Things I Read That I Love #183: Being Comfortable Being Uncomfortable Is A Very Effective Way To Be A Human

HELLO and welcome to the 183rd 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 prison food! 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’m Sorry I Didn’t Respond To Your E-Mail, My Husband Coughed To Death Two Years Ago, by Rachel Ward for Medium, August 2015

See I just love it when a writer has the same dark sense of humor that I have when it comes to things like sudden death and tragedy and losing everything that matters to you overnight.

Doctor Shock, by Richard Poplak for The Walrus, September 2015

About a doctor who over-medicated, tortured and abused gay men in apartheid-era South Africa in order to “cure” them and then managed to leave the country for Canada, and procure gainful employment there, where he continued his pursuit of being a really really really terrible psychologist. It’s crazy and f*cked how this guy was able to continue being a jerk for so long.

Black Arts: The $800 Million Family Selling Art Degrees and False Hopes, by Katia Savchuk for Forbes, August 2015

These ads truly are EVERYWHERE around San Francisco. They seem legit. I had no idea that the Academy of Art San Francisco is a nationwide scam and that the company is run by greedy billionaires who screw over their students in order to buy themselves more houses and cars. This is fucked and you have to read it.

Exonerated and Out of Prison: And That’s Where The Trouble Starts, by Albert Samaha for Buzzfeed, March 2015

Spending time in prison for a crime you did commit can make you very unprepared for life on the outside. Spending time in prison for a crime you didn’t commit? Welp, that also makes you very unprepared for life on the outside, and adds a really severe insult to injury. The system needs to do more for exonerated convicts and this article talks about why.

No Place For a Kid To Go, by Joaquin Sapien for ProPublica, August 2015

A “group home” for “troubled youths” in Long Beach is causing havoc in the neighborhood — and it’s definitely not helping the kids who get sent there, either, who often become victims of violence themselves within the system. This is an investigation into a truly horrible situation that currently has no plans of getting better.

Angels and Demons, by Thomas French for The St. Petersburg Times, October 1997

This was an award-winning story about the triple murder of a mother and her two daughters, who were killed while on their first vacation ever. They lived and worked on a dairy farm in Ohio and had been through a lot recently and so they planned a big road trip down to all the amusement parks in Florida. It didn’t go as planned, and the mystery is very mysterious. It’s long and well-written (if a bit overwritten in parts) but it crept inside my brain and haunted me for days.

Sorority Secrets: The Dark Side of Sisterhood That No One’s Willing To Talk About, by Alexandra Robbins for Marie Claire, August 2015

The author of Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities returns to Sorority Row to see how things are going these days in that world and finds things at many schools to be fairly dismal, especially when it relates to how sexual assault is handled and how partying and hooking up with the right fraternity boys is definitely not optional.

The Limits of Diversity, by Jennifer Pan for The Asian-American Writers Workshop, March 2015

The feel-good version of multiculturalism that reigned during the 90s produced a litany of pop culture artifacts like “ethnic” dolls cast in darker plastics from the same molds as their white counterparts, fictional multiracial Earth-saving gangs on TV (Power Rangers, Captain Planet’s Planeteers), and a set of Crayola markers that came in “skin” tones ranging from neon peach to a vivid chocolate-cherry. As an elementary schooler during the 1990s, I recalled teachers pressing into our hands a particularly lackluster book called We Are All Alike, We Are All Different, which stated the obvious—that different types of people existed in the world—but never got around to explaining why that mattered.

How To Win Tinder, by Alicia Eler and Eve Peyser for The New Inquiry, August 2015

Oh you will like this one a lot. You will, I promise you. After reading it you’ll think to yourself, “that was a good call, reading that.”

It is not that people on Tinder are all “players” or trying to game the system governing hooking up. It’s that Tinder is a radically destabilizing networked social experiment. It is hyper-technosexual, it is disturbing, it is pleasurable, and it is highly addictive. You hit the app; you quit the app; you inevitably return. In Tinderland, you’re bombarded with so many faces, you seldom notice when somebody doesn’t swipe you back. Rejection doesn’t exist unless you want it to.

Fixed Menu, by Kevin Pang for Lucky Peach, March 2015

Prison food is awful and unhealthy and one of many things about our criminal justice system that do not serve to rehabilitate prisoners. A food writer for Lucky Peach visits to verify this fact.

The fish patty sits atop three slices of white bread—two to make a sandwich, and the extra slice presumably to meet the 2,500 to 2,800 daily calories as recommended by the American Correctional Association for adult males under fifty. There’s also a corn muffin, steamed carrots and green beans, plus mac and cheese sloshing around in a puddle of bright orange water. Some trays hold elbow pasta, others have corkscrew. Beverage is a Styrofoam cup of powdered tropical punch.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


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 3228 articles for us.


  1. ohhh boy gotta cancel all other friday night plans now that i just opened every single link in this article. except the angels & demons one. i dont need anything to creep into my brain and haunt me for days, no thanks. but actual and sincere thanks for all the other brain food.

  2. I didn’t think I would love that first piece as much as I did and then I did love it and that whole answer about what she loved was so great.

  3. I don’t comment on these enough but I appreciate these lists and especially your commentary! I inevitably open 1-5 articles and they linger in tabs for weeks until I get the time or energy to read them, but they’re always enjoyable once I do.

  4. Not sure I can read the Angels and Demons piece, I still haven’t gotten over Mrs Landingham getting killed driving her first ever, always wanted, new car home.

  5. I read so many of these this week and they were all so good. Angels and Demons was definitely my favourite – fantastically well written, morbidly gripping story.

  6. For years, the Academy of Art was registered as a Real Estate Corporation, not a school. That said, I’ve worked with various graduates who went through their programs and some of them were very good at what they did. Some of the teachers and lots of their students are talented and motivated professionals. But it’s rotten to the core at the top, on a par with Heald and University of Phoenix.

  7. I’m a bit annoyed by the sorority article.

    Yes…universities should probably make more of an effort to block Greek organizations from acting like total fuckheads. This seemed to be the implicit message of the article. But it seems like there are also some pretty sound ways of avoiding being caught in that scenario.


    a) not joining a shallow organization whose criteria for entry are beauty and willingness to get drunk with the beautiful people of the opposite sex? Surely there are other social groups on campus.
    b) okay, you joined, now how about bowing out of social events put on by known sexual offenders? Surely you can still participate in all of those great service activities that the organization stands for.
    c) okay, you’ve decided to go to the “mixer,” now how about resisting peer pressure and just staying sober for the event? You showed up, you socialized – done.
    d) No? Okay, then how taking control over what you put in your body by bringing/mixing your own drinks? And since you are at an event put on by known sex offenders, maybe moderating your alcohol intake so you’re not out of your mind?

    Why isn’t there any demand in this article for assuming personal responsibility?

    • The things you have just talked about are all forms of victim blaming. The people who should be “assuming personal responsibility” are the rapists and the people doing the pressuring.

  8. A good friend of mine shared that first article with me recently. Her husband died a few years ago too, and we’ve gotten to the point where it’s still upsetting (obviously), but we make jokes because we are those kinds of people and death doesn’t change that.

    THE TINDER ARTICLE. I have been working on an essay about this exact thing. This is incredible and an amazing read.

  9. Read the Tinder article and found it frustrating. It’s sort of ahistorical and that bugs me.

  10. As horrifying as that prison food article is, it actually gets WORSE. The prison my brother is in has stopped serving hot meals entirely. I think they get PB&J for lunch and a bologna sandwich for dinner every day.

  11. I’m surprised by how funny that first article was! The circumstances are so sad but the author is hilarious and now I feel a little conflicted about laughing but obviously she wants to laugh about it, so.

    Having a partner unexpectedly drop dead is a terrible fear of mine, I don’t ever leave the presence of someone I love without saying “I love you” just in case that’s the last thing they ever hear, so obviously this hit home for me!

Comments are closed.