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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 22 November, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: What's really going on inside the Trump marriage

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

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. Inside the Trump marriage

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attend the The Trump family at the White House. Source: DPA/PA Images

Not everyone is going to agree with Vanity Fair writing this – an article that claims to look into Trump’s marriage to Melania, and the ‘burden’ she allegedly carries. What do you make of it?

(Vanity Fair, approx 28 mins reading time)

“She enjoys her role of stepping back and letting him take center stage,” says decorator friend William Eubanks, who spent Thanksgiving with the Trumps at Mar-a-Lago, along with romance-novel-cover model Fabio and boxing promoter Don King. According to Lisa Bytner, who did P.R. for Trump Model Management when it was launched in 1999, and became a friend of the couple’s, Trump found in Melania the perfect mate. “She doesn’t make waves,” says Bytner. “She speaks only when spoken to. She’s just very sweet.” Except, in public, when called upon to defend her husband’s demeaning attitudes toward women, or to be a mouthpiece for some of his offensive claims, such as birtherism.

2. What bullets do to bodies

In the talk about gun ownership, what’s often lost in the conversation is the actual impact of bullets on the body. This article features the experiences of trauma surgeons, who see the devastating impact of gun violence day in, day out.

(Highline, approx 39 mins reading time)

She dropped back into a softer register. “Nobody gives two shits about the black people in North Philadelphia if nobody gives two craps about the white kids in Sandy Hook. … I thought white little kids getting shot would make people care. Nope. They didn’t care. Anderson Cooper was up there. They set up shop. And then the public outrage fades.”

3. The media bubble is worse than you think

DC: White House Press Briefing Journalists get read to ask Sean Spicer questions. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Politico crunched the numbers of where US journalists work, and how fast the industry is changing. They say that the results ‘should worry you’, but what do you think of this information in the age of Trump?

(Politico, approx 15 mins reading time)

But journalistic groupthink is a symptom, not a cause. And when it comes to the cause, there’s another, blunter way to think about the question than screaming “bias” and “conspiracy,” or counting D’s and R’s. That’s to ask a simple question about the map. Where do journalists work, and how much has that changed in recent years? To determine this, my colleague Tucker Doherty excavated labor statistics and cross-referenced them against voting patterns and Census data to figure out just what the American media landscape looks like, and how much it has changed.

4. The women behind Prince

The late musician Prince was a champion of female artists, helping them, mentoring them, and giving them the spotlight in his own band. Here, some of them tell their stories.

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

Hoffs says that Prince was in awe of women. She believes the fact that he was “in touch with his feminine side, and not afraid to be” was powerful. “To me, his music was always an expression of what he felt,” she says. “If he was channelling any emotion, that is what you hear.” There is certainly a vulnerability that stands out: Little Red Corvette is a tale of a one-night stand, Prince worrying about his performance; How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore? is a Please Mr Postman-like plea to a ghosting lover.

5. The missing Holocaust millions

Lithuania Holocaust Remembrance A woman places flowers at the Paneriai memorial in memory of the Jews of Vilnius killed by Nazis during World War II, in Vilnius, Lithuania. Source: AP/PA Images

Millions of Jews were murdered during World War Two – and since 1954, Yad Vashem, israel’s Holocaust memorial, has been working to recover all of their names.

(BBC, approx 12 mins reading time)

With the last survivors dying out, Yad Vashem is facing a race against time to prevent more than a million unidentified victims disappearing without a trace. This is apparent in the decreasing number of Pages of Testimony it receives – down from at least 2,000 per month five years ago to about 1,600 per month currently. The memorial is trying to raise awareness, including among Holocaust survivors who have not yet come forward. For decades, for many of them the experience was still too painful to talk about.

6. My life as a failed artist

Art critic Jerry Saltz calls himself a ‘failed artist’, and in this essay looks back at what it was like to make art while in his 20s and 30s. He was, he says, ‘full of myself, and frustrated that I wasn’t already recognised for my work’. It’s a great piece that shows how easy it is to be both confident and terrified you are terrible at your art.

(Vulture, approx 27 mins reading time)

But then I looked back, into the abyss of self-doubt. I erupted with fear, self-loathing, dark thoughts about how bad my work was, how pointless, unoriginal, ridiculous. “You don’t know how to draw,” I told myself. “You never went to school. Your work has nothing to do with anything. You’re not a real artist. Your art is irrelevant. You don’t know art history. You can’t paint. You aren’t a good schmoozer. You’re too poor. You don’t have enough time to make your work. No one cares about you. You’re a fake. You only draw and work small because you’re too afraid to paint and work big.”



Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way is a bestselling read aimed at anyone who wants to make the most of their creativity. It may be a bit woo-woo, but there’s something attractive in how plainspoken Cameron is too about just making art. Here’s a fascinating interview with Cameron from last year.

(NY Mag, approx mins 30 reading time)

Morning pages, she says, help uncork your creativity, sharpen your intuition, get you laid. “The more attractive you are to yourself,” she says, “the more attractive you are to other people.” Cameron says this, as she says most things, with a quiet fragility that contrasts with an underlying intensity. When I bring up anything positive, she brightens, and she dims when I tiptoe toward the negative, which, given the tumultuous events of her life, happens more than a few times. “I know a lot of the stuff I talk about might sound woo-woo,” she says, smiling, “but woo-woo is where it’s at.”

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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