Things I Read That I Love #220: The Jaws That Closed Only To Chew Gum

HELLO and welcome to the 220th 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 Jared Kushner! 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.

Inside Trump County, USA, By Mark Binelli for Rolling Stone, January 2017

This reporter is from Michigan and went there to do this story, which meant it was grounded in a place that I know well and a county that I frequently visit — and it was really illuminating, specifically w/r/t why auto workers felt betrayed by Obama.

Trickle-Down Health Care: How We Could Actually Fix The US Health System, by Shane Snow for Medium, January 2017

I guess a lot of this is common knowledge but having the system and why it is broken all spelled out and broken down for me seriously changed my life.

The Believers: Cult Murders in Mexico, by Guy Garcia for Rolling Stone, June 1989

I mean, how could I resist.

The Radical Crusade of Mike Pence, by Stephen Rodrick for Rolling Stone, January 2017

Welp, this was terrifying! Remember how Mike Pence became Vice President because literally nobody else wanted to be associated with Donald Trump in that regard and not because he had been successful or well-liked as a politician at all ever? Well this is about how he was terrible at all the jobs he had before this one, too! But boy do the Christian Conservatives love him.

Murder on Union Hill Road, by Kathleen Hale for Hazlitt, January 2017

A reporter is determined to figure out why nobody in Pike County cared very much about the murder of several human beings in one night, and what she finds is … complicated.

Trouble in Lakewood, by Joan Didion for The New Yorker, July 1993

Four years ago (!!!) I shared a Rolling Stone article with you about the Spur Posse, a group of popular boys in a suburban California town called Lakewood who rose to fame for having created a “points” system to keep track of sexual conquests with their classmates, many of them underage. This Joan Didion piece about Lakewood and the boys and the case and the community is really extraordinary, like all her work is. It uses this one story to talk about the history of California in general, the rise of suburbia, the decline of manufacturing jobs, the politics of Los Angeles, the intricacies of racism. By the end the story she’s telling is not much different than the story being told in Trump County USA. Didion writes, of Lakewood: “Such towns were organized around the sedative idealization of team sports, which were believed to develop “good citizens,” and therefore tended toward the idealization of adolescent males.”

If you want to read this, be warned that this was written in the early ’90s and that there is heaps of victim-blaming from the boys and the Lakewood community regarding sexual assault or sexual manipulation of teenage girls. It’s up to you if you wanna read that today or not!

For a while this spring, they seemed to be there every time we turned on a television set, these blank-faced Lakewood girls, these feral Lakewood boys. There were the dead eyes, the thick necks, the jaws that closed only to chew gum. There was the refusal or inability to process the simplest statement without rephrasing it. There was the fuzzy relationship to language, the tendency to seize on a drifting fragment of something once heard and repeat it, not quite get it right, worry it like a bone. The news that some schools distributed condoms had apparently been seized in mid-drift, and was frequently offered as an extenuating circumstance, the fact that Lakewood High School had never distributed condoms notwithstanding. “The schools, they’re handing out condoms and stuff like that, and, like, if they’re handing out condoms, why don’t they tell us you can be arrested for it?” one Spur asked Gary Collins and Sarah Purcell on “The Home Show.” “They pass out condoms, teach sex education and pregnancy-this, pregnancy-that, but they don’t teach us any rules,” another told Jane Gross, of the New York Times.

President-in-Law: Jared Kushner’s Rise to Unimaginable Power, by Andrew Rice for New York Magazine, January 2017

Look, I just want to STAY INFORMED. But this guy! ALSO THIS GUY.

The Girl Who Pushed Tyra Banks (And The Internet) Over The Edge, by Michael Blackmon for Buzzfeed, January 2017

I wished this was longer because I could’ve read about it forever. When you hear what happened through Tiffany it’s clear that Tyra didn’t understand where she was coming from at all, and maybe more could’ve been done to set her up for success. But you know; it’s reality TV. So. I guess that’s not the point.

California Dreaming, by Marian Bull for Eater, November 2016

And now, a light thing about a restaurant in Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, this concept of wellness — and its accompanying low-key aesthetic, a pure union of leisure and bourgeois taste — is entrenched in the city’s contemporary identity, at least for the upper or aspirational classes, and is an inherent part of its allure for New Yorkers. If you lived here, a billboard might as well read, you’d be healthier now. That message is part of the promise of Sqirl: This is sexy, exciting food that someone could, ostensibly, eat every day and still maintain a body that Los Angeles deems generally acceptable.

Obama’s Legacy Is More Secure Than You, or the GOP, Think, by Jonathan Chait for New York Magazine, January 2017

This was not terrifying?? This is my small gift for you.

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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 3212 articles for us.


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