Things I Read That I Love #144: We Say No Because We Are Grumpy and Have Not Slept Properly

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HELLO and welcome to the 144th 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 Who Framed Roger Rabbit! 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.

American Horror In New Orleans (June 2014), by C.W. Cannon for The Rumpus — This is about a few things — American Horror Story is shooting on the author’s street, so he talks about horror, and ghosts, and ghost tourism, and then he talks about white people abusing and terrorizing their slaves (there’s also a shot of a wax museum scene depicting Madame LaLaurie’s attic where she tortured slaves, so prepare yourself if you want to read this piece!), and plantations, and well there’s a lot of things in here, is the thing.

Can We Break Free From The Fear of Missing Out? (May 2014), by Jacob Burak for aeon“We all know the studies showing that end-of-life regrets centre on what we didn’t do, rather than on what we did. If so, constantly watching others doing things that we are not is fertile ground for a future of looking back in sorrow. A lively conversation at the other end of the table can give us the FoMO itch, just as can the dizzying array of shows, parties, books, or the latest in consumer trends pumped at us by social media.”

The Familiar Characters and Setting and Unfamiliar Character Team-Ups of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, by Genevieve Koski, Keith Phipps, Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson, Matt Singer, and Scott Tobias for The Dissolve – Oh man I loved this movie so much! This conversation gave the film a lot of context and made me want to watch it again.

The Warped World Of 1950s Marriage Counseling (September 2014), by Rebecca Onion for aeon – This has been making the rounds because it is truly gross that back in the day marriage advisors recommended women who were abused by their husbands think about what they could do better not to incite his anger! Women are SO silly!

The Not-So-Simple Life (December 2013), by Whitney Light for narratively –  “The farm-to-table frenzy has thousands of urbanites trading in their desks for the idylls of agriculture. But one eager young couple learns the hard way that organic utopia is easier dreamed than achieved.”

Teach for America has faced criticism for years. Now It’s Listening — And Changing (September 2014), by Dana Goldstein for – This is a really comprehensive look at a lot of the problems Teach For America presents and looks at how the program is trying to change to better serve the communities it enters, because teacher turnover is a huge predictor of school success and TFA teachers only stay for two years and don’t have a lot of training.

No (Spring 2008), by Bryan Doyle for The Kenyon Review – On rejection letters, given and received, and on editing, provided and received.  I liked this one.

The Midwest: Cities of the Plain (1980), by Edmund White for States of Desire Revisited: Travels in Gay America – Well this is just FASCINATING. It’s an excerpt from Edmund White’s 1980 book “States of Desire” (getting a reprint this year), in which he traveled all over the US documenting gay life in different places in the late ’70s. He was very disarmed by the situation he encountered when he visited Kansas, “which he found to be like “the Fifties in deep freeze,” reminding White of the attitudes and ideas of gay men during his own adolescence.”

Turning 14 In Cincinnati (May 2014), by Krista Ramsey and Cara Owsley for – “In some neighborhoods, 14 is the sweet spot between childhood and adolescence, a time of unguarded emotion and untempered enthusiasm. In others, it’s an abrupt introduction into a complex, confusing and sometimes even violent world.”

Who Gets to Graduate? (May 2014), by Paul Tough for The New York Times – This is about current attempts to identify and intervene with students who are more likely to drop out of college, a situation usually directly linked to their socioeconomic background. Pretty interesting stuff.

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Marie Lyn Bernard, aka Riese, is an award-winning writer, blogger, journalist, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in the midwest, lost her mind in New York City and is currently making it work in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better, The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image and The Hazards of Being Female," "Dirty Girls," and "The Best American Erotica of 2007," magazines including Nylon, Marie Claire, GO, Curve, Interlude, and CollegeBound, and all over the web including, Jezebel, Queerty, Emily Books and OurChart (RIP). She was the recapper for The L Word Online and host of Showtime’s Lezberado and her personal blog has earned many dubious honors including Best Personal Blog 2008. Riese has spoken about blogging, community-building, feminism, cyberculture and sexuality at places like BlogHer, Yale, New York University, The University of Chicago and The Museum of Sex. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Interlochen Arts Academy and The Olive Garden's week-long training intensive; she enjoys eating foods, having big ideas, reading books & talking to her stuffed dog, Tinkerbell. Also, she's Jewish. Follow her smokin’ hot adventures on twitter. Contact: riese[at]

Riese has written 2893 articles for us.


  1. Gosh – ‘No’ is full of such wonderful phrasing, bubbling charmingly along (but then I do love sentences that last for days).

    Also now I get to spend the next few days looking forward to ‘States of Desire’ making its way through the post to me, so… thanks!

  2. I just had to comment on the Teach for America piece. I’m a corps member and they are just as big a mess as ever. They take very little responsibility for what happens after you get stuck in a mess of a school. I was working without even being on payroll and without insurance, and TFA didn’t intervene (despite emails and calls on my part for weeks) until a higher-up in the union called them and my school out on their bullshit, and pulled me out of teaching.

    TFA only intervenes when their reputation is on the line, and when their partnership with a school is threatened. They don’t care at all about their corps members. I know a few corps members who had a good experience, but their drop-out rate for this year has already been their highest yet. I could write a thesis on this and how they treat queer corps members.

  3. The Fear of Missing Out article gave me a lot to think about. I like to think that I’m somewhat immune to it, but it affects me more than I want it to. (But not in the “everyone is doing things and I am not” way, rather, in a “I wish I could do more things” way.)

  4. The piece about rejection letters by Brian Doyle is completely mesmerizing and charming. I had a first draft rejected last week, and have another chance to shape it up and submit it before the end of today and his essay made me feel a lot better… plus it allowed me another 10 minutes of procrastination that felt like research, which is my favourite thing in the whole world.

  5. I am so excited to read the Not-So-Simple Life, every time I say I come from a farm somebody always has to tell me how they’d ~~love~~ to do that.

    Yeah, sure you would. For about a week. And then you’d realize how early 5am is, how haying can only be done during the hottest possible part of the year, why working 7 days a week, 365 days a year sucks, and how heartbreaking it is to bury a stillborn calf in frozen ground as fast as possible so maybe the mother won’t smell it and be less likely to bawl for it for days.

    Sometimes I’m torn between wanting people to know just how much effort goes into getting their food to be, y’know, food, even with the often sketchy practices of so-called ‘conventional’ farming, and feeling like it’s turning farmers into some kind of sideshow.

    And if I hear one more person talk about how great it felt to ~find themselves~ on a “WWOOF” I might have to punch something. THIS IS SOMEONE’S WAY OF LIFE. THIS IS HOW THEY MAKE THEIR LIVING. This is not just some way for disenfranchised, bored suburbanites to parachute in and come feel ‘connected to the land’ by learning how to use a hoe for 20 minutes.

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