Things I Read That I Love #241: She Didn’t At All Like Being Charmed Out Of A Rageful State

HELLO and welcome to the 241st 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 fancy weddings! 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.


A Sociology of the Smartphone, by Adam Greenfield for “Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life,” June 2017

Will somebody read this book and let me know if he talks about how weird it is that smartphones have created a world in which we’re supposed to be totally cool with and prepared to be photographed all the time.

This is one of the costs of having a network organ, and the full-spectrum awareness it underwrites: a low-grade, persistent sense of the world and its suffering that we carry around at all times, that reaches us via texts and emails and Safety Check notices. The only way to hide from that knowledge is to decouple ourselves from the fabric of connections that gives us everything else we are. And that is something we clearly find hard to do, for practical reasons as much as psychic ones: network connectivity now underwrites the achievement of virtually every other need on the Maslovian pyramid, to the extent that refugees recently arriving from warzones have been known to ask for a smartphone before anything else, food and shelter not excluded.

Why Are So Many Black Transgender Women Getting Killed In Detroit?, by Dominic Holden for Buzzfeed News, November 2015

I have no idea why I didn’t read or come across this story in November 2015, considering my intense interest in this topic and Detroit, but now I have and now I did and you should, too.

An Oral History of ‘A League of Their Own’ on its 25th Anniversary, by ESPN W Staff for ESPN, June 2017

This is one of the best movies of all time and my only wish for it is that it was openly gay instead of secretly gay. But I’ll read about it all day, sure.

Teaching While Black, by Patricia A. Matthew for The New Inquiry, February 2014

This is part of a longer series, actually, which is linked at the top of the post — it’s a really important read.

The Tao of Panda Express, by Ed Leibowitz for Los Angeles Magazine, April 2015

What a success story! A family business! I didn’t even know Panda Express was nice to its employees, what a learning experience this was.

Mallory Ortberg’s Internet, by Sarah Scoles for Motherboard, June 2017

I read this a month after everybody else did, but you know what, that’s okay, because we all get to things in our own time.

Weddings of the 0.01 Percent, by Julia Rubin for Racked, June 2017

I clicked on this article like, “yeah sure whatever,” and what do you know I’m here taking the bait, reading the whole thing totally riveted, checking out Vogue’s wedding vertical (pro tip: 25% of it is Kate Middleton related content), looking at Nell and Teddy’s wedding, thinking about things that will never be relevant to me but look how shiny they are!

What, Exactly, Is a Dog’s Purpose?, by Caity Weaver for GQ, January 2017

I’m so glad Erin and I never figured out a good way to sneak Cooper into this apparently horrifying film!

By now, some people in the theater were sobbing. My own nervous system went haywire. I was laughing and crying simultaneously, frightened and amazed at how easily I could be manipulated into weeping by the simplest musical cues. Even as I saw the hits coming from 100 miles away, I was powerless to prepare myself; it was like standing in the middle of an empty New York alleyway, waiting to be run over by a car just leaving Philadelphia.

The Silence of the Lambs, by Kathryn Joyce for The New Republic, June 2017

Well, this piece about a serial sexual abuser/pedophile whose abuse of girls and women in a Baptist missionary compound in Bangladesh went unpunished for years ruined my life. Be warned that there is a part of this story where the CHILD is made to “take responsibility” for what transpired between her and Dr. Ketcham, which is, obviously, a very disturbing situation to witness.

I of course proceeded to make a series of unwise decisions while reading this piece, including reading the Blog linked in this article and a good portion of PII’s “ABWE and Donn Ketcham Investigations Final Report,” which is introduced later in the story. (It’s REALLY LONG.) Then I ended up reading a lot about missionary work in general, where I found this great quote from The Evangelical Times in an article about a Bangladesh mission: “While indifference to the poverty and distress facing Bengalis would be wrong, there is always a danger that the endemic poverty will distract Christians from preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. The central task of mission is to preach the gospel, rather than to address social needs.”

How I Learned To Live With A Chronic Skin Condition, by Lisa Ko for Buzzfeed, May 2017

This was a really incredible read about a really accomplished writer who has intense chronic eczema on her face and after years and years of trying to treat it was like FUCK IT!  I have eczema and psoriasis and basically just excessively sensitive and disaster/rash/razor-burn/scar/bruise-prone skin in the world, which is also nearly translucent and oh-so-easily-upset from years of topical steroids, so I was drawn to this piece for those obvious reasons. What if we just wore shorts anyhow, what would happen, I’m not sure.

The Addicts Next Door, by Margaret Talbot for The New Yorker, June 2017

I heard this author interviewed on NPR about this story so I had to read this story and it’s so sad! But it’s also hopeful because there are lots of interviews with and stories about people in Martinsburg, West Virginia who have dedicated their lives to helping addicts in their community recover through various service and medical initiatives.

Historic Tree Nurseries, by Leopoldine Core for The Center for Fiction

I am doing a weird thing today — because why anything! — and including a short story of pure fiction for your enjoyment, that will also be interesting to anybody intrigued by the non-fictional former relationship between Core and poet Eileen Myles, even though surely this isn’t about that it was possibly in some way inspired or informed by that, which is enough for me.

Peanut had first glimpsed Frances singing onstage at a bar, leaning into dusty beams of red and pink light, rope-veins running up her forearms. She sang in a low androgynous voice that broke into little shouts, her manlike mouth almost touching the microphone. Peanut had come to the show with a friend but quickly abandoned this person to make brave conversation with Frances when the next band came on. Frances was friendly and responsive, but ultimately appeared bored. It took months for her to act even remotely romantic toward Peanut and during this excruciating wait period, Peanut had talked to herself in mannish tones and masturbated with a galaxy-print sheet hiked up over her face.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," 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. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2672 articles for us.

31 Comments

  1. I don’t have a smart phone. I do have an iPad but not an account so that means only pre-installed apps and no updating music & photos. My anxiety couldn’t cope with my old iPhone & although I’m in a better state now I’m still not sure I could do it. Same w social media.

    It all feels pretty alien to me. A few thoughts from a Luddite. I’d be careful putting your whole life in one place. I know there’s the cloud but still. I had all my work on a memory stick so when I lost it, I lost everything. I’m scared that I might have put personally identifiable stuff on it. I bet those who lose their phones have similar experiences & at least nobody would actually want to nick a memory stick on purpose.

    I’d also be careful putting all your life online. I like not having one as I still only get photos on special occasions. My gf has one and all the social media stuff and she’s always loved fashion but now it feels as if she’s forever ‘on show’ when I’m with her. I just brush my hair once or twice a day & put on one or occassionally two outfits (day outfit then going out outfit). She’s at it all day & it must cost a fortune in money/time/effort. Butch & masc ppl with instagram – is this a femme thing or would I end up like it too if I had such things? Ever since I stopped tweeting every thought I have, I’ve felt freer to think what I want & question it & have a bit of privacy before writing it to others/saying it out loud.

    Dumb phones are still addictive. Me and my dad have them and if I’m not playing snake. I’m prob texting him. Even when he’s being annoying. As I have to have the last word. I wonder what a life without a mobile in 2017 would be like but that would probably require calling someone on the landline or seeing them face-to-face to find out & I’m not sure if ppl our age (18-30) like that actually exist by choice. I was eighteen when I got my first mobile as my mum thought they were physically unhealthy. Even now I exclusively text & don’t call.

    This isn’t me trying to judge ppl who use social media & smart phones. It’s just my own reflections on how I’ve seen it in my life, both having & not having these things at different points.

    • I’m 35 and live in the US without any type of a cell phone. For one of my jobs texting seemed helpful, so my wife set up google voice on the computer for me so I can text. When we got our two foster kids I borrowed my dad’s cell phone for a few weeks (which was helpful as we were all settling in), but ultimately decided that I can still live without one.

    • Interesting! I didn’t get a smartphone until 2013 (where I was one of the last people I knew to not have a smartphone) because I was afraid I would get too addicted to it. Honestly, no regrets, it has saved my ass from being completely lost so many times (paper maps are harder because they don’t tell you where you are, plus sometimes I’ve found myself in a place I didn’t know I would be in and therefore couldn’t have acquired a map ahead of time). And it is entirely possible to have a smartphone and still not share much of yourself on social media — I don’t have Instagram or Snapchat, I rarely go on Facebook, and I don’t use my real name or post about myself much on Twitter or Tumblr. Deep down part of my brain is still in sixth grade when all the adults were like “Never use your real name on the internet!!!”

  2. On the eczema article, to me (who had chronic eczema until like a year ago and used SO MANY topical steroids since childhood) it sounds like Topical Steroid Addiction. This is when your skin isn’t actually experiencing eczema anymore but steroid induced “eczema” and any amount/continuation of using them makes it worse, causing inflammation, swelling, peeling, everything awful. The only cure is to stop cold turkey and go through Topical Steroid Withdrawal. It is agonizing and painful but once I did it after about a year and a half my skin almost completely cleared up. Occasionally I’ll have little eczema spots but its real eczema so a little coconut oil or such clears it up quickly. ITSAN is an organization with tons of info on it. Anyway that’s my psa on TSW, also doctors will try to force you into using topical steroids but they are so harmful!

    • It’s that and also very Patti Griffin “Living with Ghosts” era faux daguerreotype. I have an unfortunately specific yet out of touch cultural frame of reference, apparently.

  3. “If race is a construct, and gender is a construct, and teaching can be a performative act, and authority is a fluid thing that passes back and forth between student and teacher, where and how do I exist in the classroom as a real black woman?”

    I think about this every single time i teach and it’s so heavy and unanswerable and i’m only one year in. i hope it gets easier. or at least becomes a question i can sorta kinda answer.

  4. So I’ve been coming to this page a couple times and I realize why “smartphones have created a world in which we’re supposed to be totally cool with and prepared to be photographed all the time.” It’s because, as a fat person, I DON’T get photographed.

    Maybe it’s become like catcalling, where you desperately want attention which is just too much for most people? But I can’t tell you how often I comb photo albums of parties and events I went to and don’t see myself. I remember how elated I was to see an actual fat person in an event album posted here on Autostraddle! (Was it Dinah Shore? Something with a pool…) Anyway yeah, fat people just… don’t get photographed, unless it’s in a negative way.

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