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Sitdown Sunday: 'Michaela? I just want you to know I’m really proud of you'

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

Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel
Image: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images

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. The Real Cost Of Amazon 

What the struggle Amazon workers face during the pandemic says about the future of work in America…

(Vox, approx 42 minutes reading time)

If it’s still uncertain how customers will ultimately respond to Amazon and how it handled the pandemic, what has become clear is that the past three months have shaken up Amazon’s internal culture, which one employee described as an “artificial internal class system” that has until now separated corporate employees from fulfillment center workers.

2. Michaela the Destroyer 

The story behind Michaela Cole and her new HBO-BBC series I May Destroy You…

(New York Times Magazine, approx 30 mins reading time)

Coel recalls one clarifying moment when she spoke with a senior-level development executive at Netflix and asked if she could retain at least 5 percent of her rights. “There was just silence on the phone,” she says. “And she said, ‘It’s not how we do things here. Nobody does that, it’s not a big deal.’ I said, ‘If it’s not a big deal, then I’d really like to have 5 percent of my rights.’ ” Silence. She bargained down to 2 percent, one percent, and finally 0.5 percent. The woman said she’d have to run it up the chain. Then she paused and said, “Michaela? I just want you to know I’m really proud of you. You’re doing the right thing.” And she hung up.

3. The Double Life of Peter Arno

Ben Schwartz recalls the affairs, brawls, and scandals that marked the New Yorker cartoonist’s audacious reign.

(The New Yorker, approx 25 minutes reading time) 

In 1924’s cartooning world, Arno was a misfit. The gold standard was *Life’*s Gibson Girls, beautiful Progressive Era ladies who kept men at a distance with prim looks and wry bromides. “Cartoons were polite,” Sorel says. “You had Charles Dana Gibson at Life, whose old millionaires were avuncular, his Gibson Girls decorous. Arno saw young people in that social class as hedonists, playboys, men and women hot to trot. His old plutocrats were far from lovable. He was lucky The New Yorker came along.” And vice versa. “I was the luckiest son of a bitch alive,”

4. Family Secrets

The story of the Ibrahim brothers, born into a moderate Muslim family, who carried out the most devastating terrorist attacks in Sri Lankan history. 

(The New York Times, approx 30 minutes reading time)

Of all the bombers, these two young men proved the most baffling to other Sri Lankans. There have always been well-off terrorists, even wealthy ones. Still, when new examples emerge, they force us to re-examine a tenet of modern life: our belief that security and economic comforts are the rudiments of a peaceful community, and that people turn against strangers only when they face some material peril or privation. Most of us associate violence with desperation. What did the Ibrahim brothers have to be desperate about?

5. The Gecs 

A journey into the dizzying universe of Dylan Brady and Laura Les, the possibly not-joking musical duo behind the Gecs.

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(GQ, approx 12 minutes reading time)

Articulating some concrete link to the zeitgeist, you get the sense, would be extremely un-Gec, as would categorizing sounds, styles, or philosophies as Gec and un-Gec—another extremely appealing thing about this music is that the people behind it don’t seem like they’re angling to take what they’re about and bottle it as a lifestyle brand.

6. Jason Padgett 

How a violent attack and personal tragedy lead one man to develop a fascination with the principles of the physical universe. 

(BBC, approx 10 minutes reading time)

After three and a half years of living like a virtual hermit, going to school changed everything for Padgett. He started to get psychological help for his OCD and even met the woman who would become his wife.But why was he seeing things in such a strange and different way? Why was his world now comprised of geometric shapes and graphs?

 …AND ONE FROM THE ARCHIVES…

The story of Christine Chubbuck, a 29-year-old newscaster who committed suicide live on air.

(Washington Post, approx 28 minutes reading time)

When somebody commits suicide, especially violently and publicly, once the initial shock dies away and people can absorb what has happened, they can begin to speculate on why. This is what was happening in Sarasota one week after the death of “TV Star Chris Chubbuck.” Everyone had his or her own idea of why it happened.

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