Crikey long reads

Josh Taylor, journalist 

The secret history of Australia’s gay diggers” by Ben Winsor on

“Gay bars in Kings Cross bulged with servicemen and sailors as warships came to port. There are multiple cases of veterans being arrested for homosexuality offences after the war, telling authorities they were pursuing desires discovered in the armed forces.After the war, a gay bar called ‘Diggers’ even opened in Sydney. ‘From reading over masses of personal and official records in Australia and the US, and seeing the paths men take, the lives they lived and the loves they pursued – the fluidity of sexuality, especially in war, becomes really clear.'”

Charlie Lewis, journalist

This lawsuit goes to 11” by Robert Kolker in Bloomberg

“It’s hard to think of another movie from the past 50 years that’s had a bigger impact on modern comedy. Spinal Tap pioneered a mock-doc genre that’s influenced everything from the long run of improvisational films directed by Guest (Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show among them) to docu-styled sitcoms such as The Office and Modern Family. This made it all the more surprising when, about four years ago, Shearer became the first of his fake bandmates to learn lesson No. 2 in Hollywood: No matter how well your movie does, there’s no such thing as net profit.”

Emily Watkins, media reporter

Hunting child predators with Canada’s freelance vigilantes” by Suzy Khim in Esquire

“Canada’s original creep hunter wasn’t on any righteous crusade; he just wanted to make videos that people liked watching. About four years ago, Justin Payne, a twenty-nine-year-old construction worker in Ontario, was goofing around in front of the camera, doing comedy skits and pranks to post on Instagram and YouTube. “I was trying to get better and better every video, but there was no spark,” he said. Then he decided to try something different: He made a fake dating profile, posing as an underage boy “just to see what would happen.” He couldn’t believe it when a man actually responded and wanted to meet up, so he decided to tape the confrontation, To Catch a Predator-style, and post it online.”

Cass Knowlton, editor

‘A Day in the Life of a Food Vendor” by Tejal Rao in The New York Times

“These vendors are a fixture of New York’s streets and New Yorkers’ routines, vital to the culture of the city. But day to day, they struggle to do business against a host of challenges: byzantine city codes and regulations on street vending, exorbitant fines for small violations (like setting up an inch too close to the curb) and the occasional rage of brick-and-mortar businesses or residents. Not to mention the weather, the whims of transit and foot traffic, and the trials of standing for hours, often alone, with no real shelter or private space.”

Bernard Keane, politics editor

Video Games Are Better Without Stories” by Ian Bogost in the The Atlantic

“In 2013, three developers who had worked on the BioShock series borrowed the environmental-storytelling technique and threw away both the shooting and the sci-fi fantasy. The result was Gone Home, a story game about a college-aged woman who returns home to a mysterious, empty mansion near Portland, Oregon. By reassembling the fragments found in this mansion, the player reconstructs the story of the main character’s sister and her journey to discover her sexual identity. The game was widely praised for breaking the mold of the first-person experience while also importing issues in identity politics into a medium known for its unwavering masculinity.”

Sally Whyte, deputy editor

The Handmaid’s Tale Refuses To Say The F-Word” by Rachel Handler in MTV News

“What’s most interesting (and discomfiting) about all of this doublespeak and evasion is how closely it hews to one of The Handmaid’s Tale’s core cautionary messages. Words matter, whether you’re living in a dystopia or your basic plutocracy, and in Gilead, language has been bent into both a weapon and an unsolicited shield.”