HELLO and welcome to the 179th 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 Flint! 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.
I Thought You Would Help Me, by Ali Smith, June 2015
Ali Smith (a queer writer you should read) met with immigration detainees to record and tell their stories. Their stories were sad and horrifying, to various degrees. This is a really incredible piece.
Meet the Flintstones, by Edward McClelland for The Morning News, July 2015
I have a lot of feelings about Flint and feel really sad that these people can’t even give their house away. If you like reading about Michigan then you would like this. Or I don’t know, maybe anybody would like this. Maybe this appeals to readers of all ages in any geographical location with a wide variety of interests. There’s truly only one way to find out.
Swallow Your Pride: How A Homegrown Show Of Solidarity Became a Comercialized, One-Size-Fits-All Party Weekend, by Christina Cauterucci for Washington City Paper, June 2015
It wasn’t until I returned from a mostly-disappointing San Francisco Pride Parade (in which 8,000 Apple Employees of all sexual orientations, mostly straight, marched by us in matching t-shirts for over 30 minutes and this was part of what had been billed as an LGBT Pride PARADE. Straight people walking down the street and “parade” are not one in the same! Anyhow, read this article, it’s important.
The Life and Death of a Chosen One, by Peter Wilkinson for Rolling Stone, June/July 2005
Okay so I watched this (really poorly put-together) documentary about this cult, called The Family, that was basically organized pedophilia and is completely fucked up, and the story of Ricky Rodriguez, who was supposed to inheret the cult and instead ran away and then killed his nanny, obviously piqued my interest, so I found this article about it. Also, there’s this JANE Magazine article from many years ago on the same topic.
A Letter to My Son, by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic, July 2015
I remember being amazed that death could so easily rise up from the nothing of a boyish afternoon, billow up like fog. I knew that West Baltimore, where I lived; that the north side of Philadelphia, where my cousins lived; that the South Side of Chicago, where friends of my father lived, comprised a world apart. Somewhere out there beyond the firmament, past the asteroid belt, there were other worlds where children did not regularly fear for their bodies. I knew this because there was a large television in my living room. In the evenings I would sit before this television bearing witness to the dispatches from this other world. There were little white boys with complete collections of football cards, their only want was a popular girlfriend and their only worry was poison oak. That other world was suburban and endless, organized around pot roasts, blueberry pies, fireworks, ice cream sundaes, immaculate bathrooms, and small toy trucks that were loosed in wooded backyards with streams and endless lawns. Comparing these dispatches with the facts of my native world, I came to understand that my country was a galaxy, and this galaxy stretched from the pandemonium of West Baltimore to the happy hunting grounds of Mr. Belvedere.
Revenge of the Nerds, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner for The Paris Review, June 2015
This was interesting because for all the thoughts I’ve thought about Taylor Swift (which are 90% good thoughts these days), I’ve never once considered feeling bad for the guys she’s writing about?
“That’s how Taylor Swift became the hero to of all of us losers, of anyone humiliated in middle school, the publicly dumped in high school, or anyone who ever realized during the car ride home the perfect comeback that would now go unsaid. We don’t all have the wherewithal to process what has happened to us and synthesize it into a pop song that will be broadcast to a bajillion fans. And we certainly, for the most part, lack the platform. Today’s teenager can craft the perfect Tweet or Facebook update, toy with it, post it, modify it, delete it. Taylor puts it out there, and out there it stays.”
Website, Reviewed, by Josh Dzieza for The Verge
I will probably also link to this article about The Awl and its new tendency to cover the web like “science fiction is the present” in my next Business of Art fix, but that day is so far away that I had to share it here and now also. I have infinite wells of respect for The Awl and their editorial direction undoubtedly influenced ours, which launched shortly thereafter. It’s probably my favorite site besides this one.
The Awl went up on April 20th with a column by Emily Gould, a post about the Gawker office floorplan, and pithy news items from Balk and Sicha. “People were expecting something that was almost Gawker 2.0,” says Nieman Lab’s Justin Ellis. “Instead it was something smaller and focused on the writing, where people can write about the stuff they’re passionate or super nerdy about.” Insofar as the site had any kind of founding principle, it was that writers should only write about things they care about and not waste readers’ time. Its motto was “Be Less Stupid.” Would it make readers smarter? Vanity Fair asked Sicha at the time. “I realized that we just don’t really want any stupid people reading it — which sounds mean, but they have plenty of reading material already,” Sicha said. “I want to disinvite them.”
I Don’t Believe In God, But I Believe in Lithium, by Jamie Lowe for The New York Times Magazine, June 2015
Lithium, a mood stabilizer that can help stop and prevent manic cycles, is usually the first medication tried with bipolar patients; it’s effective for most of them. Including me. I was discharged and sent back to high school with an apple-size bruise on my hip. For two decades since then, I have been taking lithium almost continuously. It has curbed my mania, my depression and, most significant, the wild delusional cycles that have taken me from obsessing over the value of zero to creating a hippie cult (my uniform: bell-bottoms, psychedelic sports bra and body glitter, head to toe). As long as I take those three pink lithium-carbonate capsules every day, I can function. If I don’t, I will be riding on top of subway cars measuring speed and looking for light in elevated realms.