This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: Have smartphones ruined a generation?

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

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. 88 days trapped in bed to save a pregnancy

shutterstock_660743086 Source: Shutterstock/Jose Ramon Cagigas

Around three months before she was due to give birth, Katherine Heiny was ordered by doctors to lie on her side for 88 days – and gave her a 1% chance of carrying to term.

(The Guardian, 25 minutes)

I wrapped a towel around my waist and called my obstetrician. He was a man in his late 50s with a perpetual hangdog expression, and for this reason, my husband and I called him “Doggie B”. I loved Doggie B. Nothing ever surprised him, nothing ever alarmed him. I could not picture him giving me bad news, and because I could not imagine it, I felt it wouldn’t happen.“I want you to meet me at the hospital,” Doggie B said.

2. Tiny Home Hunters And The Shrinking American Dream

As a larger cohort of Americans seek out tiny homes, is that just an example of the American Dream’s intangibility? Roxane Gay writes about her experience.

(Curbed, 10 minutes)

When I try to imagine living in a tiny home, I get viscerally upset. I have too many books, for one, and I am not willing to part with them for the sake of a social experiment. I also have friends. I enjoy full-sized toilets that flush into a municipal sewage system. I sleep in a big king-size bed that comfortably accommodates my big queen-sized body and, sometimes, another body too.

3. The Monsters Next Door

Spain: The Addams Family Musical Show Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

They’re first families of spooky family TV, but the Addams Family and the Munsters went far beyond that.

(Hazlitt, 30 minutes)

Essentially, the Munsters were a typical American family, though they looked different, ate unusual foods, had a few unusual customs, and were born in a different country. In the show’s second episode, “My Fair Munster,” neighbour Yolanda Cribbins tells the mailman, “This was such a nice neighbourhood, until they moved in.” It’s not exactly subtle stuff, but midcentury sitcoms never really were. The Munsters lived in ignorant bliss about the ways others saw them. They strived for normalcy, but normal just happened to look a little different to them.

4. How An Attack On Estonia Changed The Rules

Warfare has been turned on its head by a rise in cyber attacks. Stephanie MacLellan and Naomi O’Leary trace it back to an attack on Estonia.

(Centre for International Governance Innovation, 18 minutes)

In the first years of the newly independent Estonia, the Bronze Soldier occupied a prominent position in a central Tallinn square. But by 2006, with the interpretation of history an increasingly important political tool under Russian leader Vladimir Putin, just on the other side of the Narva River, the monument became the focus of rising tensions. There were standoffs between Red Army veterans who gathered there to mark military anniversaries, and Estonians who objected to their Soviet flags.

5. Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation?

NY: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 smartphone Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Chances are you’re reading this on a smartphone. There’s no question that the devices have benefits, but how have they impacted a generation? The Atlantic finds out.

(The Atlantic, 24 minutes)

Today’s teens are also less likely to date. The initial stage of courtship, which Gen Xers called “liking” (as in “Ooh, he likes you!”), kids now call “talking”—an ironic choice for a generation that prefers texting to actual conversation. After two teens have “talked” for a while, they might start dating. But only about 56% of high-school seniors in 2015 went out on dates; for Boomers and Gen Xers, the number was about 85%.

6. Welcome To Idaho – Now Go Home

With the disproportionately white area of northern Idaho becoming a migration spot for conservatives, it seems odd that the local Republican party is tearing itself apart.

(Buzzfeed, 43 minutes)

According to former Coeur d’Alene councilman Mike Kennedy, the Obama years “were like a bad moon rising” when it came to conservative politics. Each year, the far-right challenges to the establishment became more vivid. There was the North Idaho Tea Party, whose leader, Pam Stout, became a national face of the movement when she went on The Late Show with David Letterman, and then tax protesters like Phil Hart, who, after years of trying to gain traction as a constitutionalist, successfully ran for the state House as a Republican. And then there were the beginnings of what would become known as the American Redoubt, the outline of which would be formalized in 2011 by survivalist blogger and author James Wesley Rawles.


A film released in the US last week outlines the story of the firefighters who perished during a forest fire in Arizona. The GQ story which inspired it is essential reading.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel