Things I Read That I Love #251: To Stand in a Shadowless Field in Three Layers of Tweed

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


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.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, 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. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3203 articles for us.


  1. I believe that it was on TIRTIL that I learned that Chuck E.” Cheese’s real name is Charles Entertainment Cheese and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

  2. I keep seeing stuff about Gal Gadot and Wonder Woman on Autostraddle, and, like, I get it. But I REALLY wish the person who plays Wonder Woman didn’t serve in the IDF. I feel like I needed to say that, to get it out of my system after all these months of it being bottled up.

    • Military service is mandatory in Israel, from what I gather, and women are conscripted as well as men. Women have 2 years’ mandatory service. Not sure if that changes anything,

    • 110% agree with you. I have a lot of Thoughts and Feelings about Gal Gadot because while I loved Wonder Woman, seeing so many (usually white) women just totally worship her but ignore her past comments on Palestine and her history with the IDF makes me deeply uncomfortable. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    • Huh. You know what I’m sick of? People whose desire to fix the world starts and ends with Israel.

      None of you — nobody at all — commented with anything but support on the articles about queer engineers at Northrop Grumman and trans US service members.

      The US military is the world’s #1 colonializing, occupying, fucking-shit-up force. And yet people are able to understand that to be American, and to involved with the American military, is complex and comes in shades of gray. That to be in the US military does not make one A Bad Person, that perhaps even the US military itself is not 100% Bad.

      When this relentless nitpicking that demands that people not even be allowed to exist in public is time and time again pointed at Israelis, and not Americans, or Australians, or Brazilians, or a whole host of other nations whose policies and people have ambiguity (like everything!), well, forgive me if I’m tired. And not terribly convinced of the purity of your motives.

      • I assume we’re all boycotting Cate Blanchett next? After all, she never issued a statement about Black Lives Matter, the home mortgage interest deduction, *or* the Rohingya. Barely even Woody Allen.

        Or is relentless policing to the point of absurdity something we only do to Israelis?

        • Being critical of someone isn’t relentless policing. And I like to see queer and trans people be critical of the U.S. military/defense technology too.

          I don’t particularly think that Autostraddle should shun Wonder Woman/GG. I do think that continuously covering her while insisting that no one acknowledge her politics, to the point where any comments mentioning Israel/Palesteine are deleted, doesn’t make any sense (this hasn’t happened on this thread yet but it has every other time I’ve seen Gal Gadot written about).

          • Plenty of comments were left up. The ones that were taken were deleted because they were anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism has no place on Autostraddle.

  3. Oh, Riese, thank you for the Midwest pieces. I can never explain to people why I feel such a draw to go back, and those two articles have so many words.

  4. i really enjoyed the article about north dakota! hope you are having an excellent road trip, riese <3

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