Things I Read That I Loved #312: The Key Word is “Oneself,” Which Is Irresistible To 20-Year-Olds

HELLO and welcome to the 312th 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 know more about making police shows in 2020!! 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.


Un-Adopted, by Caitlin Moscatello for The Cut, August 2020

YouTuber parents who made hella $$$ from vlogging about their family found even more success when they adopted a special needs child from China. Then shit got… dark.

Sick Days, by Russell Brandom for The Verge, May 2020

Believe it or not, Instacart exploits its workers. This is also a really interesting breakdown of how it works to work for instacart.

Getting High Off Your Own Supply, by Liz R, July 2020

This is long but as soon as I pulled it up I couldn’t put it down. It’s about the 2010s through the lens of a trans videogame designer who is much smarter than me so all I can truly say is that it gave me a lot to think about.

“Anyone who is good enough at manipulating people can leverage this collective thirst for accountability to gain the moral upper hand and find people who will follow them fervently and loyally. Patrick Bateman mastered the art of having the moral upper hand when he spouted out a bunch of nonsense liberal platitudes and it didn’t make him any less of a psychopath. It actually just solidified how much of a psychopath he is.”

Screen Share: A College Teacher’s Zoom Journal,  by Ann Fadiman for Wired, June 2020

With the possible exception of Capitol Hill, there is no place more tolerant of Boomers than academia. Instead of being discreetly ushered toward the door at 65 or pressured to dye our hair, we are permitted to age gracefully into éminence grise-dom. But what will happen if we constantly forget that in order to screen-share you have to press the green button and then the blue button, and keep saying “Can you see me?” when of course they can see you, and screw up when we toggle between Gallery View and Speaker View (which, you’ve got to admit, is pretty confusing, since if you’re on Gallery View and you hover your mouse at the upper right corner of your screen, the button says “Speaker View”—by which it means not “That’s what you’re on” but “Click here and that’s what you’ll get”)?

What Was It Like to Be On Supermarket Sweep?, by Marah Eakin for The AV Club, August 2014

An interview with a man who was on the show with his girlfriend many moons ago. THE MEAT IS PLASTIC.

How Does It Feel To Make Police Shows In 2020?, as told to Lila Shapiro for Vulture, July 2020

I was assigned to write an episode for that show about a young Black boy who witnesses a murder and is shocked into silence. I really wanted to talk about the boy’s fear of this white police officer who’s trying to gain his trust, because he’s been raised not to trust this man, based on his position and his job and the color of his skin. But the showrunner, who was white, didn’t have any appetite for that type of storytelling, and we went in a different direction. So the episode becomes a story about a Black boy who instinctively trusts a white police officer, without questioning how that dynamic would really play out or acknowledging systemic racism. It always bothered me and felt completely disingenuous.

Vivian Stephens Helped Turn Romance Writing Into a Billion-Dollar Industry. Then She Got Pushed Out., by Mimi Swartz for Texas Monthly, August 2020

A compelling history of the romance novel industry itself lies beneath this story of how Vivian Stephens revolutionized the romance novel business, founded the RWA, and then ended up sidelined by white writers, readers and publishers who barely noticed she — or other women of color — were there at all.

What Is MasterClass Actually Selling?, by Carina Chocano for The Atlantic, September 2020

They can’t take your education away from you as it’s possible to be. As though it’s revealing another layer of unpaid labor—cultural labor—one is expected to do in order to secure the privilege of performing actual labor.

Viral Video Seemed To Show BLM Storming A Church. The Real Story Is Much Darker, by Anne Helen Peterson for Buzzfeed, August 2020

A church in upstate New York hosted an AR-15 raffle to lure Black Lives Matter protestors to their openly racist, bigoted church, where they took a video of the protest and made it go viral, claiming activists were storming churches, period. “What people need to know is we’re not protesting churches,” local leader Lukee Forbes said. “We’re protesting this church.

Sweatpants Forever, by Irina Aleksander for The New York Times, July 2020

How the pandemic will forever change the fashion industry – which was already due for quite a reckoning, IT SEEMS.

Good Conflict, by Molly Fischer for The Cut, August 2020

I interviewed Sarah Schulman in 2017 and of course dug into this release with intense interest and passion.

Jammed Up, by Lexis-Olivier Ray and Samantha Helou Hernandez for Land Mag, July 2020

The inside story of what went wrong at Squirl, including some really appalling working conditions in a tiny hidden kitchen with no ventilation.

Perverts Like Us, by Heather O’Neill for Hazlitt, June 2020

What I liked most about that day was that we were together, looking at the magazines together. We had triumphed over the adults. We were doing things they could never imagine us doing. It was our collective secret that we were obsessed with sex. Our sexuality was kept secret from us, while it was exhibited, examined and exploited by men.

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO 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 2840 articles for us.

4 Comments

  1. I am so incredibly glad to have read Getting High Off Your Own Supply. I didn’t really know what I was reading for a long time, and then the piece shifts into focus, and speaks directly to problems I’ve been spinning around for years. Over in the neighboring tech industry, almost the exact same shit went down but with even less hints of radicalism and fewer successes, but the article isn’t just speaking to a phenomenon among a few particular parallel microcosms of (wannabe) organizers. Somehow this article wraps a large array of occurrences across society over the course of a decade into the mistakes of a very particular brand of activist and then zooms back out to how that helped lead to our current reality. Finally, some of the critique I’ve been waiting to see! This decade may be terrible so far, but please, at least if we could see more creativity and strategy spinning out of this type of critique, and less celebrity-focused activism and media-based organizing.

    • It’s funny because the key personal story arc she describes is the actually in some ways the opposite of what I experienced. The people she talks about were queer and into identity politics, not so into class struggle, but went on to abruptly focus on unionization. Confusing. Meanwhile the people I knew in tech were really into the imagined idea of class struggle with a distaste for identity politics and queerness, and they went on to focus on a particular type of pseudo-labor activism popular among a certain strain of reformist nonprofits. Also confusing. Different, yet aligning on apparent failures to consider history, goals, values, strategy, wtf are we even doing here. Things are hard, but there’s little excuse for posturing to be leaders of a movement without even considering what that movement might be, much less what it means to be a leader of it. It’s like, one day somebody is having a meltdown that the FBI might know their name and is telling people not to work with nonprofits, and the next, surprise!, you see them featured in the NYT with their nonprofit buddies, claiming to represent you. It’s all the same story described in the article – media attention and ego poison everything, and we end up with toxic little shell organizations that people on the outside think are actual movements that are gonna save the world, presumably with the sheer power of PR. But really they’re doing next to nothing besides building personal brands and breaking people. And then we’re all caught in a trap where the image is all that matters even when the goal is to make it stop being all that matters. In the 2000s, people fought over the email account when they couldn’t get along in their work; in the 2010s, fighting over the twitter account maybe *was* the work.

  2. thinking about so many activists and wannabe activists i know who view themselves as queer moral gods and goddesses. I know several popular queer cis and trans women who have doxxed partners and made entire communities delete them because they are “abusers”- when i know first hand what happened was conflict and not abuse. god-i hope it bites them in the ass one day. i’m so tired of the do gooder nonsense when we are all flawed people under an oppressive system. Don’t tout transformative justice my queeries and then punish cancel and excommunicate past friends or partners cause you can’t deal with your own flaws and accountability!

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