HELLO and welcome to the 203rd 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 machine bias! 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 for the lateness of this post, we were on a mountain!!
Machine Bias, by Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner for ProPublica, May 2016
Hey just a heads-up that the criminal justice system in this country is totally fucked up and here is yet another reason why: a risk assessment system, widely employed by sentencing judges, that determines the chance a certain defendant will reoffend. The system usually gets it wrong, and is also racist.
The Man With Ten Wives, by Sara Davidson for Rolling Stone, 1975
This shit is bananas! If you like stories about cults, weirdo dudes who manage to acquire a lot of wives despite being Totally Full Of Shit, et al, AND I KNOW THAT YOU DO, then this wonderful article is for you. Apparently this guy, Alex Joseph, a former Mormon, even had a movie made about his special relationships.
Wal-Marts: Thousands of Police Calls. You Paid The Bills, by Zachary T. Sampson, Laura C. Morel and Eli Murray for The Tampa Bay Times, May 2016
Yet another way in which Wal-Mart is the worst and subsidizes its operations with money from taxpayers! In this particular case, it’s about how Wal-Mart foregoes hiring its own security staff or putting other practices into place that’d deter shoplifting in favor of having the police handle every little thing that might possibly in some universe go wrong.
The Business of Too Much TV, by Josef Adlian and Maria Elena Fernandez for New York Magazine, May 2016
The television industry has been completely transformed over the past five years because now everybody is making a new original quality TV show and Netflix is spending shit-tons of money on original programming and there is just an embarrassment of riches but WHEN WILL THE BUBBLE BURST.
To Break The Story, You Must Break The Status Quo, by Rebecca Solnit for Literary Hub, May 2016
The writer’s job is not to look through the window someone else built, but to step outside, to question the framework, or dismantle the house and free what’s inside, all in service of making visible what was locked out of the view. It is a tendency of journalism to focus on what changed yesterday rather than ask what are the underlying forces and who are the unseen beneficiaries of this moment’s status quo.
How (and why) Athletes Go Broke, by Pablo S. Torre for Sports Illustrated, March 2009
The statistics are staggering, as are the millions upon millions of dollars paid out to athletes and how easy it is for it all to go away all at once. I wasn’t expecting this particular piece to grab me like it did, but it did.
Black Trauma Remixed For Your Clicks, by Niela Orr for Buzzfeed, April 2016
The ways trauma is repackaged quickly after interviews are recorded is a result of our fast-moving media cycle. And it’s true that black internet stars have talked to news reporters in memorable ways that make them subject to public fascination. But it’s also true that black viral interviewees hardly had any time to grieve before their feelings were repurposed for the zeitgeist, which is unseemly given how, seen through the mainstream white gaze, black pain has been romanticized (the “race” movies of the early 20th century) or made comical (minstrel shows).
The True Story of the Rainforest Cafe is Even Wilder Than You Thought, by Lindsey Weber for Atlas Obscura, May 2016
Remember when everybody was into Rainforest themed everything, like Rainforest Ice Cream and Rainforest Crunch snacks and then also this cafe. It used to have live birds!
The Downfall of NYC’s Hottest Vegan, by Dana Schuster and Georgett Roberts for The New York Post, May 2016
I don’t know why I read this but I did so now you have to read it too so we can feel really good about how we’ve spent our time together at the same time.
You Can’t Have Diarrhea Around a Beauty Queen, by Hana Shafi for Hazlitt, June 2016
If there’s one symptom all of us with IBS and related illness universally have, it’s powerlessness. It’s the feeling that your body is running you, and in the most embarrassing way possible.