Here are some things I’ve been reading and thinking about.
I grew up reading Esquire and wanting to write for Esquire. But being the girl who breaks into the boys’ club has always been something I’m uneasy about, partially because of what it requires. This essay perfectly deconstructs the “cool girl” character and how playing it can warp self-understanding. Also, male magazine writers and “laid-back-yet-irascible attitudes”? Yes.
“It is not my job to educate him about the experience of race in his own country, although as his darker countryman, I am called on to do just that.”
That reminded me of this excellent essay about the invisibility of white masculinity, deconstructing how we frame white male killers’ actions as, often, the result of some external pressure: “In imagining the killers as good kids who did a bad thing, who snapped because of a divorce, because of too much medication, because of inadequate mental health treatment, because of too much mental health care, because of guns, and because of who knows what, white manhood — the visible link that binds together so many of these shootings –always gets erased.”
You can spent a good four hours on this: The 50 most interesting articles on Wikipedia. A good one: Language deprivation experiments.
Three great NYT Modern Love columns: A father wants his gay son to find legal love, a Hemingway lover regrets a lost relationship, a mother helps her daughter tend to a flour-sack baby doll.
Women athletes, by and large, hate their breasts, which they say get in the way. To keep young gymnasts from developing, coaches and trainers will encourage undereating and overtraining, which delays menstruation. Older athletes get breast reductions. And worth keeping in mind: the sports bra wasn’t even invented until 1977. Awesome to see ESPN dedicating so much space to the great reporting of Amanda Hess.
How to talk to little girls.
Five literary magazines that restore faith in publishing.
In “Just Kidding, Love Sucks: Notes on Taylor Swift,” Tavi Gevinson of Rookie reinforces why she’s so brilliant. She’s a deep thinker (see: her TED talk on growing up, which is worth your time), yet she rejects cynicism and instead loves art earnestly. Here, she divulges her appreciation for the country pop star and her lyrics.
I’ve been eating the wrong salt!
“The meaning of life? “Only God knows,” says Mr. Newton. But with his beaten broom, sweeping a sprawling seafood warehouse, he seems to have found the secret to not dying.”
A man is drafted in Turkey only to become the squadron’s librarian. “The strange and limitless charm of books.”
Good advice for young writers, but also young people: “Avoid all messy and needy people including family; they threaten your work. You may believe your messy life supplies material, but it in fact distracts you from understanding that material, and until you understand it, it is useless to you.”
Two new books I’m looking forward to reading: & Sons and My Education.
Fascinating analysis of beauty and, when there is an overdose, its ill effects on relationships and love. “For guys in relationships, exposure to beautiful photos undermines their feelings about the real flesh-and-blood women with whom their lives are actually intertwined.”
If you missed it, Ta-Nehisi Coates on Trayvon Martin.
“The women’s story sidles up to you at a party and asks in the honeyed voice of a false friend whether you or other women like you might be doing sex or love or motherhood (the top tasks of the woman) slightly wrong.”
And one last well-written and balanced piece on women and narrative journalism. “It seems if they go so far as to dip a toe into the personal,they’re tossed into the pool of memoir, where swim the snakes of derision and triviality,” writes Sarah Menkedick of Vela Magazine. Why is it that, so often, men’s longform work is called “criticism” or “putting yourself in the story” or “voice-driven” or “narrative,” or “travelogue” or “history” or “new journalism” or simply a “literary journey,” when women’s get pegged as “personal”? she asks. A very good, very convincing read that I connected with strongly.