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Sitdown Sunday: The rise of the 'powerful counterculture' of the new right

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. Was Rosie the Riveter bogus?

Extreme paddler Freya Hoffmeister from Husum Extreme paddler Freya Hoffmeister from Husum sits in front of a poster of her mascot 'Rosie the Riveter' from World War II in Husum, Germany Source: DPA/PA Images

Her image is iconic – the woman in a bright headscarf flexing her muscle, telling us ‘we can do it!’. But for Stephanie Buck, Rosie might not be all that she is cracked up to be. She looks at the problematic nature of the symbol, and what it means for women.

(Timeline, approx 8 mins reading time)

The implication was that, yes, she and her sisters were stepping up, but it was only temporary. Someday in the future, their country wouldn’t need them in the same way. In her 1997 book, Faces of Feminismauthor Sheila Tobias snarls, “Attired in new-found overalls and bandanna, she riveted away for the duration of the war, dreaming of a time when she could return to her home and tend to her domestic chores.

2. The team wore white

This sweet piece by Danny Hakim looks at what it’s like to be an American family that decides to embrace English football. The team they choose to support? Spurs.

(The New York Times, approx 9 mins reading time)

The crowd, already standing, began to erupt, as if the ancient Romans had returned to rule the city and a fallen gladiator was before us. Our section began heaping all manner of abuse on this hapless invader. Fans yelled insults about his backside, insults about his front side, insults about his tender parts and insults about his mental health.

3. Facebook’s sharing manifesto

Sheryl Sandberg Option B Sheryl Sandberg Source: Alex Brandon

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, lost her husband two years ago. Recently, she’s begun to share more about her experiences around this tragedy, to help promote a book she’s written. But her move is also part of a wider ‘sharing manifesto’ at Facebook, which Bloomberg says can not just be healing, but good for –  you guessed it – business.

(Bloomberg, approx 17 mins reading time)

 One comment jumps out at her, from a woman who says her husband died a week after Goldberg passed away. “She went back to work after 10 days because I did,” Sandberg says, folding her hands over her chest while seated in her conference room. “I would never want anyone to lose their husband at 47. Ever. But given that it happened, isn’t it incredible that I feel connected to her? After the post this morning, I feel less alone.”

4. The story of the new right

It’s a topic that’s been fascinating – and worrying – people for the past number of years: the rise of the alt right (or the new right, or the new far right). This in-depth piece looks at this movement, saying that it is a ‘powerful counterculture’ and that to call it primarily a political movement “is to wildly underestimate its scope”.

(New York Magazine, approx 67 mins reading time)

To many on the radicalized right, social progress is a zero-sum game in which minority groups and women have been winning at the expense of the previous kings of the castle. Moreover, other forces are ransacking the castle, too — namely, technology, globalization, and financialization. Yet how they believe one should actually go about addressing those problems can be difficult to parse, especially when the complaints are often filtered through 140 characters of unprintable vitriol and hate.

5. Hi, Brad

Tweet by @NANA JIBRIL 🌙🏳️‍🌈 Source: NANA JIBRIL 🌙🏳️‍🌈/Twitter

This GQ interview with Brad Pitt has been doing the rounds this week – not just because he discusses in it his marriage breakup and drug use, but because of the strange photos taken in national parks.

(GQ, approx 30 mins reading time)

Do you think if the past six months hadn’t happened you’d be in this place eventually? That it would have caught up with you? I think it would have come knocking, no matter what.  People call it a midlife crisis, but this isn’t the same— No, this isn’t that. I interpret a midlife crisis as a fear of growing old and fear of dying, you know, going out and buying a Lamborghini. [pause] Actually—they’ve been looking pretty good to me lately! [laughs]

6. He’s my carrot

Anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship will recognise much in this essay, about what it’s like to be with the same person for a long time, and what that helps you learn about yourself, and them. This writer says soulmates probably don’t exist – and her boyfriend is more like, well, a carrot. Read on to find out why.

(Buzzfeed, approx 25 mins reading time)

Because I’ve been in a relationship for over ten years, people often ask me for dating advice. This is dumb, in my opinion. Listen to it when I say it like this: In the past ten years, I’ve only been in one relationship. Would you ask a guy who’s jumped out of a plane one time in the past ten years for skydiving advice? Or would you ask a guy who has jumped out of a plane many, many times in the past ten years for skydiving advice? Think about your options here, people.

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

We all know how horrible itching is – and what a relief scratching is. But for some people, a mysterious itch can wind up being something that affects their mental and physical health badly.

(The New Yorker, approx 36 mins reading time)

She spent the next two years committed to a locked medical ward in a rehabilitation hospital—because, although she was not mentally ill, she was considered a danger to herself. Eventually, the staff worked out a solution that did not require binding her to the bedrails. Along with the football helmet, she had to wear white mitts that were secured around her wrists by surgical tape. “Every bedtime, it looked like they were dressing me up for Halloween—me and the guy next to me,” she told me.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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