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Weekly Reading: Best longreads on the web

Saturday 26th August 2017

Our weekly recap highlighting the best feature stories from around the internet.


LA Weekly discuss what happens when celebrities weigh in on politics.

Screenshot: Youtube

A Resistance Led by Celebrities Will Always Be Bullshit, by Anne Orchier, LA Weekly

“Most major celebrities are, by definition, well-served by the status quo. Their lives and livelihoods are built on a system that is largely sustained through inequality, no matter how much they give back to their families or the “less fortunate.” They have no vested interest in challenging or changing anything past a certain point, regardless of how progressive their personal politics are. When they advocate “resistance” of any kind, it makes sense to keep the focus relatively narrow and external, because anything else would be massively destabilizing to every aspect of their lives, starting with their ability to accumulate wealth.”

The War of Silence, by Paula Penfold, Stuff

“Richard Hall is tall and friendly and dresses smartly. He seems more diplomat than soldier. But don’t let the disarming English accent fool you. He spent 24 years in the British Army before moving to New Zealand in 2000 and joining the Territorials. He’s seen plenty of action. “If I look back on my history of the operations that I've taken part in, you see the best of humanity and the worst of humanity, often in the same day, often in the same hour. You see tremendous bravery, tremendous resilience, courage, comradeship. At the same time you can see what human beings are capable of doing to each other.” He’s made decisions that have led to his own men being killed. “It's one of those things you replay in your mind. Was it the right decision at the time given the information that you knew at the time?”’

A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof, by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, GQ

“I took a seat on the couch where his son used to sleep, feet away from the computer where his son wrote his explanation of why he had to kill nine black people, feet away from the file cabinet where Dylann Roof sometimes stored his jacket with its flag patches from African apartheid states. Bennett Roof was wary but kind. He watched me closely while I petted the affectionate mackerel tabby cat that his son had taken so many pictures of but still left behind. I watched him closely when I asked him to make sense of something that he said he could not. In a living room full of paintings of Florida and parrots, all that Dylann Roof's father could say, over and over again, was: “I don't know what happened, I just know that the boy wasn't raised that way.”’

This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley. My lawsuit failed. Others won’t, by Ellen Pao, The Cut

“In retrospect, there were some early warning signs, like when John declared that he’d specifically requested an Asian woman for my position. He liked the idea of a “Tiger Mom–raised” woman. He usually had two chiefs of staff at a time, one of each gender, but the male one seemed to focus mostly on investing and the female one did more of the grunt work and traveled with him. “There are certain things I am just more comfortable asking a woman to do,” John once told me matter-of-factly.” and the Cynicism of Modern Media, by Adrianne Jeffries, The Outline

The success of personal, identity-driven essays like “5 Powerful Reasons I'm a (Male) Feminist,” “An Open Letter to the Pope From a Gay Man,” and “An Open Letter to Abercrombie and Fitch from a Formerly Homeless Kid” inspired Mic to launch an “Identities” section in October 2013 “dedicated to examining the intersections of sexuality, gender, class and race in politics and culture for the millennial generation.” These stories got traction on Facebook, so Mic replicated them, attracting more social justice readers as well as more social justice writers, who then wrote more social justice stories. “Mic realized earlier than most places that they could commodify people’s feelings about race and gender," was the view of one early staffer who has since left.

The Girl from Plainville, by Jesse Barron, Esquire

“On June 29, Michelle began to conspire with him. "What about hanging yourself or stabbing yourself?" she said. The next day, she asked: "Why don't you just drink bleach?" Conrad eagerly participated. He found websites that gave you the odds on different methods. "Carbon monoxide or helium gas. I want to deprive myself of oxygen," he said. "I WANT TO DIE." He worried about leaving his family. Michelle said that if her kid sister died, she would be "extremely upset for a week or two" but would get over it. "Are you gonna leave a note for me?" she asked.”

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