HELLO and welcome to the 314th 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 how the awful stuff won!! 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.
As mentioned in prior TIRTLs this year, I am, once again, spending copious hours reading The New York Times and New York Magazine online, and I am trying very hard to not have this column become “The NYT’s greatest hits” BUT IT’S HARD. Do you know how many times a day i had to check my NYT app during the election limbo? LIke every two minutes?
Times Change, by Reeves Wideman for New York Magazine, November 2020
Cultural change within The New York Times, 2020. Fascinating to me of course, curious if it is equally interesting to people who aren’t in media?
How the Awful Stuff Won, by Tom Scocca for The New York Review of Books, November 2020
A book about Westboro Baptist Church and a book about Online Extremists and the Hijacking of the American Conversation have similar implications for our new world of informational bubbles and rampant fake news.
I Watched My Friend Dying on Facebook But It Was All a GoFundMe Scam, by Ssarah Treleaven for OneZero, October 2020
Pretending that you have cancer to elicit sympathy and bilk friends and family out of money is terrible for all kinds of personal reasons, but it also contributes to a much broader breakdown of an essential social compact — one where our default position is to believe people who ask for help with their extraordinary circumstances or plain bad luck.
The Genius of Spelling Bee, by Deb Amien for The New York Times, October 2020
I too love this little game and it’s cute that there’s a community around it!
The Sorority That Tried to Abolish Itself, by Brock Colyar for The Cut, October 2020
I think the weirdest thing about rush as I experienced it (for one night before dropping out) was like, wow, this is a thing still? Nobody is upset about this?
Is There Such a Thing as Far-Right Literature? by Andrew Marzoni for aeon, October 2020
While the heirs of the National Review magazine and their more centrist allies wage culture wars in hardcover and wide circulation, the literati to their Right self-publish on message boards, Amazon and as shared PDFs; where their mainstream counterparts uphold the stern, ratiocentric rhetoric of their aristocratic forebears, the poets of neofascism, the ‘Dark Enlightenment’ and the alt-Right are proudly uncredentialed and crude, pushing the spirit of irony championed by T S Eliot, the arch-traditionalist of modernism, to such extremes that the conditions of literature and the merits of art appear secondary to the sincere and uncensored dissemination of hate. To define Right-wing literature is to ask what literature is and what it’s for, but the most ready-to-hand answers (beauty, truth, empathy, expression) are incongruous to conservatism’s means, if not to the perverse utopianism of its final objectives.
Shameless on Vacation, by Anna Silman for The Cut, October 2020
On the influencers and nomads who have continued traveling internationally throughout the pandemic and are NOT apologizing for it.
Tell-All, by Eda Gunaydin for The Sydney Review of Books, October 2020
On the benefits and drawbacks of online confession.
I am worried that this is a way of pantomiming a level of comfort with vulnerability that I actually lack; that I am screaming into the void without having to receive any feedback. Or, put another way, I fear that to over-share is to seek out the rewards of being loved without submitting to the mortifying ideal of being known. Dropping a tweet thread but committing to not reading the replies. Posting anonymously on my throw-away so I can say everything.
How western travel influencers got tangled up in Pakistan’s politics, by Samira Shackle for The Guardian, November 2020
Travel bloggers and instagram influencers have been drawing attention to Pakistan as a tourist destination, but for one filmmaker specifically, her purpose in the country and involvement in national politics is generating a lot of controversy and raising some questions!
Why Americans Have Turned to Nesting, by Amanda Mull for The Atlantic, November 2020
We are inside and now we care about our insides more.
What’s the Point of Truth If It Destroys Hope?, by AJ Daulerio for The Small Bow, March 2020
Because one of the things about being sober I’ve learned since then is that it actually does require some real self-honesty and humility to properly qualify. Do you know when you can’t be rigorously honest about yourself anymore? When you’re one of the most terrible defendants on earth in a gigantic jackass media trial.
Just the Facts, Ma’am, by Sjohnna McCray for The Tahoma Literary Review, Fall/Winter 2019
On the death of his mother 28 years since he last saw her and on food and blood rushing in and out and so many other things—
When I was little, I used to watch her standing at a bureau and furiously scribbling her notes on paper until she filled every inch, not just horizontally but in the margins and along the edges. She’d do this until she needed another white sheet and off she went—documenting an invisible life—at least not visible to me. No one understood her manifesto, but she would send my father to Kinkos to make 100 copies. No, 150. No, no, just get 100.
Somehow in quarantine I am reading/watching more than ever about international travel to countries I don’t already know very much about? Perhaps it’s that I can do so without feeling jealous of people who can afford to go to these places because nobody can go anywhere right now.
You’re My Present This Year”: An Oral History of the Folgers Incest Ad, by Gabriella Paiella for GQ, December 2019
I think the headline more or less sums up the topic of this dive into a strange moment in television history.
Making Amends With Lean Cuisine, by Mariella Rudi for Healthyish, October 2020
With Lean Cuisine, you never knew if you were going to burn your tongue or hit a cold patch, but you could always count on feeling bad about yourself.