Things I Read That I Love #180: It’s Never Not My Fault That I Knocked You Off The Chair

HELLO and welcome to the 180th 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 “ethical shopping”! 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 Lost Girls, by Jason Cherkis for The Huffington Post, July 2015

Chances are good you have already read this or read about this. It’s the awful and tragic story of Jackie Fox, who, at the age of 15, was raped by Runaways manager Kim Fowley and never got the support from her bandmates she needed.

Porntopia, by Molly Lambert for Grantland, March 2015

The writer visits the AVN Awards in Las Vegas, reports back. A lot of this piece is about how women in the industry are empowering themselves and it’s quite fascinating.

Like many young female porn stars, Cruise is working in a post–Sasha Grey world. Grey changed the trajectory of a typical female performer’s career, which had traditionally begun with softer sex scenes and gradually worked up to increasingly extreme ones. Grey’s stoner Sacramento drawl and Sphinx-like beauty helped propel her to the top of the adult business at a young age, but there was something else that helped: her projection of intelligence, which she tied to the portrayal of female desire. Grey is a Jean-Luc Godard obsessive who nearly gave herself the porn name “Anna Karina,” after the French New Wave muse.

The Invisible Man: The End of A Black Life That Mattered, by Jeff Sharlet for QQ, August 2015

Charly Keunang was homeless and living in a tent in Los Angeles’ Skid Row when he was murdered by police wearing body cameras. He had a family that loved him and was hopeful about his future. This is the story of Charly and other homeless men whose names don’t always make the news.

The Myth of The Ethical Shopper, by Michael Hobbes for Highline, July 2015

This was SO F*CKING INTERESTING. Basically it’s impossible for these huge corporations to have any genuine oversight under the conditions in the factories that make their shit. Seems like a good way to solve this problem would be to move their factories back to America where they can have oversight BUT WHATEVER.

What it’s like to actually eat the food in Oakland County Jail, by Stephen Katz for The Detroit Metro-Times, July 2015

Privatizing prison servies: never a good idea.

“A convincing argument can be made that jail food should be pretty gross, but what it shouldn’t be is rotten, maggot-infested, pulled out of the garbage, or gnawed on by rats. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what it has been at times in Michigan’s jails. Aramark, the company with which Oakland County and the Michigan Department of Corrections contracts for food service, seems intent on outdoing itself with each increasingly appalling headline. If you thought those maggots they served in Jackson last week were pretty gross, then check out the rotten chicken tacos they plopped on the plates in Kent County this week.”

The Hard Truths of Ta-Nehisi Coates, by Benjamin Wallace for New York Magazine, July 2015

I AM SO EXCITED TO READ HIS BOOK. Also, this is an extensive and amazing profile of  Ta-Nehisi Coates, who Toni Morrison has said would fill the intellectual void left by James Baldwin. It gets into his whole life but also his whole philosophy and is just SO SO SO GOOD.

Resilience is Futile: How Well-Meaning Nonprofits Perpetuate Poverty, by Melissa Chadburn for Jezebel, July 2015

“The moment I entered the system I felt my identity ebb further and further away, no longer a name to my body, no longer an address, no longer a mother, no longer a brother, no longer a host of dreams attached to my body. My body was a number. My body was assigned to a social worker. The social worker was responsible for lots of bodies, not just my body. And yet deep, deep inside I was certain that, if these people could just meet me—if they could hear me and listen to me and talk to me—they would know that I was different. I was special and articulate and to be handled with some kind of care. I did not deserve to be poor. I did not deserve to be forgotten. I wasn’t yet aware that no one did.”

What Happened In Room 102, by Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith for First Look, July 2015

Richard Glossip is on death row for a crime he most likely did not even commit, because of a common problem in criminal courts: when somebody is prosecuted solely based on the testimony of another criminal who is getting a deal for pinning somebody else for the crime.

The Dubious, Brand-Led Surge of Fake National Holidays, by Julia Rubin for Racked, March 2015

We get so many press releases about these days and now I know just a little bit more about why. Seriously though I could’ve read an article three times as long as this one on this particular topic.

Sexts, Hugs and Rock ‘n Roll, by Ellen Cushing for Buzzfeed, July 2015

The reporter hangs out with a bunch of teenage boys and one teenage girl who are on tour with DigiTour because they are famous on social media, usually through YouTube or Vine. These people are like widely massively famous but I’ve never heard of them. There is a lot of emotional labor involved.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3222 articles for us.


  1. “A convincing argument can be made that jail food should be pretty gross”


    Privatizing prisons was one of the worst ideas ever conceptualized and it makes me want to throw things.

    • Aramark lost it’s food service contact for Oakland County Jails 1-2 weeks ago for this very reason. Small justices, I’ll take them.

    • LOL because nothing rehabilitates criminals like gross food and no access to health care, right?

  2. Oh my gosh, Reese, how do you read all of this and not just get really, irretrievably gloomy about the state of the world?

  3. These are so interesting! So much to learn and so many sad/angering/miserable things to hear about

  4. Oddly enough, the words that come to mind in response to @queergirl are Obama’s ‘Dont despair’ from the Coates piece.

    Reading the Coates piece immediately after the piece on Charly, was a bit like listening to a symptom and then have someone turn around and say how did you not know about this disease, its potency and prevalency. (I’m not American, unless its a huge worldwide headline, I tend to only hear American stuff from Autostraddle)

    Coates deals with so much more than the issues illustrated by Charly’s treatment and life, he seems to be trying to educate us about global and national issues that are symptomatic and underlying seemingly unconnected events in every small town and neighbourhood.

    This idea of the reparations makes so much sense to me, Coates was debating against an American mayor, who’s viewpoint seemed to be that, its the victims fault for not getting back up on his feet and moving on with his life, that if you’re sitting on a stool, and someone knocks you off, then you are in some way responsible for some of the consequences. Coates, was saying that regardless of what the victim does afterwards, the perpetrator still had knocked him off and thats just fact, the act is not changed by the victims subsequent actions or inactions.

    When I was a teenager and my mother went back to school to study law, I remember helping her learn off the egg shell skull rule, that if there is a victim, the perpetrator has to accept the full consequences of his actions, even if he couldnt have foreseen the full outcome (this was in relation to underlying illnesses that multiplied the damage inflicted by the perpetrator) but it applies to so much more.

    Now, back to reading, thank you for the links Riese (Im guessing you’ve been working double recently to have this post go up while you’re doing your crazy travel + life stuff)

    also yeah… mostly, lets not despair.

  5. I agree with @queergirl — Riese, how do you read all these an not get sad about the world?

    I think I’ve got the mental energy to *maybe* read a couple, and then recover by listening to Taylor Swift and watching HIMYM on Netflix…

    (PS. This is great. I love TIRTL. This isn’t meant to be a criticism, more a ‘phwoar’. #fanofyourwork)

  6. Didn’t get to all of these, but man, that “Ethical Shopper” article. Such a nuanced, deep look at the problems in the clothes manufacturing industry and what it would take to actually change anything.

  7. I really loved this particular bunch of articles. Thank you! (I have a lot of feelings about most of them, but I can’t articulate any of them well right now, so this will have to suffice.)

    • Also, I think this is the first time that I’ve read every single article. I have so much appreciation for this column and all the work you do on it, Riese. Seriously, thanks.

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