Things I Read That I Love #121: You Don’t Want To Fall In Love With Your Own Story Of Tragedy.

HELLO and welcome to the 121th 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 heroin! 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 New Face of Heroin (April 2014), by David Amsden for Rolling Stone – The new face of heroin is that people are doing heroin in Vermont. Also, because oxy has gotten too expensive and more closely regulated.

Conversations With Writers Braver Than Me #16: Rebecca Walker (March 2014), by Sari Botton for The Rumpus“One of the things I remember saying to my mother, in the midst of the upset about that first book, was, that I had been raised to tell my story and tell my truth. That was a fundamental part of what growing up as her daughter, in the community that I was raised in, was about. I basically said, ‘Look, I’m following the tradition that you gave me.'”

Watching Team Upworthy Work Is Enough To Make You A Cynic. Or Lose Your Cynicism. Or Both. Or Neither. (March 2014), by Nitsuh Abebe for New York Magazine — This was fun to read because it’s Peter! See, my former boarding school suitemate and East Harlem roommate and forever-ever sisterwife brilliant love of my life who gave me the best breakup advice ever that so many of you love so much is married to Peter, who is the co-founder of Upworthy. He is pictured frequently in this article. I mean, I know this article is about Upworthy and their whole situation and the Situation of the Viral Web and not about Krista, but I just wanted to talk about Krista for a second. You should read this! These are good guys.

The Talk (April 2014) by Rachel Giese for The Walrus – What happens when you legitimately try and teach teenage boys useful sex ed? Some earnest Canadians decided to find out!

Mind Games (March 2014), by Siva Vaidhyanathan for Book Forum – I have no i idea what to think about this, but I sure did read it. “But none of these appraisals of the life of the mind gets at the real heart of the matter: the now quaint-sounding matter of the university’s “mission”—the bigger-picture question of what our institutions of higher learning do for and with the world. In sizing up such issues, every account is a vignette. So sometimes the best we can do is assemble the widest array of vignettes and try to maintain proper critical distance. So here is another vignette—less personal, more theological. Within every great American university, even MIT, there is a monastery.”

Just Cheer, Baby (April 2014), by Amanda Hess for ESPN The Magazine – So the cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders are paid $1,250 for a season, despite the fact that they put in hours like a full-time job and are required to do so many things and buy so many things! It’s not fair. So this girl named Lacy took her contract to a lawyer and they were like, oh this is actually illegal, so she is is SUING THEIR ASSES. Then I read the comments and wanted to die.

Pixel & Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In The Gig Economy, by Sarah Kessler for Fast Company – This was a really good story, and reflects also how it felt to try and be a freelancer picking up gigs on craigslist, honestly. Here’s the description: “For one month, I became the “micro-entrepreneur” touted by companies like TaskRabbit, Postmates, and Airbnb. Instead of the labor revolution I had been promised, all I found was hard work, low pay, and a system that puts workers at a disadvantage.”

See Me (March 2014), by Emma Cline for The Paris Review “My mother didn’t ask where the letters came from. Maybe to her they looked innocuous enough: the envelopes covered in adolescent scribbles, the flaps shiny with stickers. She had six other children, four other daughters, all of us starting to learn the opaque equation of attraction, my father hissing at me under his breath to put on a bra.”

Kidnapped By Iran (March 2014), by Shane Bauer & Josh Fattal & Sarah Shourd for Mother Jones – I read this and was like “wow, this is awful, I can’t believe what these people went through” and then I read the comments which were all like WHY WERE YOU HIKING IN SUCH A DANGEROUS PLACE TO BEGIN WITH YOU IDIOTS and then I didn’t know how to think or feel about anything.

The Night I Was Belle Of The Ball (March 2014) – A personal essay on Kinja about being an awkward female computer genius in a world of boys and then being a brilliant female programmer in a world of men, and wondering what happened in between.

A Strange Sports’ Saddest Season (March 2014), by Alden Wicker for – About “Circle Football,” a sport played by humans in Brooklyn that was invented in 2009 and involves a yoga ball. Yup.


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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 3178 articles for us.


  1. That cheerleading article was fascinating for me, as a future employment/labour lawyer, but holy SHIT those comments. Clearly every dude in the ESPN comments section was rejected by a cheerleader in high school and has held a grudge ever since. SO gross. But from a legal perspective, she totally has a case.

  2. That gig economy article feels super relevant right now, especially in the wake of the whole “hey guys we’re changing up our model into this super cool thing where we’re gonna be having our readers write our content fOR FREE” thing that’s been going down at Entertainment Weekly. I just read about that whole debacle and I’m presently pretty much apoplectic.

  3. Thanks for the link to that break-up advice, I’ve been trying to get over the first girl to break my heart for about a hundred years now. I keep coming back to ‘BUT WHAT IF WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE TOGETHER FOREVER AND I MESSED IT UUUUUUP’ and also ‘THIS HURTS SO BAD AND IT’S NEVER GOING TO END I SHOULD JUST KILL MYSELF’ and it’s good to be reminded that other people have had their hearts ripped apart so badly they thought they would die, and they successfully recovered and moved on and found other people to love and share happiness with.

  4. The people who think “Why were you hiking in such a dangerous place, idiots?” is the right reply to the American hikers’ story are victim-blaming. Even if the hikers acted like the biggest idiots in the world that doesn’t mean that they deserved what they got, and focusing on that aspect of their story is missing the point of their messages about solitary confinement and other prison system cruelty.

    • Also I can guarantee they have said that to themselves ~9.578 billions and hearing it from strangers is just salt in the wound.

  5. “See Me” hit me hard, but I thought it was interesting that the author didn’t address why she sees it a as solely desperate-girl-older-man

  6. The Raiders thing was SO interesting and also really relevant to things I’ve been reading/watching/noticing. I watched the documentary Schooled which is about how college athletes are basically shit on like nothing else, and I learned that the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, the esteemed of the esteemed, get paid pretty much nothing for all the work they put in and all the money they bring in for the Dallas Cowboys. Infuriating.

  7. I haven’t read any of these articles yet but just wanted to say that I always enjoy this weekly article. I feel like I’ll read them in spurts and I’m always a few behind but I look forward to them very much.

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