HELLO and welcome to the 77th 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 Tyra Banks! 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.
Why I Despise The Great Gatsby (May 2013), By Kathryn Schulz for New York Magazine – I agree in a really serious way. I’m totally confused about why this book is a thing. Zero.
The Great Girl Gross-Out (February 2009), by Rebecca Traister for Salon.com – “Oversharing is in. And for a lot of people who are doing the sharing, or experiencing it, it’s not so much “too much information” as it is the next, necessary step in personal-is-political, enlightened honesty about the female body.”
The Tyra Banks Matriarchy: A Scholar’s Take on America’s Next Top Model (May 2013), by Ashley Fetters for The Atlantic – In honor of the beloved reality show’s 10th birthday, a conversation with Rhonda Loverude, who wrote her doctoral dissertation on hegemonic heterosexuality in ANTM
Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia (May 2013), by Andrew Leonard for Salon.com – Obviously this sent me into a k-hole, I also read this article which is referenced in the Salon piece, and then also this piece but oh, I don’t know. I’ll let you navigate all that for yourself.
Freedomland Forever! (March 2013), by Garrett McGrath for narrative.ly – Ah yes you know how I LOVE articles about failed amusement parks/theme parks, I could read things on this topic all day. This is about a huge park built in The Bronx that was supposed to be East Coast Disneyland and instead closed down in three years. Obvs I had to google the fuck out of it, and then I found another piece about Freedomland in The New York Times.
A Ruckus of Romance (February 2013), by Rachel Howard for narrative.ly – This is about lesbians meeting lesbians and falling in love via the Hot Rabbit party in New York City. Also one of my friend’s exes is in this article because lesbians.
The Pink Pyramid Scheme (July 2012), by Virginia Sole-Smith for Harper’s – Shit like this was so big when I was growing up. My Mom sold Tupperware. There were other Moms who sold Amway or Mary Kay. I remember once my friends and I did an Amway beauty party thing in middle school because we wanted makeovers. It seems like the new thing now is the sex toy parties.
The Art of Journalism no.1, Hunter S. Thompson interviewed by Douglas Brinkley and Terry McDonnell for The Paris Review – “We talked with Thompson for twelve hours straight. This was nothing out of the ordinary for the host: Owl Farm operates like an eighteenth-century salon, where people from all walks of life congregate in the wee hours for free exchanges about everything from theoretical physics to local water rights, depending on who’s there.”
The Heartbreaking Saga Of Zhu Ling (May 2013), by Kevin Morris for The Daily Dot – This is a really interesting story about a woman who was poisoned in China and by the time they figured out what was wrong with her, it was too late, but they figured out what was wrong via internet and it was the mid-90’s so that’s kind of a thing. And now the search for the woman who poisoned her has re-ignited anew.
Why You’re Addicted To TV (May 2013), by Andrew Romano for Newsweek – This is fascinating! – “We’re not only bingeing on shows like these—an adrenalinized meth saga, a pulpy vampire romp, a paranoid terrorism drama, a seedy political thriller—because we can. There’s more to it than that. Talk to the people behind Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and so on, and it soon becomes clear that they’ve designed these shows to be more bingeable—more propulsive and page-turning—than anything the networks ever pushed on us in the past. How We Watch may be changing. But it’s changing What We Watch as well.”
Viva Print! (May 2009), by the writers of The Morning News – Readers and writers sharing memories and feelings about their favorite print periodicals during the year when print’s slow death really started rolling.
After reading the second piece, I DON’T FEEL OKAY. EW EW EW
I am so unbelievably glad that I’m not the only person who detests The Great Gatsby. I was never 100% if I hated it on its own merits or if it was just general hatred directed at a high school reading list that consisted mostly of books about rich white men/boys. Now I’m positive that it’s both those things.
i literally have NO IDEA why it’s such a thing. I felt so confused after reading it, and I’ve yet to read anything that convinces me that it’s iconic or important in any legitimate way. It’s baffling, honestly.
Agreed. I mean, I like a cute girl in a flapper get up, but the jazz age deserves a more interesting and relevant voice. And less glowy, floaty green lights. Because seriously, it’s like that was written for high school students to write papers about.
I never read any supposed “classic” books in their entirety except for Animal Farm, but I did see several episodes in high school of a great series called Great Book narrated by Donald Sutherland that examined core themes and the backstory of several such stories including The Great Gatsby. If somebody whose read the book honestly doesn’t enjoy well fine, but I don’t see how hard it is to understand the the significance. It’s a story that deals with universal themes of false idols, material wealth and status seeking as a replacement for genuine relationships, and the destructive obsession some many man of power have to control what they can’t hold on to. I figured that out just from watching a one episode of speculation with only minor reenactments. It may be that schools encourage reading to high school because wanting to be somebody of importance to your peers in something they can relate too.
Or maybe high schools encourage reading it because the themes are OBVIOUS and even high schoolers can’t miss them. Or, you know, what you said.
Sorry, I didn’t mean that to sound so rude. I’ve just been feeling a little snarky about The Great Gatsby lately.
If people like Gatsby, that’s great for them, really, liking books is wonderful. But to me, reading the book was akin to trying to read while a high school lit teacher is hitting you repeatedly over the head with a baseball bat while screaming directly in to your ear with a bullhorn, “Look! The American dream has been corrupted!!! And see? This is how we know Gatsby doesn’t really love Daisy, just what she represents!!!” And even that would be okay if I found the characters at all compelling. But even though they are mostly despicable people they don’t have enough depth to actually make me dislike, let alone hate them. They’re like wax statues of ‘types’. And then there’s the misogyny that even seems intense for the time it was written.
Anyway, I have this problem where I really like to rant about certain classic novels and Gatsby is one of them.
Ha! I enjoyed this comment :) Out of curiosity, what are some other classic novels that you rant about?
A Separate Peace, Heart of Darkness, and Lord of the Flies*. Tangentially, the excessive romanticizing of the life and death of Ernest Hemingway.
*My hostility is probably related to how many times I was required to read Lord of the Flies in middle school and high school.
Apparently I had lived in a very small, sheltered bubble and didn’t know anything about Gatsby and the novel’s iconic stronghold on Americuh until after I read it in my sophomore year of university. After having an unbiased read, I loved it! But not for the fast-living, glamour-crazed snapshot into the lives of the privileged, but for the absolute irony of it all. We’ve really done a whole 360–ignoring the point that Fitzgerald was probably (albeit blandly) trying to make. Well…maybe not even a 360: I’d say we’re living in a mirrored society in where the main point zooms past us and, in turn, kills itself (get it? cuz Myrtle? lol)
We keep doing the same shit and it’s all around us! All of the pop music and popular tv screams BE A STAR, LIVE A DREAM, GET WASTED, YOU ARE THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, GET RICH OR DIE TRYING, LIE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE etc. with the undercurrent of severe depression because (obviously) that life is the most unsatisfying.
Morals, shmorals. Anyone can teach a lesson, and everything can be a “thing” with the snap of a finger these days, but unfortunately, by getting sensationalized, Gatsby’s meaning is lost. And the irony of it all screams silently.
After reading the girl gross-out article, I jumped over to the original Moe Tkacik tampon story. I love disgusting bodily dysfunction stories, thanks for the share!
The ‘Viva Print’ article was fascinating. I quite enjoyed it. I will never not like Bitch Magazine.
I liked the movie version of The Great Gatsby a lot more than the book. This has to do with the fact that I like several of the actors in the movie, as well as (with the exception of Romeo & Juliet) that I like Baz Luhrman’s films. (I watched Australia again recently.)
The article on The Great Gatsby has some excellent points.
I have not watched America’s Next Top Model in a long time, not since college. I loved Fetters’ article.
Zhu Ling’s story is so sad. And more than a little unfair.
The story about Mary Kay was fascinating, but it also made me realize how uninterested I am in working for a company like that. I’m also not sure I’d be good at it.
I wait for this post all week. Thanks.
Another issue with Qworty is that he spent a lot of time systematically editing Pagan and Wiccan pages vindictively. The Wild Hunt did artery good round up on that here – http://wildhunt.org/2013/05/anti-pagan-wikipedia-editor-outed-by-salon-com.html