HELLO and welcome to the 318th 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 the muppets!! 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.
A Ruthless Ranking Of The 25 Best Muppets, According To Listeners, by Linda Holmes, Stephen Thompson, Aisha Harris and Glen Weldom for NPR, April 2021
This is like one of my most favorite reads of the year for sure, because I simply am who I am
“I’d have liked to see Sam [the Eagle] roosting in a higher perch on this list, but apparently not all of us so deeply empathize with the big, dour lug. It’s not his politics we identify with, necessarily, nor his default moral outrage. No, some of us just respond to his whole vibe, which I will herewith attempt to distill to its essence: I never know what’s going on, and I never understand what anyone’s talking about, but if I did? I wouldn’t like it.”
Everything We Do Brings Us Closer To The Truth, by A.G.S. Gordon for Joyland Magazine
I read this thinking it was a personal essay but JK it’s fiction but IDK if that matters, you know?
The sale of jewelry is almost always about sex, which means that sometimes it’s not about sex, it’s about something else, and whatever else it might be about is usually loss. The loss situation is most often found when you see a woman alone crossing the threshold. Even a man crossing the threshold alone could be coming in to buy a gift: an engagement ring, something of that nature. Don’t count him out as a sex tale in the making.
The Therapy-App Fantasy, by Molly Fischer for New York Magazine, March 2021
I did Talkspace for a few months back in early 2016 and found it very weird! Fascinating that their main clients these days are companies wanting to offer some form of mental health care to their employees.
I Called Off My Wedding. The Internet Will Never Forget, by Lauren Goode for Wired, April 2021
Having our post-internet memories so readily categorized and at our fingertips is always a trip. I’m not a person who deletes to forget and it is weird that it takes me (or anyone who looks at my social media) approx two seconds to take a full-blown journey into my past!
The King of the Geezer Teasers, by Joshua Hunt for Vulture, April 2021
There is a whole genre of very bad movies with very brief guest appearances by big name guys like Bruce Willis or Sylvester Stallone that this guy is just churning out and wow.
Coronavirus in Prisons Mini-Reading-List
I ended up reading a few pieces on this topic this month:
- I’m Incarcerated. This Is My Covid Lockdown Story, by John J. Lennon for The New York Times, April 2021
- A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons, by The Marshall Project
- Infected: How the Virus Tore Through the U.S. Prison System, by Eddie Burkhalter, Izzy Colón, Brendon Derr, Lazaro Gamio, Rebecca Griesbach, Ann Hinga Klein, Danya Issawi, K.B. Mensah, Derek M. Norman, Savannah Redl, Chloe Reynolds, Emily Schwing, Libby Seline, Rachel Sherman, Maura Turcotte and Timothy Williams.
I Spent My Life Consenting To Touch I Didn’t Want, by Melissa Febos for The New York Times, March 2021
Do you ever read something that is so highly and specifically related to you and your life and your feelings that your heart speeds up and you feel like you are going to throw up? Well, that’s how this essay was for me! (As well as much of Febos’ memoir Abandon Me.) Consenting to touch I did not want describes so much of my life wow…. and I really appreciated her discussion of how sex work fit into her feelings on that topic as it certainly did for me.
The Road to Terfdom, by Katie J.M. Baker for Lux Magazine, April 2021
About TERFs in the UK and their proliferation on Mumsnet. This isn’t the first article I’ve shared on this topic by any means but as usual it’s interesting how in the UK it’s mostly coming from straight women and in the U.S. it’s mostly coming from not-straight women.
Why I Married My Platonic Best Friend, by Deidre Olsen for Shondaland, April 2021
For Chiderah and me, romance has repeatedly subtracted more than it has added to our lives. Society has taught us that we must relentlessly pursue being found sexually attractive or chosen as a mate. This has often come at the expense of everything else beautiful in life and relationships, causing us to put ourselves second and gamble with our own self-interests and self-esteem. By taking sex and romance out of the equation, Chiderah and I have created space to show up for each other in far more meaningful ways.
These Precious Days, by Ann Patchett for Harper’s, January 2021
I realize that this 20,000-word piece in Harper’s Magazine about the pandemic and cancer and writing fiction and mushrooms and Tom Hanks is perhaps not the most appealing prospect on this page but give it a shot, it might be.
Putting together a novel is essentially putting together the lives of strangers I’m coming to know. In some ways it’s not unlike putting together my own life. I think I know what I’m doing when in truth I have no idea. I just keep moving forward. By the time the book is written, there is little evidence of the initial spark or a long-ago conversation in California Pizza Kitchen.
The Rise of Therapy Speak, by Katy Waldman for The New Yorker, March 2021
Using these words as bludgeons strips them of complexity; the problem with armchair therapy, or what we now might call “Instagram therapy,” is that it can transform a “deeply relational, nuanced, contextual process,” Gottlieb said, into something “ego-directed, as if the point were always, ‘I’m the most important person and I need to take care of myself.’ ”
Welcome to Homecoming!, by Charanna Alexander and Shane O’Neil for The New York Times, October 2020
At historically Black colleges and universities (known as H.B.C.U.s), homecoming is more than a football game.
It’s the brisk fall air that calls for fashionably layered outfits. It’s the smell of barbecue and fried fish at tailgates. It’s the sound of sorority songs and fraternity chants, the vibration of the band as majorette dancers rush onto the field. It’s the feel of Black joy and unity, as crowds of students and alumni sweep across campuses in droves, their school colors emblazoned on their shirts.
How to Map Nothing, by Shannon Mattern for Places Journal, March 2021
In a quarantine condition meant to separate people and restrict movement, different bodies hold different rights of refusal and retreat: unmasked white faces can storm the federal Capitol and enjoy free passage — in the eyes of some authorities, “nothing happened” — while masked faces of color peacefully protesting their own precarity can get shot.
Negative Space: Close Reading Trauma Porn, by Maya Gurantz for The Los Angeles Review of Books, April 2021
On Surviving R Kelly and Leaving Neverland and Lorena and On the Record and The Keepers and The Vow and Surviving Jeffery Epstein and Athlete A and Allen v Farrow and why it would be “a reasonable mistake to see abuse docs as a subset of the current avalanche of true crime programming.” But it’s not, it’s something else entirely with roots somewhere else entirely. A fascinating read!