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Dublin: 16 °C Saturday 4 July, 2020

Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

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. Gamergate

Guns Canceled Speech People protest on the campus of Utah State after Anita Sarkeesian canceled a speech at Utah State University once she learned the school would allow concealed firearms despite an anonymous threat against her. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Whether you’re a gamer or not, the #Gamergate saga is a fascinating look at gender, power, gaming, feminism, threats and online bullying. This is an in-depth look at the topic, for starters.

(Deadspin, approx 27 mins reading time, 5544 words)

Really, though, Gamergate is exactly what it appears to be: a relatively small and very loud group of video game enthusiasts who claim that their goal is to audit ethics in the gaming-industrial complex and who are instead defined by the campaigns of criminal harassment that some of them have carried out against several women.

2. The secret casualties

US Forces in Kuwait FILE: US troops wait in the toilets and shower rooms wearing full nuclear biological and chemical protection suits Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Secrecy around the discovery of abandoned chemical weapons in Iraq abounds for many reasons – not least because there are fears that some of the weapons could not be in areas under control of Islamic State. And then there are the US soldiers injured by the weapons…

(New York Times, approx 50 mins reading time, 10003 words)

“I felt more like a guinea pig than a wounded soldier,” said a former Army sergeant who suffered mustard burns in 2007 and was denied hospital treatment and medical evacuation to the United States despite requests from his commander. Congress, too, was only partly informed, while troops and officers were instructed to be silent or give deceptive accounts of what they had found.

3. The real Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden talks with Jane Mayer via satellite at the 15th Annual New Yorker Festival Source: Christopher Lane

Award-winning documentary maker Laura Poitras has made a new film about Edward Snowden – here she talks about what it was like to work on such an important project.

(New Yorker, approx 41 mins reading time, 8361 words)

Poitras asked me to look away from the monitor. Some footage apparently risked exposing an anonymous source. “There’s one identifying thing,” she told Bonnefoy. “Scroll down, scroll down. I think you just take this out altogether. The whole thing. It’s too identifying. I think, given the risk, we should be careful. What I have the clearance to do is focus on the drone strikes and the watch list.”

4. Europe in turmoil

Italy Europe Economy Source: AP/Press Association Images

Where did the Eurozone crisis come from? This in-depth look at five years of bailouts and market turmoil is a great way of catching up on what’s been happening. It all started with Greece…

(The Guardian, approx 27 mins reading time, 5533 words)

A €45bn Greek rescue plan was cobbled together by the IMF and the EU, before Standard & Poor’s dramatically upped the ante on 27 April 2010 by slashing Greece’s credit rating to Junk. The following day, politicians and eurocrats began scrambling to hammer out a larger rescue package for Greece:

5. My childhood in a cult

Guardians of the Galaxy Premiere - Los Angeles Glenn Close Source: AP/Press Association Images

Hollywood actress Glenn Close grew up in a religious cult called the Moral Re-Armament, which she said left her unable to trust “any of my instincts because [my beliefs] had all been dictated to me”.

(Hollywood Reporter, approx 16 mins reading time, 3326 words)

Founded during the late 1930s, the MRA held firmly to what it called “the four absolutes”: honesty, purity, unselfishness and love. But these benevolent principles masked the all-consuming, all-controlling traits of any other cult — this particular one led by Rev. Frank Buchman, a violently anti-intellectual and possibly homophobic evangelical fundamentalist from Pennsylvania

6. Colm Tóibín on grief

2013 Man Booker Prize for Fiction - London Colm Tóibín Source: Empics Entertainment

Leave it to Irish writer Tóibín to deftly get to the kernel of what grief is, and how it is explored throughout literature.

(The Guardian, approx 21 mins reading time, 4232 words)

In the preface to her book Grief Lessons, translations of four plays by Euripides, Anne Carson muses on grief. “Why does tragedy exist?” she asks. And then replies: “Because you are full of rage.” Then she asks: “Why are you full of rage?” The answer is: “Because you are full of grief…


Obit Worlds Oldest Clown Source: AP/Press Association Images

Meet the Great Zucchini, a 35-year-old community college dropout who makes more than $100k a year by being a complete clown. Literally.

(Washington Post, approx 15 mins reading time)

He behaves like no adult in these preschoolers’ world, making himself the dimwitted victim of every gag. He thinks a banana is a telephone, and answers it. He can’t find the birthday boy when the birthday boy is standing right behind him. Every kid in the room is smarter than the Great Zucchini; he gives them that power over their anxieties.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by >

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