Reading Roundup for June 2018


Anthony Bourdain, Queer Eye, and America’s fucked up politics – these plus a list of my work in this month’s Reading Roundup. Get those tabs ready!

My Writing

Comics review: The Queer Webcomics Revolution

Book review: “Death Cannot Tear Us Apart”: Brooklyn Brujas Series by Zoraida Córdova

TV review: About That Legion Season Two Finale…

Book review: Falling in Love with the Enemy: Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez

Book review: A Different Shade of Magic: Witchmark by C.L. Polk

Book review: Gods, Monsters, and Wicked Men: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Book list: Girls Rule In This Season’s New Young Adult Fiction



Other Works

“Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye’ Doesn’t Do Right by the First Trans Man on the Show” by E. Oliver Whitney for ScreenCrush: “The image of five cis gay men watching a trans man on an operating table is also particularly invasive, especially considering how Skyler seemed surprised when he learned the Fab 5 watched footage of his surgery, and that he didn’t remember it himself. (No matter the procedure, would you want strangers watching you lying unconscious on an operating table before they even meet you in person?) But the thing that really bugged me about this episode is how Skyler’s surgery, among other things, served as a teaching moment for the show’s cis hosts, turning their ignorance into an ever-so-convenient educational angle for the episode’s narrative.”

“Trumpism, Realized” by Adam Serwer for Atlantic: “Williams recounts the story of Charles Ball, who watched his family members being sold off to different masters when he was only 4. “Young as I was, the horrors of that day sank deeply into my heart, and even at this time, though a half a century has elapsed, the terrors of the scene return with painful vividness upon my memory,” Ball would write later. Louis Hughes, a former slave from Virginia, would write, “I grieved continually about my mother … It came to me, more and more plainly, that I would never see her again. Young and lonely as I was, I could not help crying, oftentimes for hours together. It was hard to get used to being away from my mother.””

“How I Broke, and Botched, the Brandon Teena Story” by Donna Minkowitz for Village Voice: Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce told me in a recent interview that my article had been the major inspiration for her film about Brandon’s life and murder: “Your article was on fire. I read it and I fell in love with Brandon. It made me love his vulnerability, his daring, his innocence, the way that he gave pleasure sexually. I was in love with this person who had shaped himself.”

It also proved to be the most insensitive and inaccurate piece of journalism I have ever written.”

“Asylum seekers are being sexually assaulted in U.S. detention”by Gaby Del Valle for Outline: “As of 2010, per CoreCivic’s contract with the government, a minimum of 461 women must be detained at Hutto each day at a per diem rate of $95.20. Many, like Monterrosa, are asylum seekers who are detained indefinitely while their cases are heard. “I thought I would be protected here,” said Monterrosa. Instead, she said, abuse similar to what she experienced in her home country continued — this time, allegedly at the hands of a female guard, who Monterrosa said began groping her shortly after she arrived at Hutto in June. The abuse continued for months.”

“Anthony Bourdain, Suicide, and Grace” by Film Crit Hulk for Observer: “He was a titan, a poet and a potty mouth. He had the acerbic wit of an Oscar Wilde protagonist and the bacchanalian instincts of a death metal roadie. He was well-read. He had a handshake that could waffle from limp to stern depending on his energy level. He made you feel included in whatever conversation was going on. He was exactly how you would imagine him in person. He facilitated conversation better than anyone on the planet, whether there were cameras running or not. He was so good with words it inspired jealousy and yet so dedicated to his work it inspired the same effort. He worked tirelessly to let his devotion and respect for his subjects shine through. He was an eternal student, hungry to absorb the essence of that which was placed before him, not so that he may simply consume it, but so that he could translate its essence back unto us. He was as at home in a palace as he was in a cabin or a tiny third world village. He loved the world just as much as he loved America. Yet he always expected better of America, and argued passionately for it to be so, which only helped forge him as an icon of Americana itself.

He was a pretty good chef, too.”

“Don’t Eat Before Reading This” by Anthony Bourdain for New Yorker: “Gastronomy is the science of pain. Professional cooks belong to a secret society whose ancient rituals derive from the principles of stoicism in the face of humiliation, injury, fatigue, and the threat of illness. The members of a tight, well-greased kitchen staff are a lot like a submarine crew. Confined for most of their waking hours in hot, airless spaces, and ruled by despotic leaders, they often acquire the characteristics of the poor saps who were press-ganged into the royal navies of Napoleonic times—superstition, a contempt for outsiders, and a loyalty to no flag but their own.”

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