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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 13 July, 2020

Sitdown Sunday: The cop that said 'I love playing with dead bodies'

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. Knowing me, needing you

Social media – in particular, sites like Instagram and Twitter – have radically changed how celebrity reporting is done. Celebs no longer have to turn to magazines to do a ‘reveal’ photoshoot – they can just put the picture online themselves. But it has also changed things for political reporting. Here’s an in-depth look at what’s going on.

(The Awl, approx 30 mins reading time)

There are situations that used to require the presence of a reporter to write something down and publish it that can now be resolved with a short, colloquial post. For the quick quote-response type of story, a subject has less need to grant access and the reporter has less leverage to demand it. This, it seemed, would change the jobs of both political operatives and reporters alike.

2. The Brujas skate witches

shutterstock_189122648 Source: Shutterstock/lzf

Liz Pelly meets an all-girl Brooklyn skate crew who are very inspiring in how they approach life, politics, and the mechanics of being a girl gang.

(Dazed Digital, approx 15 mins reading time)

“So much of our world is described through patriarchal, rigid, academic, medical ways, and concepts of understanding the world scientifically,” Arianna says. “Traditionally behind those perspectives are just men. In traditional indigenous cultures, which a lot of our cultures are derived from, women were in charge of health and community and motherhood and wellness and food. Not in ways that were demeaning but in ways that were powerful.”

3. Angry disabled girl

shutterstock_268713302 Source: Shutterstock/bubutu

Louise Bruton writes about how the fact she uses a wheelchair makes some people feel they can say intrusive things to her. As she explains, a wheelchair is not an invitation to ask personal questions – or something that defines her.

(The Coven, approx 8 mins reading time)

Much like female celebrities, people with disabilities are asked narrow-minded and unoriginal questions by journalists. “What’s it like to be in a wheelchair?” is often the opener and “How’s the love life?” is their way of peering at your sexual habits. We’re all curious about how others get down’n’dirty, but people have a bizarre fascination with how disabled people get it on.

4. Afraid of everything

shutterstock_221573689 Source: Shutterstock/Ollyy

Emmett Rensin writes about fear – fear of flying, fear of panic, fear of death. What starts off as ‘ordinary’ fear turns into something worse.

(Vox, approx 21 mins reading time)

On a clear afternoon in October, I am convinced I’m having a heart attack. I stand. I go up and down the long, narrow kitchen of my apartment. I am dizzy, so I go out on the nearest major street and walk back and forth between the grocery store and the McDonald’s, so that if I collapse, someone will see me. This happens every day for a week.

5. Deadly police killings

shutterstock_131680106 Source: Shutterstock/Militarist

The Guardian brings us to Kern County, where police have killed more people by capita than any other county this year. The reporters talk to locals and go on patrol with officers, and try to find out what’s going on.

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(The Guardian, approx 45 mins reading time)

Stringer, a senior Bakersfield officer whose plaudits for once saving a colleague in peril had been overshadowed by his arrest for a hit-and-run while driving under the influence of prescription drugs, reached under the bloodied white sheet and tickled De La Rosa’s toes. Then, a junior officer reported to commanders, he jerked the head to one side and joked about rigor mortis. “I love playing with dead bodies,” said Stringer.

6. An inspiring journey

_87000732_976xamypadkitchen Source: BBC

British woman Amy Peake wants to bring sanitary products to women and families – like children with special needs, or older people – in need. She was inspired by a photo from Syria, and the story of her mission is pretty incredible stuff. She’s very tenacious.

(BBC, approx 18 mins reading time)

On top of that, Peake discovered, there is a desperate need for incontinence pads for the many wounded, elderly and disabled people – and traumatised children. “The children are really suffering,” says Peake. “The problem is that the mothers have been trying to cope for so long that basically they’ve given up. Night after night of urine and they can’t keep them clean. It’s soul-destroying.


shutterstock_273600215 Source: Shutterstock/ledmark

In 2013, Ted Conover went undercover at a slaughterhouse. What he found makes for grim reading.

(Harper’s, approx mins reading time)

Though it’s called a floor, it’s actually a room, about the size of a football field. It’s filled with workers on their feet, facing some fraction of a cow as it passes slowly in front of them, suspended from the chain. Three workers are perched on hydraulic platforms fitted with electric saws, which they use to split hanging carcasses in half, right down the middle of the spinal column.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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