Things I Read That I Love #44: Screaming Sounds

HELLO and welcome to the 44th 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 Harriet the Spy and being a rock critic! 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.

On Spies and Purple Socks and Such (January/February 2005), by Kathleen T. Horning for The Horn Book – I was alerted to this piece by a comment on my post about aspirational heroines of YA Novels, and it is AWESOME and about Harriet the Spy and the queer subtext and the fact that the lady who wrote it is queer as a three-dollar bill, so.

On Falling Apart (September 2012), by Sady Doyle for Rookie  – “Mental illness is like this. It doesn’t always show up suddenly and dramatically. I had been diagnosed in the past with depression and generalized anxiety disorder, both of which were common illnesses, and which I thought explained my problems. I would have been insulted if you’d suggested I had anything more serious. I was just joyless, I was just angry, I was just lonely. I thought maybe I had chronic fatigue or something, but I didn’t see a reason to get it checked out. By the time I was unwashed, incoherent, and skeletal, I had gotten so used to being unhappy that I almost didn’t see the difference.”

What Are You Wearing? (August 2006), by Davy Rothbart by GQ – Firstly, I know this guy, or he’s friends with my friends, or my brother, or his brother? I can’t remember. Ann Arbor is a tiny town. Anyhow, in this piece he has a consistent anonymous phone sex relationship with a girl who says her name is Nicole and this is the story of that.

Promiscuous Reading (August 2012), by Elif Bautman for The New Yorker: “If it was such a good book, and such a short one (a hundred and eighty-six pages), why had I abandoned it? An excellent question, maybe even a necessary one, but I didn’t have much of an answer. Abandoning books was just something I did, I told him, and something I was increasingly unable to stop myself from doing. I’ll start a book, get about halfway through it, and then, even if I’m enjoying it, put it down in favor of something else.”

How to Be A Rock Critic (October 1974), by Lester Bangs for The Shakin’ Street Gazette – A blast from the past from the illustrious Lester Bangs, who those unfamiliar with his work may still know as the guy Phillip Seymour Hoffman played in Almost Famous.

Emails from Esther (September 2012), by Josh Fischel for The Bygone Bureau– This guy spends time listening to right-wing podcasts and then contacting them to correct all the facts they got wrong. This column tracks one of his more interesting exchanges, on the topic of global warming

Jerry Sandusky and the Mind of a Pedophile (September 2012), by Malcom Gladwell for The New Yorker “When monsters roam free, we assume that people in positions of authority ought to be able to catch them if only they did their jobs. But that might be wishful thinking. A pedophile, van Dam’s story of Mr. Clay reminds us, is someone adept not just at preying on children but at confusing, deceiving, and charming the adults responsible for those children—which is something to keep in mind in the case of the scandal at Penn State and the conviction, earlier this year, of the former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on child-molestation charges.”

The Sound of All Girls Screaming (October 2011), by Shani Boianjiu for Vice “This is my chance. As long as I am choking, I am allowed. My talking serves a purpose, it is a matter of national security. A part of our training. I will be prepared for an attack by unconventional weapons. I could save the whole country, that’s how prepared I’ll be. My entire head is burning but my mouth rolls off words; they taste like apples, and they go on and on and on.”

Love, Lies & Online Dating (October 2008), by Nozlee Samadzadeh for The Morning News – “Either you’ve done it or you know someone who has: online dating, the scourge and savior of contemporary romance. A panel of experts discusses love 2.0.”

Lee Boyd Malvo, 10 Years After the Sniper Shootings (October 2012), by Josh White for The Washington Post – Remember this? When this happened? The 17-year-old is 27 now, and has some things to say.


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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 3212 articles for us.


  1. I read the one on bipolar II and I always like reading postive things about coping with mental illness, because I know personally I expect everyone to be afraid of it.

    I had movie night last night and we watched Almost Famous so it was cool to read something by the real Lester Bangs.

    and I’m really happy Harriet the Spy was the work of one of our own since I still read the book every winter like I’m in sixth grade again.
    I love the things you read!

    • Yeah, I’m embarrassed to say that even though I actually own several back issues of Creem, when I see “Lester Bangs” I still automatically picture him as Philip Seymour Hoffman.

  2. Despite watching Harriet the Spy a gazillion times when I was a kid, I somehow never read the book. Clearly I’m going to have to fix that this weekend- sorry school work!

  3. When I saw one of the articles was on Jerry Sandusky, I was hoping that it was that Malcolm Gladwell New Yorker article. I read it when the issue came out and it was so good! And chilling.

    I would be interested if someone could do a comparison between pedophiles and other kinds of sexual predators to see if there’s a similar “selection process” they do to find the most vulnerable and accessible victims. That part was really the one that creeped me out the most.

  4. I’m only 24 so my experience of Harriet the Spy growing up was the Nickelodeon movie starring a very young Michelle Trachtenburg. This article really opened my eyes. I didn’t know it was based on a book and the author of the article makes such good points! Perhaps THAT’S why I enjoyed it so much as a kid… unbeknownst to me I was a giant lesbian in training lol

  5. Hm… I felt like there was something the author was kind of leaving out of the phone sex one. I was taken aback when he suddenly said that he wondered if it was a guy because she whispered. I kind of think that maybe he had more of just a slight suspicion he was having phone sex with a man?

  6. “Esther argued that accepting same-sex marriage meant changing the definition of family, male, and female.”


  7. Hopefully the Sandusky trial will help parents take children’s allegations more seriously in the future. That article was heartbreaking, the length people will go to protect the reputation of a man who violates children & those who did nothing to stop him.

  8. Jaw dropped on the letter-phone call for Paterno at the end of the Sandusky/pedophile profile. Like a stone cold mic drop. Not to say that he didn’t deserve to be fired, but that was a firing that only Mitt Romney could enjoy.

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