HELLO and welcome to the 143rd 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 Mary Beard! 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.
What Your First Grade Life Says About The Rest Of It (August 2014), by Emily Badger for The Washington Post – This was really fascinating, it’s about a HUGE research study that followed kids from the Baltimore public school system for 25 years and found that “the families and neighborhoods these children were born into cast a heavy influence over the rest of their lives, from how they fared in the first grade to what they became as grownups.”
Latitudes of Acceptance (August 2014), by Matthew D. Lieberman for Edge – This is really cool stuff I’ve never thought about before, it’s about social psychology and the “specific set of machinery that is designed for thinking about the minds of other people” in our brains. Actually he talks about all kinds of shit in this piece, I’m not really sure what the point was but I liked it.
**Towards a Fight (June 2014), by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich for The Rumpus – This has been sitting on my Instapaper since June and hot DAMN this was good. And gay! It’s about being gay but not wanting to be gay, and New Orleans after Katrina, and the cops, and Massachusetts, and chosen family, and murder, and getting up and going, and still flinching to hear the word gay, and well you’ll really like this one, kiddos.
The Troll Slayer (September 2014), by Rebecca Mead for The New Yorker – This is about Mary Beard! She’s a super big deal academic person who teaches at Cambridge and talks about Greeks and Romans and shit. I didn’t know anything about her until this very day, though I’d heard the name, and I guess she’s become a bit of a feminist icon in certain circles because she talks back to trolls and DGAF, holler.
Memes and Misogynoir (August 2014), by Lauren Jackson for The Awl – “What is the half-life of a meme? What is the rate at which a good-natured meme decays into the grossest displays public ridicule? How long until a Black feminist anthem falls prey to misgynoir’s messengers? Perhaps fault lies with the name, that the overlay of social media spectacle and evolutionary principle encourages us to speak of memes with a sentience external to ours.”
The Aftershocks (August 2014), by David Wolman for medium – In Italy a bunch of scientists actually got taken to court for not adequately describing the risk of earthquake in a certain area, leading to a lot of people dying. But then this article is about how people interpret various language about risk levels so it’s kinda deep.
Practical Art: On Teaching the Business of Creative Writing (August 2014), by Nick Ripatrazone for The Millions – “Creative writing should be taught as an art, and as a business. A creative writing program that only includes the former can unwittingly reinforce romantic stereotypes of writing. A young student might major in creative writing. She could become a wonderful poet, and a well-read critic. But she needs to know that poetry doesn’t pay the bills. This is the inside joke of creative writing programs in America. We know creative writing doesn’t make money, and yet we continue to graduate talented writers with no business acumen. At best, it is misguided. At worst, it is fraudulent.”
That piece lead me to this piece: Seven Years As A Freelance Writer, Or, How To Make Vitamin Soup (August 2010) by Richard Morgan for The Awl – “Freelancing is an adventure the way “Locked Up Abroad” is an adventure. Journalism even at its best is already a fairly caustic and draining experience. All the qualities that make you a great journalist make you a terrible person: gossip, urgency, obsession, noisiness, theatrics and hysterics.”
Clothes & Class: For Feeling Like You Have A Purpose (July 2014), a conversation with Saada Ahmed, Katherine Bernard, Durga Chew-Bose, Fiona Duncan, Hari Nef, Steve Oklyn and Arabelle Sicardi for Adult Mag – Well this is quite a thing! It’s a dialogue between a lot of interesting humans from diverse backgrounds, including our dearest Arabelle Sicardi, about fashion and style and class and looking effortless or fashionable and oh jeez there are just a lot of things in here and you’ll have to read it to find out what those things are, ultimately.