Things I Read That I Love #274: Sheila Was Such a Fucking Bitch It Was Awesome

HELLO and welcome to the 274th 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 working at Disneyland! 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.


Why Did No One Save Gabriel?, by Carrett Therolf for The Atlantic, October 2018

Again it is so bizarre that there are so many stories like these — horrific tales of children in desperate need of help who end up killed by their abusive parents or fosters parents — as well as stories about kids being taken away from their parents who probably shouldn’t be.  I feel like I’ve said this here; before. I’d love to read a story about a DCFS agency that is actually functioning!

The Linguistics of ‘YouTube Voice’, by Julie Beck for The Atlantic, December 2015

Very interesting stuff, this.

A Surgeon So Bad It Was Criminal, by Laura Beil for ProPublica, October 2018

Who wants to read a FOURTH article about Christopher Dunstch!?!?! THIS GAL. I’m legitimately unclear why I continue reading the same basic stories and assemblies of information about this case over and over, after listening to the entire podcast series as well. I’m still just — in awe that it happened!

The Ultimate Sitcom: What Makes ‘The Good Place” So Good?, by Sam Anderson for The New York Times Magazine, October 2018

I have loved Sam Anderson’s writing for so long, it doesn’t surprise me that I also love him writing about a show that I love.

The Story I Kept Hidden, by Gabrille Bellot for LitUb, October 2018

There’s almost invariably an element of misogyny in abuse and assault, even when the assailants in question don’t realize it. Misogyny, as Elias Canetti says of cruel laughter, presupposes a sense of grotesque superiority—mental, physical, sexual. To look at a woman’s body and believe, with grin or grimace, you have power, ownership, sexual conquest over it—what is this, if not a delusion born out of believing, at some level, that you are superior to the body before you?

The Uses and Abuses of Politics for Sex, by Natasha Lennard for Logic Magazine, October 2018

I cannot pretend to have comprehended every idea in this essay but it was a lot of interesting stuff to think about, and think about it — my friends, I did.

The Movie Assassin: How The English Patient Ruined My Life, by Sarah Miller for Popula, September 2018

Everybody recommended this essay seemingly all at the same time last week, and eventually I was like, listen, fine, okay, and also, they were right, it’s brilliant. UNLIKE THE ENGLISH PATIENT.

The Real Cost of Working in the House of Mouse, by Jaeh J. Lee for Topic Magazine, October 2018

It is wild how much $$ must be going to shareholders when the park is staffed entirely by unpaid “interns” and even long-time wage-paid employees can’t even afford rent or fresh food!

The Gilded Age of (Unpaid) Internet Writing, by Rebecca Schuman for Longreads, September 2018

On the webzines of the ’90s! Remember when Salon and Slate were the only like “professional” places to write online and everything else was just people having fun.

A Body Like a Home, by Gwen Benaway for Hazlitt, May 2018

Being loved and having surgery are linked for me, because the possibility of one relies on the other. I want to live a life where I don’t have to write an essay about my genitals or wonder what you’re thinking when you look at me. I don’t want to kiss a boy’s forehead in the morning when I wake up and worry that he’s afraid of his roommates realizing I slept over. I want to stay inside a moment of being loved as long as I can. Surgery doesn’t stop transphobia and is not a solution to the shame people place on trans women, but it does let me be present in my body without feeling an overwhelming sense of discomfort.


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Riese is the 36-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 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 2581 articles for us.

13 Comments

  1. /child abuse/

    That article about Gabriel was… wow. terrible. That woman who became a caseworker in her 50’s and said she tried to have compassion with the abusive parents because when her children were young she “probably would have lose them cause I spanked them good.” Like what ???????

  2. I hated the English Patient too! There were so many movies around that time that people found to be so profound that I just didn’t find profound. Or I liked them all right, but found the praise to be overblown.

    The essay itself fascinated me. I would have been annoyed by the writer in her youth, though I would have laughed at some of her jokes. Maybe because she didn’t seem to have any empathy for those around her? I struggled within myself while reading it: do I not like her because we have different opinions about some stuff, or because of her actions, or why do we even like some people and not others? (k-hole infinity)

    But the journey she describes from youthful certainty, through conformity where success is its own (only) reward, and it turns out that you played yourself/were fooling yourself/let yourself get caught up in an inauthentic trap…there’s a lot to mine there about how we define success for ourselves.

    And it was based on the English Patient and its ilk being the worst (though KST IS dreamy), which is a theory I can get behind! Trump because English Patient. Alas.

  3. 1. Thank you for introducing me to Gwen Benaway‘s amazing writing!
    2. Years back I had the flu and thought in my feverish mind that was the right time to finally watch The English Patient. I caught the first minutes then slept through the rest. Seems kind of appropriate.

  4. I liked the English Patient essay, it’s interesting the way we rank certain things in how we see ourselves. I think I probably like more movies than the author does, but I probably would like reading her harsh reviews. I’ve never seen the English Patient though.
    That Gabriel story was awful.
    For some reason I didn’t realize there was a Dr. Death podcast, so I just started listening to it, thanks for that.

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