Things I Read That I Love #272: Teenagers Find Adult-Free Places The Way Rain Runs Downhill

HELLO and welcome to the 272nd 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 Dr. Death! 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.

Star Search, by Charlotte Shane for Real Life Magazine, June 2017

Hicks, every one of us, and aging towards adulthood under the supervision of parents who’d driven drunk and fucked each other when they were enrolled in the same high schools. There’s a fatalism to life in some small communities, a sense of irrevocable closure, or worse, confinement in a space that was never open. It crept up on some of us before we’d graduated high school: a conviction that this was the town where we’d live and die, a place we could never escape because we didn’t matter, we were nobodies. But for a few years in the limbo between child and adult, we lived like we didn’t believe that.

Anatomy of a Tragedy, by Saul Elbein for The Texas Observer, August 2013

Dr. Death, by Matt Goodman for D Magazine, November 2016

I started listening to the Dr. Death podcast on my way back from Palm Springs for the LGBT Journalists Convening and it blew my mind, so of course I looked up everything I could find about this man, Christopher Duntsch who seems to be the worst surgeon of all time. It’s astounding how he was able to continue practicing.

The Trigger Effect, by Hallie Lieberman for The Atavist, August 2018

For years on the “stories we want” internal document for AS writers, I have asked for somebody to do deep dives into what happens after the killing of a trans person — what happens in their communities, how friends and family cope, what is the police response, etc. This particular case isn’t as clear-cut as many of those, or one in which a murderer needed to be tracked down, but this story was well done and thorough and respectful of everybody involved. Maybe ’cause a queer person wrote it….

Why the President Must Be Impeached, by Rebecca Solnit for LitHub, August 2018


I often thought of him as being something like a bull elephant in that state of enraged excitement called musth, with his staff trying to herd him away from his most destructive impulses while fearing getting trampled, for the news was forever full of stories of their attempts to gingerly dissuade, to nudge away, to redirect, to correct, and of all the ways they worked around him, and the fact that he is ignorant, incompetent, and often out of touch with what is legal and eager to violate the law, a state that would disqualify any other office holder, and even his statement after the Cohen verdict, that “I have seen it many times. I have had many friends involved in this stuff. It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal,” was not only the language of gangsters—“Trump goes full Gotti” Vanity Fair put it—but oblivious about why presidents shouldn’t talk like gansters about opposition to cooperation with the federal government, though that remark too had no obvious repercussion.

In My House, by Mikelle Street for Harper’s, September 2018

This is an incredibly deep and interesting look at the history of ballroom culture and its very vibrant present, also, this article reminded me of Vogue Evolution, who we were very obsessed with in 2009.

The Last (Porn) Picture Shows, by Carolina A. Miranda for The Los Angeles Times, July 2017

One of these is right by my house but I’ve never been by it when someone’s been walking in or out. But I have maintained a solid level of curiosity.

Paying a Price for 8 Days of Flying in America, by Sarah Lyall for The New York Times, June 2017

I would’ve just given up on life.

The Sociopath Who Loved Me Enough, by Swan Huntley for Autostraddle, August 2018

I forgot to share this one last time, but it’s one of my favorite essays we’ve ever published!

Judging by the Cover: How the Magazine Industry’s Identity Crisis Is Playing Out on Its Front Page, by Alyssa Bereznak for The Ringer

On the position of the magazine cover over time, and what it’s worth now during the Death of Print era.

Welcome to SuperShe Island, Where Men Are Banned and Flowers Are Dinner, by Merin Curotto for The Observer, September 2018

So some rich lady has bought an entire island and charges people thousands of dollars to have retreats there without men! It’s like they’ve never heard of A-Camp. Or, I guess, it’s like they’re straight and rich? Their beds are… a little nicer than ours. And we don’t spend the whole time talking about how it’s okay not to find a Prince charming

What Happened at the Lake, by Jordan Smith for The Intercept, September 2018

Did a father drown his ten-year-old daughter intentionally? Either way, it’s clear that bad forensic science regarding drowning was used to secure his conviction, and now he wants another chance.

Andrea Long Chu Is the Cult Writer Changing Gender Theory, by Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard for Broadly, September 2018

Even when I disagree with her I still appreciate the points being made, you know?

Bottom surgery, as it is colloquially referred to, is coveted by many trans people because of its promise of self-actualization, but scorned—at least by the little devil on my shoulder—as a failure to embrace one’s body as it exists without surgery. Bottom surgery is also exactly what its more frowned-upon name describes: a reconstruction of sex organs. The ‘gender-confirmation surgery’ formulation is unfaithful to the model that figures gender as absolutely distinct from sex—the one that states that gender is an internal identity—whereas sex is just between the legs. ‘Gender confirmation surgery’ does not follow at all from that gender-sex schema; if you faithfully subscribed to it, you wouldn’t want to do anything at all to your genitals if gender is completely isolated from them.

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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 3202 articles for us.


  1. Loved these articles, as usual. Both star search and the loving a sociopath article deal with being young in a very distinctive way. They describe the experience the way I remember it being at the time, but had forgot about until I read these.

  2. i had no idea until reading the “anatomy of a tragedy” that “misadventure” was a medicinal term real enough to include on reports

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