HELLO and welcome to the 198th 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 Netflix! 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-Red Bougainvillea, by Ariel Gore For The Rumpus, March 2016
This is violent and intense and beautiful.
Our squat outside Valencia seemed very far away now, like a book we’d once read—its images bathed in the candle-lit romance that illuminates the memory of hunger but never the hunger itself.
Blackflix, by April Joyner for Marie Claire, February 2016
How Netflix’s recommendation engine exposes the algorithm’s racial bias.
Straight-Up Passing, by John Birdsall for Medium, September 2015
He wanted to profile every gay or lesbian chef in San Francisco, and was surprised that so many of them turned him down, not wanting to be characterized as “gay or lesbian chefs,” just chefs — which sends the author on a journey into his own past working restaurants in Chicago, and the homophobia that ripened and flourished there, and then this goes into other chefs with their stories of homophobia in the restaurants they worked in and it’s really interesting!
Is Prostitution Just Another Job?, by Mac McClelland for The Cut, March 2016
As a former sex worker, I both have lots of feelings about this and zero feelings about this I can share publicly on the internet. But I will say that the argument that decriminalizing prostitution will make sex trafficking harder to prosecute is confusing to me — sex trafficking involves kidnapping, rape and assault, which are all things that are already illegal? As is sex trafficking itself? Anyhow! This was a big story this week so maybe you’ll want to read it and hopefully not start a fight in the comments.
Colonels of Truth, by Alan Bellows for Damn Interesting, March 2016
The true story of Colonel Sanders, the inventor of Kentucky Fried Chicken. I’d never been to Damn Interesting before but it’s a cool site! “Damn Interesting is a small, independent project dedicated to the dissemination of legitimately fascinating but obscure true stories from science, history, and psychology since 2005.”
Death by Gentrification, by Rebecca Solnit for The Guardian, March 2016
The murder of Alejandro Nieto, who was gunned down by cops while eating chips on his way home from work, encapsulates so much of the current conflict playing itself out in San Francisco as longtime residents and communities are displaced and replaced by white tech workers.
“Disruptive” has been a favourite word of the new tech economy, but old-timers saw communities, traditions, and relationships being disrupted. Many of the people being evicted and priced out were the people who held us all together: teachers, nurses, counsellors, social workers, carpenters and mechanics, volunteers and activists. When, for example, someone who worked with gang kids got driven out, those kids were abandoned. How many threads could you pull out before the social fabric disintegrated?
What I Learned From Tindering My Way Across Europe, by Allison P. Davis for Travel & Leisure, March 2016
She spent a week “swiping across London, Berlin, and Stockholm in search of new sights and city secrets known only to locals. But I ended up discovering a kind of romance I couldn’t find at home.”
Up Against The Centerfold, by Susan Braudy for Jezebel, March 2016
In 1969, Playboy assigned her to write a story about the new feminism for their magazine, which awakened her to aspects of her life she’d never questioned. But when it came time to move the piece towards publication, the men she was writing for threw quite the fit.
Two College Degrees Later, I Was Still Picking Kale for Rich People, by Niela Orr for Buzzfeed, March 2016
Shopping is such a personal, intimate experience that takes place in the public sphere. It’s an odd ritual for its mix of the private and social coexisting all at once. It is here that my actual foremothers and my literary ones converge. It occurs to me now that the reason I thought so often of fiction while working is not only because these books provided a convenient distraction from my circumstances and reminded me of my goals. It’s also because in these novels, black people who are employed as farmhands, models, and domestic workers are all conveyed with nuance and emotional depth.
I know what you’re thinking: this is a podcast, not a work of longform writing! That’s a good point, and a true point as well. BUT! It’s still related, I think. I’ve really loved Jia’s work for Jezebel, especially this and this, and found this intereview really great too.
How Well Online Dating Works, by Roberto Ferdman for The Washington Post, March 2016
The worry is that it’s going to make people more superficial. If you look at apps like Tinder and Grinder, they mostly function by allowing people to look at others’ pictures. The profiles, as many know, are very brief. It’s kind of superficial. But it’s superficial because we’re kind of superficial; it’s like that because humans are like that. Judging what someone else looks like first is not an attribute of technology, it’s an attribute of how we look at people. Dating, both modern and not, is a fairly superficial endeavor.