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Sitdown Sunday: How Katie Hopkins became a media monster

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.
May 3rd 2015, 10:00 AM 26,815 35

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 murder of Sofyen Belamouadden

Victoria Station stabbing Sofyen Belamouadden Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Five years ago, Sofyen Belamouadden was murdered in the busy Victoria Station in London. His mother recalls what happened to her beloved son.

(The Independent, approx 25 mins reading time, 5400 words)

What took place in the minutes that followed led to the largest murder investigation in the history of the Metropolitan Police. It resulted in 20 teenagers being charged with murder, the most ever charged over a single killing in Britain, and five trials lasting almost two years.

2. Becoming a woman

shutterstock_142975636 Source: Shutterstock/zadirako

Monica Prata helps transgender women create their look, providing makeovers of their wardrobe and hair – but she also helps them communicate with their family, and is totally honest with her words.

(NY Mag, approx 15 mins reading time, 3093 words)

“Passable is kind of a dirty word. It’s not okay to impose upon somebody the idea that they need to look a certain way,” she’d told me earlier. “But if somebody comes to me and says, ‘I want to look and sound and talk completely like a woman,’ I’ll give them what they want.”

3. Wasting Time on the Internet 

State of News Media Source: AP/Press Association Images

At the University of Pennsylvania, you can actually do a course in Wasting Time on the Internet. Here#s what to expect.

(Slate, approx 14 mins reading time, 2806 words)

Since “Wasting Time” lived in UPenn’s Creative Writing Program, kids were expected to do more than stew in Internet juices: They’d go home and transform their Facebook reveries into poetry and memoir, like Walter Benjamin delicately descending from a hashish high in order to produce works of surreal and trancelike beauty. But whether or not Internet ephemera can, in practice, be molded into meaningful art didn’t concern the critics.

4. The making of Ed Miliband 

Britain Election Labour Party Source: AP/Press Association Images

It’s been an interesting five years for Ed Miliband, so Rafael Behr looks back at 2010 and brings us the Labour leader’s journey to present day.

(The Guardian, approx 37 mins reading time, 7455 words)

The battle to preserve the integrity of Miliband’s ideas would merge with the challenge of presenting the man himself as a candidate who might plausibly one day stand on the threshold of Downing Street, when his character and judgment were a topic of frequent ridicule. It was with some justification that he could declare, at his party’s manifesto launch this week, “I have been tested. It is right that I have been tested for the privilege of leading the country. I am ready.”

5. Katie Hopkins, media monster 

Hopkins' Rochdale tweets reported Source: Ian West

We all know Katie Hopkins’ name – and that’s how she likes it. But how did the great student get to becoming one of the most hated women in Britain?

(Buzzfeed, approx 16 mins reading time, 3211 words)

People who knew Hopkins at the Stella Maris Catholic convent school in Bideford, Devon, say she was competitive, likeable, and above all driven – a word that crops up again and again. One woman who knew her at the age of 12 told BuzzFeed News that Hopkins was “very bright”, came from a “very ordinary family”, and was “popular and fun to be with”. Hopkins used to tease schoolmates who spoke in a posh accent, she said.

6. What started Gamergate

shutterstock_229091704 Source: Shutterstock/racorn

It might seem like months since Gamergate was such a huge thing, but did you know how it all began? With a jilted video game designer who wanted to get back at his ex…

(Boston Magazine, approx 25 mins reading time, 5000 words)

After their brief romance ended, she noted, Gjoni “wrote and published a long post about my sex life and private dealings to several websites that he knew had a history of harassing me.” Quinn is a video-game designer and, like many women in the business, routinely receives misogynistic threats from strangers.

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

SADDAM Saddam Hussein in 1980 Source: AP/Press Association Images

Back in 2005, Sean O’Shea spoke about his time guarding a remarkable prisoner: Saddam Hussein.

(GQ, approx 31 mins reading time, 6377 words)

Sean could see him, through a small window in the cell door, sitting in his red plastic chair. The door was opened, and Saddam stood up. He was wearing a gray long-sleeve robe that fell to his ankles—a getup the guys would come to call a “mandress” —and dark leather sandals. He had a neatly trimmed black beard and a fresh haircut. He was taller than Sean expected, about six feet, and pretty solid for an old guy.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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Aoife Barry

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