Things I Read That I Love #208: To Be Free Of Other People’s Bullshit Is To Be Truly Free

HELLO and welcome to the 208th 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 Celebrity Boot Camp! 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.

Alone in Disney World, by Rich Juzwiak for Gawker, May 2015

I visited EuroDisney in Paris alone when I was 18, but I didn’t write anything incredible about it. After four days eating through Epcot Center with Caity Weaver, Rich went to Magic Kingdom alone and wrote this incredible thing about it.

Disney parks also house quintessential kitsch, so effective that the synthesized exceeds its source material openly and with jubilance. So magic is this place that it has the ability to shift ideals of realness held virtually everywhere outside the theme park. … That’s a lot of layers to unpack and/or revel in. Layers that you probably couldn’t discuss with a child, layers that even an adult companion might not be interested in picking through. In my experience, conversations following amusements tend to be simple and emotion based. (Me: “That a was fun. I liked the fish.” Companion: “That was fun. Ariel’s face was so lifelike.”) Without the interruption of an outside opinion or the obligation to deliver my own, instantly, I thought long and hard about what I looked at. Instead of just existing as a conduit for the joy that Disney attempted to place in my heart, I ruminated on the joy’s source. I didn’t live in the moment all by myself; I admired the moment at a remove.

A Blind Eye to Sex Abuse, by Marisa Kwiatkowski, Mark Alesia and Tim Evans for The Indy Star, July 2016

How JUST LIKE SO MANY OTHER INSTITUTIONS WE HAVE DISCUSSED, the USA Gymnastics Federation has ignored complaints of sexual abuse by its coaches, allowing said coaches to be fired for said abuse from various gyms but retain their membership in USA Gymnastics and hence their ability to find a new gym to work at and subsequently new victims to target.

The Yosemite Horror, by Joshua Hammer for Outside Magazine, November 1999

A killer targets women in Yosemite National Park and investigators don’t know that he is there right underneath their very noses and that he will not stop until he is captured, and that he has a very complicated backstory of his own.

The Internet isn’t Killing Malls – Better Malls Are, by Stephie Grob Plante for Racked, August 2016

And “better” usually means “fancier.”

At Celebrity Boot Camp, $4,100 Gets You 6 Almonds: 94 Hours Inside “The Ranch,” Hollywood’s Favorite Wellness Retreat, by Allie Jones for The Cut, July 2016

Pretty much what you would expect. However the piece contains zero explanation for why a picture of Rebel Wilson exercising in Pitch Perfect is used as the feature image. Plz explain.

How Silicon Valley Helps Spread the Same Sterile Aesthetic Across the World, by Kyle Chayka for The Verge, July 2016

On the “International AirBnB style” which can be at time “kind of an extension of Ikea showrooms” and WHAT IT MEANS.

We could call this strange geography created by technology “AirSpace.” It’s the realm of coffee shops, bars, startup offices, and co-live / work spaces that share the same hallmarks everywhere you go: a profusion of symbols of comfort and quality, at least to a certain connoisseurial mindset. Minimalist furniture. Craft beer and avocado toast. Reclaimed wood. Industrial lighting. Cortados. Fast internet. The homogeneity of these spaces means that traveling between them is frictionless, a value that Silicon Valley prizes and cultural influencers like Schwarzmann take advantage of. Changing places can be as painless as reloading a website. You might not even realize you’re not where you started.

How to Make a Police Shooting Disappear: The Tamir Rice Story, by Sean Flynn for GQ, July 2016

The details are even worse than the outline of the thing that you’re likely already familiar with. The details will make you so much sadder than you already are.

The Killing of Alydar, by Skip Hollandsworth for The Texas Monthly, June 2001

I almost skipped this story in my Best American Crime Writing anthology even though I never skip stories. The reason is that it was about horse-racing, and I didn’t buy the book to read about horse-racing but to read about terrible unfortunate macabre things involving the slaughter of human beings, because there is something deeply wrong with me. But you know what, it’s a damn good story even though it was a horse that died rather than a person. I hope you appreciate the worth of that endorsement.

Dance, Little Sister, by Karen Good Marble for The Undefeated, July 2016

The Undefeated is so good! This story, then, is also good, and also you should read it on a computer b/c it’s one of those cool multi-media situations.

Bring It! is that rare reality show that seems, well, real. The girls are their hardworking, emotional, pouting and competitive selves. The show just doesn’t feel like it’s about honing in on the next big celebrity. Bring It! is about team pride, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and about black girls defying odds in the poorest state in the Union, in the Old South where the Confederate battle flag still flies high. And right now, it’s all about winning Saturday’s competition. “I want,” says Coach D (or “Miss D” as the Dolls call her) through pursed lips, “toughness on the floor.”

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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 3223 articles for us.


  1. May I add three books to the list, for anyone interested in some ideas of how all of us got here to this mess of humanity. It is a sciencey list of three works by Robert Ardrey……African Genesis, The Territorial Imperative, and The Social Contract. Very enlightening about how humanity and social interaction has gone from zero to now from the biological and anthropological viewpoint.

  2. That Disney piece was so interesting. Good call on using the “bullshit” sentence in the headline!

  3. The mall article seems just to be picking up on the larger trend of income inequality affecting retail, which has been going on for at least a decade. Stores that used to cater to the middle class are dying, remaking themselves to appeal to one of the markets that still make money–either luxury goods or dollar stores. (Though of the two, you can guess which one has a higher profit margin.)

    I have a whole rant for what this means for a woman who needs to adhere to professional dress standards at work while still making a middle income (hint: nothing good), but that’s a separate matter!

  4. There was recently a four part series on The Heart podcast called “Silent Evidence” about how a woman confronts the gymnastics coach who molested her as a kid. It was gripping and smart.

  5. Rich and Katy’s work brought so much to me personally at Gawker, I always loved their stuff like this, I’m so happy to see you give t a larger audience.

  6. I usually mark 85% of the articles in this series for reading throughout the week, but this time I have added every single one to my reading list for my vacation in Wyoming.

    Also, a question – which year(s) of Best American Crime Writing do you have, and which would you recommend getting FIRST? I’m a compulsion true crime / murder podcast junkie, and would love to get into books.

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