Things I Read That I Love #152: To Make Thunder Where There Was No Lightning

HELLO and welcome to the 152nd 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 rehab! 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.

A 20-Year-Old Went To Rehab and Came Home In a Body Bag, by Wilbert L. Cooper for Vice, November 2014

This guy was bulimic and an alcoholic and was sent to rehab by his parents — to a rehab facility they’d seen endorsed on Intervention, no less. But these for-profit facilities weren’t equipped to take care of him. But that wouldn’t stop the facilities from taking him as a patient, or accepting kickbakcs to refer him elsewhere. This piece is an indictment of the industry altogether and includes video as well, including a really precious interview with the head of Cliffside Malibu who’s a total douche.

Basketball Season, Or Team Spirit: Memories of Being a Freshman Cheerleader for the Basketball Team, by Donna Tartt for Harpers Magazine, April 1994

“I remember one rally, the night before a big game, when a dummy Patriot was hanged from the gymnasium rafters, then taken outside and burned amid the frenzied screams and stomps of the mob. I yelled as loud as anybody even though I was suffused by an airy, perilous sense of unreality, a conviction–despite the apparently desperate nature of this occasion–that none of it meant anything at all. In my diary that night–a document that was as secretive and, to my mind at least, as subversive as Winston’s own–I noted tersely: “Hell’s own Pep Rally. Freshmen won the spirit stick. Rah, rah.”
glory at sunrise—”

The Dark Side Of America’s Redneck Reality TV Obsession, by Tele Ryan Broderick for Buzzfeed, November 2014

“…gawking at the real lives of rednecks is only entertaining if it’s not too real.” On Duck Dynasty, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding, and Buckwild and the history of laughing at “hillbillies” for entertainment on American television, which goes back as far as television goes back.

We Baddd People, by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah for The Virginia Quarterly Review, June 2014

“… the moment he came around to pick up May Garvey, who was staying with us while her momma was in the hospital, he saw possibility, that is to say, he saw me, and even though he was raggedy, his fade was not cut and there was the red mud of the Mississippi River splattered over his clothes like the mark of Cain, I saw love and hellfire, a chance to dissemble the routine of my life, a chance for badness that was worse than stealing Momma’s bourbon that she exclusively used to calm and quiet her toothaches, a chance better than cigarettes smoked under the magnolia (to hide the smell), and so we set a date to meet, at the movie theater, the place I could go alone because Mr. Semmes always let me and Daddy sit in better seats, but once told Momma, on account of her color, she had to sit apart with “her people,” and ever since then she had taken a dislike to the pictures, that was the place where I could count on her never catching me in an untruth, that whole week I waited, and when the day came I set off on my bicycle and worried that my mother could see the way my heart was exploding like a morning

Diary: Mohammed el Gorani and Jérôme Tubiana, by Mohammed el Gorani for The London Book Review, December 2011

The youngest prisoner held at Guantánamo tells his story. He did absolutely nothing wrong, had not even heard of Osama Bin-Laden, and yet was held captive and tortured for years.

Reality, Still Biting, by Claire Dederer for Pacific Standard Magazine, November 2014

This meditation on the film Reality Bites and also how Generation X has fared in the economy (poorly) spoke to me on so many levels.

The War Is Over (If You Want It), Feminism and Men, by Rebecca Solnit for Tom Dispatch

This was so good that I had to tweet it right after I read it, which I usually don’t do because I want TIRTL to be full of surprises, even for my social media followers. This contains, among other things, a scathing takedown of the “issue” of “false rape accusations.”

Read it and Reap, by Alec Wilkinson for The New Yorker, November 2014

Okay I love this magazine and so does my girlfriend the farmer and was really surprised that the editor-in-chief isn’t an actual farmer and that most of the readers are “Rurbanistas,” people with “a foot in each world, urban and rural,” which I guess also describes me SO WHATEVER. Anyhow it’s also unfortunate that despite its immediate success, it’s still at risk of going under and hasn’t made any money.

How Many Licks: What are we actually getting at when we talk about “sucking dick”?, by Janani Balasubramanian for The New Inquiry

“The queer potential of dick sucking is about changing the play’s cast without warning. Any part of the body can be, become, or unbecome a dick. Any body can have a dick. Any dick on any given day can be not a dick at all. A body that determines it doesn’t have a dick actually doesn’t. We can toss sex outside language and still communicate with our tongues. They don’t have to be attached to human forms at all.”

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


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 3225 articles for us.


  1. This column might be my favorite thing about Fridays. And I love Fridays a lot, so that’s saying something. But seriously, I especially loved the articles this week. I love reading things that put me so deeply in a certain place/time/experience that when I’m done reading, I’ve almost forgotten where I actually am. Also love reading the ones that remind me of where and who I am.

  2. The Reality Bites one spoke to me as well. I’m self-employed but at this point is it by choice anymore? I love the flexibility of course but would love more stability and financial security. But with a resume 13 years into self-employment it’s hard to convince folks that I’d make a good employee. Face-saving detachment for sure.

Comments are closed.