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Sitdown Sunday: Taylor Swift, Ryan Adams and "mansplaining"...

Put your feet up and read.
Sep 27th 2015, 10:00 AM 17,849 4

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 Corbyn earthquake – how Labour was shaken to its foundations

Corbyn poll Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Jeremy Corbyn burst the anemic UK Labour Party leadership race open and won in a landslide. Patrick Wintour and Nicholas Watt in The Guardian tell you how.

The tectonic plates took some time to shift, however. The Corbyn campaign started out with the modest ambition of promoting a debate that might move an established candidate such as Andy Burnham to the left. In their wildest dreams the Corbyn team thought they might manage a respectable third place.

(The Guardian, 38 minute reading time)

2. The Pope’s dark night of the soul

US Pope Francis Source: AP/Press Association Images

Before he was the Pope, he was Jorge Mario Bergoglio. And like all other men, he struggled with his place in the world. Daniel Burke of CNN explains:

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the man who would become Pope Francis, spent two years in this room during the 1990s. It was a dark night for a man now known for his megawatt presence and huge flock of followers. He was 50 years old, forsaken by many fellow Jesuits, left to suffer in silence. It was, he would later say, “a time of great interior crisis. “This is the story of why Jorge Mario Bergoglio was exiled to this room – and how the painful lessons he learned here are transforming the Catholic Church.

(CNN, 29 minute reading time)

3. The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration

China Black Jails Source: Elizabeth Dalziel

Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic’s look at how America’s justice system has torn apart black families is long, but absolutely spectacular.

In 2000, one in 10 black males between the ages of 20 and 40 was incarcerated—10 times the rate of their white peers. In 2010, a third of all black male high-school dropouts between the ages of 20 and 39 were imprisoned, compared with only 13 percent of their white peers.

(The Atlantic, 91 minutes reading time)

4. Ryan Adams’s 1989 and the mansplaining of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift in Concert - Los Angeles Source: AP/Press Association Images

Taylor Swift’s 1989 album is an absolute banger. So, why did it take Ryan Adams covering the whole thing for some erstwhile critics to notice? Anna Leszkiewicz of The New Statesman thinks it’s sexism.

Where Swift is “goofy”, “wistful” or even “banal”, Adams is “urgent, confessional, lonely”. Of course, these are the qualities that Adams, a genuine fan of Swift, so admires in the original songs.

(The New Statesman, 6 minute reading time)

5. The Lonely Quest for Justice

Mexico The Other Disappeared This is an 84-photo composite of people, each holding an image of their missing relative. The photographs of the 84 were shot between April and August of 2015 in the city of Iguala and surrounding towns. The world, and even most of Mexico, paid little attention to Iguala until 43 students from a rural teachers' college disappeared. Source: AP/Press Association Images

43 students went missing in Mexico last year. Their government says they were killed by rogue police officers. The family don’t believe them. Buzzfeed’s Karla Zabludovsky goes inside their fight to be listened to.

According to the government’s version, the police — under orders from Iguala’s mayor and his wife, whom authorities said had ties to local criminal gang Guerreros Unidos — detained 43 of the students. Shortly after, they handed them over to members of Guerreros Unidos, who believed some of the students were members of a rival gang. They then took the men to a trash dump, lit a pyre made of tires and burned their bodies — some had already died of asphyxiation but several were still alive — to ashes.

(Buzzfeed, 28 minute reading time)

6. Charlie Chaplin’s Scandalous Life and Boundless Artistry

Film AFI Top 100 Source: AP/Press Association Images

Charlie Chaplin’s life was amazing and went far beyond what you may think of him. Richard Brody of The New Yorker delves into the life of The Tramp.

Chaplin’s art overflowed the bounds of cinema and raised the tides of history; but Chaplin’s life also overflowed the bounds of law and norms and submerged those who stood in the path of his desires. The story of Chaplin’s success is the story of the cinema itself—an accidental art that raises the infinitesimal to the infinite, that sees through modest or constrained circumstances to capture and exalt the essence of character.

(The New Yorker, 12 minute reading time)

And a classic from the archives:

shutterstock_134859302 Source: Shutterstock/Alenavlad

What does it take to get into one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world? Mike Tetreault auditioned.

Percussionists warm up on a glockenspiel for 10 minutes in one practice room, then move to the next for the xylophone. As they get ready, the auditioners are battling their nerves. The calmest eat bananas, which are supposedly full of natural beta blockers. Some are buried in headphones. One viola player swears a secret weapon helped him WIN A place in a prestigious orchestra — masturbating immediately before his performance.

(Boston Magazine, 20 minute reading time)

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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Paul Hosford


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