Things I Read That I Love #46: My Fight Album

HELLO and welcome to the 46th 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 Affirmative Action and K-Pop! 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.

A Tale Of Two Cities (March 2010), by Gary Stephen Ross for The Walrus“Any city of consequence is, from the outside, a lamination of clichés; Vancouver, even more than most places, lends itself to spoof.”

Unmasking Reddit’s Violentacrez, The Biggest Troll on the Web (October 2012), by Adrian Chen for Gawker – If by some chance you’ve not yet read this, today is your big day! Basically the guy who started Reddit’s infamous ‘jailbait’ forum as well as a subreddit just for rape jokes, among other radically problematic and borderline-illegal activities has been outed and Reddit is really upset and so is that guy.

Doing The Work: Why We Need Affirmative Action (Winter 2004), by Roger Wilkins for The Virginia Quarterly – “As the 20th century rolled on and violence and terrorism against blacks abated a bit, the American practice of disabling blacks—now more than two centuries old—continued to grind on, just as the sentences about disabling which you are reading do. But it is necessary for them to grind on in order for me to convey the dreadful weight and power of the cultural forces marshaled by the United States against the minds and spirits of each and every black person born in this country in the three and a quarter centuries after white supremacy became one of the central building blocks of our culture.”

Caught Getting Creative (October 2012), by Amy Wallace for Los Angeles Magazine – The story of Jonah Lehrer, a distinguished and up-and-coming 31-year-old writer and published book author with credits at Wired, The New Yorker, Radiolab and so forth, who got busted for plagiarizing others and himself and often just making shit up.

The Great Escape (August 2007), by Joshuah Bearman for WIRED – This is about that Ben Affleck movie, Argo, that’s about to come out about the CIA using a fake sci-fi film to sneak Americans out of Iran in the 1970s.

The Flight Album (May 2010), by Kaitlin Fontana for The Walrus – “In New York, I look for Joan Didion, who, having long ago adopted the city as her home, lives on the Upper West or East side; I’m never sure. I know I will never find her, but every tiny old lady with big glasses (there are many of these about) offers a glimmer of possibility. I stare at them. Follow them, occasionally. What else is New York for if not the possibilities of such encounters? I devise a mental scenario in which I am Didion’s neighbour. She and I meet up occasionally and go for lunch. She thoughtfully chews bits of torn bread, mashing them with those flat, lined lips old ladies get. I say, “I don’t know, Joan,” in this fantasy, as if we’re in the middle of some grand conversation we always have about something important.”

A Case of Road Rage (February 2010), by Ed Leibowitz for Los Angeles Magazine – A tragic story about a car accident that killed a little boy and paralyzed his mother and was blamed on, um, road rage.

My Fight (Fall 2012), by Deirdre Gogarty with Darrelyn Saloom for The Virginia Quarterly“Finally, Joe signals the end of my first day of training. I lean against a grimy windowsill. Sweaty, achy, exhausted, I am delighted—with myself, with where I am, with what I’m doing. I vow to myself that I will succeed here, as I never have in school.” 

Drawing Myself Out (September 2012), by Avery Edison for The Bygone Bureau  – A trans woman discovers a few weeks into hormone therapy that she suddenly was developing an artistic temperament, drawing, and seeing the world altogether differently.

Factory Girls (October 2012), by John Seabrook for The New Yorker– The author of NOBROW on “cultural technology and the making of K-Pop.”

Where Work Disappears and Dreams Die (July 2012), by Don Terry for The American Prospect – It’s about Gary, Indiana. I think the headline is kinda self-explanatory.

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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. Riese, it’s so cool that you linked to TWO essays from the Walrus. The Walrus is one of my all-time favourite magazines, and I loooove “The Flight Album.” When it was first published I emailed Kaitlin Fontana to tell her how much I enjoyed her essay, and she replied RIGHT AWAY and said lots of wonderful, friendly things and encouraged me keep on writing. So, Kaitlin Fontana is not only an awesome writer. She’s also a really nice person.

  2. I want what Affirmative Action wants, but legally, its near impossible to defend. I might even support its fall? (Oof).

    It is addressing unequal outcomes(too little, too late), and it seems to me, causes more racial tension(reverse discrimination/racism claims). Its also somewhat illogical: if you’re counting by race or gender, you can’t really get to a place where neither matters.

    Rather, I’d like to some social and educational policy that addresses unequal opportunity earlier(like at birth–heck, prenatal!).

    • Its funny how white middle class women are always criticisng affirmative action when they are biggest beneficiaries from it.

      The real reason that white girl didn’t get to college was that her SAT scores weren’t high enough. But her sense of entitlement is so high that she expects to waltz into any college regardless of her ability and the reason she didn’t is because of those dirty minorities.

      As for addressing unequal opportunity at an earlier age, any time a scheme is put forward to help any non-white community, it immediately gets shot down so its never going to happen.

  3. just want to say that i love this series and read several of the articles every time and it’s led me to find new places to read great stuff. like longform. and longreads. i just read the long new yorker piece on hilary mantel last night because it was on one of those sites and it is fucking beautiful and amazing. now i need to read wolf hall, which basically looks like the longest book ever written besides proust/the bible, so.

  4. This feature is fantastically wonderful every time. If in the future I am half as well read and super cool as you, Riese, I will consider myself blessed by Lesbian Jesus. For serious.

  5. Hmm. Not really my experience of Vancouver at all, and I’ve been here for going on 8 years. I love Vancouver, but not the one he describes: I remember a moment when this really hit me – I was sitting on this little spit of land in False Creek by the athletes village that has been turned into a tiny microcosm of Vancouver’s past natural vegetation, but so purposely manufactured, looking towards downtown on the other side of the water (glass as far as the eye can see), and thinking, “that is not my city”.
    (this is the tiny piece of land, if you want the visual: )

    I guess it’s different being a young working-class person than a middle-aged cis male Caucasian author. I just don’t relate to developers being chauffeured in their Audis very much, what with trying to make a life for myself in one of the most expensive cities in North America.

    • yeah actually i think it interested me because it was unlike anything i’d ever heard about vancouver and didn’t seem to be describing the city i saw when i was there too. sometimes this is like ‘things i read that i found really compelling for some reason’

  6. Oh, the irony of va’s desperation and pleading not to be outed is heavyhanded but so, so delicious. I usually don’t trust gawker & its affiliates further than their mislede-ing headlines, but in this case, good work, chen. A good day’s work.

  7. Ten, twenty years ago I could have never imagined myself saying this, but that boxing article totally enthralled me!

    I just finished training to become a Group Kick instructor, and I’m pretty sure I’m at the beginning of a brand-new addiction. I’m planning to join a kickboxing club soon too. I get home from work, take off my high heels and polka-dot skirts, put on my track pants and hand wraps, and beat the snot out of any remaining traces of the insecure, awkward, uncoordinated kid I used to be. It’s utterly intoxicating.

    • I just started training in Muay Thai over the summer, and it is addictive! I love it, it’s so empowering and the best workout I’ve ever had. That boxing article was the first one I jumped to, I love seeing/ reading about female fighters.

  8. That Road Rage story is just unbearable. A similar thing happened here in Chicago a couple of years ago — in a neighborhood where I was living at the time — where two drivers using their vehicles as weapons against each other finally hit a cyclist, who was thrown into the air and killed. It doesn’t take much to get my blood boiling about the horrifically routine, cavalier irresponsibility of motorists, but reading a thing like this just makes me feel like, ugh, impound people’s cars after a few speeding tickets — hell, ban private vehicles. I’m glad the father in the story has been able to find the strength to become an advocate for stronger laws.

  9. Hey Riese (and Malaika)–Thank you for the lovely comments about my writing and my general niceness. A friend pointed me to this post, and I’m very flattered and humbled to be included. Thanks so much for sharing my work.

    Cool website, as well. I’ll be back!

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