Things I Read That I Love #36: Merrily We Rollergirl Along

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HELLO and welcome to the 36th 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 roller derby and rhythmic gymnastics! 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.

How to Slowly Kill Yourselves And Others in America, (July 2012) by Kiese for – “I’m so sad and I can’t really see a way out of what I’m feeling but I’m leaning on memory for help. Faster. Slower. I think I want to hurt myself more than I’m already hurting. I’m not the smartest boy in the world by a long shot, but even in my funk I know that easy remedies like eating your way out of sad, or fucking your way out of sad, or lying your way out of sad, or slanging your way out of sad, or robbing your way out of sad, or gambling your way out of sad, or shooting your way out of sad, are just slower, more acceptable ways for desperate folks, and especially paroled black boys in our country, to kill ourselves and others close to us in America.”

Casting and Race: The Tricky Business of Writing Casting Notices (July 2012), by Nina Shen Rastogi for Slate: “If it says ‘sassy best friend,’ then I’ll think, ‘Oh, they don’t know what ethnicity they want, but they want ethnic,” said one Korean-American actress, who, like some of the other actors quoted here, wished to remain unnamed to avoid upsetting agents or casting directors. “Or it’ll say things like ‘tough girl,’ and I’ll think, ‘Oh, they probably want black.’ ” She knows the part is for an Asian girl if it says something like, “shy but really ambitious.”

On Tipping in Cuba (April 2012), by Chris Turner for The Walrus – “To be a Canadian Tourist in Cuba is to be something more than a visitor, more even than a run-of-the-mill mark. It’s not just that you’re visibly foreign and rich; you’re a sort of modern vassal, the only readily accessible emissary of a metropole that has never been seen but is generally understood to be bounteous and benevolent.”

An Inquiry Into the Very Public Private Marriage of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise (July 2012), by Benjamin Wallace for New York Magazine – In which nothing or everything is at it seems.

Atlanta Rollergirls (March 2010), by Hollis Gillespie for Atlanta Magazine “These times are tough, and they are calling for something. Maybe it has to do with the difference between aggression and violence, the difference between plain competition and the cutthroat variety, the difference between falling down and bouncing back, and falling down and staying there like you’re broken. The difference between regular girls and Rollergirls, and the fact that there doesn’t have to be much difference at all. Times are tough, but you take your knocks. You fall down. You get back up. You roll through it with a smile on your face and a bruise on your butt.”

Sex Thief (September 2005), by Denise Grollums for The Cleveland Scene – This is the horrifying story of a serial rapist who targeted women he knew could be undermined on the stand and got away with it, over and over and over again. So it’s a horrifying story about rape culture.

Dangerous Minds (November 2007), by Malcom Gladwell for The New Yorker – IT’S LIKE CRIMINAL MINDS except on Criminal Minds they usually get it right and according to this article, that’s not typical. Anyhow, this article is about what Criminal Minds is about. SO.

Alison Bechdel: By The Book (July 2012), by Alison Bechdel for The New York Times – Alison Bechdel answers questions about reading!

Anatomy of a Child Pornographer (June 2009), by Nancy Rommelmann for Reason – On teenagers getting charged criminally for receiving racy photographs of other teenagers on their telephones.

Sparkle Motion (July 2012), by Brian Phillips for Grantland – I recommend reading this one on the computer rather than on a portable reader, because it involves a lot of graphics – “If you care about sports on any level beyond box scores and regional rivalries, if you love watching a wide receiver make an acrobatic catch or a striker score an off-balance goal, if you ever feel astonished by, just, like, the incredible things people do with their bodies — then I defy you to watch a few minutes of RG and not think it’s pretty cool.”

How Natasha Vargas-Cooper Does Money (July 2012), by Logan Sachon for The Billfold – I really like this feature they are doing at The Billfold, makes me realize how as much as we all allegedly talk about money, we don’t really talk about how we spend money to each other that often. Maybe that’s what happens when we spend all day watching and reading news that essentially boils down to “judging how people choose to spend the money they’re in charge of.”

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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. I will be unable to read any of these until I stop flailing about the title. Musicals + roller derby. This is why Autostraddle gets all of my money.

  2. i REALLY enjoyed the billfold feature, even if the last bit about how to pay for a date was a bit…jarring. but really, i do wish everyone spoke more honestly about how we spend our money (if only because i’m never sure i’m doing it right), this is a life skill i feel just never gets taught.

  3. reading about rhythmic gymnastics just gave me more feelings than the okcupid date I went on last night

    • I feel you. Reading about you reading about rhythmic gymnastics gave me more feelings than Thursday night’s okcupid date.

  4. Re casting : in Asia just about every role that involves some international involvement (e.g. Music tv) is almost always filled with a eurasian person – specifically because they look just foreign enough to be “worldly” but also pass as local. There is also a major privileging of white skin and “white” features no matter the role (dark skinned people are hardly ever on air unless it’s a plot point. Time magazine has an article about this from 1998 – I forgot the title but it features Asha Gill, Maggie Chung, and Tata Young.

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