HELLO and welcome to the 178th 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 Margaret Cho! 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 Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning, By Claudia Rankine for The New York Times, June 2015
“I asked another friend what it’s like being the mother of a black son. “The condition of black life is one of mourning,” she said bluntly. For her, mourning lived in real time inside her and her son’s reality: At any moment she might lose her reason for living. Though the white liberal imagination likes to feel temporarily bad about black suffering, there really is no mode of empathy that can replicate the daily strain of knowing that as a black person you can be killed for simply being black: no hands in your pockets, no playing music, no sudden movements, no driving your car, no walking at night, no walking in the day, no turning onto this street, no entering this building, no standing your ground, no standing here, no standing there, no talking back, no playing with toy guns, no living while black.”
Fifty Shades of Yellow, by Olivia Coy, June 2015
An indictment of a certain section and type of fandom dedicated to proving the existence of secret gay relationships between male celebrities. This gets deep and complicated and I feel it’s likely some of you will have feelings about this.
The Accident, by Michael Paterniti for GQ, March 2015
“The second of our two-part series on the ways accidents shape our lives is the tale of how a fatal car crash shatters a small town and a group of friends one evening long ago. Now, thirty-plus years later, Michael Paterniti finally tells the tale.”
Laugh Lines, by Katie Halper for Guernica, June 2015
A really good interview with Margaret Cho. Did you know that her Dad intentionally wanted her to spend time with gay people growing up and learn from them? This was really interesting!
“I like to respond with jokes and to keep it as light as possible. I was trying to diffuse the anger around it because people do have righteous rage. I think comedy is an angry art form; it’s an outsider art form. Anger and comedy are really connected. If I’m angry about something I will try to think about something funny about it to lighten the load of the anger and cope with the anger. But I actually know Tracy too, and I don’t find him to be a particularly homophobic person. That’s just the comedy that guys of his generation would always go back to. And it is quite often a hit among lots of audiences. That’s what I mean about comedy being quite a difficult place for queers and for women.”
How Harlequin Became the Most Famous Name in Romance, by Kelly Faircloth for Pictorial, March 2015
Once upon a time (basically all of time until about a decade ago), romance novels sold like hotcakes, regardless of other trends in the publishing industry. This is the legend of romance’s most legendary imprint.
Man Camp, by Benjamin Percy for Guernica, March 2015
“I worry about this. My lack of close friends. I worry—especially since I work from home, since I don’t socialize regularly—that I will become more weird and hermetic, that the pleasure I take in silence will give way to deafness, that the embrace of solitude will result in a void.”
Have We Seen the End of the 8-Hour Day?, by Nathan Schneider for The Nation (April 2015)
This is one of a few pieces I read about the sharing economy and the new world of “optimizing worker’s shifts hour by hour for maximum profit” from a Bookforum roundup on the topic. This article talks about the Fair Workweek Initiative and others mobilizing to change policies around companies who do things like schedule minimum wage retail employees for “on call” shifts and cut hours mid-day if sales aren’t going well. Which shouldn’t even be legal! Also gets into the history of worker organizing.
The Post-Ownership Society, by Monica Potts for The Washingtonian, June 2015
The services that enable millennials to live on the cheap are the same services that millennials are made to work for when reliable employment falls through, barely making rent and never being able to own a thing (and if they do get a chance to own a thing, their first recommended move is often renting it out to air bnb or driving strangers in it for uber, so the wheel goes round and round and round). I mean this article is about more than just that but you’ll have to read it, I guess, is how that works.
“After years of trying to live a bohemian life, I’ve found that even that seems harder now—especially in the cities that have always drawn those of us with modestly paying careers. While the sharing economy made it seem like I was being thrifty and saving money, the reality was that I spent almost all of my monthly income on rent, student loans, and health insurance. The people who are doing all right, or better than all right, are fewer and fewer, and the rest of us are falling farther behind.”
Shared Security, Shared Growth, by Nick Hanauer & David Rolf for Democracy, Summer 2015
“Our changing economy has given rise to a nation of freelancers and contractors—and the need for a twenty-first-century social contract.”
Meet the World’s Most Intense Disney Fans, by Jordan Zakarin for Buzzfeed, August 2013
DISNEY DISNEY DISNEY DISNEY DISNEY DISNEY
Four Columbia House Insiders Explain The Shady Math Behind “8 CDs for a penny,” by Annie Zaleski for The AV Club, June 2015
Okay I totally was a member of BMG, that’s how I got my first CD ever! (Boyz II Men Cooleyhighharmony, for the rercord.) I can’t believe Sasha Frere-Jones used to work at Columbia House, I had no idea. Anyhow, this is sort of an oral history of what it was like to work there at its heyday as told by three smart ex-employees who know a lot about music. It seems like they hired a lot of smart creative people there. I think Columbia House and BMG really succeeded in frontal-assault marketing. They advertised in every magazine I read. FYI, the title is a little misleading, they don’t really get deep into the math besides what was fairly obvious, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.