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Sitdown Sunday: The disappearance of Jennifer Farber

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

The search for Jennifer Farber
The search for Jennifer Farber
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

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 disappearance of Jennifer Farber

Jennifer Farber disappeared in 2019 – and attention was immediately on her husband. This detailed piece looks into Jennifer’s life, and how she was more than just a tabloid trope.

(Vanity Fair, approx 30 mins reading time)

Like many women whose lives are outwardly perfect, though, Farber’s marriage had secrets. Dulos, 51, was an Adonis, a beautiful creature, with extraordinarily fine, delicate features, saucer-size brown eyes, and a fastidious appearance. He hardly resembled Mr. Rochester, but, according to a longtime friend of Farber’s, beneath the veneer, he had a similar personality—a rigid man, moody and gloomy at times, and quick to inform Farber, 50, of her shortcomings. He seemed far from the man he pretended to be, and the series of actions he took in the year since Farber’s disappearance could not have proved that more.

2. How to make the winter not suck

The concept of a ‘small self’ might help us this winter, say psychologists.

(Vox, approx 8 mins reading time)

Rather than fixating on our inner worlds and woes, we can strive to promote what some psychologists call “small self.” Virginia Sturm, who directs the Clinical Affective Neuroscience lab at the University of California San Francisco, defines this as “a healthy sense of proportion between your own self and the bigger picture of the world around you.”

3. Kevin and QAnon

Kevin Van Ausdal ran for Congress against a candidate who supported conspiracy theories. He lost. 

(The Washington Post, approx 22 mins reading time)

He plunged deeper, reading about a world in which a cryptic online figure called Q is fighting to take down a network of Democrats, Hollywood actors and global elites who engage in child-trafficking and drink a life-extending chemical harvested from the blood of their victims. He read about an FBI memo warning that QAnon followers could pose a domestic terrorism threat, and the reality sank in that the only thing standing between Marjorie Taylor Greene and the halls of Congress was him. Kevin. “I’m the one,” he said. “I’m it.”

4. Vaccine tree

This piece is about a rare Chilean soapbark tree, which apparently has compounds that can boost the body’s reaction to vaccines.

(The Atlantic, approx 25 mins reading time)

The inner bark of the Chilean soapbark tree, Quillaja saponaria, is the source material for some of these saponins. Pulverized and soaked in water at the Desert King factory in Chile, the bark is transformed into a brown, bitter, bubbly fluid. This precious goo does many things well, and it happens to be the raw material for one of the world’s most coveted vaccine adjuvants: QS-21. Adjuvants are compounds that boost the body’s immune reaction to a vaccine. Owing to their potential risks to human health, however, only a handful of adjuvants have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and QS-21 is one of the newest.

5. Keith Jarrett

Earlier this week, it was reported that the legendary jazz pianist Keith Jarrett probably won’t gig again, following strokes. Here’s a piece from 1997 about him.

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(New York Times, approx 15 mins reading time)

”Nobody was ever as wild as I was for as long,” he explains one wintry afternoon as we sit in his tidy house in rural New Jersey. ”You know, the stress of playing has to come out somewhere, and my body just does it. I really have no choice. The piano is such a bull: it will not dance with you unless you force it. I don’t understand why other improvisers sit still. And how can they not make a sound? When you’re improvising you’re bringing this stuff up, literally bringing it up, like you’re vomiting the music. You don’t sit still when you’re nauseated and throwing up. My body’s in the way. Get it out of there!”

6. Jackass

Zacharias Holmes grew up idolising the show Jackass… and took the idea to a whole new level.

(The Ringer, approx 35 mins reading time)

Zach was infamous in the town where he grew up. For getting impaled by giant fish hooks baited with worms. For blood pooling in his belly button and soaking his clothes. For his mischievous little giggle through the empty spots for teeth that had been smashed out of his grin. For dumping a two-liter of piss on himself like it was Midwestern champagne. For daring his friend Meggan to let him take a piece of lawn equipment to her bikini bottom, for a stunt called “Weedwacked in the Ass!,” and for her parents dragging him to Chicago afterward to appear in an episode of a daytime talk show called “Our Daughter Is Out of Control.”

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

The legendary film reviewer Pauline Kael writes about Bonnie and Clyde.

(The New Yorker, approx 40 mins reading time)

When an American movie is contemporary in feeling, like this one, it makes a different kind of contact with an American audience from the kind that is made by European films, however contemporary. Yet any movie that is contemporary in feeling is likely to go further than other movies—go too far for some tastes—and “Bonnie and Clyde” divides audiences, as “The Manchurian Candidate” did, and it is being jumped on almost as hard. 

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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