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Sitdown Sunday: Life among the Covid sceptics

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

Image: Shutterstock/bodnar.photo

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 Covid sceptics

An interview with people who believe that Covid-19 is a way of manipulating the world.

(The Guardian, approx 24 mins reading time)

She read dense, seemingly scientific material which claimed that PCR testing – the throat and nasal swabs that are considered the gold standard of Covid tests – leads to enormous numbers of false positives. She read that the World Health Organization had said that Britain is testing at too high a sensitivity. She read about the cost of lockdowns, and Sweden’s more permissive approach. She read about the death rate; 1% didn’t sound that high at all. Looked at another way, 99% survived. By the end of the first lockdown, Anna was no longer afraid. She was angry. “I’d been sat in my house for four months, in absolute agony, no mental health support, no financial support, and it did an absolute number on me,” she said. 

2. Valproate scandal

Irish women who took the drug Epilim were at risk of their children experiencing developmental problems – but they weren’t warned of this risk.

(Noteworthy, approx 16 mins reading time)

“I want the inquiry because I want the truth, I want to see those documents and I want accountability,” said Keely. “I want to know why they let it go on for so long and not do anything to stop it.” She has been a leading voice in bringing this scandal to the fore, both here and across the EU. All three of her sons, now in their 20s and 30s, were born with fetal valproate syndrome (FVS) after she was not informed of the risks by either her GP or neurologist.

3. The man who fell out of the sky

Sirin Kale writes about the life of a young man whose body was found in a garden after crashing out of a plane where he had stowed away.

(The Guardian, approx mins reading time)

Then he saw something falling. “At first I thought it was a bag,” he said. “But after a few seconds it turned into quite a large object, and it was falling fast.” Maybe a piece of machinery had fallen from the landing gear, he thought, or a suitcase from the cargo hold. But then he half-remembered an article he had read years before, about people stowing away on planes. He didn’t want to believe it, but as the object got nearer and nearer, it became impossible to deny. “In the last second or two of it falling, I saw limbs,” said Wil. “I was convinced that it was a human body.”

4. For Those I Love

One of the most-feted and praised Irish albums of the year so far is by For Those I Love – here’s a profile of the Dublin musician.

(Clash, 15 mins reading time)

Yet the greatest art is often restless, too, powered by nervous energy, challenging life experience, euphoric confidence, crushing self-doubt, and the kind of unique wins and losses that can forever alter. That’s why you listen to For Those I Love and realise that this is one of the most vital expressions that Ireland has produced in quite some time. As its moniker plainly states, the one-man project is born out of pure devotion, offering stories about a group of friends who built a world, presented with raw honesty, unconcerned with gloss even as a barrage of sounds rain down. 

5. My face doesn’t need fixing

The actor and director Justine Bateman has written about about women, aging, and why her face doesn’t need ‘fixing’.

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(Time, approx 5 mins reading time)

One of Bateman’s characters, Faith, a 48-year-old former advertising executive, catches a glimpse of her face reflected in a tabletop as she leans over. She’s horrified at this new view of her sagging skin. She knew her face was no different than it had been an hour before, but now she’d was aware that “her face had crossed over,” and she couldn’t unsee it, couldn’t stop her confidence from eroding.

6. Becky Lynch

A profile of the WWE Superstar, who’s from Ireland 

(Elle, approx 27 mins reading time)

About eight months earlier, as a floundering mid-level player, she’d begun to demand, angrily, the recognition she claimed to deserve. In the moral universe of pro-wrestling, this would normally mark the moment a wrestler went from a hero, known as a babyface, to a villain, or heel. In Lynch’s case, it transformed her into one of the WWE’s biggest stars (and its biggest merchandise seller). Lynch’s moniker? “The Man.” She was the “top dog, gender be damned,” she said. If the same people who found Hillary Clinton repellant could embrace Lynch, what did this mean about where women stood in America? Or was this just a ploy by the WWE to gain female viewers?


Let’s go back to 2014, for this longread about bitcoin fans who meet at… Disney?

(Gawker, approx 15 mins reading time)

The inaugural Coins in the Kingdom conference had been billed as a three-day stretch of “bitcoin partying,” but the hotel swimming pool was desolate the evening I arrived. “Baby I Love Your Way” drifted from a speaker as the sun went down, while a handful of immobile guests—none of them bitcoin enthusiasts—loafed nearby. A shirtless man with a large marijuana-leaf tattoo scolded his son.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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