Things I Read That I Love #213: Can These Desires and Needs Survive Together

HELLO and welcome to the 213th 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 OJ Simspon! 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.


LIPSTICK LIBERATION:For a New Breed of Lesbians, Birkenstocks, Holly Near and Political Angst Are Out. Madonna, Stiletto Heels and Erotica Are In, by Lindsey Van Gelder for The Los Angeles Times, March 1992

This is an absolute time capsule! What a VESSEL. Please keep in mind that it was written in 1992 so there’s no point getting offended by any piece of it since that’s already been hashed out by lesbian feminists who came before us and that discourse, I’m sure, has brought us here today. It’s fascinating, though, because this appears to have been written at a time when lesbian-oriented businesses were popping up like crazy and doing really well. Also Jenny Shimizu shows up in a totally different context than we know her now.

The new breed, sometimes known as “lipstick lesbians,” are usually feminists by most definitions of the word, although many of them wouldn’t accept the title. But they’re rebelling as much against the restraints imposed by the more rigid dos and don’ts of feminist ideology as those dictated by the larger society–the endless processing, consciousness-raising, life-seen-through-a-political-prism that dominated lesbian/feminist culture for decades.

Our Fancy Foods, Ourselves, by Malcolm Harris for Eater, July 2016

I could listen to descriptions of Fancy Foods forever, it turns out.

Why Men Love War, by William Broyles Jr. for Esquire, November 1984

Oof.

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Ask me, ask any man who has been to war about his experience, and chances are we’ll say we don’t want to talk about it–implying that we hated it so much, it was so terrible, that we would rather leave it buried. And it is no mystery why men hate war. War is ugly, horrible, evil, and it is reasonable for men to hate all that. But I believe that most men who have been to war would have to admit, if they are honest, that somewhere inside themselves they loved it too, loved it as much as anything that has happened to them before or since. And how do you explain that to your wife, your children, your parents, or your friends?

The White Flight Of Derek Black, by Eli Saslow for The Washington Post, October 2016

This is the very true story of a white supremacist who went to college and just as the conservative humans probably feared all along, got exposed to all that liberalism and changed his damn mind!

Star Tours: The Stellar Story Behind the Ride That Changed Disney Parks Forever, by Brian Krosnick for Theme Park Tourist, October 2016

If you thought I was done reading Theme Park Tourist, you were dead wrong.

On Coupling: An Inventory, by Melissa Matthewson for Guernica, October 2016

After reading this I checked to see if she and her husband were still married and they are so I hope they were able to give each other what the other needed, in some way.

I become convinced I should live as other famous women have lived, that I should construct a marriage in which I can come and go as I like, pursue the interests of many men, maybe women, all the while keeping my husband there to chase off loneliness, insecurity. To maintain a family but to live independently. I want both: marriage and lovers, freedom and security. I want my husband to say yes to this. Everywhere I go, I wonder about the men I encounter. I judge the nature of married couples, believe they aren’t subversive enough, their lives too ordinary. I want to stretch what is acceptable. I circle around the idea that to be a writer, an artist, a real woman, strong and fierce and smart, I must live in a fashion that subverts expectations, that experience can only enhance my life. I don’t want to admit this, but this too is a platitude, ordinary in itself.

The Case of OJ Simpson, by Lorrie Moore for The New York Review Of Books, October 2016

I mean, Lorrie Moore writing about the ESPN O.J Simpson documentary which was apparently really well done? Did you know O.J Simpson had a gay father? I didn’t. If you read this post, you’ll learn cool things like that. You’ll maybe even want to watch the documentary, or read everything Lorrie Moore has ever written.

Dress for Success, by Chavie Lieber for Racked, September 2016

A feature article about the very successful non-profit that you are probably familiar with but certainly could know a little bit more about!

Why I Let Him Touch My Hair, by Tyrese L. Coleman for Brevity Magazine, September 2016

I fought him, at least tried. We never played together. Yet he chased me around the gym, cornered his prey. We were children, just children, and maybe to him, that was what children did. But there was authority to his touch, an exerted right, his God-given right to me. Because I was pretty. He said I was pretty. For a black girl.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," 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. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2750 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. So much to love from the LIPSTICK LIBERATION article. Especially ->
    ‘…the wedding cake topped with two brides, custom-made by a claymation artist to resemble the couple. “It was your very basic, traditional lesbian wedding,” says O’Hanlan.’
    ???

  2. I went to New College and graduated a bit before Derek Black. The Washington Post article is interesting but it’s sparked a lot of renewed conversation among my friends who were part of the campus conversation (through the forum and in person).

    New College has a reputation for liberalism in the best and worst sense; one aspect of it that is not covered thoroughly enough in the article is that it’s white. Super white. It’s a small public liberal arts college in Florida (800 people) and it is very very white. Many of the people of color on campus, who already had to put up with the microaggressions of white liberal racism and non-representation, now feared for their physical safety after the revelation that the former Grand Dragon of the KKK’s godson was part of their student body.

    It is great that Matt felt called to reach out to Derek and that this was the result, but there are also a lot of folks upset that the narrative perpetuated is one of “just be nice and you will change their minds!” as if a) it’s their job to change people’s hearts and minds and b) as if it’s the necessary moral high ground to share space with someone whose ideology threatens your existence.

      • I really felt like the article had an affectionate tone toward him- like it said he likes everyone he meets regardless of race, even when he was most actively engaged in white nationalist ideology. It almost makes it out to sound like he’s just a good guy who just got caught up in a wacky family, like the reader should automatically trust him and sympathize with him.

    • I will try.
      Going to preface with I’m not normal. My childhood wasn’t the most fucked up, but twisted me in ways I’m still trying to untwist or figure would be a part of me even if I had nicer childhood.

      War makes things simpler.
      I know that’s seems impossible, but if you’re normal then it’s quite possible you’ve never considered how much nuance normal healthy civilian life has.
      In war you know who’s on your side, who’ll die for and with you, the depth of your relationship gets tested and proved under fire.
      You’re a sure and solid part of an “us” that is not broken up by things that normal civilian relations get broken up by.
      Humans are pack animals being a sure part on an “us” is like something we’re hardwired to crave.

      Part of what solidifies that “us” is the “them”.
      And in war it’s very easy to identify and dehumanise the “them”.

      When I was a kid never got to be a part of an “us”, I was always a “them” or an “it” that other kids solidified their “us-ness” against. And so everyone became my “them” my enemy and it became easier to survive because I didn’t have to try to interact or figure out if some one had ulterior motive if they weren’t being outright awful to me.
      Of course they did, any sweet words or kindnesses towards me were lies, a setup, a trap and I wasn’t going to fall for it. Didn’t take long for me to be enraged and insulted when people would try and was I the worst to them.

      This brings us to the thrill of destruction part.
      Creation and destruction are both powerful things, creation takes so much effort and there IS a sense of accomplishment and peace when you’ve created something.
      Destruction doesn’t take that much effort and most of us are raised to be careful, to not mess up things and most certainly not to destroy stuff.

      It’s thrilling to do that thing you’re not supposed to do, and the act of destroying things can give an adrenaline rush. It’s an instant gratification thing too. Wanna break a ceramic plate? Just toss it against a wall. Making a plate takes time and more effort to get to that glowing moment of accomplishment, that feeling of satisfaction.

      And now it I think I should probably stop before you need help processing the story of me >_>
      Let’s just make it simple and say I began seeking negative reactions from people, not as validation but more as revenge, as making my “us” in evil, the devil, in monsters. Things humanity had rejected or things that preyed on humanity.

      It’s hard to go from the simplicity and adrenaline of a war state of mind to the complexity and mundanity of normal, healthy civilian life.
      You have to suss out who to trust, who’ll have your back and not figuratively stab you in the back. Who’s “us” isn’t as finite or provable and who “them” could be is anybody

      I never want to be in something like a war state of mind like kid me was ever again because humanity isn’t my enemy, but any didn’t have a real “us” like soldiers do.

      Destruction is still fun though, but I have a way of making it an act of creation; metalsmithing. I can take piece of metal and smash the ever loving shit of it, get that adrenaline of destruction and instant gratification of reshaping a whole thing to my will, but still create something that leaves the tranquility creation does with a sense of accomplishment.

      Is this easier to digest and “get” than something some dude wrote in 1984?

  3. [I]f they’re asked … what their sexual orientation is, questions that are illegal according to federal employment law.

    This is a nitpick, but it’s an important nitpick: asking someone what their sexual orientation is is legal under federal law. (Some people are advancing a novel legal argument that discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal under the 1964 Civil Rights Act because it’s sex stereotyping, which the SCOTUS ruled illegal in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins. However, this argument has never been ruled on by the SCOTUS or any of the federal circuit courts (to my knowledge), so there is no precedent, and whether it succeeds depends on the outcome of the election among other things.) So is firing someone for their sexual orientation (or, for that matter, their perceived sexual orientation). State law makes it illegal in New York. I’m preaching to the choir here, but I want real anti-discrimination protection in federal law, and the erroneous belief that we already have it doesn’t help.

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