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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 22 January, 2020

Sitdown Sunday: How a trip on a lesbian cruise changed my life

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

Image: Shutterstock/nevenm

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. Did slaves pick your tinned tomatoes?

You might not give those tinned tomatoes a second thought – but who picked them?

(The Guardian, approx 50 mins reading time)

There is no question that the migrant workers are vulnerable to exploitation, but Yvan Sagnet, a Cameroonian anti-slavery activist who once worked picking tomatoes in Puglia, explains that the vulnerability is mental as much as physical. “When you have been enslaved,” Sagnet says, “it’s such a strong thing that your head begins to reason differently. It’s not the slavery of hundreds of years ago, when you were deprived of your liberty.

2. Poisoning rumours

A famous paranormal romance writer – Sherrilyn Kenyon – believes her husband has been poisoning her.

(Vulture, approx 40 mins reading time)

But in the years that followed, the romantic narrative she’d told about their life took a series of turns so dramatic and morbid they almost could have been lifted from one of her novels. Her career foundered, her health eroded, her marriage crumbled, and, according to a lawsuit she recently filed, the dream home where she and her husband had raised their three children turned into a crime scene. It was there, Kenyon alleges, that her ex and one of her former assistants hatched a “Shakespearean plot” to murder her by poison.

3. Why lie on Twitter?

Ever seen someone on Twitter whose tweets seem a bit… off? A look at why people make up tweets.

(The Outline, approx 10 mins reading time)

More recently, a Twitter user called “Sixthformpoet,” who I remember as an early-2010s numbers grifter from back when having 10k-odd followers was enough to get you a book deal (see also “Mrs Stephen Fry”), posted a tweely charming three-part story which started with him meeting his wife after accidentally putting flowers on a murderer’s grave and ended with him setting up his suicidal neighbor with a homeless man his family had taken under their wing.

4. Allegations against Max Landis

Eight women have accused Hollywood filmmaker Max Landis – son of John Landis – of emotional and sexual abuse. (Note: This article contains details some might find upsetting.)

(The Daily Beast, approx 57 mins reading time)

Baker wasn’t the first person to call Landis out on his “destructive” behavior. Back in 2017, a number of entertainment-industry insiders wrote about Landis on social media—the posts ranged from not-so-subtle subtweets to overt call-outs. In response to a Netflix tweet promoting Bright, an upcoming Landis project, the actress Anna Akana responded, “Written by a psychopath who sexually abused and assaults women, right? Cool.” (Max Landis did not respond to multiple requests for comment through his representative.)

5. A lesbian cruise changed my life 

A British reporter goes on an American lesbian cruise – and it makes her question everything she thought she wanted in life.

(Buzzfeed, approx 45 mins reading time)

Nonmonogamy is hardly scandalous or even really notable these days. In some of my queer circles, in fact, monogamy is the rarer beast. There’s nothing inherently more ~radical~ about either lifestyle. Still, in opening up my relationship — and in trying to convince myself that maybe I didn’t want marriage or kids or the trappings of conventional adulthood — I wanted to see myself as the cool, hip queer I hoped I was: someone who doesn’t have to subscribe to retrograde and patriarchal notions of what love is, or could be.

6. What happened the missing MH370 flight? 

A hugely comprehensive piece on what might have happened to the missing MH370 flight, which disappeared into the Indian Ocean five years ago.

(The Atlantic, approx 50 mins reading time)

Eleven minutes later, as the airplane closed in on a waypoint near the start of Vietnamese air-traffic jurisdiction, the controller at Kuala Lumpur Center radioed, “Malaysian three-seven-zero, contact Ho Chi Minh one-two-zero-decimal-nine. Good night.” Zaharie answered, “Good night. Malaysian three-seven-zero.” He did not read back the frequency, as he should have, but otherwise the transmission sounded normal. It was the last the world heard from MH370. The pilots never checked in with Ho Chi Minh or answered any of the subsequent attempts to raise them.


In 1967, the legendary film critic Pauline Kale wrote about the iconic film Bonnie and Clyde.

(The New Yorker, approx 45 mins reading time)

Our best movies have always made entertainment out of the anti-heroism of American life; they bring to the surface what, in its newest forms and fashions, is always just below the surface. The romanticism in American movies lies in the cynical tough guy’s independence; the sentimentality lies, traditionally, in the falsified finish when the anti-hero turns hero.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday

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