Things I Read That I Love #106: I’ve Lost Myself Again And I Feel Unsafe

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.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, 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! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3184 articles for us.


  1. I must say that it makes me incredibly happy when you post this article first thing in the morning. I look forward to these articles to get me through my Friday work day every week and I hate it when I have to actually WORK until you post them :) Always grateful. Thanks!

  2. “The symptoms can be debilitating, preventing concentration on mundane tasks. Some situations, such as riding in an automobile or train, vibrations from mobile phones, and even going to the toilet can aggravate the syndrome unbearably causing the discomfort to verge on pain. It is not uncommon for sufferers to lose some or all sense of pleasure over the course of time as release becomes associated with relief from pain rather than the experience of pleasure.” I looked up PSAS after reading the story about Gretchen Molannen and this definition from wikipedia helped to explain the condition better for me. Although in Gretchen’s case even words were a trigger. This condition by the way was coined in 2001, that’s like yesterday!

  3. the LA Times did mostly very good writing about the Dorner case (including the wounding of the woman who was delivering newspapers with her daughter, and the attempts by the dept. to weasel out of replacing the bullet ridden truck that was their livelihood). The LAPD has always been notoriously sketchy – they were under a consent decree till 2009 (the Fed courts were giving them orders on how to clean up their corruption and racism). So even though Dorner became a murderer and that is in no way OK, the general reaction of everybody down here in terms of what may have happened to/with him in the department was a huge “Who even knows.” We probably never will.

    I held a viewing party for the president’s State of the Union about the time all that was going on, and I remember sitting with a couple of friends I had worked with on the campaign the previous year, both were middle-aged African-American mothers who both had young adult sons, and I remember their fear during the manhunt. One had asked her son to call out from work, the other was calling him every few hours. I still find it interesting that they called Dorner a domestic terrorist – they didn’t do it with Ciancia even though he opened fire at LAX, on a federal officer to boot.

  4. I’ve totally read the Gretchen legacy article already and it was heartbreaking. Though it always makes me feel way more important than I am when I have already read something posted on “Things I Read That I love”; though in this particular instance it is probably cheating since I work at the paper that published it.

  5. I’m always amazed with how many people don’t know about Six Feet Under. A lot of cred goes to the Soprano’s bc it was happening at the same time, regarding paving a way for a new generation of continuous arcs and story lines with character development that doesn’t change every episode, shows on “TV.” Granted HBO was commercial free and you got a straight uninterrupted hour of content (which I also think makes a HUGE difference, and is why I continue to download shows from alternative sources, I don’t like my attention span broken by listening to shit about shit I don’t want to buy bc I have no money anyway. Continuing on, Six Feet Under was amazing. Post Ellen, I personally experienced it as the first “Legit,” representation of a Gay male relationship ever shown on television.

    I can source that aside from being a queer woman and knowing lots of gay men, that Alan Ball being gay himself had his own passion, and that of Six Feet Under’s writers, tied into that show. Not to mention the times where David was single, having anon sex, lot’s of hookups, doing extacy at raves, meanwhile continuing to be a guy running a legit and serious business that catered to people’s needs in a way that required being over the top professional. The fucking FLAWS in ALL the characters, every single freakin’ one, were PERFECT. As a writer myself I am well attuned with how important it is to never make one character perfect and completely likeable because no one can relate to that. And that show just, unf, did it so well. The interpersonal relationships, everything.

    Everything was just so real. It was the first time television made me feel like I was reading a book. Also the 4th season I believe, where Clare goes to art school and also mena suvari, AND ALSO ALSO same season as Michelle Trachtenberg (drool), and all those crazy professors and everything. I really hope to see Alan Ball do something like that again. True Blood has been fun and interesting and yay gay vampires and everything, but it’s not even in the same universe as the amazing-ness that Six Feet Under was.

    I bawled like my entire family had died, but it was okay at the end. When it sunk in that it was over man. It was like moving into a new phase of life without that show. Why? Because I actually gave a fuck about every character and wanted to know what happened for the rest of their lives, which also – is exactly why the ending was the best ending I’ve EVER seen to a series. It’s risky to try and tie things up like that but I think they did it perfectly. The way [spoiler I guess?] Brenda’s death is shown with her listening to Billy continuously rant on and her head just droops like she finally was worn out from years of Billy’s mania. Oh man. perf. <3

  6. The article on Palestine was incredible. I knew a Palestinian guy in college who had gone to Gaza as an activist a few years back. He was allowed entrance into Israel, but on the way back, they were able to find proof that he had been to the occupied territories and they went through all his things and beat him. Somehow he was able to smuggle out his SD card of photos from Gaza and he made a slideshow for some university groups. I love reading about this topic through first-person narratives, mainly because I lived in Jordan for a year and there’s tons of Palestinian refugees there.

    And that Williams-Sonoma catalog article – I almost died laughing! I sent it to my cousin.

    • Honestly I think he totally misses the point of longform journalism or at least is reading (or not reading) shitty examples.

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