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7 deadly reads

Sitdown Sunday: The victims of the real Central Park Five attacker speak out

Settle back in 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. Hi, I’m ‘wife guy’

Cliff Wife Guy; Curvy Wife Guy. Guys whose online identities all revolve around one thing: that he has a wife. Amanda Hess’s deconstruction of the ‘wife guy’ is a joy to read.

(New York Times, approx 7 mins reading time)

The wife guy defines himself through a kind of overreaction to being married. His wife hurt herself, and he filmed it. He is sexually attracted to his wife, and he talks about it as if he were some kind of hero. The wife guy is a mutation of the “Instagram husband,” the man who exists to take flattering photos of his wife, except that the wife guy is no longer content behind the scenes. He is crafting a whole persona around being that guy. He married a woman, and now that is his personality.

2. I’m suffering from climate grief

If everything you’re hearing and reading about climate change is distressing you, you’re not alone.

(Vice, approx 10 mins reading time)

On some level, I am thinking about climate change all the time. I think about it every time someone in my life has a baby, and I wonder what the world will be like when that baby is the same age as me. I think about it every time I hear people talk about the weather. I think about it when I throw anything away, and I picture the landfill it will eventually be tipped into somewhere. When I read that climate change might end civilisation in my lifetime, I was sitting in the British Library, surrounded by humankind’s greatest works of literature. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach.

3. The other victims

In this moving and chilling article, survivors of the real Central Park Five attacker speak for the first time about what they went through. (Note: this contains descriptions of sexual violence.)

(The Cut, approx 30 mins reading time)

Thirty years ago, the attempted murder, rape, and assault of the woman still more commonly known today by her tabloid name — the Central Park Jogger — than as Trisha Meili, brought together real and imagined fears of a collapsing New York City into an unholy cocktail of outrage, blame, and recrimination. Nineteen eighty-nine was near the apex of escalating crime rates (nearly 2,000 people murdered, a record eclipsed the following year), underfunded social services, brazen muggings on graffiti-emblazoned subways, skyrocketing drug use thanks to the infusion of crack cocaine, and a police force that seemed helpless to do much about any of it.

4. Direct Provision

An American writer visits Ireland to examine its Direct Provision system.

(The New Yorker, approx 40 mins reading time)

The defining condition of being a refugee is waiting. Some people wait in order to leave—they wait for papers, for the opportunity, or for the sum of money they need to save. Others leave in a hurry, with bags packed overnight or not at all. But, after leaving, everyone waits: to be processed as a refugee, to be allowed entry, to be granted asylum. Ireland has created a system that boils the process of seeking asylum down to its essence: waiting.

5. Britain’s mixed-race GI babies want to know why they were given away

During World War II, some American GIs had children when stationed in the UK. But due to societal and racial prejudice, they usually were not allowed to marry the mother of their children (or they were married in the US already, in some cases). Many of these children were adopted, and are now searching for their parents.

(CNN, approx 15 mins reading time)

The social stigma of having a mixed-race child out of wedlock was too much for many mothers to cope with, and so many of the children were given up. Between a third and half of the babies are thought to have been placed in children’s homes, according to Bland, who told some of their stories in her book, “Britain’s Brown Babies.” (The term was coined by the US press in the 1940s). Of the 45 former GI babies Bland interviewed, Leon was the only one later adopted by his father.

6. The train disaster overshadowed by Tiananmen Square

In 1989, a horrific train disaster occured in the city of Ufa, in the Ural mountains. However, the incident was overshadowed by what was happening in Tiananmen Square.

(BBC, approx 15 mins reading time)

The explosion erupted with a force equivalent to 10 kilotons of TNT, engulfing both trains in flames, according to a report by Sputnik news agency. Many of the victims were families with children travelling to and from a holiday resort on the Black Sea. It was described as a “major catastrophe” by state news agency Tass.


Kenneth Koch was a competitive frisbee player in his 20s. Here’s what it was like. 

(Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour, approx 30 mins reading time)

We labor over our big decision and big dreams, but sometimes it’s the small things that change our lives forever.  What could be smaller than this: It is the first week of my freshman year of college and I, looking for a sport to play, am walking down to the boathouse for crew, resigning myself to four years of servitude as a galley slave, when I see a Frisbee flying across the street.  The Frisbee, tossed from one long-haired boy to another, looks like freedom to me.  Then I notice that there are several Frisbees flying back and forth between a band of young men, all wearing shorts, with cleats hanging over their shoulders.  At the time I am quite shy but, uncharacteristically, I cross the street and ask them where they are going.  To Ultimate Frisbee practice, it turns out, and I am going with them.    

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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