Things I Read That I Love #141: Just Give Me Room To Exist Both In The Shit And Stars

HELLO and welcome to the 141st 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 Hook! 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.

Stakes Is High – And Black Lives Are Worthy Of Elaboration (June 2014), by Kameelah Janan Rasheed for Gawker – Oh wow well this was just fantastic and interesting. It’s an interview with the writer Rachel Kaadzi Ghanash (you might remember the essay she wrote about Dave Chapelle in The Believer) and there’s lots of good stuff about race, obviously, and also how a writer can love/appreciate a thing and still criticize it, and it got me thinking about so many things and also led me to…

De origine actibusque aequationis: Rachel Jeantel, Rammellzee, Basquiat, and the Art of Being an Equation (June 2014), by Rachel Kaadzi Ghanash for The Los Angeles Review of Books – In the interview above, she said this about her driving desire to write this piece — “I am interested in the linguistics of African American Vernacular English or what some people call slang because it is completely valid. People said that Rachel Jeantel was not speaking correctly or that the importance of what she’s saying was diminished because doesn’t speak proper English or using grammatical English. AAVE has a well-defined grammar. She was using a form of grammatical English.”

The Forgotten Pioneer of Teenage Pop Feminism (August 2014), by Alexandra Symonds for New York Magazine – This is about a website called that I sort of was aware of existing but never really read possibly because I didn’t use the internet much in the late ’90s/early ’00s. But I find these things very interesting so.

The Last Movie I Loved: Hook (August 2015) by Chloe Schildhause for The Rumpus – Yes, I love this movie, but I also believe that the movie has shaped me as a person. Having first seen it at the impressionable age of three, it molded me into the chronically nostalgic, child-like, death-fearing person that I am today.”

More Bang For Your Buck (August 2014), by  The Economist – Honestly I was a little disappointed by this article because it could’ve been so much more! I know the industry personally from the inside and like, the internet has been “shaking up” the industry since 2004, this isn’t as recent as they make it seem. But the data they extracted here is really interesting and it was a good read.

Last Tango in Kabul (August 2014), by Matthieu Aikins for Rolling Stone – “While war raged across Afghanistan, expats lived in a bubble of good times and easy money. But as the U.S. withdraws, life has taken a deadly turn.”

Puzzle Trouble: Women and Crosswords in the Age of Autofill (August 2014) by Anna Schechtman for The American Reader – I wish she’d talked to Cathy Allis for this, since NY Mag crosswords are my main squeeze! But this was really good and interesting, both about gender bias in the industry and also about puzzling developments related to computer software.

Two posts that disagree with each other, both from The New Republic this past July:

Don’t Send Your Kids To The Ivy League, by William Deresiewicz – “This system is exacerbating inequality, retarding social mobility, perpetuating privilege, and creating an elite that is isolated from the society that it’s supposed to lead.”

Send Your Kid To The Ivy League!, by J.D. Chapman – “I don’t know many people who think it will be the end of the world if their child doesn’t attend an Ivy. Around here, I have my hands full explaining that it might be beneficial to attend a summer language academy, or that looking only at colleges within a two-hour drive might disadvantage a child. I suspect that my experience is the more common one in America, if not among the New Republic’s assumed readership. For families like the ones I serve, the article seems misplaced to the point of destructiveness.”

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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 3179 articles for us.


  1. I’m so happy that someone wrote about Hook. That movie is unapologetically, nostalgically special to me, too. And so I was a bit sad when in all the Robin Williams tributes it didn’t rate a mention.

  2. Oh Riese. This is hands down my favorite series on AS. Thank you for making our world a smarter, more literate place.

  3. re “it’s the end of the world if you don’t attend an Ivy”: this was by and large the most regular comment I got on my Malaysia-focused education blog. Any suggestion of higher education beyond the Ivies was met with disdain or horror. Even just generally, the attitude in Malaysia was that you should go to Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, the Ivies, Stanford. That’s it. Everything else is low quality.

    • that’s really unfortunate considering how few people have the ability to attend those schools

      • Yeah exactly! And if you don’t get in (like maybe 99% of all applicants), no matter how qualified or talented you are, it gets reflected back to you as a personal failing. Obviously you weren’t ~good enough~, because if you were then Harvard et al should be a shoo-in for you.

        I’ve had to counsel a lot of heartbroken or suicidal teens who were told that failing one aspect of their educational goals meant failing everything forever.It’s horrifying.

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