Things I Read That I Love #246: To Be A Work-in-Progress Is Nearly Unacceptable

HELLO and welcome to the 246th 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 Colin Kaepernick! 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.


The Sorrow and the Shame of the Accidental Killer, by Alice Gregory for The New Yorker, September 2017

How do you live and go on after you have accidentally killed another human being? This story looks to people who have experienced it and also psychology and philosophy for some sort of answer.

Colin Kaepernick Has a Job, by Rembert Browne for The Bleacher Report, September 2017

Hello, this is a masterpiece.

Here in Turlock, he absorbed every survival skill necessary to live phenomenally among white people, so expertly that they begin to make assumptions—not that you think you’re white, but that you’ve stopped concerning yourself with That Race Stuff, that you are finally content. It is a commonly unfair expectation thrown upon many an agreeable non-white person in a white space in America. But as a black man with a black biological father and a white biological mother, adopted by loving white parents who raised him in a majority white town to become a star three-sport athlete, a God-fearing Christian and a model citizen, this went well beyond the experience of a privileged American jock. This was a unique finesse, somewhere between Orenthal and Obama.

Eileen Myles, Punk Poet, on Trump, Capitalism, Art, Poetry, by Helena Fitzgerald for Rolling Stone, September 2017

The feeling of watching someone you’ve loved for so long become kind of mainstream famous is always bizarre. Eileen Myles feels bizarre about it too.

According to Myles, “There’s no way to separate negative and positive” on social media. “It sort of slows me down a bit, but then again, maybe I would be slowed down anyhow. When I got sober in the Eighties, I told myself, ‘OK, if being an alcoholic and a drug addict didn’t destroy my writing, why would being sober destroy my writing? If being a lesbian didn’t destroy my writing, why would being an academic?’ And now it’s like, to be a writer who’s more known and also has all this history, if all these other things haven’t destroyed me, why would the Internet destroy me? But, you only say that with the sense of an avalanche coming at you, when you might be destroyed.”

Behind a $13 shirt, a $6-an-hour worker, by Natalie Kitroeff and Victoria Kim for The Los Angeles Times, August 2017

Low-cost fast fashion might feel good to the consumer but it is not a good business model for the people who have to actually sew those pieces of clothing together.

A Most American Terrorist: The Making Of Dylann Roof, by Rachel Kaadzi Ghannash for GQ, August 2017

I know it’s like, do I really wanna read about Dylann Roof’s life, but this author makes it worth it. Also the last third or so digs in deep to internet white supremacy and how it functions.

When he was done crisscrossing those dank swamps, those barren fields that once held rice and indigo, he must have felt as accomplished in American history as any naive ninth-grade dropout can feel. He’d downloaded books about the Klan, he’d made lists of other nearby African Methodist Churches, he’d weighed the pros and cons of shooting up a church versus a black cultural festival, and he’d jotted down the name of a white church, with a note that this one was just “to visit.” He’d scribbled down Nazi crosses and Klan runes in his journal. He’d inserted and implanted himself onto the few sites in South Carolina that recognized or incorporated the history of black Americans in the antebellum story of the state. He’d also taken selfies, portraits of himself that logged his travels, which by virtue of the medium also captured his solitude, his intense loneliness.

Christina Tosi Has a Cookie, by Mary HK Choi for Eater, September 2017

After reading this I had to eat two Snickers ice cream bars just to comfort myself that I do not currently live in a city where I can have a compost cookie. Somebody please buy this house, I need cake!

Taylor Swift Needs to Sit This Year Out, by Dan Ozzi for Noisey, August 2017

I thought I didn’t need another Taylor Swift thinkpiece. I was wrong.

This is the self-obsessed, insular bubble Swift inhabits. In a cultural climate packed to the brim with dire, pressing problems, she uses her massive platform to rehash tired grudges that she thinks the world has been eagerly waiting to be settled, completely oblivious to the actual concerns of everyday people. Instead of evolving as an artist and a human, she wallows in the petty beefs with fellow millionaires that the public might have had the headspace for in 2015, but most definitely do not anymore. It’s easy to say that Reputation is two years too late and that Swift is stuck in the past, but that’s not quite accurate. She’s stuck in Taylor Time, an alternate plane of existence where she is perpetually the center of the universe.

Reading Jane Eyre While Black, by Tyrese L. Coleman for Lithub, August 2017

“Unlike that underwear-clad black girl envisioning herself between the pages of her Penguin Classics, I now have the privilege and option to choose books I don’t have to try so hard to find myself in. I no longer have to participate in the mental gymnastics that were required to turn white protagonists black. I don’t have to read a book like Jane Eyre that makes me feel shame for relating more to the demonic, nonwhite villain than the actual heroine.”

The Thankless Task of Being Michael Moore, by Jessica Pressler for New York Magazine, September 2017

When I first saw Roger & Me, it sort of changed my life. It changed how I saw the world and what I wanted to do and I probably still have it listed as one of my favorite movies on most platforms in which such favorites are requested. I was moved, like many young liberals, by Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine. I remember at Sarah Lawrence orientation getting up to grab another cookie at lunch and walking right past him — it turns out his niece or something was going there — and totally freaking out. Then you grow up and your hero turns out not to be exactly who you thought he was and his facts turn out to be, sometimes, psuedo-facts, but, also this piece was fascinating, particularly the parts about his appeal w/r/t working-class white liberals.

Jenji Kohan’s Hot Provocations, by Emily Nussbaum for The New Yorker, September 2017

I love that The New Yorker will still publish novella-length feature profiles of human beings in their print magazine that I can read on airplanes. I liked this, even though I don’t like all her ideas/opinions, I like a lot of her work and the journey was interesting.

The Earth Is Not Doomed: A Weekend With Kristin Russo and Jenny Owen Youngs, by Heather Hogan for Autostraddle, September 2017

I know there’s been a lot of feature profiles of human beings in this week’s edition of TIRTL, but I think you’ve got space in your heart for this one more.


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Riese is the 35-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker 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 2434 articles for us.

18 Comments

  1. Yesyesyesyes YES to the article about fast fashion’s cost.

    It bugs the hell out of me that people talk about the cheapest places to get clothes, or clothes being expensive, and not equating that you can only get cheap clothes at the expense of someone else’s life/well-being. As well as fast fashion being reputedly the second biggest polluter in the world.

    It’s like we’ll go to rallies and protest about all kinds off things, but won’t buy fewer clothes made ethically because considering how they’re made would be inconvenient/ mess with our style.

  2. The Rolling Stone article about Eileen Myles… Something about the tone of how they talk about what Myles is/does really sounds normalizing of queer media? I wish I had better language to talk about this. The tone was just really remarkable to me.

    I had not heard of Eileen Myles before recently. In the years after I came out I worked in a library and I feel like I voraciously consumed every piece of lesbian/queer writing I could get my hands on.

    Recently started going through another phase of navel-gazing about my sexuality and Cameron Esposito’s Queery has been so perfect and spot on and I have loved listening to it. Her podcast with Jill Soloway was so fascinating and perfect and the way that Jill recommended reading Eileen Myles – well I got my paws on one of her books like 5 minutes after listening to her recommendation. Now that I know they were romantically involved it makes so much sense! Also I am going to co-sign Jill Soloway’s recommendation to read Eileen Myles.

      • It’s a stretch too far to say I love her music but I’ve liked most of her songs and was genuinely curious as to what she’d do post-1989 because she’d seemingly ditched the fake twang and the innocent, chaste act with that line in WIldest Dreams about being tangled up with a guy and the bondage gear and lingerie she wore in Blank Space and Bad Blood. She completely embraced glossy bubblegum pop with some leaning towards beat drops but Reputation is so cringeworthy. It’s the rebellious good girl gone wild act that’s usually reserved for child actors/singers making the transition to adulthood, not a woman nearing her 30’s. She’s proven that she’s capable of writing good lyrics but so far all the singles have been embarrassingly simple and half-baked.

  3. The Alice Gregory piece was a great read, but I found it so jolting that she listed “asexuals” as an “aberration of human experience” among rape victims and alcoholics. So strange to include at all given it has nothing to do with the piece – i.e. people that are attempting to grieve and deal with actions they’ve taken against others, but to frame it as an aberration was a yikes for me.

  4. aaaaghhh that taylor swift article was an entry point into an internet vortex i didn’t know existed wherein taylor swift is considered an aryan saviour to the nazis and i just can’t read anything more about their fucked up headspace anymore!

    FANTASTIC article, though! thanks for linking. i find her new song very frustrating and this is exactly why. like, yes we need entertainment that is not necessarily about the doom and gloom politics of this year, but that horrid song/video is so self-involved it comes across as wildly out-of-touch rather than a fun distraction.

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