Things I Read That I Love #83: Sometimes I Think, This Is Really Chloë-ish

kid-sightingHELLO and welcome to the 83rd 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 Chloë Sevigny! 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.

Chloë’s Scene (November 1994), by Jay McInerny for The New Yorker – What’s so great about this article is how it really transports you to the 90’s in a major way. This is about Chloë Sevigny before Kids had even premiered and she was just this street fashion icon and club-goer and it girl.

Gaby Hoffman: The Chelsea Hotel Had Its Own Eloise (July 2013), by Taffy Brodesser-Akner for The New York Times – I loved this girl so much growing up, and all of her movies. She was my heroine and I wanted to be just like her.

In Sickness and In Health (June 2013), by Liz Prato for The Rumpus – “When I collapsed after my whole family died, I did feel like a failure. I could not pull myself up by the bootstraps. I could not just put one foot in front of the other. I could not summon some inner strength to go on. I just wanted it—the pain—to be over. I am only alive because my husband kept me tethered to this earth, because when I pleaded with him, “Please let me die. You’re the only reason I don’t do it, so please let me go,” he would not.”

Bill Cosby Schools Us About Those Crazy Sweaters, by Hunter Oatman-Stanford for Collecters Weekly – This is an intriguing and magical history of Cosby sweaters.

In The Crosshairs (June 2013), by Nicholas Schmidle for The New Yorker – Long and intense story of decorated sniper Chris Kyle and troubled veteran Eddie Routh and PTSD and post-combat health care and tragedy and drinking and doctors and Iraq and death.

Inside “The Chive” (July 2013), by Jordan Larson for The Awl – I was obvs super-fascinated by this –> “the Chive is largely white, middle-class, heterosexual, pro-America and male. Chivers and Chivettes compose one of the most normative groups in America, and yet constantly describe feeling like outsiders, misfits, and people who “just don’t care,” as one Chiver told me. It’s an expression reminiscent of Fight Club, the desire for an all-inclusive largely male group that rejects the values of larger society—in this case, maybe, maturity and political correctness.

Toppling a Delicate World (June 2013), by Mansi Choski for Vice – This is about gay and lesbian people in India who enter into opposite-sex marriages with other gays and lesbians to please their families, but it’s also about how — SURPRISE!! — all the homophobic aspects of that culture were started by the British colonist douchebags!!

Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream (April 1966), by Joan Didion for The Saturday Evening Post - UGH I LOVE JOAN DIDION. I mean this is a crime story, basically, but she makes it into something so much bigger and more beautiful, about California and San Bernardino County (where A-Camp happens!). Like – “It was in the breakup that the affair ceased to be in the conventional mode and began to resemble instead the novels of James M. Cain, the movies of the late 30s, all the dreams in which violence and threats and blackmail are made to seem commonplaces of middle-class life.”

Los Infiltradores (June 2013), by Michael May for The American Prospect - “How three young undocumented activists risked everything to expose the injustices of immigrant detention—and invented a new form of protest.”

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Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1795 articles for us.

34 Comments

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    Funny story, my introduction to the Chive came from meeting a group of lesbian Chivers (they called themselves “chivers”) at the frattiest lesbian bar in Austin. They were really decent people, actually.

    I wonder if they read this site, too.

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      that is so weird! i actually only knew about the site because back when i did the nsfw sundays i would sometimes find stuff there. i had no idea it was an actual thing

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    Haha man that Chloe Sevigny story does nothing to lessen my instinctive dislike of Harmony Korine. Also, she herself is one of my favorite actresses/famous people, but you would probably not have predicted her to turn out any way but insufferable at the time, based on this article.

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    I’m English and I find your comment about “British colonist douchebags” both offensive and ignorant.

    If you judge the thoughts and actions of people outside of their historical context and prevailing social values and mores, you will undoubtedly think that history is filled with douchebags. I would argue that the douchebag is the one who expects people from the 18th and 19th century to hold the same values as a liberal 21st century American.

    You might also like to consider how you feel if you had read a statement by a foreigner referring to Americans in a similar manner. For example: “it’s also about how — SURPRISE!! — the pervasive US gun culture was started by the American founding father douchebags!!” I don’t think you need to be particularly patriotic to find outsiders criticising your culture offensive.

    A little politeness and cultural sensitivity don’t cost anything and help us all live in harmony. I hope you will consider that next time.

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      You’re kidding, right? There was nothing remotely okay about the British Empire being a thing. Entire cultures, languages, and people groups were destroyed by a tiny little island with a big ego. That’s not to say that England’s like that now (although the effects are still everywhere, and the white privilege thing…), but it was.
      The US came about as a result of that, and thus, the US has a lot of the same problems. But to compare the gun culture issue with the genocides brought about by British imperialism? Yeah, no. The US has and has had its own problems, and the US has been filled with douchebags in government since its founding (slavery, lack of women’s rights, gun culture, the genocide of FN peoples, etc etc etc) You can be patriotic all that you want to, but you’ve got to be realistic here.

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        I did not say anything about the British Empire being a good thing: I said actions should be taken in their historical context. Most of Europe was engaged in empire building (when they weren’t fighting each other) from the 1600s onwards. I would be surprised if any country could look back and feel their heritage was spotless, judged by modern standards. Unfortunately a lot of countries can’t say their present is spotless, either. Maybe the problem lies in the judging.

        I would avoid openly insulting another nationality because it just degenerates into a “my country is better than your country” argument. Those debates are pointless and serve only to generate animosity — look at the venom in your response. This can all be avoided by being a little more thoughtful and polite.

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          Let’s look at it this way: A good amount of the people of America, and North America in general, are descended from British, or at least European, colonizers. My great-grandmother’s family is a very white, old money family that came over early from England and pretty much ruled the colonies. So technically, we’re talking about our ancestors here. And you’re still in England, I’m presuming, so they aren’t your ancestors.
          And yeah, when you say that “British colonizing douchebags” isn’t fair, you ARE defending the British Empire, which isn’t really acceptable. And yes, you CAN hold the people of a different era to the standards of decent human being. And most colonizers really fucking failed and did major damage that is still in effect today (South Africa, anyone?)
          No one’s saying that America isn’t fucked up. I mean, the Zimmerman trial just happened. But that doesn’t mean we can’t say that the British Empire wasn’t also fucked up, because they were. No way around that.
          This conversation is kind of like talking to a Southerner who defends the Confederacy…

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          To be fair you actually can’t hold people of a different era to “the standards of a decent human being” as the latter is entirely subjective to the cultural and social mores of a specific time and place.

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          Yeah, I can. Wiping out cultures, languages, and people groups, and replacing them with your own oppressive culture is not okay. Why is this even an argument?
          Again: it’s kind of like arguing with a Southerner defending the Confederacy. I get it, patriotism and stuff, but again, “British colonizing douchebags” is a very accurate statement, because history tells us so. The period of British imperialism was a horrible one.

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          Now, there IS a difference between someone criticizing British imperialists, and a non-First Nations person criticizing, say, the war tactics of FN pre-European invasion, for enumerate reasons I won’t get into here.

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          @Sela, you’re proving my point: if you judge the actions of any group of people outside of their historical and cultural context, you will find that history (and the present!) is filled with horrifying acts of inhumanity that in that culture were/are perfectly acceptable. You will never get any insight into the reasons things happened as you’re too busy judging people by your moral standards and thinking they should have done as you would do.

          By the way, failing to support someone’s opinion does not imply support of the opposite side. You can watch two teams competing without supporting either side. My opinion has no bearing on my original points, which are (a) actions should be taken in context, and (b) don’t insult other nationalities.

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          Again, not speaking to current British culture (which I would argue is still oppressive in similar ways to the States with regards to race, class, and gender. Polite racism is still racism, and I have had to tell many a British grandma that using racial slurs isn’t acceptable no matter how many times she’s heard them on the television)
          But yeah, imperialism is oppressive, even the white supremacist “here, let me help you because you are a savage and God sent me” polite sort of way.

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        Just to say, its not a little island with a big ego. Its half a little island with a big ego. Most everyone who had power in the Empire would have been English as the Welsh and Scotts were viewed in the same way as the Irish, as savages who were inherently inferior to the English.

        Also as a British person (one who’se even part English!) let me just invite anyone to criticise the colonoial period and its perpetrators in any way they like. Its not rude, its not insensitive and its not a criticisim of our culture now. Also, if people want to make fair criticisms of our culture they should feel free to go ahead.

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      “You might also like to consider how you feel if you had read a statement by a foreigner referring to Americans in a similar manner. For example: “it’s also about how — SURPRISE!! — the pervasive US gun culture was started by the American founding father douchebags!!””

      i’d actually be totally 100% okay with that
      sing it from the mountaintops!

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    Thanks for this post Riese :) I always seem to find the articles in your “Things I Read..” posts to be interesting, but this week one went DING, DING, DING for me.

    I’m checking out AS right now from a hospital room where I’m in an 8-week program specializing in PTSD recovery. This particular part of the article struck me:

    “One of the complicated dimensions of suffering—and there are many—is the sense that our suffering is invisible. There is something satisfying about feeling like hell and having a friend say, “You look like hell.” It’s not just the validation, but also eases the loneliness. Because all suffering, at its core, is lonely.”

    These invisible wounds can kill. I’m in a program with men and women – about half of whom are military or police – who have been through / seen things that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The people here are some of the bravest people I’ve met in my life. Hands down. Whether their reason stems from childhood trauma, war, loss, sexual assault etc. etc. the list goes on, their inner demons have taken so much control over their (our) lives that we’re crippled… even if the rest of the world can’t see it.

    I’m glad that the author of this article is able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m proud of anyone who is able to look their biggest fear in the eye and say “You don’t own me anymore”.

    Anyhow, thanks Riese. I clearly have feeling about this. All the feelings.

    Cheers.

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    Straddlers, I’ve got an update on the last story, Los Infiltradores: http://socialawareness2013.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/bring-them-home-marco-saavedra-checking-in-from-mexico

    Marco Saavedra, one of the undocumented activists in the story, returned to Mexico this week voluntarily in order to document the stories of the 1.7 million deported immigrants there. He did this knowing that he may never be allowed back in the US, leaving behind his family and the life he’s known since he was three years old.

    He is amazing and courageous and poignant and brave, and it breaks my heart that his sacrifice is necessary to highlight the ongoing tragedy of mass deportations.

    Follow his story at TheNIYA.org and http://www.facebook.com/vivabartleby.

    #BRINGTHEMHOME

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