HELLO and welcome to the 173rd 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 not having babies! 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.
Inside a Chinese Test Prep Factory, by Brook Larmer for The New York Times, December 2014
In Maotanchang, 20,000 students from poorer families who might not have an easy path to college enroll in this school where they prepare for the entrance exam all Chinese students must take to attend college. Classes go for 14+ hours a day, it sounds really intense and also terrible. Also, it’s really interesting that only men are allowed to teach at this school.
Tales From The Millennials’ Sexual Revolution, by Alex Morris for Rolling Stone, March 2015
These crazy kids these days are hip and cool and wear trendy glasses and also have open relationships and get married later and have sex less often than previous generations. These girls at colleges even them don’t want to have boyfriends they just wanna get drunk and hook up. Then they get married afterwards. Also how does the internet factor into all of this? And porn! Lots to talk about, humans, lots to talk about.
Trash Food, by Chris Offutt for The Oxford American, April 2015
I ran a multitude of various searches on library databases and the Internet in general, typing in permutations of the words “trashwp_postsand “food.wp_postsSurprisingly, every single reference was to “white trash food.wp_postsWithin certain communities, it’s become popular to host “white trash partieswp_postswhere people are urged to bring Cheetos, pork rinds, Vienna sausages, Jell-O with marshmallows, fried baloney, corndogs, RC cola, Slim Jims, Fritos, Twinkies, and cottage cheese with jelly. In short—the food I ate as a kid in the hills.
Participating in such a feast is considered proof of being very cool and very hip. But it’s not. Implicit in the menu is a vicious ridicule of the people who eat such food on a regular basis. People who attend these “white trash partieswp_postsare cuisinally slumming, temporarily visiting a place they never want to live. They are the worst sort of tourists—they want to see the Mississippi Delta and the hills of Appalachia but are afraid to get off the bus.
The Answer is Never, by Sabine Heinlein for Longreads, April 2015
A lovely personal essay being childless by choice and how the rest of the world has a big problem with it, always telling a lady that she’ll change her mind one day, to leave the option open, always asking her about it.
The True Cost of Gun Violence in America: A Mother Jones Investigation, by Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee and James West for Mother Jones, April 2015
This is it the big one, the big investigative journalism story of the week that you don’t want to miss. Mother Jones and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation set out to provide something we’ve been missing in this country (partially because funding for studying it has been blocked by senators who get big checks from the NRA) — a “definitive assessment of the costs for victims, their families, their employers, and the rest of us—including the major sums associated with criminal justice, long-term health care, and security and prevention.” They talk to survivors of gun violence — most of whom are now broke and disabled — and dig in to several personal stories to explicate the issue. There’s a wealth of information here, as well as multimedia — infographics, videos, interactive stories — so read it on a computer. But read it.
Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress, by Howard Zinn for History is a Weapon
So the website History is a Weapon has transcribed the entirety of A People’s History of the United States, and I think you should probably go buy the entire book, actually, if you haven’t already. I mean, I should go buy the entire book. This first chapter blows the lid off everything we learned in elementary school about how America was “discovered” and even though I knew some of this stuff I didn’t know all of it and Jesus Christ this country is fucked.
Is Hillary Clinton Any Good At Running For President? by Jason Zengerle for New York Magazine, April 2015
This will be forever remembered as the first article I read about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2015. It’s interesting not just for what it says about her but what it says about what it takes to win an election in general, and the bizarrely misleading narratives around “undecided voters.”
Your Son is Deceased, by Rachel Aviv for The New Yorker, February 2015
I read about the Albuquerque police department in Rolling Stone a little bit ago, and now here’s this one which zooms in on one of the many stories featured in that Rolling Stone story, in which an unarmed mentally ill boy was murdered in his backyard by cops for no reason. Because there is no end to how fucked up and homicidal this police department is, apparently.
Women’s Work, by Vivian Gornick for Book Forum, April/May 2015.
“Two new books confront the legacy of the 1970s women’s movement.”
It was the fervent hope of 1970s feminists that the generations to follow would take seriously the realization that social change comes not through ideological declarations alone, but through the daily task of grappling with the emotional conflicts those very declarations have made plain. And indeed, over the decades, hundreds of thousands of women have done just that: joined the struggle to understand the conflicts better and, with courage and intelligence, act on that understanding… On the other hand, many more hundreds of thousands, exposed to those same 1970s exhortations, have found it difficult to negotiate a territory that has often felt more threatening than promising.
Eat, Pray, Love, Get Rich, Write A Novel Nobody Expects, by Steve Almond for The New York Times Magazine, September 2013
Often in my journeys I run across an article by Elizabeth Gilbert and think oh jeez it’s the eat pray love woman and then I am surprised that the article is good or somehow doesn’t seem to reflect the same attitude that makes people like me think thoughts like the one I just shared with you. This article gave me context, like how that one book has become what she’s known for but she’s done so much more, especially beforehand, worth reading.