Things I Read That I Love #252: I Loved the Helpless People I Loved

HELLO and welcome to the 252nd 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 sandwiches! 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.

How The Sandwich Consumed Britain, by Sam Knight for The Guardian, November 2017

I had never thought so much about sandwiches or as sandwiches as anything besides a basic fact of life until reading this very interesting history of the sandwich! I also didn’t realize pre-packaged sandwiches were so popular, I don’t know if this is a difference between me and everybody or between me and people in the UK.

In chatlogs, celebrated hacker and activist confesses countless sexual assaults, by Sarah Jeong for The Verge, November 2017


On Self-Respect, by Joan Didion for Vogue Magazine, 1961

What drew me to this thing besides Joan Didion being the light of my life was that the intro says it was written when another author failed to turn in their piece on the topic. This is relatable. Vogue: it was just like us, once!

The Declaration of Independence Is Hard to Read, by Julie Sedivy for Nautilus, November 2017

This could be basic information if you’re a linguist, but to a novice, I learned about 56 new and fascinating things from this piece.

In the Footsteps of a Killer, by Michelle McNamara for Los Angeles Magazine, February 2017

The passion of an armchair detective and a huge serial killer case that never got solved.

Digging in the Trash, by David Joy for The Bitter Southerner, April 2017

About poverty and addiction and honesty and hope as a privilege and shared humanity and compassion and it’s really sad and beautiful.

So often people hear that word “trailer” and their minds follow with “trash.” Maybe it was growing up going to my grandfather’s or maybe it was growing up with a trailer park just across the road, but as a child I don’t remember ever thinking that I was better than the kids I played with because I lived in a house and they lived in trailers. It wasn’t that I was oblivious to class. I recognized some folks had more than others, that I had a little more than them, and the rest of the world had a lot more than any of us. I recognized class. It’s just that I don’t remember ever equating class to a person’s worth, and I count myself lucky for that. We all rode the same bus and went to the same school. We bickered and fought, made up secret handshakes and loved each other like brothers and that’s just the way it was, kids being kids.

The Conjugal Visit, by Jesse Katz for Los Angeles Magazine, November 2017

Did you know that conjugal visits were invented to stop inmates from turning into permanent homosexuals? That’s not the point of this post or even what it’s about really, just a side-fact I picked up within it.

Walking While Black, by Topher Sanders and Kate Rabinowitz, ProPublica, and Benjamin Cornack for The Florida Times-Union / ProPublica, November 2017

How police in Jacksonville, Florida are writing tickets to pedestrians for obscure walking violations in a racially biased manner and how Jacksonville should also really build more sidewalks and crosswalks! This page has all their work on the topic, which is extensive and of course important.

Reported Missing, by Eleri Harris for The Nib, October 2017

This is the story of a woman accused of murdering her husband, as told by her daughter to a childhood friend who is an artist and presents the story in the form of a comic. It’s so great! I think you have to read it on a computer and not a phone. I didn’t know The Nib did longform stories like this.

Thanks to Ikea, Cafeterias Matter Again, by Andrew Holter for Eater


Weinstein’s Complicity Machine , by Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor, Susan Dominus, Jim Rutenberg and Steve Eder for The New York Times, December 2017

An investigation into who protected and enabled Weinstein, and the portrait of a man confident he’d never get caught.

The Santa Ana, by Joan Didion for The Saturday Evening Post, 1965

A shorter read, but — I imagine I am not the only person in this state who re-visited this piece this week.

Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and, just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability.  The winds shows us how close to the edge we are.

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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 3198 articles for us.


  1. Has anyone else recently watched Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold and found themselves confusing Didion with Anna Wintour due to Mallory Ortberg’s recent documentary series about their friendship?

  2. Really enjoyed the article about oral vs written language, and the complexity of the opening of the Declaration of Independence, especially that they included the influence of scientific writing on simplifying language. Because that’s been the biggest driver in my adult life. As a younger child in school I delighted in long, complex sentences with clauses and adjectives…and this was systematically driven out of me in my higher education engineering classes that prized the short sentence in which each word conveyed specific meaning above all others. I miss those days of a more free-wheeling use of words. Ah, youth.

  3. I read that sandwich article the other day and loved it! It has had the unfortunate effect of me telling everyone about the sandwich industry. ‘Did you know there are more people working in the sandwich industry than in agriculture? Did you know what Brexit could do to our sandwiches??’

    Also yes people in the UK do eat a lot of prepackaged sandwiches. I never thought about this as a UK thing, especially as I’m not a huge fan of most of them, but they do. In London you can hardly walk for 2 minutes without bumping into another branch of Pret.

    • I think it is more common in the UK to eat pre-packaged sandwiches – at least that’s the impression I get from my UK relatives and my visits there. Certainly they don’t seem to be as common here in Australia or in my travels to the US.

      • Yeah, I’m pretty sure that pre-packaged sandwiches are MUCH more popular in the UK than in the US/pretty much anywhere else. When I spent a summer in London I could always get a pre-packaged sandwich within a 2 minute walk from wherever I was, but in NYC that’s not really the case. Even when supermarkets/delis etc have packaged sandwiches here, it’s really just a sandwich that’s been made at the deli using the materials they have on hand and like, wrapped in cling wrap and put out with a price on it. There isn’t the whole ingenious triangular plastic packaging and all that, and they’re usually not brought in from an outside source.

  4. Great line up as always. The intro of the Joan Didion piece reminded me that teenagers of all time and all over the world have felt like they were special snowflakes that deserve the best and that this is not necessarily an annoying “delusional millenial kids these days” habit.

  5. Oh man David Joy’s piece about class differences. I’ve been trying to put that into words for so long, as a 1st gen student in academia. Working class people recognize class differences, but just don’t think that those differences dictate someone’s worth as a human being. Thank you for that link!

  6. I finally got around to clicking some of these links, and went with the David Joy piece first. SO good. Thanks for the link!

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