HELLO and welcome to the 280th 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 Luca Magnotta! 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.
2018: The Year In Ideas: A Review Of Ideas, by Alex Pareene for The Huffington Post, December 2018
This is so funny! It just really you know, cuts to the bone of the matter, with Pareene writing essays on behalf of a bunch of people who he didn’t get actual essays from, including very notably an Anonymous Trump official, Bari Weiss, Chuck Schumer and for the finale, HuffPost itself. “The Year Is Ending: Here’s What That Means For 2018” really stretches the limits of the form.
Animal Instinct: How Cat-Loving Sleuths Found an Accused Killer Sadist, by Bill Jensen for Rolling Stone, March 2014
I can’t tell you how one ends up back in a Luca Magnotta hole every now and then, I can only tell you that it happens, and many of us live to tell the tale.
I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America., by Lauren Hough for The Huffington Post, December 2018
Oh my friends would you like to hear the true tales of a masc lesbian cable guy in Virginia? You would you would you would you would. It’s funny and scary and disturbing and interesting and touching and all the other adjectives too.
Here Was A Plague, by Tom Crewe for The London Review of Books, September 2018
This is about HIV/AIDS and a bunch of books about it and might be one of my favorite things I read in 2018! The stuff about the alleged “Patient Zero” is particularly fascinating.
American Dreams in a Chinese Takeout, by Katie Salisbury for The Ringer, December 2018
The exhausting and often exploitative system by which Chinese immigrants from a particular region come to the U.S. to work at specific Chinese restaurants was put in the spotlight by Lauren Hilgers in a 2014 New Yorker story. That story is what piqued the interest of the author of this piece into befriending and learning more about the Chinese restaurant workers in her own backyard for this story.
How Mark Burnett Resurrected Donald Trump As An Icon of American Success, by Patrick Radden Keefe for The New Yorker, January 2019
I wasn’t sure that I’d get through this piece when I opened it up but boy did I — having never seen The Apprentice, this was an alarming and well-told piece of background on our current moment. I mean:
“The Apprentice” was built around a weekly series of business challenges. At the end of each episode, Trump determined which competitor should be “fired.” But, as Braun explained, Trump was frequently unprepared for these sessions, with little grasp of who had performed well. Sometimes a candidate distinguished herself during the contest only to get fired, on a whim, by Trump. When this happened, Braun said, the editors were often obliged to “reverse engineer” the episode, scouring hundreds of hours of footage to emphasize the few moments when the exemplary candidate might have slipped up, in an attempt to assemble an artificial version of history in which Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip decision made sense. During the making of “The Apprentice,” Burnett conceded that the stories were constructed in this way, saying, “We know each week who has been fired, and, therefore, you’re editing in reverse.” Braun noted that President Trump’s staff seems to have been similarly forced to learn the art of retroactive narrative construction, adding, “I find it strangely validating to hear that they’re doing the same thing in the White House.”
The Rise, Lean, And Fall Of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, by Anne Helen Petersen for Buzzfeed, December 2018
I really disliked Lean In BUT I really liked this article!
When Sandberg became a public figure, she was represented as exceptional, a paragon of female leadership, rooting for every woman in the world. But there was something missing from that image: her actual work at Facebook. The reality of Silicon Valley is that it’s commerce by any means necessary. And the reality of Sandberg is that she’s excellent at it. Which explains why her COO behavior was treated as a “revelation”: There was so little room in her tidily constructed image to accommodate behaviors presumed natural for men operating within a capitalist system.
The Year in Dog, by Kelly Conaboy, December 2018
This one’s short. But sweet and my friends it is also resonant and rings true to personal experiences that were experienced by me, personally.
Ethnicity not a factor in Elizabeth Warren’s rise in law, by Anne Linskey for The Boston Globe, September 2018
The Globe really set out to investigate this situation fully and completely and I think that what turned up is very relevant at this moment. (This is not intended as a statement on or endorsement of her candidacy, just that this is important information to have in your arsenal.)
The Year in Rebuilding, by Amy Kenny for Hazlitt, December 2018
Made me wish I had rebuilt this year. Or last year. That also would’ve been a good time to rebuild. Some of this gave me goosebumps. There’s a line in there almost identical to one I wrote myself, and that was chilling too.
Living in the Yukon, where rates of violence against women are three times higher than the national average (and those rates are even higher for Indigenous women), if felt like there was always something worse happening. As a journalist, I was often covering it. My nose wasn’t broken like the woman I interviewed about her domestic assault. Ryan hadn’t threatened “ ‘til death do us part” like the ex in the harassment trial I covered. Besides, I was a lippy feminist who talked back to catcallers and told her friends to ditch partners who were leeches, or alcoholics, or simply mean. I wasn’t the kind of person who landed in an abusive relationship, let alone stayed in one for a year. Still, somehow, I did.
The New Reading Environment, by The Editors for n+1, Fall 2018
The introduction to Issue 32, the Bad Faith Issue. A lot to think about going into this bold new year, my friends!
Back then, we could not have imagined feeling nostalgic for the blogosphere, a term we mocked for years until we found it charming and utopian. Blogs felt like gatherings of the like-minded, or at least the not completely random. Even those who stridently disagreed shared some basic premises and context — why else would they be spending time in the comments section of a blog that looked like 1996? Today’s internet, by contrast, is arbitrary and charmless. On social media, criticism once confined to the comments now comes as free-range abuse directed at other readers. Readers can address all parties instantaneously — writers, editors, publishers, and the world. And so writers who publish online peer into the fishbowl of readerly reception. Drop in some flakes and watch the fish swarm.