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Sitdown Sunday: The world's most dangerous cosmetic surgery

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

Image: Shutterstock/BOKEH STOCK

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. The world’s most dangerous cosmetic surgery

It’s a butt lift.

(The Guardian, approx 25 mins reading time)

Melissa’s digital body, enhanced by the photo-editing app Facetune, acts as a kind of blueprint for her future physical body. She told me that her friends sometimes edit their pictures on dating apps to the point where they’re unable to meet up with anyone, as the version of themselves they’ve advertised is too far removed from reality. “If you’ve had a BBL, it’s like you’ve already edited your body in real life,” Melissa said, “so you don’t have to edit your pictures.”

2. The worst-hit count in the worst-hit state

A look at how Covid hit a North Dakota community in the USA.

(The New Yorker, approx 44 mins reading time)

 The story was grim. North Dakota had more new cases and deaths per capita than any other state. Half of its hospitals were facing critical staff shortages. Ward County had the highest rate of new cases of any county there, with a record five hundred and twenty active positive cases, and almost forty per cent of them had been diagnosed in the past two weeks. The volume of positive coronavirus tests had overwhelmed her contact-tracing team. Surging numbers of pandemic victims forced Minot’s Trinity Hospital to expand its covid-19 wing.

3. Burning rubber to keep warm

This photo essay and article sheds light on the pressures on people living in poverty in Hungary, who are forced to burn plastic and rubber to stay warm. This then has an effect on the environment, which in turn affects their health.

(Reuters, 8 mins reading time)

Such household pollution is illegal in Hungary, including in this town near the Slovakian border. People do it anyway. On a foggy winter’s day, dense smoke of different hues spews from nearly every chimney. It stays low in the air, gradually filling the narrow valleys. “Firewood is expensive,” Berki said one recent afternoon, as his family played around him, crammed into one small room. “Either I buy wood or food. So I go to the forest, or the junkyard, and if we find plastic or rubber we burn that.”

4. The Classics aren’t always white

Dan-el Padilla is trying to show that the Classics aren’t all about ancient Greece and Rome.

(The New York Times, approx 38 mins reading time)

Long revered as the foundation of “Western civilization,” the field was trying to shed its self-imposed reputation as an elitist subject overwhelmingly taught and studied by white men. Recently the effort had gained a new sense of urgency: Classics had been embraced by the far right, whose members held up the ancient Greeks and Romans as the originators of so-called white culture. Marchers in Charlottesville, Va., carried flags bearing a symbol of the Roman state; online reactionaries adopted classical pseudonyms; the white-supremacist website Stormfront displayed an image of the Parthenon alongside the tagline “Every month is white history month.”

5. Daniel Kinahan

A deep-dive into the story of Daniel Kinahan and the world of professional boxing, from Gavan Casey at our sister site The42.ie.

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(The42.ie, approx 10 mins reading time)

There are Irish boxers signed to MTK who believe they have only gained from aligning themselves with a company widely derided outside of boxing circles in this country. Looking at it through a purely careerist lens, it makes sense: MTK does the ‘career’ side of boxing management as well as anybody and, in the most volatile of industries, its fighters enjoy a level of job security that their contemporaries can only dream of. For those on the inside, that’s the meat and drink of it. For those on the outside, that’s the appeal. 

6. Surviving the helicopter crash

Erin Tierney survived a helicopter crash, and here she outlines what it took to heal and recover from the incident. 

(Outside Online, approx 40 mins reading time)

Time seemed to stop. I was suddenly in a dream state, suspended, watching myself stare open-mouthed at Jim. He allowed his training to take over and skillfully put the machine into an autorotation to prevent a catastrophic nosedive into the mountain. I didn’t speak. I felt like I was floating on a cloud and watching a film strip of green, white, and gray unravel before my eyes. I thought, “This isn’t so bad.” 

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

Here’s a short story from the author Jonathan Lethem.

(The New Yorker, approx 39 mins reading time)

Let me see it for a minute.” Let me see it: you saw a basketball or a pack of baseball cards or a plastic water gun by taking it into your hands, and what happened after that was in doubt. Ownership depended mostly on not letting anyone see anything. If you let a kid see a bottle of Yoo-hoo for a minute, he’d drink what was left of it. “Let me see it, let me check it out. I only want to take it for a ride.” Dylan Ebdus gripped the handlebars. His father had pried off the training wheels the day before, and Dylan still wobbled, still scuffed with his sneakers groping away from the pedals to steady and brake against the sidewalk. “Only if you stay on the block,” Dylan said, miserably.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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