Things I Read That I Love #291: Through a Dazzlingly Quick Intimacy To Violent Disagreement, Then Silence

HELLO and welcome to the 291st 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 Benningtonl! 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.

I am sorry for missing a week back there, we were at A-Camp and I was quite honestly not reading anything, but I was loving a lot!

A Way Out, by Tarence Ray for Popula, November 2018

A bleak look at how the world of non-profits is often as rife with compromise and the promotion of individual interests (generally the interests of a small group of wealthy donors) as corporations or the government itself!

Let’s Go, Lesbians, by Andrea Long Chu for Artforum, June 2019

On Jill Johnston’s Lesbian Separatism.

In short, everyone was busy accusing everyone else of trying to get laid. This was the hairy, horned heart of it, a generalized anxiety that women’s liberation would be unmasked as sexual politics in the worst sense of Kate Millett’s famous phrase: sex transvested as politics, a Russian doll of policy proposals and radical protests that nevertheless housed at its center a single four-letter word.

Before, and After, the Jogger Survivors of the real ‘Central Park Five’ Attacker, by Sarah Weinman for The Cut, June 2019

The Central Park Five’s heartbreaking and tragic story is getting more attention with the release of “When They See Us.” In addition to destroying the promising lives of five innocent boys, the NYPD’s decision to pursue their arrests rather than the actual rapists’ meant that many more women were raped and even killed by the same person who committed the Central Park jogger rape.

Why Do Gay Men Walk So Fast?, by Louis Staples for GQ, June 2019

I’ll tell you what, this is not true about lesbians because nobody can ever keep up with me and it is a DRAG. Also though this was a genuinely interesting essay relevant to my interests.

Queer People Can’t Forget Our Own Mortality — Except In Montrose, by Bryan Washington for Buzzfeed, June 2019

Some nights, there’s a steam that rises from the bars. Living in a bayou will do that. And it smells a little bit like sex. Or maybe not sex, specifically, but a place where sex could happen — where the exact kind of fucking you are looking for, the sort you couldn’t find anywhere else, is happening. There’s the leather bar and the sports bar and the dancier bar and sex club, but the main thing is the road that sits between them. It’s a road that leads to somewhere, walked by folks who’ve never had that before.

In the Jungle: Inside the Long, Hidden Genealogy of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, by Rian Malan for Rolling Stone

Wowowowowowowowow. Fascinating!!

The Secret Oral History of Bennington: The 1980s’ Most Decadent College, by Lili Anolik for Esquire, May 2019

I don’t know why I found this so engaging but I sure did! Even with Bret Easton Ellis all up in there being himself. I guess it’s sort of about how one develops as an artist in a certain time at a certain place. Nick DelBanco ended up transferring to Michigan and I took a class (or maybe two?) from him, so that was an interesting dimension to this too.

The Best Abortion Ever, by Sarah Miller for The Cut, May 2019

The most brutally honest and unapologetic and somehow cathartic piece about abortion you will ever read. I think pro-lifers will hate it.

What Really Happened to Malaysia’s Missing Airplane, by William Langewiesche for The Atlantic, July 2019

Among other elements of one of this week’s most heralded longreads, this piece is notable for how accessible the science is and also that it comes to an actual conclusion, previously hard to find.

On Eyebrows, by Rachel Simon for Gay Magazine, June 2019

This starts out about picking out all your eyebrow hairs and then gradually becomes something else.

Just explore your body more, he says, they all say. But when my fingers roam I feel nothing. I use a vibrator and that’s something, yes, more than with him and without its help, but it’s not enough. It’s waves of pleasure that never add up, that don’t amount to what I know they’re supposed to. How can I explore my body when it gives me no signs of what it likes, what it needs? I have nothing to go on. I am starting from scratch every time.

Grease Turns 40, by Gwynne Watkins for Yahoo, April 2018

Honestly this week’s readings felt a little dark so here is a lighter thing I read just before camp because I was thinking about Grease and the last day for unspecific reasons and it’s an oral history in which The Pink Ladies and T-Birds “remember the wild ride filming the carnival finale.” You guys they choreographed that final number THE SAME DAY THEY SHOT IT!!

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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 3200 articles for us.


  1. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” always makes me think of Marcel from Friends…

  2. That Bennington piece was really really good. And I like Bret EE being himself… he’s pompous but for some reason it isn’t annoying?

    Going to Google pics of the campus!

  3. The Malaysia Airlines piece is so incredibly well-written and compelling, but also ends up being so bleak. Just…hoo boy.

  4. The language in the Rolling Stones article about “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is cringingly outdated, even for the year 2000 (I think?).

  5. Good Lord, Bryan Washington captured the feel of bygone Montrose. I loved living there for all the reasons he described and more. Too bad that the neighborhood is gentrifying.

  6. I feel like the Malaysia Air article is going to haunt my dreams. It’s one of the most profoundly disturbing, sad and horrifying things I’ve ever encountered. I listened to the reading of it while home alone, snuggled in bed with crochet, thinking it would be a grim but intriguing and fairly dry bedtime story…. I’m now so shaken that, weirdly, I feel scared to leave my room (as if a depressed and deranged pilot might be lurking in my kitchen-?). Argh. Why do I do this to myself? And why do people do such extremely terrible things things to each other?

  7. Am I the only person who thought pre-makeover Sandy was sexier than post-makeover Sandy? I wanted her to be my gf and she reminded me of a girl I liked at school.

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