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Weekly Reading: The best longreads all in one place

The Wireless logo The Wireless 6/04/2017

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

© Provided by Radio New Zealand Limited Buzzfeed report from the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival.


Making America Swole Again, by Suzannah Showler, Buzzfeed

“Straining under Strongman-level poundage, huge bodies don’t just shake — they vibrate. Competitors’ eyes distend; their faces turn deep, vascular hues; delicate veins and capillaries blow out and burst. Sometimes blood rushes to the head so quickly it will just start pouring out someone’s nose. “Don’t worry,” MC Mark Henry assures us as a clean-up crew is sent to handle a bloody trail left across the stage after a yoke carry. “This is totally normal.”’

Nicky Hager on War Crimes, Owning Your Mistakes and the Aftermath of 'Hit & Run', by Tess McClure, Vice

“I feel disappointed first of all for the people in the villages. The forgotten people in Afghanistan, who were the victims of the SAS raid. Who we know have been really amazed and encouraged that people are talking about them far away in New Zealand - this will be really disappointing for them. I'm also disappointed as someone who has spent two years working on this that it has been dismissed, that all the information in the book has been dismissed in such an unworthy kind of a way, by just pathetic claims that there's no substance to it—which is just not true.”

A Film Screening Brings Normality to Auckland's Homeless Community, by Frances Walsh, Paperboy

“Timoti grabs a quick Milo from the trolley. He’s going to court today to deal with a charge of threatening behaviour. He characterises the whare on Monday mornings as “the place where the brothers sleep”. Renee, a fan of chick flicks, just wants “to come off the streets and be safe”. Nevertheless, he enters into the spirit of things. When Spock’s mother falls into a fiery abyss, he laughs, claps and says, “Sayonara”. Someone nearby joins in, “Bye Mum”. Meanwhile, various people lie on the carpet, rub their feet, and recharge cell phones. The crowd is companionable and quiet, but for metronomic snoring and Renee’s intermittent giggling.”

Pitbull Will Live Forever, by Mitchell Sunderland, Noisey

“Pitbull writes his songs in a special notebook with one of four expensive pens. "They all mean something to him," Phenom explains. "A family friend gave [one pen] to him. [Another one's] from a very special business partner." After he completes a verse, Pitbull types it on a computer and emails it to Phenom, who forwards it to a producer developing instrumentals. (Producers create some hooks; Pitbull writes others.) Pitbull then records his songs in makeshift studios in hotel rooms and on boats because he finds recording studios time consuming. When Pitbull recorded the line "from the tallest building in Tokyo" on "Feel This Moment," he was literally recording in the tallest building in Tokyo.”

Death of a Dystopian, by Alec Wilkinson, The New Yorker

“Crowley was losing his mind, and he didn’t seem to know it. Journals of people overtaken by psychosis are rare—accounts of madness tend to be written by people in the midst of their illness or retrospectively by those who have recovered. Crowley was handsome, gifted, and charismatic, but he was also deeply unsure of himself. He owned a number of self-hypnosis recordings meant to overcome his insecurities. He thought that the convulsive things that were happening to him were the result of his endeavor to become more confident, poised, and commanding. He thought that he was developing a new self.”

Ghosts in Some Shells, by Shea Serrano, The Ringer

“I propose to you an idea, and this is going to sound cavalier and also reckless and possibly even dangerous: Scarlett Johansson, who is white, playing a cyborg with a Japanese woman’s brain, was maybe not that great of an idea. To be sure, Johansson is a strong actor who has made many enjoyable movies, including but not limited to Her (where she played a cyborg of sorts, but not one with a Japanese woman’s brain) and Lost in Translation (where she played a woman in Japan, but not one with a Japanese woman’s brain). So she is, of course, quite talented.”

The Dirtbag Left’s Man in Syria, by Reeves Wiedeman, New York Magazine

“Belden was an unlikely recruit. He had spent most of the previous decade working in flower shops in the Bay Area and had LIFE STINKS / I LIKE THE KINKS tattooed on his left bicep. The Kurds in his tabor had taken to calling Western volunteers by their nearest celebrity doppelgängers, which made Belden, who is Jewish, with floppy brown hair and black-rimmed glasses, glad that they hadn’t noticed any resemblance to Woody Allen — nor had they seen the Annie Hall parody, Annie Crawl, that Belden had posted online several months earlier, in which he played Allen’s character as if he were a dog. Instead, the Kurds called him “Mr. Bean.”’

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