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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
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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. The drugs don’t work
Carl Zimmer looks at the history of antibiotics, how they help to save lives, and how overuse could put us all in danger. (National Geographic)

While antibiotics can discriminate between us and them, however, they can’t discriminate between them and them–between the bacteria that are making us sick and then ones we carry when we’re healthy. When we take a pill of vancomycin, it’s like swallowing a grenade. It may kill our enemy, but it kills a lot of bystanders, too.

2. Bringing the war back with you
Adam McCauley looks at the war photographers whose images come back to haunt them. (The Atlantic)

Some photographers try to lose themselves in the technical elements of their images: the exposures and f-stops, saturation and white balance. These aspects allow a modicum of control. The most successful are praised and rewarded for their work. The events that shock their humanity, serve as fuel for their professional career. But sometimes, when trauma weighs too heavily — when those recorded moments become too ‘decisive’ — photographers internalize what they’ve seen. Like soldiers, photographers can carry these wars home.

3. Disposable workers, disposable lives
Jim Morris and Chip Mitchell write about the case of Carlos Centeno, a “temp” worker who deserved better. (Mother Jones)

“The EMTs were horrified and angered at the employer, for not calling 911 at the scene and further delaying his care by transferring him to a clinic instead of a hospital,” Galassi’s memo says. John Newquist, who retired from OSHA in September after 30 years with the agency, said the case was among the most disturbing he encountered as an assistant regional administrator in Chicago.

4. Snowed in
John Branch offers up a multimedia feast as he tells the story of the 16 skiers and snowboarders who were trapped in an avalanche. (The New York Times)

She had no control of her body as she tumbled downhill. She did not know up from down. It was not unlike being cartwheeled in a relentlessly crashing wave. But snow does not recede. It swallows its victims. It does not spit them out. Snow filled her mouth. She caromed off things she never saw, tumbling through a cluttered canyon like a steel marble falling through pins in a pachinko machine.

5. The pieces of the puzzle
Matthieu Aikins travels to Pakistan to take a deeper look at how America located Bin Laden. (GQ)

At his home in Afridiabad, Jamil brushed aside such stories. Shakil was a good man, he said, who took care of his family. He bought a house in Hayatabad, a suburb of Peshawar, for his wife and kids and gave money to support Jamil and his family. At the end of our discussion, I asked Jamil if he thought his brother had really played a key role in the CIA’s mission to find Bin Laden. “I don’t think that he knew what he was doing,” he replied. “But even if he did, he did a very good thing.”

6. Filming a classic
Ned Zeman looks back at the making of the cult film The Blues Brothers. (Vanity Fair)

One night at three, while filming on a deserted lot in Harvey, Illinois, Belushi disappears. He does this sometimes. On a hunch, Aykroyd follows a grassy path until he spies a house with a light on. “Uh, we’re shooting a film over here,” Aykroyd tells the homeowner. “We’re looking for one of our actors.” “Oh, you mean Belushi?” the man replies. “He came in here an hour ago and raided my fridge. He’s asleep on my couch.” Only Belushi could pull this off. “America’s Guest,” Aykroyd calls him.


In 2002, Sonia Nazario wrote a Pulitzer prize-winning piece in the LA Times about a boys journey to find his mother.

Many, including Enrique, begin to idealize their mothers. In their absence, these mothers become larger than life. Although the women struggle to pay rent and eat in the United States, in the imaginations of their children back home they become deliverance itself, the answer to every problem. Finding them becomes the quest for the Holy Grail.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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