HELLO and welcome to the 251st 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 the Dakotas! 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 Killer’s Trail, by Maureen Orth for Vanity Fair, September 1997
If you’re anything like me, you’re waiting with baited breath for the premiere of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, which of course requires brushing up on the case and its intricacies, although some of the details aren’t the same as what they ended up being, I think.
The Internet Really Has Changed Everything. Here’s the Proof, by Rex Sorgatz for Wired / Backchannel, April 2016
I’ve been driving from Michigan to California all week, which has involved a lot of reading articles out loud to my girlfriend while she drives, and I picked some specifically ’cause they were about states we were visiting! This one is about North Dakota, even though we actually went to South Dakota, not North Dakota, which is a very different state, I know that. But just like, catching you up here
[Letter from South Dakota] | With Child, by Kiera Feldman for Harper’s Magazine, December 2016
And this one is about South Dakota, and the perils of getting an abortion when you need one if you live there. It’s also just about home and what keeps you there or not.
Twenty-Four Hours at a Truck Stop, by Will Stephenson for The Pacific Standard, February 2016
Another topic relevant to our long-distance-driving interests.
The Nationalist’s Delusion, by Adam Serwer for The Atlantic, November 2017
The piece everybody is talking about this week — it’s a deep dive into a thing we’ve been reading and talking about all year, which is how Trump’s win was entirely enabled by people who are racist and do racist things but are deeply offended by the suggestion that they are racist. That was the defining characteristic of his voters, not anything else.
The Man Who Made the Whac-a-Mole Has One More Chance, by Peter Rug for Popular Mechanics, February 2016
I got here from that piece about the history of Chuck E Cheese animatronics you know how it goes.
The Believer Outside the Manson Pinkberry, by Rachel Monroe for The Believer, November 2017
MANSON BLOGGERS AND THE WORLD OF MURDER FANDOM.
Second Life Still Has 600,000 Regular Users, by Leslie Jamison for The Atlantic, December 2017
Even more fascinating than the ascent of various web concepts that took off and took over our world are the ones that were supposed to; but never did.
The Gal Gadot Next Door, by Caity Weaver for GQ, November 2017
It’s just that Caity Weaver is now my favorite celebrity profiler of all time? I mean, after reading this — and having already read her piece on Kim Kardashian and Jordan Peele — I read her profile of The Rock, a person I have never truly had any interest in at all! And it was great!
Your Reckoning. And Mine., by Rebecca Traister for The Cut, November 2017
You must read this! You must!
…yet the rage that many of us are feeling doesn’t necessarily correspond with the severity of the trespass: Lots of us are on some level as incensed about the guy who looked down our shirt at a company retreat as we are about Weinstein, even if we can acknowledge that there’s something nuts about that, a weird overreaction. Part of it is the decades we’ve spent being pressured to underreact, our objections to the small stuff (and also to the big stuff!) bantered away, ignored, or attributed to our own lily-livered inability to cut it in the real world. Resentments accrete, mature into rage.
How to Say You Maybe Don’t Want to Be Married Anymore, by Sarah Bregel for Longreads, November 2017
Perhaps this is the worst part, I think. This limbo, this not knowing what to do or where to go. There are too many questions and I don’t even really care about the answers. Because it is too hard and unlike any breakup or breakdown I’ve ever had before. And I don’t think there is any good or smart or easy way to tear apart your family. There is no room for regret.
On Being Midwestern: The Burden of Normality, by Phil Christman for The Hedgehog Review, Fall 2017
A very fascinating thing to read as I leave the Midwest again — about what it means to be Midwestern, and why people are so bad at talking about it.
Detroit’s blight isn’t Cleveland’s blight, any more than Manchester’s is Birmingham’s. Nor are any two cornfields truly exactly alike, despite Monsanto’s best efforts. The British cultural imagination has been formed by writers such as Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence who are perfectly capable of distinguishing among bleaknesses; there’s no reason the American imagination should not pay the Midwest the same tribute. Especially in a period when some of the more interesting art and music consists of similar procedures repeated on a massive canvas, when cultured people are trained to find meaning in the tiny variations of a Philip Glass symphony or an early John Adams tape piece, you’d think we could learn to truly see Midwestern flatness as something richer than mindless repetition.
Midwestworld, by Meghan O’Gieblyn for The Point Magazine, February 2017
Um, this essay opens with a trip to Greenfield Village, a living history museum I know, love, and speak of far too often… and gets more meta from there. But yes, this landscape. It’ll always be my heart(land), even though it seems to break me every time I return.