Things I Read That I Love #61: White Rabbits White Rabbits

readingHELLO and welcome to the 61st 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 Richard Pryor! 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 Art Of Omission (January 2013), by Simone Gorrindo for Vela Magazine“I’ve told a lot of harrowing stories about those four months in Indonesia, but this is the part I always leave out, the detail that undoes the narrative I’ve spent the better part of my adult life trying to construct: Throughout it all, I was in pain. Throughout my entire adult life, in fact—eleven years—I’ve been in varying degrees of it, sometimes crippling, other times a low hum that has become the background noise of my life.”

The day I saw 248 girls suffering genital mutilation (November 2012), by Abigail Haworth for The Guardian – This was not an easy thing to read. “In 2006, while in Indonesia and six months pregnant, Abigail Haworth became one of the few journalists ever to see young girls being ‘circumcised’. Until now she has been unable to tell this shocking story.”

Extinguishing Features: The Last Years of Richard Pryor (May 2007), by Julian Upton for Bright Lights Film Journal – The guy who wrote this is like an expert on stars who have experienced tragic downfalls, I guess. Anyhow, this is the life & career of Richard Pryor, arguably the best stand-up comedian of all time, from his early groundbreaking days to his struggle with drugs and then MS and his film career. This is not mentioned.

The Price of a Stolen Childhood (January 2013), by Emily Bazelon for The New York Times Magazine – On the new practice of demanding fianancial restitution from child pornography viewers for the victims pictured in those images. It focuses on two girls specifically who lived through some horrific shit as kids and now have to relive it every time their picture is downloaded to another hard drive all over the world.

Not an Ike and Tina Thing (March 2012), by Eva Holland for Vela Magazine – Having been there and done that, this really resonated with me – “I no longer felt confident that I was doing the right thing…in imaginary conversations with my friends, I no longer replied “You just don’t understand” when they told me to cut all ties. I now answered silently, “You’re right.” But at the same time, I felt less able than ever to leave. He needed serious help – and given his paranoia, his distrust of the medical system, his alienation from old friends and family, there was nobody but me to give it.”

Live on TV: The Fall of Greece (December 2012), by Chris Heath for GQ – I did not know about this — a representation of fringe political group Golden Dawn threw water in a female politician’s face and punched another female politician on live TV and his party is totally okay with it. – “We already knew about the economic crisis, the mass unemployment, the riots. But this summer we saw the tensions and turmoil of a nation erupt in a single act of startling violence on a morning television program. Within days, it was beamed around the world. Chris Heath uncovers the truth of what happened in that TV studio, a cautionary tale not just for the future of Greece but for the rest of us, too”

Smog & Sympathy (June 2011), by Karen Tongson for You Offend Me You Offend My Family“Like any good Pinay, for me karaoke isn’t just a drunken, weekend recreation. It’s a belief system. A world-view. It’s therapy, pedagogy and seduction all rolled into one—though thankfully these things don’t always happen simultaneously. The Smog serves it up six nights a week.”

Inside Disney’s New Fantasyland (December 2012), by Stephanie Rosenbloom for The New York Times – I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this but I LOVE DISNEYWORLD. Also obvs I’m upset to hear that the spooky-as-fuck Snow White ride has been retried but pumped for Ariel’s Grotto.

Dispatch From Angola: Faith-Based Slavery in a Louisiana Prison (August 2011), by Liliana Segura for Colorlines – Where most inmates work in the fields eight hours a day, locals flock to the Prison Rodeo (which opens with a black inmate on a horse carrying a Confederate flag while The Book of Revelations is quoted over the loudspeaker), and at least 90 percent of inmates will die there. Including probably the two guys who’ve been in solitary for 40 years.

The Strange and Mysterious Death of Mrs Jerry Lee Lewis (February 1984), by Richard Ben Cramer for Rolling Stone – Um, how is this guy still alive and not in jail? He abused his wife, pretty clearly killed her, married a 13-year-old when he was 22, did shit-tons of drugs… ugh  I hate the world of rich white men who protect each other from paying for anything ever. Here’s a quote for you: “They’ll never bust [Jerry Lee Lewis] in DeSoto County. That’s like bustin’ Elvis in Memphis. Never. Never. And you can quote me on that.””

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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, 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]

Riese has written 2893 articles for us.


  1. oh god riese. there are so many articles in this batch that i know i’m going to read and then have nightmares about forever. i saw the child porn article on the nyt website on monday and have been begging myself not to read it all week. the abigail haworth piece is going to be so hard to read. the jerry lee lewis piece is gonna make me so angry. this world, man. this world.

    apologies in advance to my girlfriend who will find me sobbing, curled up in the fetal position on my bed under the covers, at the end of this weekend once i’ve read all of these words.

  2. Seriously, we all need to go and read about Golden Dawn. It basically reads exactly the same as the rise of Nazi Germany before the second world war. There is government and police* condoned/supported neo-fascist brutality towards immigrants/non-ethnically Greeks and gays (relevant to us!!!) who are being utterly scapegoated for the state of the country.

    You should watch this quick video for an introduction:

    *(the police stand by, watch the “Golden Dawn” members attack non-ethnically Greek store owners, then arrest the victims)

  3. I asked my kitties to stay close to me while I read the Abigail article. They did. I sure could use one of Carmen’s cute animal palette cleansers right now.
    This article reminded me of my father who has very clear ideas about women and their place. While I highly doubt he would support genital mutilation, the idea that women are on this earth to raise children and follow men is very much alive and well in his head. King of the castle and all that. Of course they can work and earn money (he’s no fool) but at the end of the day, he decides what happens. Looks like I have a lot of processing to do since this article brought up a lot of emotions and old wounds (no pun intended).

  4. Riese thank you for posting this article from greece, things in greece are pretty crazy.

    I have been stalking every day this site for the past five years now and never commented , you are awesome , autostraddle is awesome and autostraddlers are awesome and I hope that this world will become better at some point.

  5. I have a lot of feelings about the FGM article. So much of this issue is laden with culturally specific beliefs and a lot of how Haworth talked about her experiences in Indonesia made me cringe.

    She uses words like ‘barbaric’ to describe the practice and also says derogatory things about the beliefs of Indonesian people referring to them as ‘myths,’ ‘superstitions’ and laden with ‘confusion.’

    I support efforts to end FGM, but I do think that efforts to end it need to look more critically at why it continues today instead of just bashing it from a Western perspective. Understanding and working with local culture might be the key to ending it.

    • Actually, the more ‘violent’ form of female circumcision (that is, actually cutting away part of the clitoris, clitoral hood, and/or labia) is a fairly new thing to Indonesia. Traditionally, the practice has been largely symbolic, usually just involving a ceremonial pricking of the clitoris that does little harm.

      The trend today comes from an increasingly fundamental view of Islam that has been picked up by many wishing to see/portray themselves as following a more ‘pure’ interpretation of Islam, rather than the traditional syncretic form of Islam traditionally practiced in Indonesia. The new practice of extreme female circumcision is also backed by the Indonesian Ulema’s Council and the two main Islamic groups, which plays a major role in persuading people that this is the Islamic thing to do.

      So yes, we should work alongside people and look at these issues more critically, but we also need to be aware that sometimes, cultural ‘traditions’ are not necessarily so.

  6. Pleasepleaseplease, Riese. Read Divergent. It’s trilogy and the 3rd book isn’t out yet, but (spoiler) in the 2nd book we find one of the secondary characters is lesbian. Plus it’s fucking awesome. It’s also about to get really big because apparently they’re talking about a movie.
    So…. read Divergent and Insurgent so you can write about it and I have someone to geek out with.

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