Things I Read That I Love #40: Over The Hill And Through The Woods

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HELLO and welcome to the 40th 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 hillbilly heroin and Degrassi! 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.

Teenage Dreams (August 2012), by Emily Landau for The Walrus “Degrassi treated such issues as teen pregnancy, abortion, and suicide with gravitas. It was the only place on television where kids could see themselves depicted honestly. There has never been anything else like it.”

Oakland, the Last Refuge of Radical America (August 2012), by Jonathan Mahler for The New York Times – When I visited Occupy Oakland (’cause I live here) last year, I said “It looks like Oakland will remain in the spotlight as this movement evolves, especially as low temperatures and snowstorms freeze out protesters throughout the East and Midwest. There is no weather in Oakland, it’s always 70 degrees. Oakland can do this shit all year, bitches!” and this appears to be, in fact, true. I’m not sure how I feel about a lot of his characterization of the movement or Oakland in the article, but it’s still an interesting read.

Pinned Down (August 2012), by Tammy Oler for Bitch Magazine“The Pinterest phenomenon suggests that when gender is not apparent in online spaces, we don’t see the women who are there; when gender is obvious, it trumps everything else.”

It Just Makes Me Happy When I Can Make Someone Angry: A Special Investigation into the World of Trolling (February 2012), by Claire Connely for news.com.au “Sarah, like Ben, attributed her trolling to years of bullying she suffered at school. “I dropped out of school in year nine,” she said. “I suppose I’m an asshole to people because I’m carrying all this spitefulness around with me. I hurt people.”

Photographs of a Girl, by Samia Bouzid for anderbo.com – “One day when the girl is eating alone in the cafeteria a boy from English class leaves his friends to sit down next to her. He says, “I know your dad’s a terrorist.” She looks at her food. He leans in close. “I hate terrorists,” he whispers, and then smacks the table as he gets up to leave. We are different, says Ba, but we have to blend in.”

The Hollowing Out of America, Up Close and Personal (August 2012), by Chris Hedges for Tom Dispatch – This excerpt from the book Days of Revolt, Days of Destruction looks at the “sacrifice zone” of Gary, West Virginia, a town destroyed by poverty where everybody’s hooked on oxy, aka “hillbilly heroin,” unable to find work and dying young.

I’m Tired of Watching You Die (August 2012), by Jabriel Donohue for The Glass Playground – “The truth is that you finally hit a fork in the road.  Drinking because you’re pissed off and feeling impotently rebellious, or drinking because your best times come with your buddies after a few pints only lasts so long before you’re just drinking to drink.  Addiction is like that.  Unfortunately a lot of people never realize they are at that fork.”

A Future of No Radioheads (July 2012), by Mike Doughty on Immutable/Inscrutable – “I was kind of shocked that few people knew the ground-level math, the nuts-and-bolts inconvenient truth: the diminishment of labels means there’s little money to fund the initial touring costs of new bands.”

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital (August 2012), by Matt Taibi for Rolling Stone – “Romney is the frontman and apostle of an economic revolution, in which transactions are manufactured instead of products, wealth is generated without accompanying prosperity, and Cayman Islands partnerships are lovingly erected and nurtured while American communities fall apart. The entire purpose of the business model that Romney helped pioneer is to move money into the archipelago from the places outside it, using massive amounts of taxpayer-subsidized debt to enrich a handful of billionaires. It’s a vision of society that’s crazy, vicious and almost unbelievably selfish, yet it’s running for president, and it has a chance of winning.”


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Riese

Marie Lyn Bernard, aka Riese, is an award-winning writer, blogger, journalist, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in the midwest, lost her mind in New York City and is currently making it work in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better, The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image and The Hazards of Being Female," "Dirty Girls," and "The Best American Erotica of 2007," magazines including Nylon, Marie Claire, GO, Curve, Interlude, and CollegeBound, and all over the web including nerve.com, Jezebel, Queerty, Emily Books and OurChart (RIP). She was the recapper for The L Word Online and host of Showtime’s Lezberado and her personal blog has earned many dubious honors including Best Personal Blog 2008. Riese has spoken about blogging, community-building, feminism, cyberculture and sexuality at places like BlogHer, Yale, New York University, The University of Chicago and The Museum of Sex. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Interlochen Arts Academy and The Olive Garden's week-long training intensive; she enjoys eating foods, having big ideas, reading books & talking to her stuffed dog, Tinkerbell. Also, she's Jewish. Follow her smokin’ hot adventures on twitter. Contact: riese[at]autostraddle.com

Riese has written 2896 articles for us.

11 Comments

  1. I found it really bizarre that the Rolling Stone, not a traditional giant of political news, was the only source (or at least the first) to cover that Mitt Romney story.

    The Pinterest article was really interesting. It had bothered me how much online social networking does push us into gendered boxes with tumblr, weheartit, pinterest etc. But even there I just looked at Manteresting. There is an overwhelming amount of pictures of just half-naked chicks and sandwiches, and I’m sure that plenty of men I don’t know how you could go about changing it so that any possible failure of the site would not be blamed on an entire gender.

  2. Oh God, Degrassi. I watched that when TNG first came on, and was it ever a life line for me. I stopped watching around the time Jimmy (aka Drake! boy did I laugh my butt off when he started rapping on the show), Emma and the crew were seniors or heading off to college, but my sister kept watching for a few more seasons. I even watched a few of the original Degrassi High episodes, and TNG was definitely not nearly as ground breaking, but definitely more so than the other shows it competed with.

    I’ll be getting to the Romney article once I’ve recovered from listening to the RNC feed from last night.

  3. It’s a real honor to be featured here among such esteemed company. Matt Taibi’s article for Rolling Stone for example, is the best thing I’ve read in recent memory. Well researched, angry and entirely cogent, I wish more people like him filled the press pool.

    To your commenter, “E”, please bear in mind that we don’t live in a zero sum game. Our world needs drinkers and professionals who understand that we can enjoy ourselves without destroying ourselves. It’s still a noble profession.

  4. Okay, I feel kind of embarrassed admitting this, but: When I was a young teen, I was a sort-of Internet troll. I never did or said anything malicious or hateful, but sometimes I would join boards pretending to be some really stupid person who said a lot of silly or nonsensical things just to see people’s weirded-out reactions. It was really immature and stupid, and I’m not sure why I found it so fun or hilarious; I think it had to do with my social awkwardness. But when I figured out how and why other people were not as amused, I stopped.

    But even then, I never understood the mentality of people like the ones profiled in the article, who enjoy kicking people when they’re already down – like by tormenting people who are grieving the loss of a loved one, or by ostracizing already-marginalized groups (like the sexist douchebags who make life so difficult for female online gamers). I feel like with people like that – or with people who push into the realm of outright harassing and stalking people – I think calling them something like “troll” (since the name implies something non-serious imo) belittles the very real harm they do.

  5. The article on Gary, West Virginia hit pretty close to home, mostly because it is close to home, in a county that is probably about an hour away. The sad part is that article could have been about many little towns here in WV, drugs have become so big a problem that I am no longer surprised to find out anyone is either using or selling, and honestly have encountered people, especially the elderly that depend on selling their meds just to survive, have food to eat. It’s all a sad situation that doesn’t seem to get be getting better.

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