HELLO and welcome to the 175th 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 cruise lines! 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.
The Price of Nice Nails, by Sarah Maslin Nir for The New York Times, May 2015
Have you read this one yet? Probably. It’s been making the rounds. I read it right away because it is not a secret that I’m very serious about my nails (despite keeping them as short as humanly possible) and probably have visited some of the salons mentioned in this article. I always wondered how a system designed around $10 manicures works (I always tipped 50%, hoping that’d go straight to the manicurist, but who knows?), and also, why unlike everything else in New York vs. the rest of the world, mani-pedis in NYC were dirt cheap, like one-half or one-third of what I’d pay in Michigan or even in California. It’s the only thing cheaper in New York than anywhere else. It looks like that’s where it’s easiest to exploit the regulations. Anyhow this was really eye-opening and if you get your nails done or even if you don’t, you should read this. There’s also a follow-up piece on how the chemicals in nail salons damage the women who work there as well as their children. The series actually has already made a difference already — Cuomo is starting an investigation into the conditions for nail salon workers. Also, The New Yorker has a bit on how “if nail-salon customers want nail-salon workers to get fair wages, they’re going to have start paying a fair price.” Word.
Destination Whatever: Touring the Cruise Industry of the Caribbean, by Martin Delgado, Zuzanna Koltowska, Felix Madrazo & Sofia Saavedra for Harvard Design Magazine, Fall 2014
So these giant ships provide fun and entertainment while disrupting everything they touch, like the sea and the Caribbean. Interesting to read following my own experiences on LGBTQ-related cruises I went to as press, which were these amazing transformational experiences that I realize came at the expense of everything else. Is this the theme today? “Nice things for Americans made possible by exploitation of others and our earth.” On my ensuing k-hole I found The Dark Side of the Cruise Industry at The Saturday Evening Post, which I legit thought no longer existed. It’s just Norman Rockwell to me.
Brother From Another Mother, by Zadie Smith for The New Yorker, February 2015
I really love Key & Peele and if you love Key & Peele you’ll also really love this article about Key & Peele, it was written by Zadie Smith and she’s the best, so.
How To Kill Yourself And Not Die: On Blackness and the Desire to Overachieve, by Morgen for Medium, April 2015
Firstly, I want the author of this piece to write for Autostraddle. Secondly, I’d like you to read this piece.
Here, in this moment, is when she was most confused yet proud of me, for learning and inheriting well. I inherited the ability to do what all black women know how to do when necessary — I’ve been taught how to die. I’ve been taught how to bend the architecture of my soul to fit a family, a man, a community, unrealistic expectations and high hopes, lost loves and forgotten daughters. I’ve been taught how to swallow tragedy and spit out seeds, soil, and sunlight.
I Was An Undercover Uber Driver, by Emily Guendelsberger for City Paper, May 2015
Ugh I can’t wait ’til we leave this town and can finally write a “sharing economy” expose with all the apps my girlfriend has worked for in the Bay Area. Anyhow this is fucking ridiculous. The people who own this company are swimming in oceans of money and building robot cars. PAY YOUR EMPLOYEES, ASSHOLES. Anyhow, a City Paper writer tried to get info on how much Uber drivers made by talking to drivers, but many feared recourse — so she got a job there herself and got down to business.
In 2005, Monster-in-Law Found Ways To Humiliate Two Generations Of Women, by Nathan Rabin for The Dissolve, April 2015
A fierce force like Fonda starring in a movie with gender politics this regressive, particularly after such a long absence, is like Gloria Steinem starting her own Lingerie Football League, in collaboration with Hooters.
The Grouch, by Sam Keogh for The New Inquiry, May 2015
Be honest you’ve waited your whole life to read some very serious writing about Oscar the Grouch. Your time has come and it’s fantastic.
America’s Epidemic of Unnecessary Care, by Atul Gawande for The New Yorker, May 2015
So in addition to all the other ways in which medical care is screwed up in this country, you oughtta know that unnecessary tests are being doled out to patients who don’t need them at prices they can’t afford. This is an extensive look at the issue, weaving in data and personal experience.
Hot Allostatic Load, by Porpentine for The New Inquiry, May 2015
This spoke to us. It’s also petrifying when abusers use the context of queer communities to accuse others of abuse as a way of masking their own abuser status, which Porpentine articulates so perfectly here.
My attackers were expert pathological liars who had been getting away with it for years—entire fictional realities playing out on their social-media accounts like soap opera. Escaping from abuse is the most certain way to become painted as an abuser, and being an abuser is the most sure way to be believed. You know how movies are realer than reality? How the sound effects and physics become so normalized to us that reality seems flat and fake? Talking about abuse is kind of like that. Abusers know what sounds “real.” They are like expert movie-effects artists. Victims are stuck with boring fake reality.