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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: 'I was the victim of a conspiracy theory'

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

Image: Shutterstock/Ron Frank

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. ‘Nobody is going to believe you’

Rumours about the Hollywood director Bryan Singer (Bohemian Rhapsody) have been circulating for two decades. This week, The Atlantic published a long article about the allegations of sexual misconduct. (This article may be distressing for some to read.)

(The Atlantic, approx 57 mins reading time)

We spent 12 months investigating various lawsuits and allegations against Singer. In total, we spoke with more than 50 sources, including four men who have never before told their stories to reporters. A man we’ll call Eric told us that he was 17 in 1997 when he and Singer had sex at a party at the director’s house; another we’ll call Andy says he was only 15 that same year, when he and Singer had sex in a Beverly Hills mansion. Both men say Singer, who was then in his early 30s, knew they were under 18, the age of consent in California. 

2. Watching your weight

Could watching your weight be bad for you? That’s what this article in Wired explores, interviewing a podcast host involved in the intuitive eating movement.

(Wired, approx 9 mins reading time)

According to figures like Harrison, the one thing we can say for certain about people who get labeled “fat” is not that they have deposits of adipose tissue that interfere in observable ways with heart health and blood sugar. What we can say is that fat people in America, number one, experience weight stigma and, two, are always or often on diets.

3. Victims of conspiracy theories

People who were affected by conspiracy theories involving them speak out about the impact it had on their life. One was falsely accused of being the Parkland shooter, another lost a child at Sandy Hook.

(The Guardian, approx 23 mins reading time)

“I was extremely naive. I believed that people were simply misinformed and that if I released proof that my child had existed, thrived, loved and was loved, and was ultimately murdered, they would understand our grief, stop harassing us, and more importantly, stop defacing photos of Noah and defaming him online.” Instead, he watched his deceased son buried a second time, under hundreds of pages of hateful web content.

4. I want to live to 180

The founder of Bulletproof coffee has spent $1 million in his quest to live to 180. He has injected his own stem cells, takes 100 supplements a day, and wears yellow-lensed glasses when he flies…

(Men’s Health, approx 30 mins reading time)

Asprey estimates that people have drunk more than 150 million cups of the stuff since he first posted the recipe online in 2009. Various bottled versions are now the three highest-selling ready-to-drink coffees at Whole Foods. But while the coffee is what put Asprey on the map, his aspirations are much bigger than that—and having the longest human life span ever recorded is just one part of his plan.

5. The plot against George Soros

Buzzfeed and Das Magazin have dug deep into the story of George Soros, and how two Jewish American political consultants helped create the conspiracy theory around him.

(Buzzfeed, approx 24 mins reading time)

The demonization of Soros is one of the defining features of contemporary global politics, and it is, with a couple of exceptions, a pack of lies. Soros is indeed Jewish. He was an aggressive currency trader. He has backed Democrats in the US and Karl Popper’s notion of an “open society” in the former communist bloc. But the many wild and proliferating theories, which include the suggestion that he helped bring down the Soviet Union in order to clear a path to Europe for Africans and Arabs, are so crazy as to be laughable — if they weren’t so virulent.

6. What Jack Dorsey thinks

An anecdote from this Jack Dorsey interview has been doing the rounds all week – about Mark Zuckerberg killing a goat. Here’s the full interview.

(Huffington Post, approx 27 mins reading time)

Or consider later, when I asked whether Trump tweeting an explicit call for murder would be grounds for removal. Just as he seemed about to answer what seemed like an easy question, he caught himself. “That would be a violent threat,” he started. “We’d definitely … You know we’re in constant communication with all governments around the world. So we’d certainly talk about it.” They would certainly talk about it.


Cowboy Bob wore a Western hat, never spoke a word, and robbed multiple banks… and wasn’t what people thought he was.

(Texas Monthly, approx 42 mins reading time)

The stunned teller handed over a stack of cash from her drawer. Peggy Jo nodded, stuck the money into a satchel, and walked out of the bank. She then drove straight back to her apartment, where her mother was still in bed, getting hungry, hoping Peggy Jo would return soon to fix her lunch.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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