Things I Read That I Love #24: Vice Bust

HELLO and welcome to the 24th 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 tornadoes and the psychology of fraud!

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.

I feel like I was really into “figuring out America” this week, or something.

Psychology Of Fraud: Why Good People Do Bad Things (May 2012) by Chana Joffe-Walt and Alix Spiegel for NPR“In general, when we think about bad behavior, we think about it being tied to character: Bad people do bad things. But that model, researchers say, is profoundly inadequate.”

Writing in the Dark (May 2012), by Kathryn Shulz for New York Magazine – On writing and living better when everybody else is asleep.

Pocketful of Dough – Tips on Tipping (October 2000) by Bruce Feiler for Gourmet This is funny because it was written in 2000, when everyone was feeling really flush and nobody talked about ‘class warfare,’ and I think if somebody wrote this article in 2012, I would want to hit them over the head with a really expensive bottle of Cabarnet. It’s like a relic from a time when we weren’t all so mad at everybody else’s money all the time. That being said, Gourmet isn’t exactly the bastion of middle-class ethos, then or now.

The Call of the Future (April 2012) by Tom Vanderbilt for The Wilson Quarterly – So it turns out that it’s not just me, nobody is talking on the phone anymore! NO BUT REALLY THIS IS FASCINATING. Nerds will like this article.

9/11: The View From the Midwest (November 2011) by David Foster Wallace for Rolling Stone – One of the nice things about not having already read everything by David Foster Wallace before he died means I can keep reading his things forever and ever, almost as if he was still here.

Sex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door (May 2011) – by Amy Fine Collins for Vanity Fair – Trigger warning — this article describes horrifying and unspeakable sexual violence against young women. Like the worst. Jesus fucking christ.

Vice Bust: Kicking the Jackass of the Magazine World (November 2002) , by Joy Press for San Francisco Weekly“When it comes to actual content, Vice turns to the old standbys: Sex (only if it’s freaky, mean, or icky) and Drugs (lots of Polaroids of kids tweaking and tripping, catatonic or puking) and Rock’n’Roll (actually more like a scattershot mixture of hip-hop, techno, and that fast-fading fave of the style press, electroclash). Feed in some gonzo Tom Green-style self-abasement, and you have a perfect composite of all that’s sensationalistic and vacantly au courant.”

Why Americans Won’t Do Dirty Jobs (November 2011) by Elizabeth Dwoskin for BusinessWeek – “At a moment when the country is relentless focused on unemployment, there are still jobs that often go unfilled. These are difficult, dirty, exhausting jobs that, for previous generations, were the first rickety step on the ladder to prosperity. They still are—just not for Americans.”

Joplin! (September 2011), by Luke Dittrich for Esquire – Another one of the dudes to win a National Magazine Award this year, it’s a gripping account of about 24 strangers who sought refuge in a local gas station’s beer cooler when a three-quarter-mile-wide tornado tore through Joplin, Missouri and killed 160 people.

Mitt Romney, American Parisite (April 2012), by Pete Kotz for The Village Voice – “His years at Bain represent everything you hate about capitalism.”

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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 3200 articles for us.


  1. I love that David Foster Wallace essay! He was from (near) my hometown, and I think he gives us a good name. I always read his essays about the Midwest when I get tired of people from the coasts being all snobby and condescending towards “flyover country” (ugh).

    • yes i love that him and also jonathan franzen always write about the midwest where i also grew up

  2. 1. How do you find zis stuff riese?

    2. I regret going on on Friday night and getting tozzeled so now I can’t read this straight away, I mean queer away.

  3. I love this, I alway bookmark these installments you do because the resources I find in them are great. So, once again, thanks for another, Things I Read That I Love.

  4. Nothing is better than coming home from a day job you don’t like to a quiet apartment, sitting on your bed and reading great articles. I love discovering new writers/journalists and now want to track down the work of Kathryn Schulz (p.s. lesbian?)

    “Thus began the great experiment: I would damn well do my job during the day like a normal human being. What I actually did during the day was stare out the window—diligently, for eight hours, like a ranger in a fire tower or a sailor’s wife watching the sea. Finally, well after dark, I really would spot a spark and get down to work.”

    Love this!

  5. Oh those poor girls! I just finished reading the human trafficking story and my heart just hurts for them. What an important piece of writing.

    • Agreed. Just… woah. It’s so fucked up/such a shame that everyone in America pretends that this is a non-issue… That prostitutes are just doing it because they want to and that people buying prostitutes is a-ok behavior. BLAH I want everyone to know about this!

      This kind of stuff definitely makes me want to not go to grad school and work at a non-profit instead.

      • yes, horrifying! i should say though that i think it’s a woman’s right to be a prostitute if she wants to be, and a man’s right to pay a prostitute if he wants to BUT it’s not okay to kidnap, rape, assault or enslave women in order to make them prostitutes. nor is it okay for johns to patronize women who have been enslaved by their pimps, etc. it’s tragic, that story was so graphic and horrifying. i felt like the guys in that story who were responsible for all this are basically pure evil

        • Yes, I absolutely agree about the personal choice to be a prostitute. It just really resonated with me that MOST of the men were under the impression that everyone “volunteered” when really 70-80% of the women were forced. Those are not fun statistics.

  6. I just love this series! Every time I see one I know there’s great stuff. THANK YOU!

  7. the sex trafficking article is especially terrifying because i grew up right outside of hartford. like, this literally takes place in my back yard.

  8. The Psychology of Fraud piece was really interesting, and a bit eye-opening for me. I love this column so much. You’re the best, Riese!

  9. The Mitt Romney article should be required reading to cast a vote this November. Just sayin’.

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