HELLO and welcome to the 258th 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 pistachio farming! 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 Kingdom from Dust, by Mark Arax for The California Sunday Magazine, photography by Trent Davis Bailey, illustrations by Denise Nestor, February 2018
This will take you some time to read, but it also took over a decade to write, and it shows. It’s the story of agriculture in California and the family that grows the pistachios, almonds, mandarins and pomagranets and the water they grabbed to do it with during the drought, and the land they were destroying by doing so, and the community of migrant farmworkers around it and damn, this is just, beautiful writing, careful journalism.
When Barbie Went to War with Bratz, by Jill Lepore for The New Yorker, January 2018
This is about Barbie v Bratz but also about the portrayal of women in doll form and truly really about intellectual property law and its impact on creativity and so much more.
How Black Panther Asks Us to Examine Who We Are To One Another, by Rahawa Haile for Longreads, February 2018
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, Black Panther spent its opening weekend sold out five times a day out of a possible five showings. A question I repeatedly found myself asking is where Africans watching this film fit within the Afrofuturist possibility of Wakanda? How do you watch the dream of Africa, set within the real Africa, created by filmmakers in the diaspora, and then emerge to martial law? How hollow does Killmonger’s posturing and desire for a bloody uprising of the masses come across to a viewer living in the throes of one?
The N.R.A. Lobbyist Behind Florida’s Pro-Gun Policies, by Mike Spies for The New Yorker, March 2018
WELL THIS WAS EDUCATIONAL JESUS CHRIST WE’RE DOOMED NEVER MOVE TO FLORIDA
Jamison Bachman, the Worst Roommate Ever, by William Brennan for New York Magazine, February 2018
It’s true, as promised, this is the worst roommate story you will ever read.
The Lonely Life of a Professional YouTuber, by Joe Zadeh for Vice UK, February 2018
What I found most startling about this piece was that apparently this guy’s videos are all reaction videos to other YouTube videos? Like making fun of them or calling them out or whatever? I found myself more concerned about the emotional impact of a person wallowing in that type of negativity 24/7 than I was about the emotional impact of a person becoming famous on YouTube and not having a lot of IRL friends, which was the focus of the piece. Anyhow I don’t understand YouTube but if I read enough longform about it maybe I will!
Nathan Carman Took His Mother Fishing. She Never Came Back., by James D. Walsh for New York Magazine, January 2018
Was it murder?!
Malls and the future of American retail, by Alexandra Lange for Curbed, February 2018
MALLS MALLS MALLS MALLS MALLS!
The Kids Of Ferguson Rise Up, by Alex French for MTV News, May 2015
This is a really thorough and well-done story with great photography — they talk to the kids themselves and detail the projects they’d developed following Michael Brown’s murder and dig up some (more) horrifying cases and statistics about racist policing and school segregation in Ferguson. It’s an important thing to read now.
The protests “brought out so much untapped potential in the youth around here,” he said. “We’re just seeing it now unleashed. This movement is going to create the next generation of leaders. You’re going to see a better St. Louis in ten or twelve years because of this. We’re building a stronger community. Anger doesn’t sustain the movement. Love does.”
I Used to Give Men Mercy, by Terese Marie Mailhot for Guernica, February 2018
Beautiful, all of it — about writing, and MFA programs, and the murders of Native women, and being bipolar and surviving rape and being a camgirl and then selling a memoir.