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Weekly Reading: Best longreads on the web

Saturday 22nd July 2017

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


The Ringer's Rob Harvilla writes about the life and legacy of singer Chester Bennington, who passed away this week.

Photo: AFP

Chester Bennington Taught His Fans How to Grieve Him, by Rob Harvilla, The Ringer

“When a famous musician dies, we immediately invoke the deceased’s name in that little Spotify search box, and find the album — or, better yet, the single song on infinite repeat — that best crystallizes that person. The one that encapsulates the grief shuddering through his or her fan base right this second. The one that underscores why there were so many fans ready to grieve in the first place.”

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Conversation With Lana Del Rey, by Alex Frank, Pitchfork

“It’s certainly uncomfortable. I definitely changed my visuals on my tour videos. I’m not going to have the American flag waving while I’m singing “Born to Die.” It’s not going to happen. I’d rather have static. It’s a transitional period, and I’m super aware of that. I think it would be inappropriate to be in France with an American flag. It would feel weird to me now—it didn’t feel weird in 2013.”

She’s His Rock. His Parole Officer Won’t Let Him See Her, by Shaila Dewan, The New York Times

‘“She’s my best friend. She’s my support system,” Mr. Brantley said. “She’s my rock.” But when Mr. Brantley walked into the parole office with Ms. Eaton, he went a step too far. His parole officer, Mark Pawlich, strapped an ankle monitor on him and sent him to a halfway house. “The state,” Mr. Brantley protested, “has broken us up.” The state can do that.”

MTV Isn’t What It Used To Be, by Scaachi Koul, Buzzfeed

“The challenge facing MTV now is different than the ones the network has dealt with in eras past. They’re not necessarily competing with other networks for the attention of the elusive 16-to-24 market; they’re competing with the internet, and content on the internet is mostly free, on-demand, and increasingly created by the very young people the network is trying to court. MTV used to be closely in tune with what youth culture wanted, and they were adept at leading the conversation around it. Now, it looks like they’re just trying to catch up.”

My Mind Will Stay There Forever, by Andrew Katz, Time

I watched as they struggled to dig a hole big enough in the dry, rocky earth while airstrikes continued to rain down nearby. It was one of saddest moments I have witnessed over the last eight months covering the battle for Mosul, and one that stayed with me for a long time after. It was one thing for the family to lose their children, but the fact that they had to leave them behind in a hastily dug grave without a proper farewell seemed so unfair and difficult to accept. In a way I felt incapable of truly conveying how heartbreaking the scene was.”

R. Kelly Is Holding Women Against Their Will In A “Cult,” Parents Told Police, by Jim DeRogatis, Buzzfeed

“Mack, Jones, and McGee claim that women who live with Kelly, who he calls his “babies,” are required to call him “Daddy” and must ask his permission to leave the Chicago recording studio or their assigned rooms in the “guest house” Kelly rents near his own rented mansion in suburban Atlanta. A black SUV with a burly driver behind the wheel is almost always parked outside both locations. Kelly confiscates the women’s cell phones, they said, so they cannot contact their friends and family; he gives them new phones that they are only allowed to use to contact him or others with his permission. Kelly films his sexual activities, McGee and Jones said, and shows the videos to men in his circle.”

A Son’s Race to Give His Dying Father Artificial Immortality, by James Vlahos, Wired

“So now my father is telling the story of his life. This will be the first of more than a dozen sessions, each lasting an hour or more. As my audio recorder runs, he describes how he used to explore caves when he was growing up; how he took a job during college loading ice blocks into railroad boxcars. How he fell in love with my mother, became a sports announcer, a singer, and a successful lawyer. He tells jokes I’ve heard a hundred times and fills in biographical details that are entirely new to me.”

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