Things I Read That I Love #137: We Don’t Do Dumb Things Like That To Start The Day

HELLO and welcome to the 137th 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 reparations! 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.

How To Be A Writer (July 2014) by Heather Havrilesky (aka Polly Esther) for The Awl –By now, it’s 5:30 a.m. I get up and tiptoe past the kids’ rooms, put water on for tea, and swiftly unload the dishwasher. Ahead of the curve, motherfuckers! I high-five myself in my mind. (It’s important, as an artist, to reward yourself whenever you do something right. Your life can’t be all “You suck, work faster, you’re falling behind!”)”

The Case For Reparations (May 2014), by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic – Okay so this is long, and brilliant, and also really important. We’re talking 16,000 words that you need to read if you want to understand America today and the legacy of discrimination against black people specifically. This is actually the longest piece greenlit for The Atlantic since their new editor started at the magazine, ’cause it’s that important.

With Atlantic article on reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates sees payoff for years of struggle (June 2014), by Manuel Roig-Franzia for The Washington Post – The reason that I know that the reparations piece was the longest piece greenlit by their present editor is because I read this article, which is a must-read for all fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates which I assume you are because you’re smart and I care about you.

How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star (May 2014), by Amy Nicholson for LA Weekly – What I found most interesting about this was that I’d actually totally been unaware of the real context of the couch-jumping incident for ten years and had never really thought twice about that.

The Six Seconds Between Love and Hate: A Vine Romance Goes Wrong (May 2014), by David Kushner for Rolling Stone – I didn’t even know people got famous via vine! KIDS THESE DAYS. Anyhow, this is a really rotten sequence of events, it’s about the romance between Jessi Smiles and Curtis Lepore who were famous on vine and now Curtis is being charged with rape.

Jeanette Winterson and AM Homes in Conversation (November 2012), by Jeanette Winterson & AM Homes for The Guardian – How did I not know about this when it happened. Anyhow the formatting is a little messed up — there are parts that are Jeanette’s narration that appear to be continuations of previous dialogue, but once you realize that it’s easy to tell which is which for real. Also at some point Jeanette Winterson says “We are both politically passionate about gay rights and equality of affection, but neither of us believe that sexuality should be the dominating fact of anyone’s life.” Okay.

There Is Going To Be A Destruction… The Obliteration Of A Person (June 2014), by Marion Coutts for The Observer  “My job is threefold. 1. Not to let Tom be destroyed before his death but to help him live it fully in his own way with all his power. 2. Not to let Ev be destroyed by Tom’s death but to help him live it fully in his own way with all his power. 3. Not to let myself be destroyed. See 1 and 2. That’s it. The project is not to go down.”

On Turning 30 (January 2014), by Molly Crabapple for Vice“I hated being a child. My happiest day was when I left school and started an adult life where I could travel the world, or at least go to the bathroom without a teacher signing off on it. My early 20s, for all their excitement, were a procession of broke-ness and sexual harassment.  But being a grown woman is damn fine. “

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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. I read the Ta-Nehisi Coates piece when it was published and agree that it is brilliant and a must-read. I learned so much, and feel like I need to read all 16,000 words again because there was just so much information. And now I need to read the Washington Post piece about him. SO MUCH READING.

  2. I’m really confused about the Tom Cruise piece. He did get up on the couch. The audience did freak out. People loved it. What is she saying never happened? And does she honestly think that’s what led to his shakier public image? And that otherwise he’d be doing indie flicks and winning Oscars? It’s a very strange essay as far as its title is concerned, though the tracking of the tabloid/YouTube progression in relation to celebrity is really interesting.

    • I was very skeptical by the end of the article for these reasons, so I went to the author’s bio and: “her first book, Anatomy of an Actor: Tom Cruise will be published by Cahiers du Cinema in Spring 2014”

      And she left out the part where Katie Holmes had to run away from their marriage, and mostly glosses over how creepy the Scientology stuff is. The myth of ‘jumping on the couch’ (which, he actually was on the couch…) may have been the start of the decline, but it wasn’t inevitable, not without the Scientology stuff.

      • Speaking of Scientology… Riese, didn’t you once mention somewhere on this site that you were working on a piece about it? Am I making that up, or did they get to you?No but really, I would love to read that cause I have researched Scientology and while it scares the crap out of me I can’t get enough of it!

        • did I say that? that seems possible, although i’m not sure what i could add to the conversation. i mean i am obsessed with scientology so i’ve read literally EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE EVER PUBLISHED about it (which isn’t that many b/c scientologists are so litigious), even bought the vanity fair issue that swore to have secret info about katie holmes w/r/t scientology. i mean tom cruise is a douche so

      • Yeah, I have to agree with Heather. It wasn’t the couch jumping stuff that ruined Tom Cruise. It was the fact that he made himself the face of Scientology, the Brooke Shields/Matt Lauer stuff and the fact he is very combative about how people perceive his personal life in relation to the Scientology. If these things didn’t happen he wouldn’t be in the position he is today. All that said, I’m not sure if the author is saying we should feel bad for him or what. His career is hardly “ruined” in the sense that he can’t get work. He is still an A-list actor who appears in multiple blockbuster films a year. I wouldn’t count him out just yet. I’m sure he is just one or two movies away from getting back in the people’s good graces again. I mean if Matthew McConaughey can make a comeback and win an Oscar Tom Cruise can. He’s just got to learn to dial it back on being Scientology’s spokesperson.

  3. I’m spending most of the weekend in a hospital waiting room for a family emergency and was just kicking myself that I forgot a book. I always love this column, Riese, but even more so right now. Thank you for giving me distractions from the too bright lights, hospital smell, and mortality related thoughts. <3

  4. I have no idea why I read the 30 year old article. I figure it would be a thought catalog-like piece (sorry for not trusting you Riese!). But my older cousin just turned 26 (so I will this year too!) but I’ve never been worried about aging. Anyway, I’m just super happy it turned out to be about being a woman and making it and doing things that you want with your life and having fun and being professionally successful and how we all need to get over our fear of missing out and do what makes us ourselves.

    Also, for people interested in more on the history of all those tom cruise article mentioned blogs, a piece came out on TMZ which I’ve read about half of and enjoyed:

  5. Great list this week.
    Unrelated, I was hardcore procrastinating yesterday with that akinator web genie thing, and after a few lame rounds I decided to see how cool it truly was, and tried to get it to guess you, Riese. You can imagine my dismay when it had no idea who you were! So, naturally, I unleashed a storm of profanities peppered with righteous indignation, and then added you to the database.

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