Braindead 1×07: “The Power of Euphemism: How Torture Became a Matter of Debate in American Politics”

Buckle up, kiddies. This one got REAL.


Previously: Everything was fine after Laurel got infected by space bugs, well, except that Gareth had to have sex with a drunk Laurel in order to uninfect her, which was awkward. Gustav figured out how to listen to the bugs with his iPhone. [Insert science rap about the concept here.] Also, although this isn’t really in the song, Laurel wore a fabulous cherry-blossom-print dress to a date with Gareth, they “started over,” and she told him that she thought bugs were eating people’s brains and “turning them stupid.”

We open back on this moment. Gareth is drinking his old-fashioned and not quite sure how to react to Laurel. Soon, though, he settles for a sort of patronizing amusement that Laurel does not appreciate. She clarifies that she doesn’t get migraines, and that telling him this is “not smart” (you know, because as a woman you should really just be pretending to be “normal,” as Gareth said he wanted, in order to hook yourself a man).

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Links We Loved This Week — 8/12/16

Margot Robbie deserves better than Suicide Squad’s sexism, or The Big Short’s, or Vanity Fair’s, or The Wolf of Wall Street’s. She has been objectified for her entire career but still manages to knock it out of the park every time (via AV Club).

Jeffrey Dean Morgan didn’t like The Good Wife finale either! But for VERY different reasons from us. For some reason he didn’t notice that he was playing a complete asshole. (via EW)

It’s happening, guys! According to TVLine, Rupert Friend is coming back to Homeland. We were not exactly thrilled about how his supposed exit played out, so let’s hope the show redeems itself and uses Rupert Friend’s talent a leetle bit more wisely, and less sentimentally, this season.

The Americans is ending after its sixth season (boo-hoo), and according to Indiewire, the showrunners have a 50-page document detailing everything that happens in the next two seasons, called the Final Plan. They also reveal that Margo Martindale and Frank Langella will wrap up their storylines next season. Do we think that means they’re going to die??

The Lost Boys of Hook reunited to pay tribute to Robin Williams and Vulture collected their reenactment tweets. It’s pretty amazing.

The Atlantic writes on the mess that is Unreal Season 2 and the potential for an amazing season 3.

Kindle delenda est.

“Is it true? Well, it’s there”

In the Summer 2016 issue of The Paris Review, Dag Solstad is asked about the line he wrote: “Since my father died, I have not been myself. I have been the writer Dag Solstad.”

“I had strong doubts about publishing that passage. Is it a little too grand, a little too clever? Is it a statement I can stand by? But I decided I had to leave it in. Is it true? Well, it’s there. That’s really all I can say. It’s there and it’s meant to be there.”

Dag Solstad has been called the Philip Roth of Scandinavian literature. His father died when he was eleven.

The American Dream

Plunder has matured into habit and addiction; the people who could author the mechanized death of our ghettos, the mass rape of private prisons, then engineer their own forgetting, must inevitably plunder much more…

Once, the Dream’s parameters were caged by technology and by the limits of horsepower and wind. But the Dreamers have improved themselves, and the damming of seas for voltage, the extraction of coal, the transmuting of oil into food, have enabled an expansion in plunder with no known precedent. And this revolution has freed the Dreamers to plunder not just the bodies of humans but the body of the Earth itself.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Braindead 1×06: “Notes Toward a Post-Reagan Theory of Party Alliance, Tribalist, and Loyalty: Past as Prologue”

Previously on Braindead: Everything I wrote was wrong. Or at least, the part where I said Laurel obviously did not have a spacebug infection. The previouslies song is very slow and sad and informs us that indeed, Laurel has bugs in her brain. At least he agrees with me that “this isn’t supposed to happen to the main character.” He also sings briefly about Abby’s death, Stacie’s infection, Gareth’s crush on Laurel, and that time Laurel beat Anthony up with her brass knuckles.


Laurel sits up in bed, panicked and in pain, grabbing her head. Don’t freak out, Laurel! That’ll just make your head explode! She writhes out of bed, holding her head, and calls 911. Sucks for her that the dispatcher is also infected (she’s the lady from apartment 304 in episode 4), so she pulls out a carrot and snacks calmly on it with no sense of urgency at all. It’s pretty much what Laurel deserves for thinking 9-1-1 can help her with spacebugs in her brain, like, does she not remember when that dude’s head exploded in the ambulance in the presence of half a dozen completely helpless EMTs? Why is she not calling Rochelle? Luckily, Gustav is knocking on her door to warn her. She opens the door and informs him dramatically, “They’re in.”

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Links We Loved This Week — 8/5/16

An in-depth analysis of Watchmen and the conundrum of “adapting the unadaptable”:

The Establishment has a comprehensive survey of the history and evolution of queer YA literature (by an eighteen-year-old who can already write circles around most of the older writers on the internet). Want to know exactly when people stopped killing off their LGBTQ queer love interests (or at least stopped doing it as often)? Read to find out!

THR‘s rare interview with on and off-screen couple Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, which includes interesting analysis on the flipping of gender roles in The Americans and Rhys joking that real-life Keri Russell “doesn’t have the ice of Elizabeth — though sometimes she does.”

The hilariously terrible Suicide Squad has yielded some amusing zingers, from Forbes calling it “an all-out attack on the whole idea of entertainment” to SFGate describing it as “two hours of soul-sickening torment.” But the harshest indictment of our current blockbuster season comes from Indiewire, who says that between Suicide Squad, Jason Bourne, Independence Day: Resurgence, X-Men: Apocalypse, Warcraft, and more, “this is what plays in the multiplex in Hell.”

A Little Life Isn’t the Great Gay Novel. It’s a Fetishistic Portrait of the Perfect Victim.


The cover of my edition of A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara’s 2015 Booker- and National Book Award-nominated novel, is a close-up, black-and-white photograph of a man crying. It may be the most perfectly thematic cover ever designed, because this novel, falsely advertised as a novel about four college friends, is actually a close-up, nuance-averse portrait of one man’s relentless suffering.

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