HELLO and welcome to the 234th 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 childcare! 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.
Why Childcare Is So Expensive, How It Got That Way, And How to Fix It, by Bryce Covert for Elle Magazine, January 2017
This is such an important issue that people don’t talk about enough. It’s absurd. It’s just going to get worse! Find out why you should be stressed out about this before it’s too late.
Queens of the Stoned Age, by Suketu Mehta for GQ, February 2017
This shit makes me so nervous! I feel like every time a story like this is told — like when New York Magazine wrote about the city’s top Escort — they end up getting busted. Anyhow! This is about The Green Angels, a very successful marijuana delivery service raking in big money in New York… by sending delivery girls who look like models and won’t arouse suspicion with the police. Sooooo I feel like there’s another article’s worth of ideas right there, but, uh, good luck, Green Angels.
A Place of Absorption, by Katherine Laidlaw for Hazlitt, March 2017
On abusive relationships.
That burst of excitement in your chest that rises like soft fireworks and sounds a little like someone whispering “maybe you can save me, maybe it’s you,” is something that, if you’re not careful, will detonate. When friends ask why it’s been so long since I’ve been in touch, I shrug. There’s been a lot going on. Someone tells me that maybe I should pray about it. Someone else says, but he never hurt you, right?
Cult Confessions: Faith and the Limits of Liberalism, by Ellen Wayland-Smith for Catapult, March 2017
In which the argument is made that the Oneida community (which eventually began making silverware) was not a religious cult but just had ideas that were antithetical to American liberalism. Interesting to think about.
Why Does Mount Rushmore Exist?, by Sam Anderson for The New York Times, February 2017
Hello, it’s me, Sam Anderson’s #1 fan forever!! Also, via this article, I found out some VERY interesting stuff about Mount Rushmore that you may or may not already know and it is gross and predictable. Also this article is great, because it’s Sam Anderson on vacation with his family in South Dakota and it’s very cold.
Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person, by Alain de Botton for The New York Times, May 2016
This isn’t super long, but it was a thing I was glad I read and maybe you will be too.
Indeed, marriage tends decisively to move us onto another, very different and more administrative plane, which perhaps unfolds in a suburban house, with a long commute and maddening children who kill the passion from which they emerged. The only ingredient in common is the partner. And that might have been the wrong ingredient to bottle.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter if we find we have married the wrong person.
Thinx Promised a Feminist Utopia to Everyone But Its Employees, by Hilary George-Parkin for Racked, March 2017
I think ~44 people sent me this article
Basing Life on What You Can Afford, by Ron Lieber for The New York Times, March 2017
I know Laneia also put this in the AAA but it’s real good y’all! They talk to a bunch of different families and humans, including a bisexual teacher in Colorado, about how they do money and how they make it work and what Trump’s proposals could mean for them.
The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness, by Michael Hobbs for The Huffington Post, February 2017
I keep thinking about this one, like maybe I’ll never stop thinking about it.
Personal Anxiety Versus the Police State, by Everett Maroon for Bitch Magazine, November 2016
I interviewed Sarah Schulman on Tuesday and this is another one of the interviews I read to prepare for that interview. This is me letting you into my process, maybe.
This heightened attack mode has become a substitute, in my view, for politics. We have a generation in which fewer queer people have direct organizing experience and skills learned from being in activist political movements, and there is some confusion, I think, about what “politics” actually is. For example, taking people down by making false or unfounded accusations is not something that moves things forward in a progressive, transformational way. It is more about projected emotional catharsis than politics. Treating non-events, or perceived minor slights, or actual differences of opinion as crimes is not progressive. It is a punitive drive towards conformity and doesn’t produce positive change.
American Isolato: The Rise of the Serial Killer as Anti-Hero, by Ginger Strand for The Believer, March 2012
On serial killer mythology.
Between the early eighties, when the nation, prompted by the FBI, panicked over its “epidemic” of serial murder, and the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, serial killers morphed in the public mind from figures of fear to figures of fascination. Murder has always interested the public, but this was a new kind of murder, and new kind of fascination. Serial killers came to be admired, not only as outlaws—we Americans have always loved our outlaws—but as icons of the nation’s newly unabashed materialism. This process began with the case of one man: Ted Bundy.
The Trouble with Innocence, by Michael Hall for Texas Monthly, April 2017
It’s interesting that part of how Kerry Max Cook ended up in prison for a crime he didn’t commit is that he was bisexual, and that was part of the “criminal profile” an FBI profiler had assembled for him. He got the death penalty after a psychologist determined he was “a “severe” psychopath and a deviant pansexual.” This is a thorough and fascinating breakdown of a wrongful conviction case (a follow-up to The Usual Suspect, from June 2016), but I’m definitely curious what role homophobia played in the jury’s willingness to convict a man with so little evidence. The DA’s office obviously was super corrupt which is how this all happened to begin with. Also, there’s a feature employed in this article where when you hover over a name, it tells you who that person is in a tiny pop-up, which is so handy! I want it.
the kiss 15 years on: meet the models and creators behind the iconic image, by Sophie Wilkinson for i-D, March 2017
I have wanted somebody to write this article for us since day one (this is the closest I got to living my dream) but I will settle for somebody writing it for somebody else. At least I still get to read it, and maybe you will too.
The Serial Killer article is definitely interesting. It has always unnerved me that we can have whole tv shows where serial killers are the main leads and often romanticized as heroes we should root for. Did you know their is a new tv show about HG Wells hunting Jack The Ripper through time? The promos had me cringing that they made him some ridiculously handsome looking guy who seduces women before killing them. Really, ABC? Jack The Ripper literally mutilated prostitutes and he was never caught. Can we not go there with him please?
This is not 110% relevant but this just reminded me of Warehouse 13 HG Wells and I swooned in remembrance.
I might have a fever. Carry on.
HG Wells is a Woman!
And she totally would have hunted Jack the Ripper’s ass down through time and space.
That gay loneliness story was beautiful and sad and I related so strongly. I hate making this story about the struggle of gay men about me, but, as a queer woman-type person who doesn’t really fit in with the traditional lesbian/gay lady culture, I really identified with the pain that is not being accepted by your own community. I even volunteer with an LGBTQ organization and the only friend I’ve made is a married straight woman. Being the wrong kind of gay is remarkably isolating.
I hope you know, that here, you’re always the right kind of gay <3
Re: that Thinx article, a friend and I refer to what happened as an example of the tyranny of sex “positivity.” I know that might come off as absurd, but I swear – the things people try to say about and do to my body under the guise of “liberated womanhood” and “sex positivity.” Oof! My feelings: Get my f word out of your mouth and get your eyes and hands off my body, ya jerk!
WOW do I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on that weed article. So many places to start! Classism, ageism, thin privilege, white privilege. SO MANY THINGS.
That article about gay loneliness I feel like is completely ignoring that the problems presented are created by the hetero-patriarchy? Like the idea of hyper sexed people who are attractive to men and in competition with each other for men’s validation is a thing that women go through all the time? Homophobia is also based in hetero-patriarchy. Like of course this leads to loneliness. And sometimes gay women give each-other a small reprieve from this (like gay women are least likely to feel shame about their body fat) but bi-women have this the worst because of biphobia in the gay community and these same pressures from the hetero-patriarchy. The article also does not mention any intersectionality. Race and trans status I’m sure makes these issues much worse. I dunno. Reading that article just makes me want to read them black feminist theory.
I was ok from the article from the perspective of a gay man researching and telling the story of gay men, because there are really important nuances that are particular to gay men.
I do wish that the author had been more explicit about that being the perspective in the beginning, though, because it is true that these are issues that exist and for the same reasons throughout sexual minority environments.
But, yeah, blaming the heteropatriarchy (in particular the American brand, in which men have little recourse for personal relationships among themselves of any kind). I’m 100% there.
If we look at the article as a “starting” point, there are so many directions to take the conversation further, some of which you mentioned.
Lesbians and other queer-spectrum cis-women (hereafter WLW) must feel the same PTSD (it rang true for me). Everyone always says women handle it “better” or aren’t as self-destructive, just because we don’t die as much. There are tons of assumptions to unpack there that I don’t think are true that may also help better define the problem and potential solutions for gay men or WLW (depending on your community and the deep dive you want to do).
The marriage article put a good perspective on things, except that I disagree with the opening paragraphs that talked about arranged marriages (i.e. marriages for anything but romantic feelings) as universally destructive.
There were certainly a lot of harmful behaviors that arranged marriages (particularly where women are merely treated as commodities and property) helped reinforce, but it doesn’t follow that absent otherwise destructive behaviors they were unhappier unions on average than modern romantic marriages for the very reasons the article uses to explain why romantic marriages aren’t necessarily happy: expectations.
I skim-read that Thinx article earlier this week and got super stressed out thinking about past nightmarish jobs I’ve had. BUT, I am going to work up the energy to read it all the way through eventually! I’ve been super skeeved out by Miki Agrawal since reading this last year:
my gosh, she is…Not Good
Ugh so can we not buy Thinx now? Because my Dear Kate’s aren’t as effective as I’d hoped and I was finally ready to give Thinx a try…
Bonus: saw people referencing a Thinx article in the comments and at first assumed that “A Place of Absorbtion” was the Thinx article.
I’ve read that article about gay loneliness after I went to ClexaCon.
That convention really made me feel a sense of community, a sense of kinship and it felt like a balm to a blistering heart, I’ve been carrying around for too long.
Now, I live in Berlin, town of many gays, of not batting an eyelash, of activism and art and anything goes.
One wouldn’t think I would be the kind of person who would need to fly 8000 miles to finally relax in a crowd of queer women.
But that article is what it is.
I’ve deleted all dating apps, I’m hardly going out to gay clubs any more, because I simply cannot take the constant sizing up, the weighing, the judgement and ultimate rejection any longer.
Honestly, I don’t know when things changed from hanging out with insane amounts of herbal tea and organic cookies and gathering everyone left over from the club for breakfast to an army of fuck robots.
Now, that article is not perfect, by far, but it hits a nerve, and I don’t think that nerve is necessarily restricted to gay men and I feel, that at some point we’re going to have to address this, too.
Oh man, childcare is so ridiculous in Vancouver. $35 a day IF you can find a place that has an opening. One of my friends is a stay-at-home mom now because she made so little at her job it really wasn’t worth it. $18’000 a year for two kids, the same amount a full-time minimum wage worker makes in a year.
The bit about Montreal having universal $7/day rates is no longer true since the Quebec Liberal government’s war on women. It used to be a really feminist province with lots of incentives for women in the workforce, but that’s all being dismantled.
Alain de Botton!! I don’t always agree with everything he says, but his ideas about love and relationships are so interesting and so good at turning the mainstream romantic Hollywood ideals on their head.
This is one of the best TIRTIL I’ve read in a while!
I read “The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness” last week and I can’t stop thinking about it and sending it to my friends. It has become so important to me and I think everyone should read it.
Late to the game but as a day care worker who loves their job and respects it, I liked that article, but chafe at the idea of another job being closed off to people without bachelor’s degrees in order to up the quality
Quality can increase with associates degrees and better in house training
A lot of people can’t afford those degrees