The Most Influential Stories You Can't Miss This Week

This week for BuzzFeed News, Melissa Gira Grant reveals that heroism does not always lead to happy endings. Read it and other great stories from BuzzFeed and around the web.

1. An Escort Killed Her Client In Self-Defense — Then Came The Aftermath — BuzzFeed News

Clay Rodery for BuzzFeed News

Last summer, Neal Falls tried to murder Heather Saul — and police suspect she wasn’t the first escort he targeted. After killing him in self-defense, she was hailed as a vigilante hero, flooded with support, and turned into a symbol of the perils of sex work, but she wasn’t ready for any of it. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

2. Searching for Sundar Pichai — BuzzFeed News

Vivek Singh for BuzzFeed News

You may not know him by name just yet, but he’s one of the most powerful people alive. Mat Honan learns how Googl's new CEO Sundar Pichai wants to bring the internet to the rest of the world, all while winning back your trust. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

3. Lost in TrumplandiaThe New Republic

Mark Abramson for The New Republic

Patricia Lockwood steps outside of her comfort zone in an attempt to decipher Trumpmania. "I was there as a person who thought a great deal about farce, and where it turned into something else." Read it at The New Republic.

4. Why the New Year's Attacks on Women in Germany Weren't Even a Crime — BuzzFeed News

Sascha Schuermann / Getty Images

Feminists and conservatives, liberals and racists all say they want nothing more than to protect women’s rights. But right now even German law doesn’t do that. Jina Moore reports from Cologne. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

5. The Ballad of Fred and YokoArkansas Times

Courtsey Mike Ammons for Arkansas Times

After receiving an unlikely letter from a stranger, Will Stephenson tells the melancholy story of how a once-prolific Beatles collector and friend of Yoko Ono died homeless in Arkansas. "It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, when I had to write to Yoko to tell her of Fred's death." Read it at Arkansas Times.

6. The Unbearable Sadness of Ben Affleck — BuzzFeed

Nicholas Hunt / Getty Images

The Ben Affleck of the late ‘90s was a charm machine: goofy, self-effacing, and deep in a highly public bromance with the equally winning Matt Damon. Within five years, he was a punchline. It took a decade for his career to recover. Today, he’s once again at war with his image. So, Anne Helen Petersen asks: what’s Affleck so ashamed of? Read it at BuzzFeed.

7. Ugg: The Look That Refused to DieThe Guardian

The Guardian

Marisa Meltzer traces the resilient history of fashion's most reviled shoe. "They look like something Frankenstein’s monster would wear if he were an elf." Read it at The Guardian.

8. The Deranged True Story of Heavy Metal Parking Lot — The Concourse

The Concourse

Dave McKenna unearths a relic of one of America's most notorious subcultures. “That thing is the Citizen Kane of wasted teenage metalness." Read it at The Concourse.