HELLO and welcome to the 112th 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 pickpocketing!
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.
Sinners in the Hands (February 2014), by Sonia Smith for Texas Monthly – This is about a cult in Wells, Texas I MEAN A CHURCH. To be honest, sometimes I read stories like this and I think that the writer should’ve waited to write it until there was a resolution, you know? Like it was rushed. there’s a beginning and a middle, but we were left without an end, and I am really interested in how this story will end. Anyhow, you can read it and tell me what you think!
A Pickpocket’s Tale, by Adam Green for The New Yorker – I even watched videos of this guy and couldn’t see it! Its about a magician named Apollo Robbins, well he’s a pickpocket, and he has lots of interesting things to say about human behavior and deception and attention and stuff. This is sort of like a Malcolm Gladwell article.
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure Forum: Road Movies, Man-Children, Amazing Larry and More (January 2014), by Mike D’Angelo, Nathan Rabin, Matt Singer and Scott Tobias – Unf I loved this movie so much back in the ’80s and was really depressed when Paul Reubens himself took a sinister turn. I didn’t even know this movie was directed by Tim Burton but it makes sense now. I always wanted a breakfast-making machine like Pee-Wee had. Anyhow I loved how they talked about his character as somebody in “eternal pre-adolescence” and the collaboration between Burton and Reubens and the rest of the franchise and so many things! There’s a few articles about the film this week on The Dissolve, like Keynote: The Cartoon Heart of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.
Lust in Space (May 2007), by S.C. Gwynn for Texas Monthly – “Laugh all you want at Lisa Nowak, the lovesick astronaut in the diaper, but there’s nothing even remotely funny about the shuttle program’s bleak future – or the sorry state of NASA.”
Skating for Justice (November 2013), by Jim Rendon for Marie Claire – “Bridie Farrell was a promising 15-year-old speedskater when she started training with Andy Gabel, one of the sport’s most decorated athletes. Now, more than 15 years later, she’s opening up about disturbing allegations of misconduct— and raising unsettling questions about whether Olympic officials are doing enough to protect athletes from abusive coaches and competitors.”
*Am I Black Enough For You? (January 2014), by Retha Powers for The Rumpus — “Was I surprised when during a group water cooler chat a white colleague asked me alone if I had been to college? No. Was I surprised when one of the two other black employees told me she didn’t think I liked black men? No. And when I assured her I did (just not romantically, as I am a lesbian), was I not “black enough” all over again? No, not really, but I was tired.”
The Hanging (March 2013), by Rich Schapiro for The Atlantic – “The body of William Sparkman Jr., a 51-year-old census worker, was found in 2009 in an isolated cemetery in the Appalachian region of Kentucky. He hung naked from a tree, hands bound, the word FED scrawled in black marker across his chest. Sparkman’s death briefly made headlines: to some, it seemed to implicate our polarized politics; to others, a region long known for its insularity. And then the case disappeared from the national view. Here is the story of what really happened to Bill Sparkman, a complex man whom few people truly knew.”
Shipping Out (January 1996), by David Foster Wallace for Harper’s – Seriously basically David Foster Wallace went on a luxury cruise and wrote what I estimate to be one million words about it for Harper’s Magazine in 1996 and I read all of them, because cruises and because David Foster Wallace.
America’s Worst Charities ( June 2013), by Kris Hundley and Kendall Taggart for the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting – This is a big four-part thing and it’s SUPER depressing because like holy fuck these places are making millions of dollars.
League Loves All Women (January 2014), by Jess Stoner for The Morning News – Are Super Bowl ads being de-misogynized to appeal to the Moms who are already on the fence about football because it could ruin their childrens’ brains forever? Discuss.
That DFW essay is so damn amazing. I have never been on a cruise and likely never will, because I have read that and I feel like it describes exactly how the experience would be for me, so it’s not like I actually need to do it myself now. It was later republished as the title story of a collection of his nonfiction essays under the name, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again”, which is such an on point title.
Apollo Robbins! He was the thief consultant for ‘Leverage’ (a super fun show that is now on Netflix, if you haven’t seen it) and he was even in an episode once.
Also, some people are fucking WEIRD about the census. My mom was a census taker for northern Idaho in 2000 and there were so many insane Christians who were convinced the census was a Satanic plot to usher in the Mark of the Beast. There was a special set of census takers who were issued guns to deal with these people, because those people WILL SHOOT YOU. So fucking glad I don’t live there anymore.
I really liked League Loves All Women. I read another piece this week about the morality of watching football now that we know the sport causes brain injury, not just by accident, but through normal game play: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/magazine/is-it-immoral-to-watch-the-super-bowl.html?_r=0