Things I Read That I Love #41: In Claudia’s Handwriting

HELLO and welcome to the 41st 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 this guy Lena Dunham dated! 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.

First Love (August 2012), by Lena Dunham for The New Yorker – “My relationship with Noah had, I realized, ended two years before, to the day—on August 17, 2008—after a year and a half of dating that felt like fifty. The emotional acrobatics involved turned my heart into a hardened little gymnast with tiny tits and a leotard wedgie.”

Punk Rock Fight Club (August 2007), by Mark Binelli for Rolling Stone – About the hardcore punk music scene and the “Friends Stand United” aka “Fuck Shit Up” gang that has thrived within that subculture and was implicated in the murder of James Morrison in 2006 as well as many other violent crimes.

Didn’t Anyone Tell You (Fall 2012), by Eileen Pollack for Plougshares “I made it to my parents’ house without further mishap and spent the next few weeks recuperating. I wanted to tell my mother about all the terrible things that had happened to me, but our unspoken agreement was that she and my father wouldn’t ask why I had quit my job, why I had traveled to Los Alamos, why I had returned by bus weeks earlier than I had said I would be arriving, and I, in turn, wouldn’t volunteer the information. Why bring any of it up? All they would say is: Didn’t we tell you this is what happens to young women who insist on living on their own?”

Please God Stop The Rain (August 2012), by Josh Dean for New York Magazine – A play-by-play from residents who survived the flood that drowned Pratsville, New York, last year. I think the scariest part of these kinds of stories are that they’ve all got that one part where the person thinks it’s NBD and just goes to the second floor of their house and then their house breaks off its foundation. You know, lines like, “Pam Young lost track of how many times she thought her life was over.”

My ‘Diet Caffeine-Free Rape’ (August 2012), by Elissa Bassist for The Cut “We want it to be true that if we are hurt, it’s not by anyone we love. We want it to be true that if we have sex, it feels good. We want it to be true that if it didn’t feel good, we’d have it in our power to change that, or at the very least, articulate it and be listened to.”

The EST In Me, by Elizabeth Kadetsky for Guernica “The superficial can also go deep, though. Fashion is a costume, but if you wear it long enough, you can really become that thing. Did we change deeply? I think we did. My mother never got back the New England accent she’d once worked so hard to get rid of, and she also deeply internalized Erhard’s message.”

In Which We Copy It Down In Their Handwriting, by Elena Schilder for This Recording – Part of a great series on This Recording looking back on favorite books from childhood. This one’s about The Baby-Sitters Club!

Manufacturing Taste, by Sasha Chapman for The Walrus – “Tell me what you think of Kraft Dinner, and I will tell you who you are… KD is the ultimate nursery food, at least if you were born and raised in Canada, where making and eating cheese has been a part of the culture since Champlain brought cows from Normandy in the early 1600s — a tradition nearly as venerable as the fur trade. It may be the first dish children and un-nested students learn to make (“make,” of course, being a loose term; “assemble” may be more accurate). This only strengthens its primal attractions.”

Eddie is Gone, by Nicole Pasuka for The Believer – The “whitewashed version” of Hawaii sold to tourists ignores the history of native peoples exploited and displaced by white colonialists. In this piece, Pasuka uses the story of Eddie Aikau to explore these differences, subtitled “THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SURF LEGEND EDDIE AIKAU TELLS A HAWAIIAN STORY NOT FOUND IN MOST GUIDEBOOKS”

Cape Fear (December 2011), by Ben Shattuck for The Morning News“A small portion of the Massachusetts coastline is home to America’s biggest witch-hunt, a history of savage wife mobs, the occasional 400 percent increase of unlucky pregnancies, and the world’s largest deposits of black crystals.”

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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 3198 articles for us.


  1. “The Barenaked Ladies sang wistfully about eating the stuff: “If I had a million dollars / we wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner / But we would eat Kraft Dinner / Of course we would, we’d just eat more.” In response, fans threw boxes of KD at the band members as they performed. This was an act of veneration.”

    Suddenly homesick.

  2. Gah! You can’t read the whole of the Lena Dunham article unless you are a subscriber, and I now need to know how it finishes!

  3. Holy mother of mercy, do NOT read the comments in the (amazing) Elissa Bassist ‘Diet Coke Rape’ article. They will make you die inside.

    • I was just about to come and post the same thing. Seriously. There’s some women in there sharing really thoughtful, honest stories, but it’s mostly buttmad dudes shitting all over the author, explaining that she must have made her torn cervix up because Science and anyway it’s all her fault because Reasons. I’ve never even been assaulted, and I’m starting to feel triggered reading it.

      Steer the fuck clear of the comments.

  4. That Kraft Dinner thing reminds me, I got some last week and they totally changed it. It does not taste like it did when I was a kid and that was hugely disappointing.

  5. Urgh – Lena Dunham is a true racist and its horrible how other privileged white women like this website and jezebel keep supporting her. Before anyone accuses me of making stuff up here is some evidence: – racist comments about Japan. – implies all Muslim women are terrorists.

    Not to mention her hiring of Lesley Arfin, a woman who uses the n word in casual use and compared the President’s skin tone to shit.

    Its funny how when a non white celebrity says something even vaguely offensive everyone jumps on their back but rich white women are continually given a pass on their behaviour especially by other white feminists.

  6. Plus one million, like like like, upvote, upvote. Absolutely ridiculous how people keep talking about her like she hasn’t said tons of horrible shit and created media that completely ignores people of color.

  7. Ok so the Babysitter’s Club essay was good, but below there’s a link to an article about A Wrinkle in Time, that is brilliant. The one about Harry Potter is also right on point.
    I am so obsessed with vintage children’s literature it’s not even funny.

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