06.03.11

This Week's Best Reads

From the shocking misogyny of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to an eight-year scandal in the football program at Ohio State, The Daily Beast picks the best longform journalism from around the Web this week.

1. “Basta Bunga Bunga”
Ariel Levy, The New Yorker 

Silvio Berlusconi is Italy’s longest-serving leader since Mussolini and also the closest thing the country has to Hugh Hefner. A multibillionaire, Berlusconi owns television channels loaded with explicit programs presenting women as sex objects, while he himself allegedly hosts sex parties known as “bunga bunga” parties at his personal mansion. But as he faces a trial for paying a minor for sex, a new movement of women is using him as an illustration of Italy’s rampant misogyny and dismal record on women's rights.

2. "How Deep It Went"
George Dohrmann with David Epstein, Sports Illustrated 

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel was known for his sterling reputation, and claimed ignorance of a series of scandals that have recently shaken the university’s squad. But this Sports Illustrated investigation reveals an eight-year pattern of violations under Tressel—and shows that he knew about his athletes’ misdeeds all along.

3. “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?”
Marcia Angell, New York Review of Books 

“Is the prevalence of mental illness really that high and still climbing? Particularly if these disorders are biologically determined and not a result of environmental influences, is it plausible to suppose that such an increase is real? Or are we learning to recognize and diagnose mental disorders that were always there?”

4. “Who, What and Where is Bon Iver?”
Jon Caramanica, New York Times Magazine 

Justin Vernon, of the indie-rock band Bon Iver, has tasted megastardom. Which was nice. But he'd rather be in Wisconsin.

5. “Mind Games”
Jim Lewis, Texas Monthly

Baylor College of Medicine neuroscientist David Eagleman has written a short-story collection, designed an iPad app, performed with Brian Eno, inspired an opera, won a Guggenheim, and jumped off a 150-foot ledge just to see how the brain perceives time while falling. But can he change the face of law and order?

6. “Are You Ready for More?”
Sharon Begley, Newsweek

In a world of climate change, freak storms are the new normal. Newsweek's Sharon Begley on why we're unprepared for the harrowing future, and how adapting to the inevitable might be our only option.

This weekly column is The Daily Beast's contribution to the growing Longreads community on Twitter, where fans of longform journalism collect and share their favorite stories. Follow along through the hashtag #longreads, and visit Longreads.com and Longform.org for suggestions throughout the week. To take these stories on the go, we recommend using smartphone applications such as Instapaper or Read It Later. You can download either at your mobile phone's application store. To send us suggestions, tweet the story to @thedailybeast on Twitter with the hashtag #longreads. To read previous editions, visit our Longreads archive

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David Sessions is a homepage editor at The Daily Beast. He has written for Slate, New York, Politics Daily and others. He also blogs about religion and politics at Patrol.