HELLO and welcome to the 240th 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 GOOP! 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.
Home in a Can: When Trailers Offered a Compact Version of the American Dream, Collectors Weekly, May 2017
A very interesting and extensive historical piece about the history of mobile homes, drawn mostly from an interview gay (male) couple who have the most extensive collection of mobile home related ephemera and collectibles in the world!
A Portrait of the Artist as an Undocumented Immigrant, by J.M. Servin from “For Love of the Dollar: A Portrait of the Artist as An Undocumented Immigrant,” excerpted on Longreads, March 2017
A personal essay from Mexican novelist and journalist J.M. Servin on the 10 years he spent living & working illegally in the U.S., at a restaurant and then working for a rich family in Connecticut. The patriarch of the family who hired him was named Gunter.
Rachel Maddow: The Rolling Stone Interview, by Janet Reitman for Rolling Stone, June 2017
I mean how could I not
The Long, Lonely Road of Chelsea Manning, by Matthew Shaerjune for The New York Times, June 2017
I mean… how could I not
The Ken Doll Reboot: Beefy, Cornrowed, and Pan-Racial, by Caity Weaver for GQ, June 2017
Obviously I read this article shortly before writing this article, which has gone viral beyond my wildest expectations.
On Impractical Urges, by Ayana Mathis for Guernica, April 2017
A really great essay from an anthology about women and ambition from the author of an Oprah book club pick.
“You deserve it!” is just one of those things people say, I realize, but it unsettled me. That anyone deserves outsize success, that I deserved a success beyond every fantasy I’d had about the fate of my book, was incongruous with my sense of myself, what I knew about the nature of lived experience and the experience of the people I love most. Those lives are bound up in struggle. Struggle isn’t tragedy. It is necessary to say this because too often the former is conflated with the latter. And too often we create false narratives around struggle; we say that people have “overcome” their circumstances or “overcome” their struggles, when in reality people often manage to survive their circumstances by way of the very mettle or knowledge gained through the circumstances themselves. It is not ever possible to entirely leave behind any aspect of ourselves; we cannot step out of history, personal or otherwise. I come from strugglers. For us, the measure of a life is survival by means of elegant improvisation and wiliness, grace and dignity in the face of difficulty.
Interview: Elizabeth Wurtzel, by Liz Phair for Interview Magazine, June 2017
A lot of interviews today! I have a complicated emotional relationship to the work of Elizabeth Wurtzel (there are passages in Prozac Nation and More Now Again and also from this essay she wrote about lesbian folk-rock music that, upon reading them, my life was forever changed, but also everything she’s published online within the last five years has been… bad to underwhelming?) and this is an interesting conversation between her and music icon Liz Phair. IT BRINGS ME BACK, Y’ALL.
Getting In and Out: Who owns black pain? by Zadie Smith for Harper’s Magazine, July 2017
Warning if you haven’t seen Get Out yet, this essay contains a spoiler about one of the movie’s best surprises, which comes near the very end of the movie. So maybe watch the movie before you read this okay.
There are those who think of Frostian woods as the pastoral, as America the Beautiful, and others who see summer in the city as, likewise, beautiful and American. One of the marvelous tricks of Jordan Peele’s debut feature, Get Out, is to reverse these constituencies, revealing two separate planets of American fear—separate but not equal. One side can claim a long, distinguished cinematic history: Why should I fear the black man in the city? The second, though not entirely unknown (Deliverance, The Wicker Man), is certainly more obscure: Why should I fear the white man in the woods?
How to Write Iranian-America, or The Last Essay, by Porochista Khakpour for Catapult, May 2017
Editors who never heard of you or your novel start asking for your essays of Iranian-America. Soon, you are back in that same paper with another essay about, of all things, Barbie’s fiftieth anniversary and somehow you make it also about Iranian-America. You’ve learned to interview your parents and dig up whatever they will give you from their past and add that to messy memories of your childhood and glue it all together: an essay on Iranian-America! Be amazed at how your formula sometimes helps you work out some things, be amazed at how it sometimes seems to help others. Remind yourself this can’t last. Iranian-Americans from all over the country write you and thank you, and you tell everyone this was a nice run—you did your part—and now you will go back to what you were meant to write: anything else.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop conference made me sick, by Claire Carusillo for The Outline, June 2017
This is as glorious and biting as you would expect.