Things I Read That I Love #200: Humour Can Be a Callous Protection Against The Terrible

HELLO and welcome to the 200th 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 Ben & Jerry’s! 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.

Women Do What They Need to Do To Survive, by Jade Blair for Hazlitt, March 2016

Just as the monster often doesn’t look like the monster we’ve been trained to expect, and doesn’t identify as a monster, there is also the psychological issue of victimhood—the same culture that tells us what the bad man looks like also tells us what the victim looks like. She is shattered, broken, defined by her stolen virtue, innocent until so cruelly defiled. “She may never laugh again,” says the onlooker, gazing at the broken flower in pity. “She certainly will never date.”

The Evil Empire, by Hanna Rosin for The New Republic, September 1995

Man, I love Ben & Jerry’s but there’s some unpleasant history in here — I think it would’ve surprised me in 1995, but now it just feels par for the course, no matter how socially responsible a company claims to be. This is a look at the company back when it wasn’t quite so common to marry social justice with capitalism and about the “awestruck reverence, willfully ignorant of details, that fuels the Ben and Jerry’s juggernaut.”

How Lifetime Became One Of The Best Places In Hollywood for Women, by Laura Goode for Buzzfeed, April 2016

I linked to this in my Pop Culture Fix on Wednesday too ’cause I have several avenues of interest into this story, like that I just saw UnREAL and also used to really love Lifetime movies when I was a teenager.

Trail Blazing, by Mary HK Choi for The Awl, April 2016

This is my belated 4/20 gift to you. Part of it is like just a review of these strains but the writing is good so it works as a thing. In the beginning, there was only one type of weed, but then we all grew and changed as humans and it went legal in California and this writer takes us on a pursuit of what has become a more highly customizable experience.

Re-Examining Monica, Marcia, Tonya and Anita, the “Scandalous” Women of the ’90s, by Sarah Marshall for Fusion, April 2016

These women and the way they were treated in the media truly impacted me and most women in my generation a whole hell of a lot, and this gets real deep into those stories and many other, including a lot of true crime headlines, and the media coverage they inspired.

 “Scandal,” viewers who tuned in for Confirmation may be starting to realize, is a word we frequently attach to stories in which a woman is victimized, usually by a powerful man, and then re-victimized by the media. “Scandal” is a word that makes the woman in question seem responsible for the story she has found herself at the center of, even if it results in her being ruthlessly pilloried, as Anita Hill was in 1991.

The Sugar Conspiracy, by Ian Leslie for The Guardian, April 2016


“…while humans have always been carnivorous, carbohydrates only became a major component of their diet 10,000 years ago, with the advent of mass agriculture. Sugar – a pure carbohydrate, with all fibre and nutrition stripped out – has been part of western diets for just 300 years; in evolutionary terms, it is as if we have, just this second, taken our first dose of it. Saturated fats, by contrast, are so intimately bound up with our evolution that they are abundantly present in breast milk. To Yudkin’s thinking, it seemed more likely to be the recent innovation, rather than the prehistoric staple, making us sick.”

Searching for Eve, by Meredith Talusan for medium, September 2015

The story of a trans woman who lives a full life online as a trans woman while continuing to present as male in her ordinary life. A lot of interesting questions come up!

The Battle Over the Sea-Monkey Fortune, by Jack Hitt for The New York Times, April 2016

Look, I ordered these from the back of a magazine and they did not look like they did in the picture.

The Interview, by Heike Geissler for n+1, October 2015

The author takes a journey to the Amazon warehouse for an interview.

What you now know is: you are surrounded, for example, by people who are simply looking for a job, who don’t care where they work. There are those who could find other work, who are here by chance or lack of imagination, not by necessity. There are those who have other options than this one or could have them, except that something’s going wrong right now. There are those who seem to have other options, only those options are no better. And there are those whose other options are worse. Then there are those who seem to have assumed they had the option of getting a job here but don’t actually have that option. All the applicants can be divided into those sent by the employment office and those not sent by the employment office; the latter is a very small group.

The Viral Virus, by Lauren Duca for The New Inquiry, April 2016

When people use sharable content to affiliate themselves with mental-health conditions, it can help expand their visibility in a society that tends to suppress them. This can be empowering. It breaks down stigmas and opens lines of communication. But it can also be trivializing, particularly given the incentives social media provide users to spuriously lay claim to illnesses that only medical professionals are qualified to diagnose.

The Real Story Of Germanwings Flight 9525, by Joshua Hammer for GQ, February 2016

About the pilot who committed murder-suicide last year by intentionally crashing his  Lufthansa plane, killing all the passengers inside it.

Murder, They Wrote, by Laura Marsh for Dissent, April 2016

On Making a Murderer, Serial, The Staircase, The Jinx, and the online communities that develop around them, filled with amateur detectives.

“…more than ever, this is how we respond to true crime: rather than dwelling on the nature of the crimes themselves or on loss, or pointing to problems with the justice system, people are swapping their own explanations of what happened. The abundant public interest in cases like this has not necessarily resulted in more interest in the workings of justice, as you might expect it to, but has produced a new, interactive type of crime story, with its own distractions and satisfactions.”

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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 3212 articles for us.


  1. “The Viral Virus”–you know, it’s an interesting premise, but I also find it condescending. I’m sure the ‘look at me’ phenomenon is a piece of the puzzle somehow, but the idea that it takes a professional diagnosis for us to truly understand ourselves rankles. Granted, we were on I’m-an-introvert overload for a while there, but I tend to see these things as confirmations of what we already know about ourselves. The quizzes and listicles, shared or not, can make you feel seen; they’re a form of the “me too” or “it’s not just you” that can make us feel a little less different, a little less broken, a little less alone. I feel cynical about the clickbait aspect, but there’s a reason it works, and I think that reason is mostly good.

    • Yeah I think there’s merit to the things discussed but I don’t think it was nuanced enough. Or maybe not long enough? I’m interested in the subject but it kind of conflated defining yourself as introverted or anxiety prone with announcing you have clinical anxiety…I don’t think you can really do justice to a subject that loaded and complicated without going into more depth.

  2. Obviously the stars are aligning because there just happens to be a Tonya Harding-adjacent article coincident to the 200th postiversary of this esteemed column!

    Thank you Riese for your tireless commitment to providing top-notch reading material for lazy Saturday mornings in bed.

  3. First, if you want to read the Germanwings article be aware of graphic description of human remains. In my opinion, this was absolutely unnecessary. I live in a neighbouring country of Germany and in all German media about the incident I haven’t read anything like that.
    It also left out the discussion that followed about the enhanced cockpit doors which should protect but in this case made it possible for the co-pilot to put his plan into action.
    Other than that it was well written and highlighted the questions that remain. I remember when I first heard the reason for the crash I was deeply shocked. How could that happen? Why was nobody warning the company about the co-pilots state? Why didn’t the company take a closer look at him knowing about his medical history? Maybe some questions might be answered in the future but I think some will forever be left open.

  4. 200 already?! Been a fan for years and always look forward to another edition. Thanks, Riese!

  5. this is my fave ‘column’ thanks so much for providing so many excellent things to read :)

  6. Sarah Marshall’s piece about 90s scandals is a good piece of feminist analysis. Glad to read it; thanks.

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