Things I Read That I Love #39: Explain Things To Me

HELLO and welcome to the 39th 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 TED and allegedly failing schools! 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.

The Naked and the TED (August 2012), by Evgeny Morozov for The New Republic“Khanna’s contempt for democracy and human rights aside, he is simply an intellectual impostor, emitting such lethal doses of banalities, inanities, and generalizations that his books ought to carry advisory notices.”

Our School Shooting (August 2012), by Sarah Tomlinson for “In the past twenty years, I’ve never written about the shooting — until now — but everything I’ve written has been about the shooting.”

Men Explain Things To Me (April 2008), by Rebecca Solnit for Tom Dispatch – Oh, mansplaining! All about mansplaining before someone came up with the word “mansplaining.”

My Adventures in Psychopharmacology (December 2006) – by Gogo Lidz for New York Magazine“Between the ages of 16 and 21, I was prescribed more than fifteen different stimulants, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers. The cure was worse than the disease.”

Mississippi Sends Its First Hate Criminal To Prison (April 2012), by Tony Dokoupil for The Daily Beast – I was into this article for the first page or two and then by page three started souring towards the author, who seems to be rationalizing a racist hate crime that deserves no rationalization, defending the criminals by basically saying “they have black friends.” The material is interesting and I think it’s valuable to see how “the other side” (racism apologists) thinks, though. I ended it confused about why there weren’t more angry comments.

The Woman in 606 (August 2012), by Christopher Frizzelle for The Stranger – “The aftermath of a stranger’s death and the puzzle of psychosis.” Really great piece. I was surprised that nobody Frizzelle talked to knew about the connection between marijuana smoking and psychosis — I’ve witnessed first-hand how smoking pot exacerbates a psychotic episode, it’s pretty ugly.

Mirror, Mirror (November 2005), by Keith Hollihan for The Morning News“Reality television depends on charismatic contestants, and the Ganz sisters, a pair of identical-twin casting agents, are among its chief suppliers. The first article in a series on the hidden workings of reality TV.”

You’re Not A Rape Victim Unless Police Say So (April 2010), by Amanda Hess for Washington City Paper – On how rape goes unpunished and undocumented in Washington DC by cops who don’t believe witnesses as a rule and need to endorse the test.

Explicit Violence (August 2012), by Lidia Yuknavitch for The Rumpus – “What I’m trying to tell you is that violence against girls and women is in every move we make, whether it is big violence or small, explicit or hidden behind the word father. Priest. Lover. Teacher. Coach. Friend. I’m trying to explain how you can be a girl and a woman and travel through male violence like it’s part of what living a life means. Getting into or out of a car. A plane. Going through a door to your own home. A church. School. Pool. It can seem normal. It can seem like just the way things are.”

Everything You’ve Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong (September 2012), by Kristina Rizga for Mother Jones – The author embedded herself in a public school in San Francisco — a difficult thing to enrage, apparently — to expose a school that changes the lives of its students but is still at risk of shutting down because of low test scores. A referendum on No Child Left Behind, etc.


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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 3213 articles for us.


  1. having lots of ~~feelings about that Mother Jones education embed.

    I mean, everyone knows NCLB is bullshit, right? 100% proficient?! with no exemption for special ed or ELL status?! let me tell you about the dyslexic kids that made tons of progress but were taking 6th grade tests while reading on a 4th grade level. that kind of testing shows NOTHING about their learning. i could go on for days, so many problems.


  2. The “explicit violence” piece needs all of the trigger warnings. It’s really well written and powerful and necessary and cathartic, but wow. I’m gonna make coffee and sit on my bed and stare at the wall for a bit now.

  3. The mansplaining essay may be the best essay in the history of essays. If you haven’t read it READ IT NOW. The world will make more sense after. *nods*

  4. Okay so I’m kind of ridiculously excited and proud of myself right now, because I read the “Men Explain Things to Me” piece a few days ago, and now I feel really intellectual and good about myself. I READ A TIRTIL BEFORE RIESE TOLD ME ABOUT IT. I am a smart person!

  5. If a middle class black kid repeatedly drives into a poor white neighborhood and brutalizes white people while calling them racial epiphets, culminating in him murdering one of his victims, would it be prosecuted as a hate crime? Who knows, because it’s never going to happen- a black kid beating up white people for entertainment would be stopped long before it escalated to murder. The Daily Beasts apologism was so upsetting.

  6. (hit submit too soon). Being able to be a selective sociopath, to see some members of a group as human and others as not- that’s racism right there. And, saying that the racism of the past has nothing to do with the present- the nicer town is 75% white!!! The poverty of Jackson which the kids were apparently “morally repulsed” by (so they responded by beating people up?!?!) is a result of all of the well off white people leaving town a generation ago! The infrastructure problems- they don’t exist in a vacuum. Maybe hate crime isn’t quite the right word, just like homophobia sometimes seems like a misnomer- this kind of thing goes beyond hate and fear, and into the belief that this minority person is just not as human as the offender is.

    • i feel like the author must have related to them in some way, the white kids, because his need to rationalize their actions as “not racism” — an impossible task — was so so so blatant and unapologetic that he must have related to them in some way to be able to see the world through such warped fucked-up eyes.

      seriously that place is a beast, on the daily

  7. LOVE rebecca solnit, love her even more now. read the mansplaining article a few days ago and again just now.
    explicit violence-wow. yes:all of the triggers. really incredible.

  8. Highly conservative, pro-life republicans are so frightening. God, I just want to grab the collar of their perfectly tailored suits and scream: Don’t you know these are people’s human rights your screwing with? Don’t you know how utterly frightening women, POC, the lesser physically able, and LGBT community find you? God, and you’re just like a super rich White man. Fuck off. No one likes you.

  9. More great reads, thanks.

    The use of marijuana being one of the triggers of psychotic episodes among those with illnesses such as bipolar disorder, and particularly the various schizophrenias, is one of the most challenging parts of my job in terms of effecting change. Another weird thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of patients who abuse Xanax, Ativan, type drugs in terms of high doses (without any other drug and/or alcohol) often become very aggressive and paranoid. I mean, one would think they would just overly chill out. Sometimes I think we understand about .00006 of the human brain.

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