HELLO and welcome to the 186th 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 cult 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 Mother of All Questions, by Rebecca Solnit for Harper’s, October 2015
Rebecca Solnit KILLLING IT as usual. Why do people think women need children to be happy and actually why do we think people need to be happy, period?
Questions about happiness generally assume that we know what a happy life looks like. Happiness is understood to be a matter of having a great many ducks lined up in a row — spouse, offspring, private property, erotic experiences — even though a millisecond of reflection will bring to mind countless people who have all those things and are still miserable… We are constantly given one-size-fits-all recipes, but those recipes fail, often and hard. Nevertheless, we are given them again. And again and again.
Bernie Sanders, the Populist Prophet, by Margaret Talbot for The New Yorker, October 2015
As a socialist, I’m really interested in this man as a candidate, and this was a really great look into his story and platform and made me realize I really didn’t know anything about him at all, and now I do, and feel like it’s a good start towards figuring out who I’m gonna vote for.
I’ll Cover You, by Melissa Febos for The New York Times, July 2012
…I could never have imagined this: accompanying someone I love through the labyrinthine annals of treatment for a disease that the medical establishment doesn’t yet understand. I never imagined asking for so much help. And I certainly never imagined having to pull a melted bandage off a tube that entered in a small hole in my lover’s arm and led straight to her heart. But there I was. And I could do it, because I had to.
The Believers: Cult Murders in Mexico, by Guy Garcia for Rolling Stone
WHAT THE EVERLOVING FUCK
The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration, by Tah-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic, October 2015
Like Coates’ story on reparations, this is one of those game-changing must-read stories of the decade that everybody living in America should read. (In addition to reading The New Jim Crow, which addresses the same issue, although in this piece Coates briefly mentions his mixed opinion on that book’s conclusions.) If you read TIRTL every week you’ve likely read a lot on this topic but I promise there’s stuff in here you don’t already know.
They Built It, No One Came, by Penelope Green for The New York Times, May 2015
These two gay guys decided to start a commune for people with similar ideologies but they turned out to be more alone in those ideologies than they perhaps had anticipated.
“Their ideals were lofty but simple: They would live off the land, farming with Colonial-era tools, along with a band of like-minded men dressed in homespun robes wielding scythes and pickaxes. They would sleep in atmospheric log cabins and other 18th-century structures that they had rescued from the area and that they began to reconstruct, painstakingly, brick by crumbling brick and log by log.”
Amaris Tyynismaa: The Human Body Is A Miracle, The Human Body Is A Curse, by Duncan Murrell for Highline, May 2015
A unique, gorgeous story about an extraordinary runner who is a young woman and finds running to be the only escape she can obtain from her Tourettes. Highline itself is a pretty cool project, too.
Dreamgirls, Nine, and the Greatest Face-Off in Tony Award History, by Michael Riedel for Vanity Fair
This surprisingly compelling article (but only b/c I’m so into musical theater) inspired me to look into “Nine,” a rare case of a musical I know nothing about and… what the HELL?? That plot sounds TERRIBLE, like such a misogynist circle-jerk festival. I know there are other musical theater buffs who read this column and I need you to explain this to me. How the fuck did that stupid story become a musical and then a movie and how on EARTH did it win a Tony over Dreamgirls?
The Passion of Nicki Minaj, by Vanessa Grigoriadis for The New York Times, October 2015
Addressing Cyrus, she told me: ‘‘The fact that you feel upset about me speaking on something that affects black women makes me feel like you have some big balls. You’re in videos with black men, and you’re bringing out black women on your stages, but you don’t want to know how black women feel about something that’s so important? Come on, you can’t want the good without the bad. If you want to enjoy our culture and our lifestyle, bond with us, dance with us, have fun with us, twerk with us, rap with us, then you should also want to know what affects us, what is bothering us, what we feel is unfair to us. You shouldn’t not want to know that.’’
Ina Garten Does It All Herself, by Choire Sicha for Eater, October 2015
Mostly I read this because Choire wrote it but about mid-article I was like, well, this is the life.
This Never Happened, by Rachel Kincaid for A+, October 2015
This is behind the A+ silver/gold paywall because it is something about her family Rachel can’t talk about publicly, but it’s just wonderful, and I hope that if you can, you join A+ and read it, or if you’ve already joined, that you read it, because it’s wonderful.