HELLO and welcome to the 118th 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 Back to the Future II! 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.
*The Boys In The Bunkhouse (March 2014), by Dan Barry for The New York Times - Wow, so, wow. This is really sad. Back in the ’70s, a bunch of boys who were developmentally disabled were sent off to this turkey farm to live and work, and, at the time, this seemed like a promising alternative to institutions. But the work conditions and the way these men were treated and forced to live degenerated over time and it’s a huge terrible tragedy. Contains lots of media and video, so read it on your computer.
*The Long Fall Of One-Eleven Heavy (July 2000), by Michael Paterniti for Esquire - A really beautifully written and haunting article about the crash of Swissair Flight 111. This article is presently one of the most popular articles on Esquire’s website because of the Malaysian Airlines flight. It’s a lot.
Hanging Out, Driving Around and Sucking In the 1970’s, (March 2014), by Genevieve Koski, Noel Murray, Keith Phipps, Nathan Rabin and Scott Tobias for The Dissolve – This week’s “Movie of the Week” at The Dissolve is Dazed & Confused, which I could talk about and read about forever, and maybe you can too!
Broadcasting Beautiful Views 24 Hours A Day: You’re Tuned To The Scenery Channel (March 2014), by Michelle Said for Bright Wall Dark Room - A really cool and interesting essay about Back to the Future II that talks about how teenagers see themselves as grown-ups, and how inaccurate (and accurate) BTTFII’s vision of the future was, and all this other good stuff. yOU’ll like it.
A Murder in Waurika (July 2002), by Pamela Colloff for Texas Monthly – “A cheerleader lies dead in dark waters, and life in the small towns along the red river will never be the same. A Tale of restless youth in a lonely land.”
What Solitary Confinement Does To The Brain, (February 2014), by Shruti Ravindran for aeon – Another frequent TIRTL topic, this article looks really in-depth at how solitary confinement and sensory deprivation changes your brain and impacts inmates psychologically, causes hallucinations and so forth. It’s a really comprehensive look at the issue, with interviews from current and former inmates as well as an evaluation of scholarship on the subject.
Inside the Barista Class (March 2014), by Molly Oseberg for The Awl – Really interesting essay about a girl who has worked in coffee shops forever-ever, starting at a Starbucks in the suburbs and moving on to an indie coffee shop in Greenpoint just as gentrification of that area really ramped up.
The Mountains Where Women Live As Men (March 2014), by Michael Paterniti for GQ -This seems relevant to our interests. “It began hundreds of years ago, deep in the Albanian Alps—an unusual tradition where women, with limited options in life, took the oath of the burrnesha. A pledge to live as a man. To dress like a man, to work like a man, to assume the burdens and the liberties of a man. But these freedoms came with a price: The burrneshas also made a pledge of lifelong celibacy. Today these sworn virgins live on, but their numbers have dwindled. Many Albanians don’t even know they exist. What happens when the society that created you no longer needs you? And how do you live in the meantime?”
Short Term Feelings, Short Term Hurt (January 2014), by Leslie Jamison for The Los Angeles Review of Books – This is so good, and I haven’t even seen the movie that is the premise of this essay, but now I am going to, so that I can read this essay again. It’s by the same author who wrote about being a fake patient for med students in The Believer a few weeks back.
Every time I cried, or almost-cried, was a little different, though each contained a similar parfait of feelings: a layer of sadness (for the unreal character); a layer of hope (for the unreal character); a layer of skepticism (what does it mean to feel sadness or hope for an unreal character?); a layer of curiosity, both emotional and artistic (how have I come to feel this sadness/hope for an unreal character?); a layer of pride (I feel things so deeply I can even feel sadness/hope for an unreal character); a layer of shame (I feel more for this unreal character than I did for the homeless man I just passed in the street); another layer of shame, this one more specifically inflected by my role as a consumer (how have my emotional responses been so easily manipulated?) but also — it cannot be denied — a layer of consumer satisfaction: I am having a powerful experience, which is part of the implicit contract made between a film and its watchers. We give our time, and maybe our money, and in return we are given an experience that will somehow make us different than we were before we had it.