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Dear Autostraddle Readers,

As you know, this Sunday night The L Word will be so Over it'll need a new word for Over. Though Season Six has done its best to ensure we don't miss a thing, we can't deny that -- quality aside -- this show has changed our lives and our world, and I want you to know that unlike Mark, Adele and Gomey; Autostraddle is not headed for the vortex -- but I'll get to that in a minute. First, a few things:

Reader: thank you. I feel blessed & grateful to be a part of your life, wherever you are -- from my nearest & dearest friends who began as readers like Carly & Alex to the supportive commenters to posters of sexy Sarah Shahi photographs to all the assholes who I told to Suck It. Thank you for reading, for commenting, and for buying the t-shirt. I can safely say that if it wasn't for you, there's no way I'd still be watching this poofy-sleeved trainwreck of a show. But ... I am, and thanks to you, we have fun with it.



Furthermore: I literally cannot imagine what my life would be like right now without TLW and I bet you can't either. From a sociological perspective, TLW has changed public conception of what is possible for queer ladies. And for me personally; because of Autostraddle, The L Word Online, OurChart (RIP) (surprise!) and Showtime, I've been able to build a larger audience for my other work (and other blog), I've made amazing new friends online and in 3-D and above all I'm now a part of an incredible, vibrant, engaged community of women who come together every week to bitch at IFC, critically analyze the show, swoon over their 'Ship of choice and, eventually, use this show's "stories" as a starting point to actually tell our own stories to one another.



Despite its innumerable faults, TLW's enormous impact is undeniable. For girls growing up queer in a media-saturated heteronormative patriarchal world, it's easy to let television tell us what to want -- how to want. And before The L Word , TV ascribed value and status to one kind of relationship only - girls & boys. In the 1996 book The Girls Next Door, the lesbian authors note that, when it came to movies and television; "for as long as the two of us can remember ... our intimate lives were apparently too icky and weird for public consumption ... unless we were homicidal maniacs."

All I knew growing up was Ellen came out and got canceled, Rosie came out and suddenly the world turned mean on the Queen of Nice, and no-one liked that loud woman Madonna was running around with. I planned to live in a big city one day, I wanted to eventually have friends who worked at movie studios, hosted radio shows, wrote novels and ran art museums -- and though I saw plenty of heterosexual "models" of this lifestyle on TV, from Friends to Sex and the City, there was nothing showing me that homosexuality or bisexuality had any place in that kind of world. I spent a lot of time wishing I was a gay man.



If nothing else, the very existence of The L Word has changed that landscape dramatically. The playing field is far from leveled out, but at least heteronormativity has lost its monopoly on television. As shallow as it sounds -- as shallow as it IS -- because of The L Word, "cool" and "lesbian" are officially no longer mutually exclusive. And you know what? That's a pretty rad starting point.

"[Fans] wonder which of the actresses might really be gay. I'd just as soon they all were straight. That the megawatt Jennifer Beals, Straight Girl, would play the power dyke role of Bette changes my worldview, if not my world. She's not worried if I turn up at her table in the school cafeteria. She's not afraid to stand next to me in the bookstore. Enjoy me? My God, Jennifer Beals will be me, with the whole world watching, and make it look sweaty, wet, and good ...

This is hard for me to admit, but [The L Word] has made me feel hot in a way I haven't been too familiar with ... After all this time, now you tell me I'm not repulsive? Sounds silly, I know, but when you've spent way too much of your sexual experience accepting that you're a pariah and then a soap opera gives you a plot transplant, it counts, as Marina would say. "
[L is for "Look out World," by Laura Conaway, The Village Voice, 2005]

The world has changed with us. Since TLW's premiere in 2004, lesbian media visibility has rapidly gotten better.

We still have so far to go -- light years to go. Firstly, the show sucks now. Secondly, gays still lack equal rights in America, face violent homophobia, and, when TLW ends, we'll be hard-pressed to find a strong lesbian/bisexual character on the tube [we're already hard-pressed to find a strong FTM on the tube, obvs, TLW doesn't count]. I don't like teevee inherently [I basically watch it to analyze it & talk about it] so this matters to me more theoretically than logistically, but I know for many of you this no-gays-on-tv-thing is gonna be a Gigantic Suck.
I don't want these bonds or this community to dismantle when the show ends, and that's part of the reason I've decided to create a new website that I hope will enable us to build on what we've already got going and bring in millions of people who never even watched TLW -- 'cause what I've learned over the past three years [besides the definition of such useful terms as "nipple confidence" and "third wheel crush"] is that the Internet is Magic. You guys have done some fucking awesome things for me and sent me some incredible emails (that I don't know how to write back to because they are so cool and I am so weird), that's really only the tip of the iceberg.

Although by popular demand we'll eventually be recapping the first two seasons on The New Autostraddle 1.0, the site isn't intended to be related to The L Word but rather just to all the smart, fun, independent and cutting-edge stuff queer girls are doing all over the world. We have big plans and though the first few weeks/months will probs be rockier than OurChart, we hope to be doing okay within a few months and hopefully y'all can be a good part of that. You'll get to relish in the glory of our broken links and paltry content in just a few days at, which is excitant for everyone.

I'll ask again when I post the last recap -- if you've enjoyed reading Autostraddle for the past three years then please consider donating to the New Autostraddle Fund. Some of you have donated over the last few years, and often it's your generosity that has helped to enable me to spend 30+ a week recapping [completely unpaid]. Pay me, bitches!

The recession is clearly a bad time to launch anything. Most of us, including me, have seen our income and employment dwindle from decent to slim to zero, and our original plans for Autostraddle fundraising have crashed & burned with the stock market. And we wouldn't even be where we are if A;ex (designer) and Tess (programmer) hadn't been working their asses off for free all this time to make AS 1.0 happen.

So I'm hoping that if each of you give a few bucks -- even $2 -- I can focus on building new Autostraddle without getting evicted. Think of it as Arts Patronage 2.0. There'll be plenty of opps to help out or participate heavily (more on that this sunday) besides giving money obvs, but just throwin' it out there.

Everything you give will be put into covering AS's expenses and making it better.

Also I need like 40 unpaid interns, an independently wealthy PR/Marketing guru and a little monkey who can sing dirges in my ear while I work. Also Tinkerbell needs a vodka-tonic and the opposite of liposuction.

If you're the old-fashioned type, you can mail a donation to:

Riese c/o Autostraddle
52 Tiemann Place, No #3
New York, NY 10027

So, I'll have more information for you as the weekend goes on. There's also a form at the end of the PayPal donation where you can let me know how you'd like to be recognized (if at all) for your generosity.

'Til then -- thank you. For laughing with me and being part of the conversation over the past six years and I can't wait 'til Sunday when we can all scream"REALLY PAPI, REALLY?" together, all over the world and then all poke our eyes out with giant dildos.

Oh! I don't think this counts as a spoiler, but FYI, Sunday's finale = no theme song. HOLLER! When was the last time that happened? When Dana died. As I've said, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Durrrrrr.

Don't forget to follow the l word characters on twitter -- alice, bette, tina, jenny, nikki, max, shane and helena. There are other L Word characters out there too -- Jodi, Dylan, Carmen -- but I don't write those and I don't know who does but those are awesome too and you should check them out. Just so you know, I'm not always talking to myself, I'm not that crazy. Yeah I am.

So Much Friend Love.
Riese and the Autostraddle Gang


  1. Anonymous said...

    i'm too constantly-nostalgic for posts like this. but i loved it. and i've loved you! and i'm forever glad i didn't ban you that one day on that one forum. and i'm glad the L word is almost over. but season 1 & 2 recaps will be superfun.

    autostraddle 1.0!! wheee! if i were in NY, i'd hook my arm around your neck and spin us around like 11-yr olds with our eyes shut tight. you know, like people always do when something great is about to happen.  

  2. SarahP said...

    De-lurking to tell you that you really have saved this show for me. I watched Season 5 alone, after the fact, and to be able to read your irreverent re-caps made it sooooo much more fun. To have you voice all my nasty feelings about Season 6 makes that sooooooooo much more fun too.

    I am a little bit obsessed with TLW, even with all its glaring faults, and so it's gratifying somehow to know that there are other people out there who feel the same. I'm not alone! I am apparently not the only person who plans to start over at Season 1 and watch it all again, rather than just let the lovely ladies rest!

    I'm glad you won't disappear into the ether after Sunday.

    Thanks Riese, you're the bomb. xo  

  3. Vashti said...

    Rieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese! I want to take the chance to thank YOU. I believe someone wrote a nice, big, beautiful thank you comment on the last post so I'm not going to go in depth and instead just say, "Yeah, what she said."

    This blog and your other one have been such a constant in my life for the last year and it's really just amazing. I think I already said something about how it's really changed my perspective on so many things and has really helped me open up and be more comfortable with who I am as a person. Trust me, I talk about things you've written so many times to so many people and even though I always get weird looks, I keep talking anyway. I've started so many conversations with "so there's this one blog I'm kind of obsessed with.." [a lot of times it's because of the autostraddle sticker on my water bottle].

    ANYWAYS. What was I even talking about? OH YEAH. Obvs I'm totally down for one the unpaid 40 intern positions. I mean, I already have the title Intern Vashti. I might as well live up to it, yeah?

    I'll donate eventually even though it'll probs be only a few dollars [you know, school, the economy, unemployment..] but I'll def be doin' it old school snail mail. Mainly cuz I like arts and crafts and will probs send you some nifty gifties again.  

  4. Anonymous said...

    If it's not too weird, I think I'm gonna start giving you money whenever I am able. Cool? Ok then. I mean, I pay for music, books, etc. I think it's only fair that I try to compensate you for all you've given me. Your blogs and such definitely have changed my life FOR REAL. So.  

  5. Vikki said...

    I came late to the autostraddle party but I'll stick around. I'm excited to see the new project unveiled.

    p.s I didn't know that you weren't writing Jodi, Dylan and Carmen. Funny.  

  6. JKL__ said...

    Jodi's FORESHADOWING Maxims for Life. And DEATH! Behold:

    "Every day we wake up and promise ourselves we're going to be better. The problem is in the execution."

    The execution of Jenny Schecter by one Ms. Bette Porter! Whoa.  

  7. saint modesto said...

    Do the unpaid interns have to live in NY? If not, I'm so up for it. Well, depends what it is. I might not have the intellectual capacities for it, but I'll try.  

  8. jordan said...

    mushy gushy ready set go. i haven't even read this post yet, but i must tell you, dear riese, how much your words have meant to me over the past couple years. when i felt like the floor had bee ripped right out from under my feet, as girls came and went, as this show much elated me and made me want to pull my hair out and then pour peroxide into my pores, your words kept me laughing. there were times, through brief exchanges, that i felt like maybe ever you knew who i was... that made me feel connected to the world in a new way. if the l word was ever really the way that we live it was in the way people are connected. through your posts i felt connected to women not just via the incestual "chart" that was my humble college town, but also to the whole world. thank you for you time, your relentless commitment, and for giving so much of yourself to a group who now celebrated you and sometimes infuriated you. we appreciate you. at any rate, i appreciate you!  

  9. Anne said...

    My English is too bad to write a whole letter back to you but I just wanted to tell you that I think you're amazing and that it almost feels like you're a close friend. I've donated some money because I simply can't live without the L word, your recaps and letters from Thor to IFC! I wish you all the best. Thank you for all those great moments.

    From Holland with love (:  

  10. Linda said...

    Dear Riese,

    More love from Holland for you ;)
    I'm slowly coming to understand that it is really the end of the show, the end of something that has been so meaningful for me, for many of the reasons that you listed. Your post actually brought tears to my eyes.
    I definitely will stay following you and the new Autostraddle, and I will look up if I can support from Europe too. If you ever look for an intern in Europe, don't forget us. I'm looking forward to hear more about your project.
    Thanks for everything over the past years.


  11. mtownwhat said...

    i've been reading you since gawker linked you via blogorrhea nyc in like, 2006. yeah that's how deep it gets. you don't even know, dude, you don't even know. you read my mind. shit, i realized i wasn't taking crazy pills when i found your recaps. and as IF you went on the fuckin' olivia cruise man, fuck alla y'all. i fuckin' love you. i stalk your youtube videos. you don't even know. it's because i have a lot of feelings. about the L word. and you make it okay.  

  12. Sarah said...

    Ah, if you ever need an EST intern, feel free to holler my way.

    I haven't watched an episode regularly since around 5.09, but have found the pre- and re-caps more than filling. Like some have mentioned, I only wish I would've found your brilliance sooner. It might have been a crazy ride, but you all have been the best tour guides that anyone could have ever asked for, =).

    (Expect some postal service love from JoeJah in the coming week.)


  13. Laia said...

    just wanted to thank you for you company these three years. it's been really amazing to be able to recur to this online community you have created, either for shelter or for fun (or both).
    the l word has changed the lives of many of us, definitely.
    lots of love (also for carly, a;ex and haviland)


  14. Bridget said...

    riese -- really excited about ur new web endevor -- just clicked on the ads from AutoStraddle 1.0 like 30 times :)  

  15. Anonymous said...

    hi riese,

    greetings from germany!

    you're right by writing that you catch people all over the world with your blog, especially with your recaps. I do like them a lot and it really helps me to understand the series better, because I've to watch it in a foreign language and reading is much more easier than just listening!

    thank you for your recaps!


  16. Tenby said...

    I only discovered your recap blogs this season of TLW and I'm so thankful I did. You managed to actually make this season enjoyable and that takes a lot haha.
    Your goodbye letter rings true in so many ways, and not only will I miss the characters who I came to feel like I knew (minus all the personality changes...), but I will miss that feeling of being represented on T.V.
    I truly hope you can keep doing what you do, and that a community can be seen on the internet. TLW may have its major flaws, but it did bring people together and the amount of websites, blogs, forums, and discussions that sprung up from it are amazing.
    I want to thank you for what you've done with your incredible blogging and I'm glad I stumbled upon you.  

  17. Anonymous said...

    Nice Post

  18. オテモヤン said...
  19. Panty Buns said...

    i really wish you guys would keep this blogger blog as well as the new one for AUTOSTRADDLE
    i LOVE marielyn176's Channel (i subscribed) and the YouTube video entitled:
    "Auto-Straddle Vlog # 3: The L Word is LOL". It's wonderful. I think the video sums it all up beautifully.  

  20. Anonymous said...
  21. British Escorts said...

    You are using very cool images and looking very nice.  

  22. Organizari evenimente said...

    Sweet article.. I really miss those crazy guys..:(  

  23. Asian Escorts said...

    Goodbye to all of you and best of luck for the future.  

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Auto-Straddle is where Autowin indulges her guilty pleasures -- The L Word, South of Nowhere, and other queer pop culture.

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