Things I Read That I Love #215: They Drank Champagne and Ate Cake, and She Told Him She Was Happy

HELLO and welcome to the 215th 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 Donald Trump! 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.

One quick note before we begin — thanks y’all for loving this column! According to the Autostraddle Reader Survey results that have come in so far, TIRTL is your #1 fave babe. This might be because of its longevity but whatever, it’s always nice to feel requited.

Searching for Trump’s Soul, by Mark Singer for The New Yorker, 1997

If you read anything today, let it be this, because it will illuminate that in addition to shining a light on how Trump has been a pathological liar and rhetorical idiot since forever, it also illuminates what a shitty businessman this guy is, too.

Of course, the “comeback” Trump is much the same as the Trump of the eighties; there is no “new” Trump, just as there was never a “new” Nixon. Rather, all along there have been several Trumps: the hyperbole addict who prevaricates for fun and profit; the knowledgeable builder whose associates profess awe at his attention to detail; the narcissist whose self-absorption doesn’t account for his dead-on ability to exploit other people’s weaknesses; the perpetual seventeen-year-old who lives in a zero-sum world of winners and “total losers,” loyal friends and “complete scumbags”; the insatiable publicity hound who courts the press on a daily basis and, when he doesn’t like what he reads, attacks the messengers as “human garbage”; the chairman and largest stockholder of a billion-dollar public corporation who seems unable to resist heralding overly optimistic earnings projections, which then fail to materialize, thereby eroding the value of his investment—in sum, a fellow both slippery and naïve, artfully calculating and recklessly heedless of consequences.

White Riot, by Zack Beauchamp for Vox, November 2016

A really interesting and imperative look at Trump’s rise in a historical and worldwide context.

“It’s tempting to think of Trump as something uniquely American, but the truth is that his rise is being repeated throughout the Western world, where far-right populists are rising in the polls.”

Meet the Ivanka Voter, by Anne Helen Peterson for Buzzfeed, November 2016

Here she is, those white women who voted for Trump in Americaaaaaaa. And this was published on November 2nd. So: good foresight, Anne Helen Peterson.

How We Break, by Annalise Mabe for The Rumpus, July 2016

I didn’t realize it then, but later, how I always pick the same people to love: the ones who have more problems to fix than things to be happy about. The ones who often talk about wanting to disappear completely. And I got to thinking that maybe we were both looking for the same kind of out, though I thought I might find it in love and they seemed to think it might be in death.

The Agony and the Angst: An Oral History of My So-Called Life, by Gwynne Watkins for Elle Magazine, November 2016

My So-Called Life remains my favorite show of all time and I ate this up like a vegan hot dog. Unfortunately Claire Danes, A.J Langer and Jared Leto did not participate in this oral history but we do have all the behind-the-scenes people and Devon Gummersal (Brian), Devon Odessa (Sharon), Senta Moses (Delia Fisher) and Wilson Cruz (Ricky). Also we get to find out what would’ve happened next!

This Man Is the Most Dangerous Political Operative in America, by Joshua Green for Bloomberg Businessweek, October 2015

They interviewed the author of this piece on NPR this week, which you may’ve heard while driving through the heartland crying softly to yourself, and this entire piece is worth your extensive and undivided attention because this man helped elect Trump, period.

Eight Women In Love, by Shawn Wen for n+1, October 2016

Dictators and the women who loved them.

When US troops stormed Hussein’s safe houses, there was one they referred to as his “love shack.” They shouted “yeah, babyyyy” and “shagadelic” as they skipped through the compound. A labyrinth of mirrored walls, beanbag chairs, lamps shaped like women, bottles of cognac, and a Jacuzzi. Hussein had a mural of a blonde woman wearing only panties, a serpent shooting out of her finger to ensnarl a warrior. In the bedroom, American troops found photos of Saddam and Pari.

Carl’s Jr., and the Thing That Happened There, by Chris Onstad for Eater, November 2016

The writing in this one is spectacular really.

We took the family’s 1980 Toyota Celica hatchback—a very sporty number at the time, which featured exterior fixed blinds on the rear window, and a blue metallic paint job not unlike R2-D2’s anodized accent patches. There is a very good chance that, en route to the restaurant, my brother and I rolled about on the front and rear seats like a couple of hyperventilating, unsecured basketballs, fresh from the second-hand smoke of our respective classrooms and unlicensed day-care facilities.

Chipotle Eats Itself, by Austin Carr for Fast Company, October 2016

How an E.Coli breakout from a still-unknown source changed the fortunes of a very popular “fast-casual” restaurant chain that I wish I could eat at every single day. I wish I was having Chipotle right now. Anyhow I hope their stocks rebound so I can have Chipotle forever.

Autocracy: Rules For Survival, by Masha Gessen for The New York Review of Books, November 2016

This has made the rounds on social media and if you’ve yet to consume it, now could be your time: “I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now.”

Why Disney Is Closing The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Theme Park Tourist, September 2016

Listen I consider reading Theme Park Tourist to be self-care, and also this is like a 20-minute read, and it’s worth every one of those minutes in spades. Also I remember when Caitlin and Alex made me ride this thing and I was like “no I hate drop rides” but they insisted it was not-to-be-missed so I was like FINE.

It Was One of the Magic Kingdom’s Best Rides. Here’s Why Disney Shut It Down Forever, Theme Park Tourist, May 2016

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride SURE WAS WILD, but was it wild enough? There’s only one way to find out.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


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 3180 articles for us.


  1. I am obsessed with that article about Chipotle. I worked there for a month and I guess I’m tied to them forever. I’ve been telling everyone about how they’ve changed how their produce and meat is prepared and yet they still maintain their brand!

    Still gonna eat those burrito bowls tho

  2. Thanks to you I have now been lost in a “Theme Park Tourist” article blackhole (they link you to other articles! It’s endless!).

  3. Also I want to go to say goodbye to the Tower of Terror before it shuts down forever. Stupid guardians of the galaxy…

  4. Chris onstad writes the webcomic Achewood and each of the characters writes their own blog. it’s an award-winning webcomic worth checking out if u like his writing.

    • I think my three favorite websites to get lost in the archives of are Autostraddle, theme park tourist, and the cult education forums. Love a good cult forum.

Comments are closed.