Happy Birthday Est.: Katie’s Editor Picks

Next week, The Establishment will celebrate its one-year birthday. In honor of the milestone, we’re popping the champagne . . . and sharing our favorite stories so far. Today, our inimitable Creative Director, Katie Tandy, weighs in with her picks.

Read Ijeoma Oluo’s picks here, Jessica Sutherland’s picks here, Ruchika Tulshyan’s here, and stay tuned in the coming days for more favorites from our founding staff.


The Tyranny of “Or” is a real doozy. A real shit-pickle if you ask me. If you take a look in my closet, in my fridge, in my heart, or the wondrous grey lump of my mind, you will find this tyranny alive and well. Thriving like a pig in shit, like a mouse wet-dreaming about Cracker Barrel. I choose everything — pu-pu platter?! Great! — because choosing one, or even three if I’m honest, feels painful. I choose all. My ex-boyfriend and I used to laugh that if we’d grown up in some kind of M. Night Shyamalan-type village we’d both be elated at choosing one another. But with the whole damn world as viable options for penetrative love partners? We both had to admit, choosing each other felt h-e-a-v-y among the wonderland of humanoid options.

So here, today, I find myself again, under the Tyranny of “Or,” although this manifestation, however harrowing — NIKKI MADE ME DO IT — is a kind of beautiful mind-battering. There are so many stories I am proud of, and together they comprise the tapestry of my own fuck-the-Man fever dream; tugging out five threads is nearly impossible.

But I did it.

This Is Where The Dreaming Ends
By Camden Avery


Good grief this essay eviscerated me. Camden managed to pull off some of the most beautiful alchemy I’ve borne witness to in a long time, taking us from the “I” — the singular love between two men — and using it as a case study for racism in America.


Rape, Alton Sterling, And The Complexity Of Justice
By Marissa Jenae Johnson


Marissa’s essay on the complicated ethics of mourning a man who inflicted pain and suffering within his own community is a brilliantly nuanced discourse on morality, righteousness, and healing. Her words are like a prism, with every turn of phrase she reveals another angle to consider.


Online Dating In 7 Vignettes
By Carley Moore


There are few modern conundrums that have captured our collective imaginations, ire, and loins more than online dating; this piece is an incredible mash-up of memoir, social commentary, and heady injections of theory all wrapped up in love, sex, and quandaries on porn consumption.


Reflections From A Five-Time Egg Donor
By Rossella Laeng


This hauntingly beautiful documentary follows a woman who has commodified her body for money, for art, and for love. It’s heartbreaking and brilliant in equal parts.


Has Binge-Watching Hijacked Your Dopamine?
By Lisa Martinovic


I am a total science-head and this piece positively blew my little mind. Lisa’s deft analysis of binge-watching through the lens of addiction is a war-cry for the ages; there’s nothing harmless about the way we consume television.

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