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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: North Korea vs Friends, and my father the serial killer

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. Jailed for being a troll

Criado Perez Twitter abuse court case Isabella Sorley Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Isabella Sorley and John Nimmo were both jailed for sending abusive messages to well-known feminist campaigners. Now that they’ve been released, what do they have to say about their behaviour?

(Buzzfeed, approx 18 mins reading time, 3648 words)

The press, whose interest in online abuse cases reached a peak in the summer of 2013, invariably describes internet trolls as “vile”, but in person, when BuzzFeed News meets her in Newcastle, Sorley, now 24, is confident and polite, and at times witty and self-deprecating. It’s hard to imagine her getting a kick out of telling someone to “kill yourself before I do”.

2. Meeting Mr President

Obama Israel Source: AP/Press Association Images

The President of the United States has to be able to keep the press near, and yet far away. Here, we find out more about how the whole thing works.

(Columbia Journalism Review, approx 23 mins reading time, 4742 words)

To each question, President Obama was equally determined not to take the bait, frustrating a White House press corps unable to evoke a note of regret, anger, or introspection from a man who had just learned he would spend the final two years of his presidency tangling with a GOP-run Congress.

3. Not who you think I am

Source: euronews (in English)/YouTube

People thought that Mamoru Samuragochi was a “deaf genius”. But that wasn’t the truth about the Japanese music composer.

(New Republic, approx 36 mins reading time, 7279 words)

This story would become the foundation of the Samuragochi legend. In 2001,Time magazine dubbed him a “digital-age Beethoven.” He played piano for the magazine’s reporter, whose eyes, he said, welled with tears. Samuragochi toldTime, “Losing my hearing was a gift from God.”

4. My dad, the serial killer

BTK KILLINGS Source: AP/Press Association Images

Kerri Rawson was an adult when she discovered that her father was the infamous BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) Killer. Here is her story.

(Wichita Eagle, approx 23 mins reading time, 4675 words)

Other cops had just arrested Dennis Rader as he was driving home for lunch, pinning him on the pavement as they cuffed him. Around Wichita, officers were picking up Rader’s family and friends for questioning. At the police station, Paula defended her husband. Had she ever noticed anything unusual? No.

5. Friends vs North Korea 

Television - 'Friends' Source: EMPICS Entertainment

Kang Chol-hwan wants to help overthrow the North Korean government. And he’s using drives filled with bootleg episodes of Friends to do just that.

(Wired, approx 34 mins reading time, 6870 words)

“When North Koreans watch Desperate Housewives, they see that Americans aren’t all war-loving imperialists,” Kang says. “They’re just people having affairs or whatever. They see the leisure, the freedom. They realize that this isn’t the enemy; it’s what they want for themselves. It cancels out everything they’ve been told. And when that happens, it starts a revolution in their mind.”

6. Put down that coffee pod

Green Mountain Coffee Source: AP/Press Association Images

Turns out that some coffee pods can be totally destructive to the environment. Read it and weep. (The Atlantic, approx 20 mins reading time, 3998 words)

While drip coffee-maker sales are stagnant, pod-machine sales have increased six-fold since 2008. Looking back on his invention, amid increasing public condemnation of K-Cups as a scourge on the planet, Sylvan told me, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.”


PA-8641456 Source: AP/Press Association Images

Truman Capote’s last work, Hand-Carved Coffins, was described as a literary tour-de-forces. But for many years, the true story behind the reportage was kept secret. This 1992 article uncovered the truth.

(Longform, approx 33 mins reading time, 6744 words)

Ten years after Hand-Carved Coffins was published, Capote’s secrets have remained intact. So where was “the forlorn little Western town” with its “wintry, windblown outskirts” where the murders took place? Who was the rancher, Robert Quinn, and had he ever stood trial? What had happened to the investigator, Jack Pepper? And had the case ever been resolved?

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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