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Dublin: 21°C Tuesday 9 August 2022

Sitdown Sunday: Why the first 10 minutes of the film Up make you cry

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

Image: IMDB

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. Messy Millennial Woman

Rachel Aroesti argues that the ‘messy millennial woman’ trope has been popping up in multiple TV shows – but what does it say about women’s lives today?

(The Guardian, approx 8 mins reading time)

The main traits of MMW are thus: she has a complicated love life and a dysfunctional relationship with her family. She is often an unreliable employee and sometimes an unreliable friend. Unhappiness, low self-esteem and a tendency to self-sabotage radiates from her – but she’s also joyful and charismatic: a good-time girl who lurches from chaos to crisis, from euphoria to despair.

2. Returning to China

Michael Schuman writes about his return to China, during the Covid era. 

(The Atlantic, approx 15 mins reading time)

The fear I felt then has been constant since I returned to China three months ago. It hovers in the back of my mind; it keeps me awake at night. The fear isn’t of the virus itself. It’s that the next knock will come from one of the health officials, community wardens, or security officers who enforce China’s strict pandemic controls and have the power to drag me into any quarantine, at any facility, for any length of time, at any time. It’s the fear of being suddenly locked into my apartment, without access to food. My fear—the fear of the millions experiencing harsh lockdowns in Shanghai and elsewhere in China—is the fear of the arbitrary.

3. Teen abortion odyssey

A very young teenager has to make a huge trip in order to access an abortion.

(The New Yorker, approx 30 mins reading time)

The father’s girlfriend, who is close to Laura and controlled the household supply of sanitary pads, deduced that the girl had missed only one period. That meant Laura might just beat the six-week cutoff, so the girlfriend hastened to call local clinics. A few hours later, though, she and the father were confronting a fact faced by many other Texas families since the passage of S.B. 8. “Everything is booked out for a month’s time, if you can even get someone on the phone,” the girlfriend said. In the nine months since the law was implemented, the number of abortions performed in Texas has fallen by half, according to the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, at the University of Texas.

4. Why Pixar’s Up makes you cry

It’s all down to the gorgeous and moving 10 minutes of the film – here’s how they made it.

(Ringer, approx 11 mins reading time)

The animators knew that Carl would need a backstory to answer those questions. They decided to tell it with a prologue that details the character’s life from his childhood to his golden years. But these early scenes reveal that Up isn’t only about Carl—it’s also about his relationship with his wife, Ellie. They’re kids when she bursts into his life with a shock of red hair and a passion for exploration, and the interaction leads to a deeply felt, lifelong connection.

5. Zelenskyy

An interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on war, technology, and the future of Ukraine.

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(Wired, approx mins reading time)

By contrast, Russia’s leaders, despite having a far more powerful traditional army, have been stuck in the obsolete strategic thinking of the previous century. They were seemingly unprepared for the powerful, precise, Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones that Ukraine has used to decimate Russian tanks and ships. Russian cybersecurity systems were frail too: Hackers who had signed up for the IT Army told me how they were continually launching distributed denial of service attacks against Russian websites, as well as posting pro-Ukrainian propaganda and news on sites Russia had not yet censored.

6. The crimes of Seal team 6

Seal Team 6 is a celebrated US military special mission unit – but there are many troubling stories behind it.

(The Intercept, 62 mins reading time)

That was not how the SEALs wanted the mission to develop. Inside the helicopters, some of the operators had pushed to hold off any air attack, arguing that they had plenty of time to intercept the convoy before it reached the Pakistani border. “The reason SEAL Team 6 exists is to avoid bombs and collateral damage,” said a retired SEAL Team 6 member who was on the mission. “We said, ‘Let us set down and take a look at the convoy to determine if it’s al Qaeda.’ Instead, they dropped several bombs.”


Here’s an insight into how the song Eleanor Rigby was written, from Paul McCartney.

(The New Yorker, approx 10 mins reading time)

I wanted to write a song that would sum them up. Eleanor Rigby is based on an old lady that I got on with very well. I don’t even know how I first met “Eleanor Rigby,” but I would go around to her house, and not just once or twice. I found out that she lived on her own, so I would go around there and just chat, which is sort of crazy if you think about me being some young Liverpool guy. Later, I would offer to go and get her shopping. She’d give me a list and I’d bring the stuff back, and we’d sit in her kitchen.

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