Things I Read That I Love #122: This Is Not a Good Town For Psychedelic Drugs

HELLO and welcome to the 88th 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 vacuum cleaners! 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 Murders At The Lake (April 2014), by Michael Hall for Texas Monthly – I blame this article on why I didn’t get very much reading done this week! It’s SO LONG. “In 1982 a brutal triple homicide shook the city of Waco and soon became one of the most confounding criminal cases in Texas history — one that still haunts the many people who have tried to solve it.”

Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas ( November 1971), by Hunter S. Thompson for Rolling Stone “”Right,” I said. “But first we need the car”. And after that, the cocaine. And then the tape recorder, for special music, and some Acapulco shirts.” The only way to prepare for a trip like this, I felt, was to dress up like human peacocks and get crazy, then screech off across the desert and cover the story. Never lose sight of the primary responsibility.”

The Truth About Chicago’s Crime Rates (April 2014), by David Bernstein and Noah Isacks for Chicago Magazine – Um, bad news for Chicago. I feel like this same thing either happened somewhere else, or was a subplot on The Wire, because I’ve definitely read about this practice elsewhere.

Birdie Africa: The Lost Boy (February 2014), by Jason Fagone for Philadelphia Magazine – “Almost 30 years ago, 13-year-old Birdie Africa became the face of the MOVE disaster, the only child to survive the bombing of that infamous Osage Avenue house. Last Fall he drowned in a cruise-ship hot tub, as alone and mysterious in death as he was in the city’s greatest tragedy.”

A Q&A With A Vacuum Cleaner Salesman (November 2010), by Mike Riggs for The Awl – “Darrell did not cry when the mortgage crisis killed new home construction, putting him out of work. Instead, he packed up his bags and joined his girlfriend in South Florida, where he found a new job as an in-home salesman, pushing expensive vacuum cleaners and air purifiers to snowbirds and other crazy Floridians.”

This is Not A Barbie Doll, This is An Actual Human Being (April 2014), by Michael Idov for GQ – Obviously this sent me down a K-Hole involving the Human Ken AND the Human Barbie. In this article the author meets his subject and discovers, “I realize that just like everyone reading about Human Barbie, I had had a simple narrative prepared in my head: A small-town girl grows up obsessed with dolls, etc. Instead, I get a racist space alien.”

Meet The Bag Man (April 2014), by Steven Godfrey for SB Nation – I feel like I was the only person to see the movie Blue Chips. No but for real, I’m from Ann Arbor so even though this was about colleges in the south, nothing surprises me and I mean, Michigan got in trouble even for how it handled its basketball players, which was depressing.

What Does The Book Business Look Like From The Inside? (November 2013), by Daniel Menaker for New York Magazine – I used to work at a literary agency but I still found this to be very interesting.

Heathers: An Oral History (April 2014), by Adam Markovitz for Entertainment Weekly – THIS IS EVEN MORE FANTASTIC THAN YOU MIGHT BE SUSPECTING. Winona Ryder has SO many feelings about this movie you guys, and Shannen Doherty is so cold!

The Girls Next Door (April 2014), by Daliah Singer for 5280 – Stories about child sex trafficking like this are tough for so many reasons but also drive me insane because why aren’t we talking more about the johns who have sex with children? I mean, these girls are trafficked because there is demand. It’s not cheaper or easier for a john to buy services from a sex-trafficked underage person than it is to buy services from a sex worker over 18 who wants to be a sex worker, so their choice can only be accounted for by personal preference. Why isn’t the entire world profoundly disturbed that there are so many child rapists out there? The fact that sex with underage and clearly physically and emotionally abused children is popular enough to warrant an industry of this size is SO fucked up. It’s easy to focus on the pimps, because there are so few of them, and you can point at one person and say “let’s get rid of him.” We need to indict pimps, but we also need to indict rape culture, the customers, you know?

Karl Ove Knausgaard Became A Literary Sensation By Exposing his Every Secret: Readers Love him for it. He hates himself (April 2014), by Evan Hughes for The New Republic – Oh wow, I think about this a lot when I think about my novel/memoir. What it costs to reveal things, what happens when you’ve lied in the past and people don’t find out ’til they pick up the book. It’s something you imagine will happen

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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 3213 articles for us.


  1. That article about Chicago is exactly what I wanted to read about a city I’m moving to soon. I hate everything.

    • I’m moving back to Chicago in July. I never was the victim of any type of crime in the 5 years I lived there. Just try not to worry about it too much. Message me if you have any questions!

    • Yep, our political structure here is pretty fucked up BUT I actually think this doesn’t have a ton of implications for the average person’s level of safety living here (if that was even your concern)? I have lived here for 7 years and have always felt quite safe, despite not always living in the usual collection of young-white-person-approved neighborhoods. It is a horribly segregated city when it comes to race and poverty but also when it comes to violent crime, which makes it easy to avoid if you have a choice about where you live.

      • The terrible political structure is definitely more my concern. I feel a sense of relief knowing that I can move there and be relatively safe because I’m white and broke (but not poor), which makes me feel terrible. I think in some sense I feel guilty because I can disregard the crime to some extent and I feel like that makes me a little bit complicit in allowing them to ignore the problems.

  2. A long work week has left me unable to effectively communicate but I still want to let y’all know that I have feelings about Waco and Whataburger.

  3. I’ve had a busy (but good!) weekend and Things I Read That I Love is a perfect way to spend my Sunday evening, because Riese has done all the hard work for me of finding something good to read.

  4. I’m currently reading the first book of “my struggle” and man, it cuts through like a knife! Thoughts we all have but know better than to say out loud, either for the sake of not hurting anyone or because we are ashamed. He put it all in there and yeah in the end you don’t necessarily like him as a person. You just know all of him.

    • It also makes me think very much how a piece of work like that would be received if it was written by queer a non-male, non-white person.

  5. “The Murders at the Lake” was amazing, and very sad.

    Hunter S. Thompson! I like his political writing too, obviously. The piece he wrote after Nixon died, “He Was a Crook” is beautiful, try to read it if you haven’t.

  6. i just want you to know that my devotion to TIRTIL has provided me with the ability to hold a conversation about a great many topics at the dinner table with people i don’t know very well. and i thank you for that.

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