HELLO and welcome to the 156th 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 TJ Maxx! 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.
Daughters Have Their Own Agenda, by Tiana Reid for The New Inquiry, December 2014
This is amazing. My favorite piece this week. Now I want to read everything she’s ever written.
Whatever her name, Mommy or Momma, the different suffixes mark the figure as similarly fungible. She’s at once pathetic, paralyzed and disgusting, signaled by her waiting and especially by her waiting for a cheater, a no-good, and also some light vision of universal progress, both the degrader and carrier of culture. In an atmosphere of catastrophe, maternal loss and the memorials loss produces structure a moving forward because god forbid a man suffer and not do anything about it. Gregory writes in his coda: “You didn’t die a slave for nothing, Momma.” In death, she is once again flesh.
The Prodigal Prince: Richard Roberts and the Decline of the Oral Roberts Dynasty, by Kiera Feldman for This Land Press, September 2014
I knew about Oral Roberts because my best friend was from Oklahoma. I wonder if he knew that the same place we met — Interlochen — is where one of Oral’s sons went to camp. This is a long story about a family that has not done right by its followers or by the G-d they claim to represent. It’s really wild.
The secret world of the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise kings, by Neil Swidey for The Boston Globe, September 2014
Some of these guys are gross and also this made me remember how much I used to go to Dunkin’ Donuts in New York, I mean there were just so many of them. There’s another longform article about THAT situation, by the way.
Confessions of A Former Internet Troll, by Emmett Rensin for Vox, September 2014
A marvelously written meditation on Troll Culture from a boy who got into it when he was young and misanthropic and now has insight to offer about how troll culture has changed for the worse and how he personally grew out of it.
Is TJ Maxx the best retail store in the land? by Beth Kowitt for Fortune, July 2014
Y’all, I love TJ Maxx. I fucking love it. Turns out their secret to success is very closely guarded, but Fortune did a huge investigation to uncover how they do business, and it’s interesting stuff.
The Contestant, by Daniel Alarcon for The California Sunday Magazine, October 2014
Ruth Thalia got famous fast after appearing on a game show designed around a lie detector test, focused on contestants revealing ugly truths in front of their friends and family. Her episode was humiliating for her boyfriend and parents, but earned much-needed money. Then she went missing.
Chris Rock In Conversation With Frank Rich, by Frank Rich for New York Magazine, November 2014
Have I told you lately that my favorite comedians are Chris Rock and Julie Goldman WELL THEY ARE. Anyhow, this interview is brilliant! Honestly I learned so much about comedy, and really appreciated what he said about how hard it is to be a comedian in the hypersensitive college world and also in comedy clubs filled with cellphones who can tweet your every mistake to the masses. Also I think Rock’s views on politics and race in America are really interesting.
I don’t have really anything of consequence to say, just wanted you to know that I very much enjoy these roundups. Also Reid’s piece regarding Gregory’s work/her evolving relationship with it is, I don’t know. I’ve no words. Like I’ve been relegated to some feelings atrium where everything is echo-y and feels are being felt and I can’t adequately articulate my thoughts from the mess of… [super didn’t think this metaphor through].
Anyway I like her writing a bunch, is the thing I’m saying.
confessions of an internet troll made me dislike the guy even though he claims to be “reformed”. he’s all nostalgic about how things were when he was the troll and how what he was doing wasn’t as disgusting as what trolls are doing now. Even when he admits that they ruined peoples lives, and what really pisses me off is when he says something like, ” i don’t know if it will ever go back to that”?????
i also read the contestant and the prodigal prince. thank you for introducing me to the california sunday magazine and long reads blog. One article was heartbreaking and the other eye opening but both were really well done.
“Daughters Have Their Own Agendas,” kicked me in the teeth so perfectly. For so many reasons, but Reid articulated this thing I’ve been wrestling with so delicately and perfectly re: reconciling art that is formative and made by men. I mean:
“When rereading, I mostly don’t read books like this anymore, I thought, books so publicly filled with true stories and facts, narrativized autobiographies, books where thing after thing happens, books so concerned with a sequence of events. I don’t love to read books written by men—I do read them, a lot of them and even more with a masculine point of view—but I’d almost always rather be reading something written by a woman. Why be reminded that men exist?”
That thing, that sort of echo from when you are young, the dischord between the things that make you and shape how you think and your own as yet undefined identity as a woman (whatever the hell that means). When the books men write hold you and construct you but you can’t see why no one takes you seriously, even though you feel so serious. “Books so publicly filled with true stories and facts,” are so different before and after you realize that Authority over the truth isn’t held democratically.
And then she’s brilliant in ten more ways before it’s over and I have to rant on the internet, which is a thing that usually scares me but I have So Many Feelings.
I loved the list of the stuff the journalist bought at TJMaxx while researching the story.
Thank you! Your mind goes to very interesting places.