Next in the continuing saga of Rolling Stone printing surprisingly good long-format journalism: The Stoner Arms Dealers.

Packouz was baffled, stoned and way out of his league. “It was surreal,” he recalls. “Here I was dealing with matters of international security, and I was half-baked. I didn’t know anything about the situation in that part of the world. But I was a central player in the Afghan war… It was totally killing my buzz. There were all these shadowy forces, and I didn’t know what their motives were. But I had to get my shit together and put my best arms-dealer face on.”

The author, Guy Lawson, seems to have written a string of in-depth articles on international crime in Rolling Stone.

Although you suspect Rolling Stone is also dropping serious money on lawyers, to let them say things like:

The Albanians cut him out of the deal, informing AEY that the repackaging job would be completed instead by a friend of the prime minister’s son. What Trebicka had failed to grasp was that Thomet was paying a kickback to the Albanians from the large margin he was making on the deal. Getting rid of Thomet was impossible, because that was how the Albanians were being paid off the books.

I suspect part of the reason Rolling Stone can support this kind of journalism is that they force their writers to be entertaining. Not only does this mean people read and appreciate the long-form articles (and thus build demand for more of them), but it forces the writers to properly get to grips with their subject.

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