HELLO and welcome to the 269th 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 Six Feet Under! 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.
Looking for Women, by Mikaella Clements for Hazlitt, July 2018
The author goes to Berlin and ponders why lesbian cruising isn’t a thing.
It’s odd to be a lesbian in public and feel the frisson of heat rather than danger. There was something about the way we were all looking at each other that couldn’t be easily explained. It wasn’t until I was idly rereading an old Alan Hollinghurst novel that I realised the difference.
We weren’t just noticing each other. We were out there to be looked at. We were cruising.
Who Is Anna March?, by Melissa Chadburn and Carolyn Kellog for The Los Angeles Times, August 2018
A very bizarre story of a scam artist within the literary world — which she responded to in advance of its publication, which is another bizarre window into her world and how she sees the one the rest of us are living in.
The Slow Burn, v.4: Sex and the City, Post45, July 2018
Volume 4: An Introduction, by Marissa Brostoff
“I can confirm that it is awfully fun, totally fucked up, and off the charts both in its single-minded pursuit of visual pleasure, and in its commitment to surveying the philosophy of love via discourse only lightly dusted with drama, as though Pedro Almodóvar had disguised Plato’s Symposium as a soap opera.”
Lakshmi: July 10th, by Lakshmi Padmanabhan
Like the robots on Westworld who start to realize that maybe the world they live in isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, by the final episodes of season 1, Miranda is no longer simply desiring her friends, she’s threatening to act on it. By episode 11 (“The Drought”) we know that she hasn’t had sex in months. While watching Carrie’s neighbors have sex one afternoon, Samantha, Charlotte, and Carrie are caught up in mechanics of their sexual encounter, while Miranda quietly warns them, almost as if to herself, that she might hump her friends. I couldn’t help but wonder…what kind of show and what kind of world would that be, in which queer desire was both a warning and a promise of the future, an intimacy that develops not within the heterosexual feminine programming of gender but always in excess and its threat?
Ned: July 18, by Ned Riseley for Post45
“Get out of there!” I scream at the television, like it’s a horror film, like Big is Patrick Bateman and Carrie is Chloe Sevigny. No, Chloe Sevigny is not there. Chloe Sevigny is downtown. Chloe Sevigny is in the East Village with Harmony Korine. I scream like Big is the next Donald Trump. Get out of there, Carrie.
Andrea: July 24th by Andrea Long Chu for Post45, August 2018
If I’d read only the paragraph describing Mr. Big I easily would’ve felt that I’d read everything I needed to read this year. But blessed be, I read the whole damn thing! Honestly this is where I started, I read this one first.
The pacing sprints, as if the writers are trying to outrun their own chainsaw-wielding sanity. It’s a strength of the show, then, that it never wastes any of its runtime trying to persuade us that men are desirable, either individually or as a class. The men on this show are not expected to talk, and certainly not to make conversation. They are whisked through montages, like politicians into SUVs, the music and narration huddling around them protectively. Mercifully, we are never put through the agony of having to go on a fully realized date with any of them. They are not people; they are examples. Their job is simply to be there. I am given to believe, though I have no proof of this, that they are supposed to be attractive, or at least were supposed to be, in 1998. I can confirm that they are men. When called upon to speak, they deliver their lines admirably, in near-perfect English.
‘Six Feet Under’: The Oral History of HBO’s Beloved Landmark Series, by Jennifer Wood for Rolling Stone, August 2015
I’ve started re-watching this for no particular reason, perhaps it is a comfort to me of some kind? It seems like I must have read this before, but it felt new. I know there was an oral history of just the finale before, but.
Schlitterbahn’s Tragic Slide, by Skip Hollandsworth for Texas Monthly, August 2018
A waterpark visionary envisions so many things that make so many people happy and then he envisions a waterslide that ends up killing a young boy and this is that surprisingly fascinating story.
Ice Poseidon’s Lucrative, Stressful Life as a Live-Streamer, by Adrien Chen for The New Yorker, July 2018
Throughout this piece I was like who are these thousands of people following this guy who all sound like assholes and then a few paragraphs away from the very end, that question was answered for me! I didn’t even know IRL Livestreaming was a thing, which means i’m now in the demographic of people who are informed regarding What The Kids Are Up To These Days by The New Yorker.
Les Moonves and CBS Face Allegations of Sexual Misconduct, by Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker, August 2018
How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner for The New York Times Magazine, July 2018
It’s Taffy’s incredible voice, self-deprecation and honesty that guides you, the reader, through this very perplexing universe.
Longform Podcast #297: Elif Bautman
This isn’t a written work it is a podcast but it’s still ON THEME, so. I finally had the chance to listen to this one and it’s so incredible ’cause Elif Bautman is a genius and also she’s dating a woman now which is a really crucial development for everybody, especially for me who had assumed she was queer and included her in a queer book preview seven years ago only to have my ex politely inform me that she wasn’t queer! But she is now! Yay!
A Flower in the Debris: The Legacy of Benihana, Rocky Aoki’s All-American Empire, by Mayukh Sen for The Ringer, July 2018
I think I’ve only been to an actual Benihana once, but there used to be a restaurant of that same style in Ann Arbor that was my absolute favorite. Anyhow, interesting little trip into the annals of food history, here! Also I did not realize that Devon Aoki (a model) and Steve Aoki (a DJ) were his children.
The Rub of Rough Sex, by Chelsea G. Summers for Longreads, July 2018
This is a piece about abuse. This is a piece about kink and a piece about consent. This is a piece about the law. This is a piece about some powerful men whom I’ve never met, and it’s a piece about some nobody men whom I’ve loved. This is a piece about rough sex, about “rough sex,” and about how these two categories overlap and rub each other raw. This is a piece that was hard for me to write and may be hard for you to read. Most of all, this is a piece about why masculinity is fractured, and how women get caught in its cracks.
GOOP! how is she (“GP”, ugh) so aware yet so, so profoundly un-self-aware
The Longform podcast is so good! I finally listened to Jia Tolentino’s episode the other day because the download had been taking up space on my phone for literal months, and it did not disappoint!
Why am I obsessed with pieces about water parks? Idk but I’m glad they keep popping up in this column. Relatedly, I recently found out that Skip Hollandsworth in particular and Texas Monthly in general have several audiobooks and article compilation books on Amazon, and oh boy was that a good day to be me.
In the days before Tivo and On Demand and all that, I used to set an alarm and wake up to watch reruns of “Six Feet Under” on the British TV station Channel 4 at… I want to say either 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. I think I find that show soothing because death is typically depicted in the media as dramatic and chaotic and scary, but in “Six Feet Under,” the process surrounding it seems quite soothing and methodical. And Frances Conroy’s voice is quite soothing and methodical in its own right as well.
So many great articles in this round-up! I loved the Six Feet Under one and the discussions of Sex and the City. I’m at the end of an extremely boring week at work (nothing to do but check AS every 15 minutes! Sounds like a dream but having hardly any work to do has made this week crawl by.) But this collection of interesting things to read has helped the afternoon speed past. Thanks Riese!
That. Rough. Sex. Article. Tho. ?
The Longform interview was a delight, and as someone else who was confused when Elif Batuman seemed to be straight it’s nice to have that clarified.
The writing in the Goop piece was so great.