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Dublin: 21°C Tuesday 9 August 2022

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. Disappear here

Kirstie Clements, the former editor of Australian Vogue, writes about a culture that leads to models eating tissues to stay full, and taking other drastic steps to remain ultra-thin. Throughout her career she has seen the accepted look of models changing to the point that fainting regularly has become an accepted part of life.   (The Guardian) (Approx 11 minutes reading time – 2242 words)

When I first began dealing with models in the late 1980s we were generally drawing from a pool of local girls, who were naturally willowy and slim, had glowing skin, shiny hair and loads of energy. They ate lunch, sparingly for sure, but they ate. They were not skin and bones. I don’t think anyone believes that a model can eat anything she wants, not exercise and still stay a flawless size 8 (except when they are very young), so whatever regime these girls were following was keeping them healthy.

2. Militarise this

Radley Balko tells us that the ‘warrior cop’ is on the rise – and that the militarisation of America’s police forces is leading to the deaths of unarmed citizens. He examines how SWAT teams are cracking down on illegal gambling operations, and how poker raids have been the scenes of shootings. (Salon) (Approx 36 minutes reading time – 7377 words)

After overhearing the men wagering, Baucum befriended Culosi as a cover to begin investigating him. During the next several months, he talked Culosi into raising the stakes of what Culosi thought were just more fun wagers between friends to make watching sports more interesting. Eventually Culosi and Baucum bet more than $2,000 in a single day. Under Virginia law, that was enough for police to charge Culosi with running a gambling operation. And that’s when they brought in the SWAT team.

3. Crash

Anna Hiatt brings us the story of the tragic death of Anthony Farrace, and his family’s struggle to deal with its aftermath. In this piece for the new site The Big Round Table, which focuses on longform pieces, Haitt looks at Anthony’s early life, his relationships and what led to the car accident that killed him. (The Big Round Table) (Approx 14 minutes reading time – 2901 words)

A few feet away from the flagpole stands a tree where, on July 6, 2007, a Mercedes Benz crashed, killing his son. Where the passenger’s side hit, chunks of bark are torn off, and on the ground next to the tree are five-year-old piles of windshield glass. Five years after the accident, the Farraces were still reeling from their son’s death. As John sees it, his family was “given a life sentence by the hand of the criminal who should be in prison.” Across town live the McLaughlins, whose daughter, Danielle, dated Anthony and was driving the car when it hit the tree. They believe they’ve suffered enough, and they want to know when life can go on.

4. Disposable dead

Grayson Schaffer tells us that Nepal’s Sherpas may do the most dangerous work on Mount Everest, but that the sacrifice they make is frequently taken for granted. The risk of death or serious injury is high; and when they do pass away, their families are left scrambling for support that rarely comes. (Outside) (Approx 31 minutes reading time –  6305 words)

A Sherpa working above Base Camp on Everest is nearly ten times more likely to die than a commercial fisherman- the profession the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rates as the most dangerous nonmilitary job in the US – and more than three and a half times as likely to perish than an infantryman during the first four years of the Iraq war. As a dice roll for someone paying to reach the summit, the dangers of climbing can perhaps be rationalized. But as a workplace safety statistic, 1.2 per cent mortality is outrageous. There’s no other service industry in the world that so frequently kills and maims its workers for the benefit of paying clients.

5. The Kissing Doctor

Jessica Wakeman visits a kissing doctor – William Cane, author of The Art of Kissing – to find out more about how he came to have such an unusual career. She and her boyfriend attend one of Cane’s kissing lessons, to see what he can teach them. Fans of kissing (that makes everyone, right?) will find plenty to salivate over here. (NY Mag) (Approx 5 minutes reading time – 1159 words)

I had naïvely assumed there were only two types of kissing — the regular and the French kind — or maybe four types, if you count Eskimo and butterfly kisses. But Cane’s book suggests 30 different ways to kiss your lover, all of them more or less PG-rated. (Hands go wandering if you’ve been kissing long enough, even with someone else in the room.)

6. Finding Finland

Olga Khazan‘s article on the secret to Finland’s success with, well, everything, will make you want to move there. Just how is this country so successful at bringing its citizens cheaper medical care, better working conditions and smarter children? From mandatory maternity leave to lifestyle differences (like smaller homes compared to the US), Khazan outlines the facts.  (The Atlantic) (Approx 14 minutes reading time – 2904 words)

All of this adds up to the stress equivalent of living in what is essentially a vast, reindeer-fur-lined yoga studio. “It seems to me that people in Finland are more secure and less anxious than Americans because there is a threshold below which they won’t fall,” said Linda Cook, a political scientist at Brown University who has studied European welfare states. “Even if they face unemployment or illness, Finns will have some payments from the state, public health care and education.”


In 1935, HL Mencken wrote in Liberty Magazine about drinking ‘like a gentleman’, and what he has learned to do and not to do ‘after 30 years of research’. One wonders how his thoughts on alcohol, and its ‘virtues’, would go down today – but there is no doubt that he can write a witty line or two about the demon drink. Published not long after Prohibition ended, you’ll notice lots of references to the dry years in the USA.  (Gawker) (Approx 18 minutes reading time – 3615 words)

Drinking with skill and taste is no more a natural art than love; either it must be learned by the onerous process of trial and error, or it must be taught. Plainly enough, the latter way is the better; but so far there is no sign that the guides appointed for gropers are ready to take it.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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