HELLO and welcome to the 106th installment of Things I Read That I Love, wherein I share with you some of the longer-form journalism/essays I’ve read recently so that you can read them too and we can all know more about quicksand! This “column” is less feminist/queer focused than the rest of the site because when something is feminist/queer focused, I put it on the rest of the site. Here is where the other things are.
The title of this feature is inspired by the title of Emily Gould’s tumblr, Things I Ate That I Love.
What Kind of Monster Wants To Shoot Up His School? (December 2013), by Camille Dodero for Gawker - There’s an 18-year-old Native American boy who lives in a nice town outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who is presently doing time for telling some friends he wanted to blow up the school. He was arrested four hours before Newton happened and he’s still there and there’s no evidence of whether he ever actually was planning to kill people. This article is about the difficulty of figuring out who is at risk and the debate over what to do about those who seem to be.
Breathe Me: The Oral History of Six Feet Under Finale’s Death Montage (December 2013), by Patti Greco for New York Magazine – Fun fact: Six Feet Under is the best television show of all time. Seriously. It’s also my favorite, because it’s the best, and this peek into how that last scene came together is not only an excuse to watch it again, but super interesting to read!
The Rise and Fall of Quicksand (August 2010), by Daniel Engber for Slate – “Whatever its Q score, quicksand has always been more than a popcorn-spilling antic. As a literary metaphor and an expression of entanglement, the image dates back hundreds of years. As rhetoric, it once ruled the foreign-policy debate… and it wasn’t so long ago that the phenomenon of real quicksand—not the metaphor, not the gag—flummoxed the nation’s leading physicists. Could all these anxieties be related? Might our fascination with quicksand reflect some more singular preoccupation—a broad cultural reckoning, even—with ambivalence and instability?”
Gretchen Molannen’s Legacy: Suffering, Suicide and a Journalist’s Responsibility, by Leonora LaPeter Anton for The Tampa Bay-Times – I don’t know if you remember this story we read about Gretchen, who suffered from Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome and killed herself shortly before the article about her debuted, but this is from that reporter attempting to reckon with what happened.
Apocalypse, New Jersey: A Dispatch From America’s Most Desperate Town (December 2013), by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone – “No jobs, no hope – and surveillance cameras everywhere. The strange, sad story of Camden.”
Imagining Myself in Palestine (May 2012) by Randa Jarrar for Guernica – Chilling and sad. “On a recent trip to Israel, Randa Jarrar gets detained, denied entry, and sent to ‘the Arab Room.'”
David Fetzer’s Last Act (December 2013), by Betsy Ross for Salt Lake City Weekly - Last year on Facebook a friend posted that Dave Fetzer had died suddenly in his sleep. Fetzer was two grades below me at Interlochen, the arts academy we both attended, a theater major like my boyfriend. I texted my best friend from high school, Krista, who’d directed the one-act play I wrote that we cast Fetzer in (he totally kicked ass/ stole the show) to ask what happened but she didn’t know, had heard it might involve mixing alcohol and medication. She wasn’t sure, and nobody was saying. I sort of buried it in the back of my mind until this article was published last week, which finally told the whole story of a truly magnetic, energetic and beautiful human being who died after struggling for some time with an addiction to painkillers. His mother wrote this story.
On Bed-Sty (December 2013), by Brandon Harris for n+1 – “Those were months, which soon turned into years, of magical thinking. “You were middle class in college,” my godmother had said to me after I graduated, “but now you enter the world a poor negro for the first time in your life.” Maybe so. But in the Brooklyn night, I smelled opportunities to make lasting things and I chose to believe that they would open themselves effortlessly, that I wouldn’t have to struggle, that grinding class and status anxieties would not have to define my way of encountering the world.”
The Manhunt for Christopher Dorner (December 2013), by Christopher Goffard, Joel Rubin & Kurt Streeter for The Los Angeles Times- The manhunt ended, btw, down the road from where we hold A-Camp! I wasn’t a fan of the tone taken by the reporters in quite a few sections here, but the story is quite a story.
The Belly of the Beast (December 2013) by Paul Solotaroff for Rolling Stone - If you’re vegetarian/vegan or have any vegetarian or vegan friends, AND I BET YOU DO, you’ve likely already seen a link to this article on your Facebook feed accompanied by a preachy paragraph about how people who eat meat are THE WORST. Don’t worry I’m not gonna do that to you. (Also I do eat meat, so) This is the story about how the way animals are raised and treated on their way to becoming cheeseburgers, and spoiler alert: IT’S THE WORST. We’ve read a few things about animal cruelty in factory farms on TIRTL, this one is probably the most in-depth and intense, so READY YOURSELF. Graphic, disgusting and demonic shit goes on at these farms. But there’s also some promising hopeful stories in here, too, thankfully.
For funsies: The 2013 Haters Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog, via Deadspin.