Links We Loved This Week — 7/8/16

A few words from Toni Morrison on writing blackness in The Bluest Eye (via The Guardian):

She would not, she decided, try to “explain” black life to a white audience. She would not write from the position of outsider to her own experience. She took issue with, for example, the title of Ralph Ellison’s famous novel, Invisible Man; as she told the New Yorker in 2003, “Invisible to whom? Not to me.”

She wanted to write from within. It was the era of “black is beautiful”; everywhere she looked in New York, the black power movement was promoting that slogan. It struck her both as true – “of course” – and at the same time, ahistorical and reactive. “All the books that were being published by African-American guys were saying ‘screw whitey’, or some variation of that. Not the scholars but the pop books. And the other thing they said was, ‘You have to confront the oppressor.’ I understand that. But you don’t have to look at the world through his eyes. I’m not a stereotype; I’m not somebody else’s version of who I am. And so when people said at that time black is beautiful – yeah? Of course. Who said it wasn’t? So I was trying to say, in The Bluest Eye, wait a minute. Guys. There was a time when black wasn’t beautiful. And you hurt.”

These photos of retired trains are gorgeous and eerie.

Lithub published a conversation between Nicole Dennis-Benn and Chinelo Okparanta, two big new novelists who happen to both be black and LGBTQ. Their conversation is full of wisdom about writing and literature, including the role of race and representation in writing, as in the quotation below from Okparanta:

It seems to me that as writers we do have the right to tell any stories we want to tell. As fiction writers, we can make up anything we want and present it as something akin to fact. This is the power of fiction. But where national politics, racial agendas—those sorts of things—are concerned, it seems to me that we, as writers, should also be conscious of social consequence.

We’re very sad about losing Luke’s crinkly smile, but we agree with THR that by cutting Layla, Nashville is losing its most complex and interesting character, with the most potential for growth (she’s basically season one Juliette). We would also add that Layla finishing her arc as a manipulative, deceitful villain is borderline antifeminist, not to mention that she has the best voice of any actor on that show.

 

I Have Concerns: Thoughts on Season 4 of The Mindy Project

I’ve never been totally proud of my taste in movies.

Like Mindy Lahiri, the romantic, detached-from-reality doctor of The Mindy Project, I gobble down every and any romantic comedy I happen to find, always sighing over that second-to-last scene where the two separated lovers stare at each other longingly, waiting for that last scene where the web that keeps them apart finally unweaves.

It’s embarrassing, though. I mean, I’m a modern woman. I have two degrees, I have a professional job, I’m writing a novel on the side, I’ve read Simone de Beauvoir, JD and I clean our apartment together… I’m a card-carrying feminist. I swear. So the rom-coms I come back to over and over again are inevitably limited to a minuscule group in which the sexism is merely an implicit “girls will love this movie because it has a love story in it” confined to the marketing materials, and not the textually explicit “this girl is PATHETIC because all 27 of her friends are married and she isn’t.”

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Links We Loved This Week — 7/1/16

The British Library this week takes a look at WH Auden’s poems.

At We Minored in Film, Kelly Konda ponders the role of the thematically relevant backstory in survival stories.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote a delicious piece of what is essentially Virginia-Woolf-inspired fanfiction about Melania Trump for the NYT.

Happy Fourth of July! 12 authors, including Teju Cole and Jay McInerney, picked their essential American books for Time. What would you pick?

21 Times Center Stage: On Pointe Lived Up To Exactly What It Was

Center Stage: On Pointe is a straight-to-Lifetime sequel to the cult hit dance movie of 2000, which is probably most famous for its unhinged final dance sequence, which involved, among other things,  Michael Jackson, awkward sex, and an EPIC costume change. So if you expected that it would be an even more absurd movie than the original, with gloriously nonsensical plot devices, inexplicable directing choices, and satisfying shoutouts to the original, you’re in luck: it was. And here are 21 reasons why.

(Fair warning: if you aren’t a fan of the original, you probably won’t get much out of this post. Or out of the movie itself, to be honest.)

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