HELLO and welcome to the 148th 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 fact-checking! 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.
Diary of a Mad Fact-Checker (August 2012), by James Pogue for The Oxford American – This gets real deep into talking about what it means to be a fact-checker, the role of truth in essays and journalism, and a little bit about the South. It’s sort of centered around his feelings about this book The Interpretation of a Fact but it also talks about This American Life and stuff too.
*Find Your Beach (October 2014), by Zadie Smith for The New York Review of Books – “Each man and woman in this town is in pursuit of his or her beach and God help you if you get in their way. I suppose it should follow that I am happier in pragmatic England than idealist Manhattan, but I can’t honestly say that this is so. You don’t come to live here unless the delusion of a reality shaped around your own desires isn’t a strong aspect of your personality. “A reality shaped around your own desires”—there is something sociopathic in that ambition.”
White Canada and the Evolution of Racism (May 2014), by Linda Besner for Random House – “In 1907, Vancouver residents initiated a racist riot against the city’s Chinese community. Now, in 2014, current fears about a Chinese “takeover” of Vancouver real estate show the evolving nature of Canadian xenophobia.”
The Plane That Fell From The Sky (1981), by Buzz Bissinger for St.Paul Pioneer Press – This is about a plane that almost crashed in 1979 and then didn’t crash! For a second I thought it was gonna be the true story of that movie where Denzel Washington flies a plane upside down but then I remembered that that story wasn’t true .The article doesn’t explain why the plane malfunctioned how it did so prepare yourself for a wikipedia black hole following reading this piece.
The Churn (March 2004), by Katherine Boo for The New Yorker – Wow I read this whole thing thinking it was written last month. But it was written in 2004, about a border town where the Fruit of the Loom factory was leaving and there weren’t enough jobs for everybody. Wow I just can’t believe I didn’t realize that this was such an old piece until I adde it to this post with the numbers and all. I feel so weird.
Friday Night Lies (October 2014), by Amy Jo Burns for The Rumpus – “This is a night of more than just football. It’s a night of fresh haircuts and blushed cheeks. It’s four-wheel drive trucks, it’s spent Zima caps and condoms, it’s Levis and short skirts and lights so bright you have to shield your eyes. It’s the only time grown men will remove their ball caps. It’s trees in the distance and the warehouses beyond them and all of the empty mills, farther still. You can follow the concentric circles outward until they collide with another stadium, another school, another life that isn’t yours but the shadows are the same.”
Why I’m One Bad — But Well-Read — Feminist (September 2014), by Steph Auteri for Ploughshares – It was weird how a lot of the books she read and places she wrote for are the same books I read (Bitchfest, Listen Up, Real Live Nude Girl), and the same places I wrote for (Nerve and $pread). Also it’s weird to me this idea of “bad feminist.” Being a feminist isn’t a set of behaviors, it’s a set of beliefs. For example; I wrote a whole thing about Taylor Swift being a feminist nightmare, but I still like listening to her music.
Blues on Wheels (September 2014), by Jess Stoner for The Morning News – THIS WAS VERY DISTRESSING. Described as: “A writer becomes a carrier for the United States Postal Service out of a long-held love for the mail. What she discovers are screams, threats, lies, labor violations, and dog attacks.”
Richard LaFuente Is Finally Free! (June 2014), by Michael Hall for Texas Monthly – OMG THIS GUY WAS IN JAIL FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER and he didn’t do a g-ddamn thing! Ten guys were in jail for a thing they did not do, all based on coerced witness testimony. This is just SO fucked up annnnd so not surprising. :-/
I really like Zadie Smith’s essays. She says some of the things I’m thinking that I didn’t even know I was thinking.
As soon I saw “The Plane That Fell From The Sky” and the year 1981 my brain jumped to oh my this about the Pam Am flight that crashed in a residential neighborhood killing everyone on the plane and some folks on the ground but read the rest of the stuff under the link and nope this one’s not it cause these folks didn’t crash.
I guess something where people get to live is a thing there is more to write about. The only thing positive you can say about Pam Am Flight 759 is that safety measures for wind sheer were stepped up after the crash. Which has saved lives, just quietly.
This question has plagued me since the dawn of this segment. In the title, is “read” past or present tense?
I am almost certain it’s past tense. Considering the inspiration is “Things I Ate That I Love.”
I’ve always loved this segment, I read the articles when I’m bored at work which has led me down many a Wikipedia rabbit hole. I’ve always wondered what the asterisks mean though? Are those ones like, especially good?