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sitdown sunday

Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair. We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Killing Dad
Natasha Vargas-Cooper discusses the case of 10-year-old Joseph Hall, who murdered his father, and asks the questions: When a child becomes a killer, just who is to blame? (Buzzfeed)

Hours after Joseph was arrested for killing his father, he would tell police he didn’t think he would be “in trouble” because of similar circumstances depicted on the television show Criminal Minds. “A bad father did something to his kids and the kid did the exact thing I did – he shot him,” Joseph would say. “He told the truth and wasn’t arrested and the cops believed him. He wasn’t in trouble or anything. I thought maybe the exact same thing would happen to me.”

2. Pulp Fiction at 20
Mark Seal talks to the cast and crew that turned a 159-page screenplay into a cult classic. (Vanity Fair)

Soon after that, Tarantino arrived at the house Keitel was renting in Los Angeles. “I opened the door, and it was this tall, gawky-looking guy staring at me, and he says, ‘Harvey Kee-tel?’ And I said, ‘It’s Kye-tel,’ ” the actor remembers. “And it began there. I offered him something to eat, and he ate a lot. I said, ‘How’d you come to write this script? Did you live in a tough-guy neighborhood growing up?’ He said no. I said, ‘Was anybody in your family connected with tough guys?’ He said no. I said, ‘Well, how the hell did you come to write this?’ And he said, ‘I watch movies.’”

3. The shooter
Phil Bronstein speaks to the man who killed Osama bin Laden, and how being sworn to secrecy is impacting him financially. (Centre for Investigative Reporting)

At the time, the Shooter’s uncle had reached out to an executive at Electronic Arts, hoping that the company might need help with video-game scenarios once the Shooter retired. But the uncle cannot mention his nephew’s distinguishing feature as the one who put down bin Laden. Secrecy is a thick blanket over our Special Forces that inelegantly covers them, technically forever. The twenty-three SEALs who flew into Pakistan that night were directed by their command the day they got back stateside about acting and speaking as though it had never happened.

4. The detective says I do
Daniel Estrin looks at marriage in Israel, and the increasing role that detectives now play in it. (The Atlantic)

Marriage in Israel is controlled by state religious authorities; there are virtually no civil weddings in the country. Jews who want a marriage license must first prove they are Jewish in accordance with Orthodox tradition, which means they need to have been born to an uninterrupted line of Jewish mothers. Such a pedigree can be difficult to prove, especially for the children of Israel’s largest immigrant community, the former denizens of the Soviet Union, many of whom spent years obscuring their Jewish roots to avoid discrimination.

5. The new Nazis
Sarah Mühlberger investigates the right-wing extremists, ‘The Immortals’, and how their savvy marketing, flash mobs, and videos show a worrying new trend. (Spiegel Online)

Their approach is always the same: The activists put on white masks similar to the ones used by people identified with the Internet collective “Anonymous,” hold up banners and stage a torchlight procession through a city at night. Then a short film with a dramatic soundtrack and right-wing slogans is placed online.

6. Double trouble
Orla Borg writes about Mortem Storm, the Danish secret service agent who infiltrated Al Qaeda. (The Daily Beast)

Danish and American intelligence agencies “knew that Anwar saw me as his friend and confidant,” Storm said. “They knew that I would be able to reach him and find out where he was hiding. That meant that I would be able to help … in the process of tracking down Anwar so the Americans could set up a drone attack and kill him. That was the plan.”


In 2010 Deborah Blum wrote in Slate magazine about how the US government poisoned alcohol during prohibition.

It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat. Before hospital staff realized how sick he was – the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom—the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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