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.