HELLO and welcome to the 221st 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 Anna Nicole Smith! 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.
Instapaper has been down all day which has made this very hard to do! UGH.
What It Means To Fall In Friend-Love In Your Twenties, by Rumaan Alam for Buzzfeed, June 2016
You know when you don’t even look at the name of the author and then you read an entire essay thinking it was written by somebody of a specific gender and it turns out to have been written by somebody of a different gender than the one you’d assumed? That happened for me here, which is totally irrelevant to anything and it has nothing to do with the topic of the essay. But the topic of the essay is pretty well summarized in the headline, so HAVE AT IT.
Below Deck, by Lizzie Presser for California Sunday Magazine, February 2017
Deep inside this excellent story about the horrific working conditions for Filipino employees on cruise ships is a little reminder that lobbyists run this country and don’t care who dies or gets injured or goes broke because of it. In case you forgot!
‘Will & Grace’ returns — to a vastly different America, by Jacob Clifton for Screener TV, January 2017
JACOB CLIFTON IS SO BRILLIANT IT’S JUST DUMB.
This stuff would probably happen anyway, the kyriarchy and economy between men and women is a dramatic part of every aspect of your life — but “Will & Gracewp_postsmade it an institution: Sometimes Will wins because he is a man, and sometimes Grace wins, because she is heterosexual, and this is the battle that keeps us locked on one another, dancing — and fighting — for male approval, just like the war between women everyone enjoys so much. Blondes and brunettes, size zeroes and size twelves, working gals and stay-at-home mommy bloggers. It’s so easy to forget the real enemy, isn’t it?
The Unimaginable, Infamous Case of Pam Hupp, by Jeannette Cooperman for St. Louis Magazine, January 2017
This is a story about MURDER and it took me a surprisingly long time to read because it is VERY complicated. But I think you will like it and then probably try to find the Dateline episodes.
The American Dream Created Anna Nicole Smith — And Then It Killed Her, by Sarah Marshall for Buzzfeed, February 2017
Anna Nicole Smith’s reality TV show was a real trip, y’all, as was her life, and as is this story of it.
Holy Warriors Against the Welfare State, by Jennifer C. Berkshire for The Baffler, February 2017
Berkshire heads to Grand Rapids, Michigan and other nearby small towns, “the dark heart of DeVos-land” where the impact of the DeVos’s monetary muscle and its Amway fortune is everywhere. It’s a great look at the history of DeVos’s own family and the family she married into and the future of our dear country. Which is, you know. Depressing.
Where “Itwp_postsWas: Rereading Stephen King’s “Itwp_postson Its 30th Anniversary, by Adrian Daub for The Los Angeles Review of Books, September 2016
I feel really solid about my decision to have never read or re-read this book, but I remember seeing the movie at a Halloween party when I was 12 and being too freaked out to stay for the whole thing.
“…King’s novel diligently refuses to distinguish between the monster’s machinations and the kinds of very quotidian evils — bullying, child abuse, racism — that also plague the town of Derry. Are they simply emanations of a shape-shifting monster’s malice? It doesn’t seem to think so. Nor is the novel about repression and denial: the citizens of Derry seem to sense that something is very wrong, but are powerless before that intuition. It’s easy to read It, like much of Stephen King’s oeuvre (and, indeed, most American horror fiction), as a queasy meditation on the crimes and cruelties that gave birth to this nation. But It isn’t Derry’s unconscious, It isn’t the wages of its crimes, It isn’t even its original sin. Maybe the monster is the quilting point, the place where it becomes clear that the entire world is structured by fear.”
Snow White’s Scary Adventures: The Missing Magic Kingdom Classic, Theme Park Tourist, January 2017
What an enchanting tale this was! Harry Potter even makes a guest appearance.
Writing Our America, by Scott Korb for Longreads, February 2017
The quote I’m sharing is not by the author of the essay but by Pam Houston, one of many writers quoted in this essay. Pam Houston is one of my favorite writers, by the way:
Writers who are deeply invested in truth telling become vastly more important in a society where the mainstream media is colluding with a corrupt regime. I imagine if one took a poll, one would discover that many of us became writers because we were raised in families where truth was a movable object, and the lies that were told there were used to hurt the weak and to shore up the tyrant. For some of us, our sanity—in some cases our very lives—depended on, if not being allowed to tell the truth, at least being able to know it within ourselves. Those of us who were actually abused as children have a real advantage right now because the worst kind of prolonged torture perpetrated upon us by people who were entrusted with our care has already happened to us. Whatever we might face in the months and years ahead might be terrible, but it won’t be worse than that. For many of us, even death is not worse than that.
Total Recall: The People Who Never Forget, by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie for The Guardian, February 2017
Only a small number of people share a condition that enables them to retain autobiographical memories with absolute and total precision, for years and years and years, and it’s not necessarily a pleasant experience. This is about those people and the scientists trying to learn more about memory in general from those who have exceptional memories.