The antidote: your favourite reads beyond coronavirus

Chris Moran

1. ‘Quarantine our sad, sick game’: how Heysel tragedy changed English football

‘The game was played in a rickety old stadium, whose disintegrating terraces provided ample ammunition for missile-throwing fans, whose chief police officer had not attended any planning meetings, where a pre-match alcohol ban went unenforced and a nominally neutral area next to Liverpool’s fans, separated by the flimsiest of fences, had been allowed to fill with Italians.’

2. Trump has reached the ‘mad emperor’ stage, and it’s terrifying to behold

‘We were told, by Trump’s supporters four years ago, that we should have taken him seriously but not literally. As it happened, it was entirely appropriate to take him literally, as a serious threat to the rule of law.’

3. What do we know about Trump’s love for the Bible?

‘As many other critics of the stunt have pointed out, the president appeared in images holding the Bible backwards and seemingly upside down, as if he’d never held one before. That wasn’t the first such indication that the president is unfamiliar with the contents of the holy book.’

4. I’ve never seen … The Lord of the Rings

‘I chose to watch the trilogy for this column mostly as a personal challenge and decided to watch them all in a single weekend. Three hours in, I was regretting the decision. The Fellowship of the Ring is an absolute slog, a humourless, poorly paced prologue that goes on forever. ‘

5. ‘Words of a dictator’: Trump’s threat to deploy military raises spectre of fascism

‘The choreography of his remarks in the White House Rose Garden and protesters being roughed up just outside was a made-for-television moment around the time of the evening news. Trump remains a reality-TV impresario. The darkness of his tone was also true to his instincts. His authoritarian tendencies include a love of military parades, putting his name on buildings, hiring family members, staging populist rallies, berating the media and threatening to “lock up” political opponents. He thrives on conflict.’

6. A photo op as protests swirled: how Trump came to walk to the church

‘As the president declared himself “an ally of all peaceful protesters” his audience could hear the sound of battle in Lafayette Square, flash-bangs detonating, teargas hissing. TV viewers could see both images in split screen. As Trump left the White House grounds, social media began to spew a fog of anger and division as thick as the clouds which enveloped protesters.’

7. Where’s the catch in the Brexit fishing talks?

‘Fishing is a drop in the ocean of the UK economy (just 0.12% of economic output) but has become one of the most intractable issues of the Brexit talks. The reasons boil down to history, geography and politics. More than 100 categories of fish straddle EU-UK waters. Securing greater British control of these fish was a big promise of the 2016 Brexit campaign, one repeated by Boris Johnson ahead of his 2019 election victory.’

8. ‘No downside’: Johnny Marr, Best Coast and Jason Isbell on how sobriety improves music

‘Before he quit drinking, Marr would regularly head to the pub or get stoned at home. “I thought it was an achievement if I didn’t get fucked up one night during the week,” he says. “That’s not an achievement. Writing a song is an achievement. Teaching kids, caring for someone, or pulling someone out of a bloody burning building is an achievement.”’

9. Trump and Biden offer starkly different visions with nation at a crossroads

‘The existential choice facing America was laid bare on Tuesday, as Donald Trump and Joe Biden set out radically contrasting visions for a nation convulsed by seven nights of protests over police brutality and racial injustice.’

10. Bishop ‘outraged’ over Trump’s church photo op during George Floyd protests

‘Trump’s message is at odds with the values of love and tolerance espoused by the church, Budde said, before describing the president’s visit as an opportunity to use the church, and a Bible, as a “backdrop”.’

How we create the antidote

Every day we measure not only how many people click on individual stories but also how long they spend reading them. This list is created by comparing the attention time with the length of each article, to come up with a ranking for the stories people read most deeply.