way to make it so they’d be over 60 feet tall and be able to dance on their own (no puppeteers). Apparently, Minshall had tried to do this on his own but admitted it failed.

Truth was, Doron had no idea if he could pull it off either. He was always doing vertical air-tube designs, but vertical tubes with a humanoid body wasn’t something he thought could be done. LouLou didn’t know if it could either, but without hesitation, LouLou told Minshall, “We can do it!”

Indeed, just like this:

Editor/writer. Words in GEN, The Atlantic, Glamour, The Intercept, MSNBC, NBC News, NYT, Vice, Vox, and more.

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