HELLO and welcome to the 188th 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 the Church of Satan! 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.
Blood Ties, by Nathan Heller for The New Yorker, November 2015
Oh you know, just your average everyday totally fucked up relationship that quickly turned to MURDER!
The Man Who Never Was, by Mike Sager for Esquire, May 2010
Todd Marinovich’s father was training him to be an all-star football player in the cradle. He was an exceptional athlete capable of doing everything his father ever dreamed he would do — until he became a drug addict and the downward spiral took years to wind itself back into any semblance of a life.
I Would Rather Be Herod’s Pig: The History of a Taboo, by Mark Essig from “Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig,” May 2015
My fiancé and I are currently staying with my mother, who maintains a Kosher household by not letting us have any meat in the house and not letting Abby order pepperoni on her pizza — in other words, we are living in a fascist household under an oppressive regime and I thought it’d be good for me to know as much as possible about why I am living in such inhumane conditions. Although to be fair, I don’t eat pork myself really — I’ve never had like, straight-up pork (because we were raised without it so I am still scared of it), but I totally have eaten a lot of hot dogs and sometimes even bacon, so. Anyhow enough about me, read this really interesting history of “how pigs became the world’s most divisive meal.” Seriously it’s REALLY REALLY INTERESTING.
The Outcast: The Strange Story of Greg Torti, by Michael Hall for The Texas Monthly, November 2015
Greg Torti is on the sex offender registry for life for a crime it seems he did not commit — and the fact that Torti himself was actually raped as a child just adds to the misery of the misery of the misery that is his apparent situation.
A Whole Lotta Middle-Aged Love, by Sue William Silverman, November 2015
Remember when we wrote about Adam Lambert every day? This piece made me remember those days and the Glambert fanclub AND it turned out to be written about a concert that took place where I live right now! Isn’t life full of magic and mystery.
Of course women love him. Unlike most (straight) guys, he’s in touch with his feelings—and don’t you dare question my pop-psych analysis. He sings of self-empowerment; offers relationship advice between songs; makeup advice in interviews (“if your eyeliner doesn’t go on right, smooth it out with a finger”). Don’t all of us middle-aged women in the audience feel as if we suppress some of who we are in order to live in a world still run by straight men? If so, are we women (and maybe even straight men) in the audience all going gay for Adam Lambert? Do we all release our gay other/inner selves to join anima with animus? Yin with yang? Polka dot dresses with combat boots?
Satan in Poughkeepsie, by Alex Mar for The Believer, November 2015
First we dip into the Satanic Panic, talk about the day care cases, the West Memphis Three, and then she gets into The Church of Satan. The Church of Satan sprang up during the ’60s counterculture movement in California and most assumed then, and even assume now, that The church was a group that practiced “Satanic Rituals,” worshipped the devil, and killed things. It’s actually not, it’s basically organized atheism with a lot of props. As one member told the author of this excellent piece, “Satanists are essentially atheists with melodrama.” They define themselves against the idea of of original sin or an afterlife, declaring every human to be their own god, and consider organized religion to be the actual destructive force of modern life. Anyhow, Alex Mar knows her shit.
Times Square In The DeBlasio Era, by Adam Sternbergh for New York Magazine, October 2015
I worked in Times Square for a long time, and endured it on the reg due to my bestie being a Broadway actress. When you live in New York, you avoid it like the plague unless you have friends or family in town, because it’s awful and crowded and you can’t get anywhere and even a coffee costs four times as much as it does anywhere else in the city, and it’s not like the rest of the city is very cheap. The area has evolved rapidly over the decades, changing and changing again, and this look at the evolution that got us to today’s version of Times Sqaure — wherein people are annoyed by the character costumes and women in bodypaint jockeying to take photos with tourists for tips, enabled by the fact that everybody is now armed with a personal camera at all times via cell phone — and where it goes from here. I love urban histories like this.
Mary Gaitskill and the Life Unseen, by Parul Sehgal, November 2015
Mary Gaitskill is my favorite writer. Right away this author says something that is so obvious about her work that I realized I’d never considered before: “It was a feeling that lasted until adulthood — a sense that people were speaking to one another in a code she couldn’t decipher. Out of this elemental confusion, Gaitskill has produced a body of work so acutely observant of human behavior that it’s frequently described in the language of violation: a vivisection, a dental drill, a flogging.” She feels so outside of life that she is better at describing it than anybody even one step closer to the inside. And this:
Gaitskill isn’t scary because she conjures monsters; monsters, she points out, are almost always in fashion. What makes her scary, and what makes her exciting, is her ability to evoke the hidden life, the life unseen, the life we don’t even know we are living.
Out from Under, by Allie Gross for The Detroit Metro-Times, October 2015
There are so many uninhabited homes in Detroit that it seems pretty sadistic for the government to actively evict families that have been paying their rent but were unfortunately swindled into their leases by landlords who were operating a big Ponzi scheme and failing to pay their property taxes. This is such bullsh*t:
The attention was so focused on the pension fund that some aspiring homeowners, such as Robertson, were never even informed of Paramount’s illegal activities. She had no idea about the Ponzi scheme, no idea the man she signed the contract with was in jail, or that the company was accused of grossly mismanaging properties, let alone not paying property taxes.
Who Is It That Afflicts You? By Rachel Kincaid for Autostraddle, October 2015
I seriously have no idea why Longform hasn’t featured this essay on their site already because it’s excellent and I am not just saying that because Rachel is one of my best friends and Autostraddle is my website. It’s one of the best things we’ve ever published and it’s ostensibly about the Salem Witch Trials but its’ also about witch hunts, in general, like ones that happen right now, and dark powers vs. piles of evidence, and basically the whole world. READ IT.
Terry Gross and The Art of Opening Up, by Susan Burton for The New York Times, October 2015
Well now my life goal is to be interviewed by Terry Gross, so.