HELLO and welcome to the 171st 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 Detroit! 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 lil bit of business: starting now, Things I Read That I Love will show up every other week rather than every week. You can read more about that here. Starting this Wednesday and continuing biweekly, I’m gonna start sharing links relevant to business, publishing, media, start-up culture and the other things I read about in order to do this job in a yet-untitled This Business of Art/Media/Web Link Round-up. So you can look forward to THAT too.
The Post-Post-Apocalyptic Detroit, by Ben Austen for The New York Times, July 2014
From the Detroit is Coming Up Roses edition of The New York Times Magazine, a story about a city that came back when nobody thought such a thing was possible. I’m from the area and plan to return, and this piece filled my heart with hope, even the grim parts.
What About Bob?”, by Emily Nussbaum for The New Yorker, March 2015
This is particularly true of Durst. He’s an indelible character, mesmerizing in his strangeness: he’s parchment-skinned, blinky-eyed, lizardlike, but he has a quality of fragility, too, along with a disarming, if often peevish, directness. When he feels misunderstood, a Larry David-like querulousness creeps into his voice. He answers questions about whether he hit Kathie (yes, he did—but, hey, it was the seventies) with a candor that no sane or diplomatic individual would use. Maddeningly, this makes him seem open, even when he’s almost certainly lying. Much of the pleasure of watching “The Jinx” is simply being immersed in the stubborn illogic of Durst’s world view, which is often less cagey than surreal.
The Outsiders, by Gary Kamiya for San Francisco Magazine, February 2015
Reading this article about the homeless of San Francisco in the print edition of San Francisco Magazine was sort of surreal — reading about the homeless of San Francisco alongside advertisements for luxury real estate and the symphony orchestra. I was surprised to hear that San Francisco doesn’t have more homeless people than other urban areas? The author seemed a little defensive of the city, honestly, but also it’s a super thorough report that’ll crank your eyes wide open.
The San Antonio Four
This March 2015 article, Who Told The Truth?, by Maurice Chammah for The Marshall Project, yanked me back into a San Antonio Four k-hole. For those unfamiliar, the San Antonio Four are four women who ended up in prison for 15 years for crimes they didn’t commit — namely, Satanic ritual abuse practiced against children they were caring for. Linda Rodriguez McRobbie’s December 2013 article, written when the women were released, discusses How Junk Science and Anti-Lesbian Prejudice Got Four Women Sent to Prison for More Than a Decade. The author of The Marshall Project case also did a thorough and lengthy discussion of the case in January 2014’s The Mystery of the San Antonio Four in The Texas Observer, which’s probably the one you should read if you only read one.
Ivy League Admissions Are A Sham, by Anonymous for Gawker, March 2015
“But if the force of your pushy little personality fails to shine through in the rest of the application, then I have to try and draw it out in the interview. It’s not psychoanalysis by any stretch. I just want to hear that you like certain things and dislike others, that you’ve run into obstacles and heard the word “no” on occasion. Don’t tell me everything is great, because it’s not. Don’t tell me everything is terrible, because it isn’t. And most of all, prove to me that you’ve spent some time thinking about a big brand-name in education, and what it can do just for you.”
Rogue Wounds, by Daniel Mason for Lapham’s Quarterly
On the history of faking illnesses, from Odysseus feigning madness to a prisoner faking epilepsy in 1876 to faking hysteria in the early 1900s and so much more! History!
Free Joan Didion, by Haley Mlotek for The Awl, January 2015
“This [opening sentence of an article railing against Joan Didion] is almost unbearably painful to read for reasons I’m sure Harrison would have me executed for: there I am! Right in that sentence! There’s my Instagram account, with the page of the Sontag journal I’m currently reading held just so you can see my fresh manicure; there’s my collection of zines propped up conspicuously on the dresser in my bedroom, so visitors can see my eclectic taste; there’s my writing, carefully constrained sentences that hint at my mental health issues, my sex life, my recreational drug use, revealing my inherentcoolness while pretending to casually conceal it. My sympathies lie with my aesthetics, my possessions, my personality bending to material whims and tasteful trends, and not the other way around.”
How I Escaped My Pederast, by Ian Grey for Salon, December 2014
“…what caught my eye about the Singer report was that damned luxe house, how that alleged boy-toy debauchery McMansion reminded me of a similarly opulent operation that Scotty dragged me to often, and it hit me: You never hear from the boys themselves. You never hear our story.”