Things I Read That I Love #160: Smarter Than She Wants You To Know

HELLO and welcome to the 160th 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 Radio Shack! 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.

History is a Weapon: A Question of Class, by Dorothy Allison, 1994

I mean what can I even tell you about an essay by Dorothy Allison about trying to conceal the class division and sexual desires that made her feel so far apart from her fellow lesbian feminist activists and why she started writing. What can I tell you about the story about everything that led up to her writing “River of Names,” which led to everything afterwards. Everything in this essay is golden.

Black, Gay And Shot Dead In His Own Car, by Zach Stafford for The Guardian, December 2014

“Dionte Greene’s body was found in in a predominantly black part of Kansas City, after friends said he was scheduled to meet a man unsure of his sexuality. Even the LGBT liaison in the case says the death is difficult to classify as a hate crime.”

Big Changes In Black America?, by Darryl Pinckney for The New York Review of Books, May 2012

An article about Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? by Touré that talks about so many things, like a broad economic history of black people in America, and the emergence and suppression of the black middle-class, and who has the power now and who can afford to look the other way and how “it would seem that although black people are in the mainstream, black history still isn’t, because certain basic things about the history of being black in America—American history—have to be explained again and again.” It’s really good you should read it.

Exclusive: Jay, Key Witness In The Adnan Syed Serial Case, by Natasha Vargas-Cooper for The Intercept, December 2014

Y’all, I thought Adnan was innocent. Then I read this, and everything made sense, and I wish this had been framed differently because everything about Jay’s involvement in the case and his testimony was a direct result of the fact that he was a black boy involved in dealing a drug that is now legal in many states but at that time and still right now today is used to throw black boys in jail for life. However, I think it’s been discussed pretty widely that he didn’t necessarily do himself any favors by doing these interviews, and the way he talks about Sarah Koennig in Part Two and Part Three is really unfair. La la la.

Prude Awakening, by Lisa Carver for, November 2014

I’ve been reading Lisa Carver for ten years now, including her memoir Drugs Are Nice. This is about how sex, which used to be a central tenant of her life and work, became less important after having a baby, and how she felt about that.

Playboy Interview With Dan Savage, by David Sheff for Playboy, December 2014

Chances are good you have strong perhaps negative feelings about Dan Savage, but this interview is interesting nonetheless. I don’t think I realized that he actually thinks human beings as a rule are not supposed to be monogamous? Because I disagree.

The Untold Story Of The Doodler Murders, by Elon Green, December 2014

In the mid-70s, gay men in San Francisco were being killed by a serial killer but nobody cared because they were gay.

Radio Shack: A Eulogy, by Jon Bois for SB Nation, November 2014

We were just talking about Radio Shack yesterday, I was saying how it seems so unnecessary these days and why would anybody go there, when Best Buy is so much bigger and has more things and there’s something consistently sketchy about Radio Shack. I think I’ve been a few times in the past few years, and every time have sort of been confused why it still exists but okay, it’s in the strip mall down the street so let’s do this thing. Anyhow I don’t know why I’m still talking about myself when the point is that this essay is both hilarious and intriguing.

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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 3198 articles for us.


  1. I’ve been reading the interviews with Jay and they’re interesting, but didn’t he have a gag order? Did I totally make that up?

  2. As a Southern person of rural origin, I’ve got a fair amount of shelf space devoted to Dorothy Allison (she’s very close to home, let’s put it that way). Ironically, my mother was very liberal about what she let me read when I was growing up and only ever forbade me to read one book: Bastard out of Carolina. She literally took it out of my hands. *Cue irony*

    The poverty (especially Southern) of TV, movies, books, etc. is usually enough to send me on a rant. I want to know who dreamed up these people and this life. How did it come to be so far from reality? How is it there is either something inherently noble or something inherently comic (almost slapstick) about poverty? When I was a child, and all the textile mills were closing, I used to lie in bed at night and worry, planning out a future in which I would essentially be some kind of hobo, surviving on the minimum: there didn’t actually seem to be any other alternative. At this point, I’m one of the lucky ones: my hometown has been a dead zone since the 80s. To have a “different” sexuality on top of all that was to give a worried mind more to tackle; I could not picture a future world in which I could exist.

  3. Dan Savage has actually said that about monogamy multiple times. IDK if I agree with him. Does he believe that human beings are incapable of being monogamous or just that they shouldn’t and never were supposed to be? There is a difference. Whenever he talks about the subject I feel like he taking his own experience with non-monogamy and/or promiscuity in his own relationships and using that as a basis to say that everyone is designed to be polygamous and anything else is unnatural. The interview in general made me like him a little bit. A little bit. He can still be a douche a good majority of the time though.

    • I like that Dan Savage talks a lot about non monogamy as an option but uh some of the things he says like encouraging cheating are a little questionable

      • Yes. That’s one of the many problems I have with him. He seems to have a “cheat but don’t tell” policy to go along with his stance that people are unnaturally choosing to be monogamous and that’s why marriages fail. I’m perfectly fine with people wanting to be non-monogamous if they so choose but don’t claim that everyone should be just because that’s not your particular lifestyle and go around spreading that biased opinion as a “sex-pert”.

        He does say a lot of things in that particular article that make sense. And I completely agree with him in regards to his recent statements about Leelah Alcorn’s parents but I disagree with him when it comes to a variety of other issues that he advises people on.

        • I just read a couple of his books, including a collection of his advice columns from the 90s, and I think one of the issues people have with him is that they don’t see him as a person writing his opinions, but as a guru handing out dangerous advice to legions of minions. Most of what he writes can be taken with a large grain of salt and he has a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor that I think a lot of people–especially if they read his writing from a political point of view–miss. He very specifically says in his column that he is writing his personal opinion, not trying to “convert” people to his point of view. I think his stance on non-monogamy comes from being part of the gay male leather subculture, his coming out into the age of 90s queer activism and theory (i.e., ACT UP), and counseling mainly clueless straight married couples (who are typically cheating, thinking about cheating, or dealing with the aftermath of cheating).

          • That seems like a valid way to contextualize a lot of what he says. I’m not always (often?) particularly on board with him, but he’s been around a long time in my memory, so he generally doesn’t catch me wildly off-guard. He’s a grandstander: he likes to say something controversial and then see how far he can take it. That’s sort of understandable (maybe not likable), given how long he’s been a media personality. Sometimes he just reaches that tipping point and goes . . . over. Which I sort of get the sense is sometimes what he’s aiming for.

            The thing he does that really bugs me is, when an issue that could be handled in a positive or a proactive way comes up (even if what caused it to come about was a very negative thing), he tends to handle/present it in a way that just breeds more ill will. The recent Lucie’s Place fundraising was one. That was a really great cause, and he probably drew by far the most attention to it. I forget exactly how he framed it, but it was basically something along the lines of “give the Duggars the finger by contributing.” I’m not saying let’s all hold hands and sing and buy the world a Coke, but you can do a little better than junior high.

    • I read that article because I was curious about how Playboy would deal with him being a homo. That part pleased me. But the actual advice left me very confused. Did he really tell people in general to cheat, lie about it, then confess it years later because that’s what worked for him in his particular relationship? Wut?

  4. Oh Radio Shack. I remember in the mid-80’s it was THE place to buy batteries. My mom would wait until a circular advertisement would make it worth our while to stop in. And if my toys ran out of juice before then I had to wait.

    On my 10th birthday (1986) I saved up for an Armitron. It was $30!! And boring as hell.

    In my 20s I would maybe stop in once a year needing a specific part. And they would never have it. Screws for a rack drive. A phone charger. A landline that wasn’t wireless. Every time they would be surly and not have what I needed – even though you’d think they would. I understand the surliness now.

    I haven’t been in years. What’s the point?

  5. I shop at radio shack to get electronic components like motors, LEDs, sensors, etc. They can be pretty expensive but sometimes I need something in a pinch.

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