HELLO and welcome to the 261st 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 Joan Didion! 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.
Gun Culture Is My Culture. And I Fear for What It Has Become., by David Joy for The New York Times Magazine, April 2018
I’m always interested in hearing what somebody from the other team who is currently questioning their team’s ethos has to add to the conversation — it can provide insight I’m not typically exposed to in my bubble.
How Joan Didion Became Joan Didion, by Michelle Dean for Buzzfeed Reader, April 2018
Cannot get enough, love Michelle Dean, wanna read this book.
The Disturbing Secret Behind An Iconic Cartoon: Underage Sexual Abuse, by Ariane Lange for Buzzfeed
It is so weird how company culture can be so ingrained into the lifeblood of a company that nobody says or does anything about their boss, a man in his early 40s, having a 16-year-old girlfriend? This is about the Ren & Stimpy guy.
The Body That Ages, by chelsea g. summers for Unruly Bodies, April 2018
I am only 36 but relate to this very intensely.
Despite more inclusive role models, despite increasing financial power, despite better careers, and despite the freedom to reject matrimony, women remain pretty freaking scared about aging in general and looking older in specific. Indeed, young women’s anxiety may stem from the fact that they’re more financially self-reliant and career-focused than ever before. As I interviewed women for this story, I asked them what they thought women feared about looking old. Lydia Berry said it was dying — a simple “signal for the end of life.” Sonora Grant said it was women’s past catching up with them; in turning to skincare, they want to “turn the clock back.” But Claudia Cho, Enid, and Kate Black each said it came down to one thing: losing their pretty privilege.
Midwestern Gothic, by Barrett Swanson for The Believer, February/March 2018
Murder, conspiracy theories, the midwest, etc. This one’s for you, Rachel!
Growing up in the Midwest, you end up cultivating an eerie premonition, an awareness that the wholesome landscape—the polychromatic farmland and serrated bluffs—belies the region’s more unsettling history: failed utopias, tent-meeting revivals, asylums for feebleminded children. If the Smiley Face theory failed to strike me as ridiculous, it was because Wisconsin offers a whole catalog of creepy occurrences and lurid killings—from the cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, who stored the bodies of his victims in his refrigerator, to the two teenage girls from Waukesha who paid homage to their demonic overlord, the Slender Man, by knifing their friend to near-death on the outskirts of a prairie. Through the scrim of these horrors, it didn’t seem impossible to me that an A-team of psychopaths had conspired to drown college-aged boys throughout the region.
When Cops Become Robbers, by Jessica Lussenhop for The BBC, April 2018
Damn this is a TRAGIC and very thoroughly reported piece on the Baltimore Police Department.
Junot Díaz: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma, By Junot Díaz for The New Yorker, April 2018
Your heart will split into a thousand pieces
Molly Ringwald Revisits “The Breakfast Club” in the Age of #MeToo, by Molly Ringwald for The New Yorker, April 2018
I did not expect this to be so poignant and incredible and then it was. I’ve always said “The Breakfast Club” was my favorite movie, and have probably seen it a million times without really questioning the misogyny, besides what my Mom told me the first time we watched it about how brutal it was for Allison to require a makeover. A few years ago I re-watched “Sixteen Candles” with a person much younger than me who’d never seen it before and I was shocked that I’d so cleanly digested and forgotten a scene that was so clearly demented — the one from the morning after, with Caroline and The Geek. Ringwald goes after that here. It makes me think how much it was movies like this that made me so complacent with how boys treated girls when we were teenagers and in college.
‘Being Charlie’, by Laura Marsh for The New York Review of Books, April 2018
Ah yes, another opportunity to analyze the attitudes around sex I grew up with! Join me! The book she’s talking about is clearly half-baked and sexist but her analysis of it is chef’s kiss
Friend has published what reads like the authorized biography of a decade just as the unauthorized counternarrative is surging on a wave of reporting and reckoning. His book is valuable precisely because it records what so many people believed, until just now, about the state of sex in the 1990s, the images that guided them, and the realities they overlooked.
What Happens When Your City Becomes Bachelorette Central?, by Anne Helen Petersen for Buzzfeed, March 2018
This was very interesting! I went to Nashville two years ago and visited one of the gentrified areas she talks about here and was also surprised how expensive the jeans were, so. The commenters are VERY mad at Anne though.
Cardi B on Her Unstoppable Rise, Repping Gang Life, and the Peril of Butt Injections, by Caity Weaver for GQ, April 2018
I believe the headline and the topic and the author SAYS IT ALL.