HELLO and welcome to the 58th 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 horrific mass murders! 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 School (March 2007), by C.J. Chivers for Esquire – “On the first day of school in 2004, a Chechen terrorist group struck the Russian town of Beslan. Targeting children, they took more than eleven hundred hostages. The attack represented a horrifying innovation in human brutality. Here, an extraordinary accounting of the experience of terror in the age of terrorism.”
The Real Heroes Are Dead (February 2002), by James B. Stewart for The New Yorker – Alternately haunting, beautiful and compelling narrative. Keywords include Morristown, New Jersey, World Trade Center Bombing 2001, Middle Age, Dancing, Rescorla, Rhodesia and Greer, Susan.
Love in the Time of No Time (November 2003), by Jennifer Egan for The New York Times – Okay, it’s hard to say which’s the funnest part to read of this, which is like an anthropological dissection of Online Dating during the Dawn of Online Dating, but the part where she explains how online dating profiles can be used to cyber-stalk your dates and are therefore bad for “jealous types” I thought Just wait ’til Facebook comes out, jealous types! There are a lot of Just wait ’til Facebook comes out! moments in this piece. Actually no though, the other parts are maybe more interesting. I used to use nerve personals in like ’04-’05, so much of it rings super-true, too, for that time.
How Wal-Mart And Other Huge Companies Support Horrific Conditions and Kill Workers (November 2012), by Adele M. Stan for Alternet – “…with the U.S. economy now wholly dependent on consumer spending, a vicious cycle has emerged to trap the workers of the developing world in the same sort of exploitive, deadly conditions that characterized American factories at the turn of the 20th century.”
Letters From Oslo (December 2012), by Julia Grønnevet for n+1 – Julia Grønnevet covered Anders Behring Breivik‘s trial in Oslo for the AP, and also wrote about it for n+1, and it’s really interesting and haunting and everything is explained so well.
My Superpower Is Being Alone Forever: Newly Single (December 2012), by Joe Berkowitz and Joanna Neborsky for The Awl – “I’m keenly aware of a certain G-chat window’s negative space on my computer screen all day. Unfortunate coworker fashion choices go criminally underreported. The pertinent details of which falafel place I did for lunch are lost to the ages. My day’s narrative simply loses its primary audience, as though cancelled due to low ratings and frequent profanity. I could continue the broadcast on Facebook, dispatching glossy post-breakup PR or the romantic distress bat-signal of Sade lyrics, but being heard is not the same as feeling known. Nothing can substitute for the presence of an actual human person who knows most of your secrets and still somehow wants to make out with you.”
One Spoonful at A Time (November 2006), by Harriet Brown for The New York Times Magazine – A mother coping with her daughter’s anorexia, attempting to understand anorexia, getting into all the research, and engaging in the Maudsley Therapy program in which parents, not nurses, are the ones in charge of the ‘refeeding’ and the recovery happens at home instead of in a formal recovery program.
Executrix: Reacting to the Death of an Abusive Parent (July 2007), by Pam Houston for Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave – “My father’s lawyer identified himself, and then without any hesitation, told me my father had died from a massive heart attack during dinner at Country Meadows the night before… This was the moment some very essential part of me had been waiting for all of my life. What did I feel? I hadn’t the slightest idea.”
Little Girl Lost (November 1994), by Mike Sager for GQ – So this girl was a porn star and then she had a downward spiral and died, and at one point she’s dating Pauly Shore. I just wanted to warn you about the Pauly Shore part so it doesn’t take you by surprise.
The Falling Man (September 2003), by Tom Junod for Esquire – “Do you remember this photograph? In the United States, people have taken pains to banish it from the record of September 11, 2001. The story behind it, though, and the search for the man pictured in it, are our most intimate connection to the horror of that day.”
OMG i loved the first ‘my superpower is being alone forever’ thing about internet dating and did not know it’s now a series. he cracks me up. and the illustrations blow my mind.
Wow. The Falling Man is an incredible piece. It’s amazingly well written and reaches so deep into the humanity behind that photo.
TIRTIL always opens my eyes to so many new things- thank you Riese!!
Joe Berkowitz *understands* being single. This line especially completely encapsulated my experience newly single:
“My day’s narrative simply loses its primary audience, as though cancelled due to low ratings and frequent profanity.”
That was weirdly the hardest part for me. Not having someone to tell all of my random daily events to.
yes! that’s always the big void i’ve felt every time, is like, i have nobody to tell everything to. sometimes “breaking up” with a best friend can feel like that too.
Thank you. How could I ever let myself forget Beslan?
Does anyone know if the Pam Houston article was available to read for free? It seems very relevant to my interests.
Not that I could find, but I really wanted to read this one too, so I caved and registered for a Byliner account. They’re doing a two-month trial for their premium membership for free – I still had to give them my credit card info, but they won’t charge it until the 60 days are up (or I cancel).
Alternatively, it’s part of the anthology “Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave” – also not free, but at least you get a whole book with it.
Really glad you posted the article about the Beslan terrorist attack. I only learned about it in a class on modern Russia I took last semester, and so many Americans have no idea it ever took place…which is a shame because I think it helps put even horrific killings like the Sandy Hook shooting in perspective.
Also, thanks for the anorexia article! I felt so much of myself in Kitty’s story, although my ED wasn’t as severe as hers.
The anorexia article pissed me off, honestly. The Maudsley Method can be helpful, sure, but if there’s any kind of family dysfunction – which is the case in most people with EDs – it’s going to go horribly badly.
You’re absolutely right about that. I didn’t take the article as “this works for everyone” so much as “our family was in a situation where this type of treatment worked.” My family was pretty dysfunctional/unaccommodating so the Maudsley method would have never worked for me, but it was interesting for me to read about someone else recovering in a very different way.
yeah, i agree — she made it really clear that the situation wasn’t for everyone, that it was something she and her family were able to do mostly because of their flexible work schedules and continued good marriage, but that not all families can.
also wow that shooting article, i think took like 1.5 hours to read, maybe more? i found it through an esquire magazine link to the best six essays they’ve ever published, and i couldn’t believe while reading that how little i’d already heard about it. intense stuff.
Every sentence of the Newly Single article was delightful and heartbreaking
Riese. Beslan. Holy shit.
If a person wanted to be as awesomely well-read and informed about allthethings, aside from reading all of the TIRTIL articles, how would a person do this?
Seriously what magazines/blogs/things with words do you subscribe to or read on a regular basis that you recommend? Is there a post on this that I missed?
Help a sister that wants to be informed and well-read on a variety of topics out!