HELLO and welcome to the 210th 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 Miss America pageant! 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.
Through The Looking Glass, by Kathleen Hale for The Mary Review, September 2016
There were times in this story when everything felt like too much to possibly be true. But it is true, isn’t it. This is a haunting but witty and insightful read about one ambitious author’s week spent in Atlantic City at the Miss America pageant. From all angles.
How Fox News Women Took Down Roger Ailes, by Gabriel Sherman for New York Magazine, August 2016
I haven’t been following this story at all not even a little bit. So I read this to understand the world and welp, if you didn’t hate Fox News and powerful misogynist white men enough already! Then here is this. This will help.
How the Upright Citizens Brigade Improvised a Comedy Empire, by Emma Allen for The New Yorker, September 2016
It seems like nearly every famous comic got started in UCB and everybody in LA who wants to be a famous comic takes UCB classes and the reason it seems that way is because it is more or less true. This is about the business side of all that.
“Hot” Sex and Young Girls, by Zoë Heller for The New York Review of Books, August 2016
On two new books on the topic.
If the good old days were never as good as both writers are wont to imply, the dark days of our present era are not quite as unremittingly desperate either. Notwithstanding the vicious influence of pornography, social media, and Miley Cyrus, contemporary girls still manage to have high school boyfriends; some of them even get around to watching alternative films at college. Fifteen-year-olds may go online to learn how to perform fellatio, but they also post fearsome rebukes to boorish boys on Facebook and have lengthy debates on Twitter about whether or not Kim Kardashian is really a good “role model.wp_postsGirls use editing apps to whiten their teeth in their selfies and fret about the size of their “booties,wp_postsbut they also celebrate the sororal power of “girl squadswp_postsand attend Nicki Minaj concerts to hear the rapper sermonize on why a woman should never be financially dependent on a man.
Who Needs a Log Flume When You Can Get A Blow Job In A Theme Park Bathroom Instead?: My Family Vacation, by Rich Juzwiak for Gawker, November 2012
Yes this is the third TIRTL in a row where I have asked you to read a thing by Rich Juzwiak about Disneyworld. Look; Gawker closing down means I’ve spent a lot of time feeling nostalgic about Gawker, so.
I’m gay, I’m horny, but the version of me that was stuck in a house with my family was this Ken-doll-crotched person who had to behave in a way that substantially deviated from how I’ve come to live my life (which, by the way, is not constantly fucking, but is not inhibited in that realm either). People amplify and tone down aspects of our personalities to fit situations all the time, and for me this is especially prickly and bizarre. I share so much about my life in a public sphere, but manners and a general nausea regarding discussing sex life with my family have me basically pretending like I don’t do what I do when I am with them. The result of this is that last week, I was not fully myself for the sake of the people who made me what I am. If that isn’t fucking queer, nothing is.
Framed, by Christopher Goffard for the Los Angeles Times, September 2016
I read this because Heather Hogan told me, “also if y’all have like 45 minutes, that LA times true crime story everyone’s talking about really is worth it. i was mesmerized. it gets crazier and crazier and the writing is so dramatic.”
Making House: Notes on Domesticity, by Rachel Cusk for The New York Times, August 2016
I’m not entirely sure what this even means and this is probably intolerable to read if you live in a crappy apartment you’re not allowed to touch without losing your security deposit. I don’t know, sometimes I have lots of existential feelings about this house and this sort of gently tapped on those in a way I did not mind one bit.
The image of the freewheeling mother with her disregard for appearances was somehow threatening from two opposing perspectives, for her apparent inferiority was in fact the reverse: She was superior to the suburban housewife in her miserable prison of immaculate surfaces, and she was superior too to me, to the modern divided woman, because her indifference to the domestic represented a form of courage. With her crunchy kitchen floor and her whirlwind-swept rooms, she was claiming the freedom of a man, or a child, or an artist, at the same time as she was asserting the superiority of her mother-love, for in overthrowing the power of objects she was simultaneously removing them as a last line of defense. Anyone could access her; there was no governed terrain to keep a person out.
Perfume, Power, and God, by Arabelle Sicardi for Racked, August 2016
I couldn’t smell history at Santa Maria Novella but I could smell the familiar family of incense wafting through the church doors at the Duomo, and the clay — the same kind of clay from four hundred years ago — wafting to me from the artist workshops just above the streets. We pulled irises from the walls of Florence and curled our noses at the sweat it took to get there. We ate perfumed gelato — flavored with Florentine flowers and local fruits — in the same piazza where Machiavelli bought time with prostitutes and politicians; watched people argue with police where he probably stood. That is Florence, I think, and a distillation of perfume, too: filthy in a sexy way, unbuttoned and worn but perfectly tailored, beautiful and timeless because desire never leaves, it wanders and grows.
The Bloody History of the True Crime Genre, by Pamela Burger for JStor Daily, August 2016
Relevant. to. my. interests. and. possibly. also. yours.
Winona Uninterrupted, by Heather Havrilesky for New York Magazine, August 2016
Well I hope you’re sitting down because this is a profile of my fave, Winona Ryder.
Flint is Family, by Mattie Kahn, Anna Clark and Latoya Ruby Frazier for Elle Magazine, August 2016
Latoya Ruby Frazier spent five months in Flint, immersing herself in the lives of “three generations of Flint women who both suffer and insistently thrive amid the worst man-made environmental catastrophe in recent National memory.” This presentation is extraordinary and strategically assembled (read it on your laptop, not on your phone) — there’s the story of these women told within the broader narrative of what happened in Flint, there’s Latoya’s short film with its lyrical narration, there are Latoya’s sobering photographs, there is a multi-media timeline, there is a section about what happens next. Just incredible photo-journalism is what I’m telling you.
Too Rich To Be Poor, To Poor to Get By, by Lili Holzer-Glier for Narrative.ly, August 2016
Even families with two parents with full-time jobs rely on Food Pantries to get dinner on the table, even college graduates with three jobs — the poverty line, as it were, needs to be reconsidered, as many families who live well above it still can’t make ends meet but don’t qualify for federal assistance. (The cut-off for assistance with Health insurance needs to be raised too, sidenote)
Food cost is expensive in New York City. I’ve never gotten help with my kids as far as vouchers, food stamps, daycare. Every time I applied I got denied because they told me I was above the minimum to qualify. And I’m like, what’s the minimum? Because once I get done paying rent and bills there’s nothing left. Why do they deny parents that are working? It’s unfair in some ways because I want to work and make a living so why can’t I get assistance with daycare? Why can’t I get assistance with food? Why is it only people that aren’t working are getting this help?