Things I Read That I Love #270: You Will Be Left With Nothing But Blank Flat Envy

HELLO and welcome to the 270th 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 high-brow low crime! 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.


All Reproduction Is Assisted, by Merve Emre for The Boston Review, with a response by Andrea Long Chu, August 2018

In addition to describing a process for freezing one’s eggs that has officially ended any desire I had to do so, Merve’s piece tackles reproductive technology, the body as a site of political discourse, the imagined feminist pod-baby future and relays the narrative of several people attempting pregnancy, including a lesbian couple. Then of course you will read the reason I found it in the first place, which’s that Andrea Long Chu was one of the writers solicited to wrote a response to it:

Having a child, like heterosexuality, is a very stupid idea. It will not end well—for you, your friends, the planet. Others may applaud and encourage you. Do not be deceived: they are just being nice. Children are a cancer. Shulamith Firestone’s program in The Dialectic of Sex (1970) isn’t just insane for wanting to outsource childbirth to the machines. The automation of gestational labor is a modest proposal next to the notion that humankind should be reproducing at all. What’s crazier, believing in people pods or just believing in people? Compare Valerie Solanas in the SCUM Manifesto (1967), skeptical of even her own plan for cybernetic parthenogenesis: “Why should there be future generations? What is their purpose?”

The Golden Generation: China’s Rich Kids Head West, by Jiayang Fan for The New Yorker, February 2016

I was in Vancouver last weekend and I read this out loud to my traveling companion as we drove back over the border because it is about Vancouver, and overseas investment in Canadian real estate, and why newly wealthy Chinese business people are sending their children to the U.S.

The Ethical Dilemma of High-Brow True Crime, by Alice Bolin for Vulture, August 2018

Here we are, right up my alley!

…that is maybe what irks me the most about true crime with highbrow pretensions. It appeals to the same vices as traditional true crime, and often trades in the same melodrama and selective storytelling, but its consequences can be more extreme. Adnan Syed was granted a new trial after Serial brought attention to his case; Avery was denied his appeal, but people involved in his case have nevertheless been doxxed and threatened. I’ve come to believe that addictiveness and advocacy are rarely compatible. If they were, why would the creators of Making a Murderer have advocated for one white man, when the story of being victimized by a corrupt police force is common to so many people across the U.S., particularly people of color?

Welcome To Hotel Millennial, by Daisy Alitio for The Outline, August 2018

I shannot pay $229 a night for a 150-square foot room without an iron I SHANNOT. Less personal space and more communal space is easily my nightmare, but — what an interesting trend! I just love reading about the business of travel.

Obstruction of Justice, by Charlotte Shane for Harpers, August 2018

On rape culture, untested rape kits, how we approach the problem and how we might take another approach.

Does Anyone Have the Right to Sex?, by Amia Srivasan for The London Review of Books, March 2018

The question, then, is how to dwell in the ambivalent place where we acknowledge that no one is obligated to desire anyone else, that no one has a right to be desired, but also that who is desired and who isn’t is a political question, a question usually answered by more general patterns of domination and exclusion. It is striking, though unsurprising, that while men tend to respond to sexual marginalisation with a sense of entitlement to women’s bodies, women who experience sexual marginalisation typically respond with talk not of entitlement but empowerment. Or, insofar as they do speak of entitlement, it is entitlement to respect, not to other people’s bodies.

The Serve-Us Industry, by Olivia Rutigliano for The Baffler, August 2018

On those terrible Seamless ads and the whole idea of it all…

The point of this whole ad genre is not to highlight marketplace competition, or longer-term trends in the service sector. No, it’s to transform humanity at large as the enemy of hermetic consumer pleasure. With this quasi-Hobbesian outlook driven firmly home, it’s but a small step toward positing that certain humans are merely lesser ones. The people performing the services that strenuously exalt your preference and gratify your convenience thus become the objects of your snobbery.

How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions, by Jeff Maysh for The Daily Beast, July 2018

This piece has already been optioned to be made into a film starring Matt Damon, directed by Ben Affleck. I think part of what’s so compelling about it is that like; we played this game! Most Americans were playing it, in the ’90s. And it turns out WE NEVER HAD A CHANCE. I did win some free Cokes though.

I Didn’t Know I Was Trans Until I Got Sober, by Finlay Games for narrative.ly, August 2018

“When I stopped drinking, I finally realized the deep sadness I’d been trying to drown with alcohol was really gender dysphoria.”

The Delay, by Rachel Monroe for Esquire Magazine, April 2018

The story of a child abduction on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico that threw into focus so many issues with how these cases are handled.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," 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. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2674 articles for us.

5 Comments

  1. Not having kids for the sake of the planet sounds like a noble thing to do by a person who needs a reason to do or not do things. I don’t want kids because I don’t want kids. XD

    Now I know what is meant by “incel”. In the case of that article, something I’ve noticed is not just the sense of entitlement certain people have but also how apparently, they’re seeking validation not from women, but through women. The subsequent entitlement is just a product of that, I think. If you look at the progression of male life, you’ll see that the thing most of the boys want to do is whatever everyone else is doing or has done. They want the NERF, the LEGOs, the action figures, the Sock em Boppers, etc. Girls have cooties until puberty. Once puberty gets rid of The Cooties, everyone wants a girlfriend.

    If they employ the methods everyone else has used to get a girl but fail, certain individuals don’t have the sense to realize that there’s something wrong with them specifically, like say, their lack of acknowledging that they’re not actually owed anything by anyone. It’s the plague of people who have never had to work for anything in their life; they’re a bunch of whiners who complain about how unfair specific persons are and do nothing to improve themselves. A relationship requires more than one person, so you best come to terms with how your emotions are not the only ones that matter. The person who disagrees with this last sentence is a narcissist who deserves a shit love life.

    The article preceding that one is very much relative to this one (you did good to put one after the other!!) except this is just all that I said exacerbated. I think George Takei was the one who shared a video of a woman who attacked an idiot who groped her from behind and a lot of males were feeling sorry for the guy and saying if she didn’t want to be groped, she shouldn’t dress all slutty. I won’t talk about how inappropriate it is to touch someone no matter what; after all, based on the news, the school dress codes these days are implying that shoulders give concentration preventing erections. The biggest issue I had with the responses are that they ignored the text saying SHE WAS AT WORK. “At work” means the “slutty clothes” she wore ARE HER UNIFORM, not something she’s wearing for shits and giggles.

  2. Amia Srinivasan’s piece was incredible! Such a nuanced discussion of choice, and how sex is nothing like anything else… I particularly enjoyed this:

    “Can we imagine predominantly straight dating apps like OKCupid or Tinder creating a web series that encouraged the straight ‘community’ to confront its sexual racism or fatphobia? If that is an unlikely prospect, and I think it is, it’s hardly because straight people aren’t body fascists or sexual racists. It’s because straight people – or, I should say, white, able-bodied cis straight people – aren’t much in the habit of thinking there’s anything wrong with how they have sex. By contrast, gay men – even the beautiful, white, rich, able-bodied ones – know that who we have sex with, and how, is a political question.”

    Thanks for this great round-up!

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