Long Reads: Mass killings, death, drugs, sex addiction

Richard Jackson’s weekly #LongReads: How mass killings arise, an AIDS death in the family, drugs, and from narrative.ly, sex addiction (thanks, PB!)


An author explains how mass killings happen – Claire McCartney (New York Magazine)

Abram de Swaan spent his early years in Holland during World War II, home to numerous ghettos before the Jewish population were transported to the death camps. Clue is in the title here…but the questions posed are smart and open ended, leaving de Swaan to answer in an insightful manner.


My brother’s secret – WK Stratton (Texas Monthly)

This story is about death. About a brother dying from AIDS, about homosexuality. About the social stigmas attached, about secrets and their effect on family. But it’s also about love, happiness and the importance of both personal and external acceptance. Very moving and beautifully told.


The trip treatment – Michael Pollan (The New Yorker)

Pretty fascinating stuff here, an expansive article into psychedelic drugs. This long read covers their effects and history, and the history of medical research into them – in one instance showing their ability to reduce anxiety in cancer patients, and of helping people to quit smoking.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘mind-blowing,’ but as a scientific phenomenon, if you can create conditions in which seventy per cent of people will say they have had one of the five most meaningful experiences of their lives? To a scientist, that’s just incredible,” says Roland Griffiths, a psychopharmacologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

But why stop at medical use and the terminally sick, as researchers reiterate in the article? I know we need to be safe with drugs, but this basically, to me anyway, sounds really fun and important. If it provides people with a transformative or transcendental exposure of themselves, why can’t they experience it if they want? They do it in other parts of the world like in Peru with ayahuasca, a drug that makes up part of a shamanistic experience (see video: warning it’s a bit grim as some vomiting).


Editor’s Choice from narrative.ly

I’m married. I’m a woman. I’m addicted to porn – Erica Garza

Grindingly frank piece about sex addiction and porn, but more importantly what lies beneath such and the ramifications sex addiction has on one’s life. The fact that it’s a woman spilling her guts like this adds another dimension of honesty that will compel you to read this piece right to the end. A little heartbreaking, but it also makes you question your own relationship with sex.


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