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Dublin: 12°C Friday 23 April 2021

Sitdown Sunday: Could Friluftsliv save our Covid-19 winter?

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

Image: Shutterstock/Robert Kneschke

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. Buying myself back

Model Emily Ratajkowski writes about her career and the battle to retain control of her own image, even as others try to own it themselves. (Content note – contains descriptions of sexual assault)

(The Cut, approx 32 mins reading)

I sat down on a bench and Googled my name, discovering that I was in fact being sued, this time for posting a photo of myself on Instagram that had been taken by a paparazzo. I learned the next day from my own lawyer that despite being the unwilling subject of the photograph, I could not control what happened to it. She explained that the attorney behind the suit had been serially filing cases like these, so many that the court had labeled him a “copyright troll.” “They want $150,000 in damages for your ‘use’ of the image,” she told me, sighing heavily.

2. Surviving sexual violence

Peter McGuire investigates what needs to change to give survivors of sexual violence a chance to find justice – and peace. He speaks to 30 survivors in Ireland about their experiences.

(Noteworthy, approx 27 mins reading time – part two here)

Mick told Tusla that being raped as a child has left him with permanent physical injuries requiring ongoing medical support. Noteworthy has seen a medical report carried out by a consultant and dated August 2, 2018, which details these physical scars as well as Mick’s psychiatric history including post-traumatic stress disorder. However, we understand that this forensic evidence was not sought by gardaí and ultimately never submitted to the DPP.

3. Sex crime convictions, but no victims

In this in-depth piece, the New York Times speaks to young men who were charged with sex crimes after being caught in stings. (Content note – contains details of alleged sex crimes)

(The New York Times, approx 31 mins reading time)

The problem, he knew, was that he was a nerd. Sometimes he was too open with people. As a boy, he took medication for A.D.H.D. His mother, Kathleen, describes him affectionately as her “introverted, sensitive, immature, coddled, nerdy son.” They are very close. She would prod him to get out more, but he wasn’t someone who could meet women at a bar. Online, it was different. Starting when he was 18, a few times a month, he clicked through the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist, looking for sex. There were so many listings, but when he tried messaging, it was rare to get a response. If people did respond, they often went dark after a few emails.

4. Could Friluftsliv save our winter?

Never heard of Frilufstliv? It’s a style of outdoor living practiced in Norway, which basically says: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. It could certainly help us all get outdoors this winter.

(National Geographic, approx 6 mins reading time)

The idea is as Norwegian as cross-country skis and aquavit. But amid a pandemic that’s upended rhythms of daily life around the globe, friluftsliv might also be a model for coming more safely—and sanely—through the northern hemisphere’s approaching winter season.

5. What happened inside Ed Buck’s apartment?

Two men died of meth overdoses at the home of a West Hollywood political donor – what happened? 

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(The New York Time Magazine, approx 35 mins reading time)

The tenant’s name was Edward Buck. He was white-haired with a strong jaw, 62 years old. He described the dead man as his “friend.” About two hours earlier, Buck said, his friend injected meth. A little after that, his friend became “very warm” to the touch. Buck had placed bags of ice on his friend’s skin. He went two doors down and got his neighbor, a man with medical knowledge, he said, to come over and perform CPR. Then he called 911. 

6. The man who refused to spy

An Iranian scientist was approached by the FBI to become a spy. He baulked, and paid the price.

(The New Yorker, approx 35 mins reading time)

If he could just make the F.B.I. agents understand the science, Asgari told himself, they would see their mistake. He described the relationships and the laboratory equipment that had attracted him to Case Western, and explained how the properties of a material emanated from the arrangement of its atoms, and could be altered by engineers who understood that structure. But even as he talked he began to have a sinking feeling that an indictment was not something he could dissipate with words.


Here’s a love story for you – a journalist goes to interview the last remaining Shakers in the USA (all four of them), and ends up falling in love with one of them.

(Boston.com, approx 10 mins reading time)

Our unlikely love story began prosaically: On my first visit to Sabbathday Lake in April 2006, Wayne and I chitchatted in the kitchen of the 1883 Dwelling House, both waiting to see Brother Arnold Hadd. I didn’t know Wayne was a Shaker; he didn’t know I was a reporter. Wayne says he was smitten immediately. I admit his 6-foot-3 frame and choirboy good looks caught my eye, but — on assignment — I was far more interested in the story. 

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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