Links We Loved This Week – 10/20/17

Famous authors from Jane Austen to Zora Neale Hurston respond to your unsolicited dick pics. Via McSweeney’s.

The Harvey Weinstein revelations continue. I’ll draw your attention to a pair of New York Times articles that I think are particularly important. In the first, Lupita Nyong’o describes in an op-ed just how hard Harvey Weinstein worked to try to get around her clearly stated boundaries, and how alone she felt in her situation. In the second, Quentin Tarantino gives a brutally self-aware interview about the fact that he knew about Weinstein and failed to do anything. I think his interview really shows how normal this thought process seems despite the horrifying consequences, and also shows that people who aren’t invested in seeming like perfect allies (ahem, Ben Affleck) are sometimes more capable of learning and improving. (Assuming, of course, that Tarantino does improve in the future.)

“I chalked it up to a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk,” he said. “As if that’s O.K.”

Speaking of which, Hachette has quickly and quietly “terminated” Weinstein Books, per The Guardian, but are keeping all of the titles and transferring the women who run the imprint to the main branch. That’s how you do it. 

James Wood wrote a piece in The New Yorker dissecting why Never Let Me Go by recently crowned Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro is so great (or, in his words, “one of the central novels of our age”).

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How should we reevaluate Buffy in light of the Joss Whedon allegations?

How did Buffy spring from the mind of a misogynist? That is the question Joss Whedon fans have been grappling with for the last month, and it’s a worthy one. The allegations against Joss are impossible to ignore, and disturbing enough that it’s difficult to view his work in the same way. So how do we continue to watch and love Buffy in light of the personal misogyny of its creator? How do we reinterpret this beloved feminist anthem as the brainchild of a toxic fake ally?

The short answer is: we don’t. Joss doesn’t own Buffy anymore, but even if he did, any problems with its feminism have already been discussed by its fandom (and/or Buffy Studies scholars) at length. Buffyheads have known for a long time that Buffy sprung from a very flawed creator–we just didn’t know how flawed.
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Subjectivity and the male gaze: in defense of that controversial scene in 13 Reasons Why

SPOILERS FOR 13 REASONS WHY ABOUND!

The controversies surrounding 13 Reasons Why have been numerous and well-enumerated; critics claim that the show glorifies teen suicide by presenting it as a suitable revenge for bullying, that portraying teen suicide at all (especially using attractive young actors) is irresponsible, and that Hannah’s rape scene is triggering for victims. But arguably the biggest point of contention is Hannah’s suicide scene, which is incredibly disturbing. It’s one thing to hear about a child slitting their wrists, it’s another thing altogether to see it happen in graphic detail.

But does the graphic nature of the scene automatically make it irresponsible? I’m not a mental health professional, so I can’t comment about whether the show is responsible about suicide on the whole. But in regards to this particular scene, I tend to agree with 13 Reasons Why writer (and suicide attempt survivor) Nic Sheff, who wrote in Vanity Fair that they included as much detail about the act of suicide as possible in order to shatter the “myth and mystique” surrounding suicide, and especially to “dispel the myth of the quiet drifting off.” For those who are worried that the show “glamorizes” suicide, if nothing else, that scene definitely showed viewers that there is nothing glamorous–or peaceful–about the act itself. Continue reading →

Links We Loved This Week — 7/7/17

The New Yorker released the first English translation of Italo Calvino’s short story, “Adventure of a Skier.” We loved it, and wished that more New Yorker stories were as weighty yet enjoyable as this one.

The Onion‘s Spider-Man review (via Indiewire) hilariously objectified Tom Holland the way movie critic David Edelstein slobbered over Gal Godot. “Superbabe in the woods” will never be a thing.

Why is Jane Austen so popular? Big Data can give us the answer by analyzing her word choices. (via NYTimes)

Stephen Greenblatt wrote a powerful article for The New Yorker about how Shylock can teach tolerance even while exemplifying anti-Semitism.

Have you read Roxane Gay’s book Hunger yet? If you weren’t already planning on reading it, we dare you to read this adapted excerpt in The Guardian and not put it on your Amazon wish list.

Rayna looks freaked out while an angry man behind her holds onto her and a gun points towards them both.

Taking The Leap: Our All-Time Top (or Bottom) Jumping-the-Shark Moments

You may or may not have noticed that we have stopped recapping Nashville, and it’s not because we’re lazy and/or behind (although that’s often the case). It’s because–and we’re sad to say this–Nashville has jumped the shark, an especially impressive feat for a show that was already about feuding country singers. So instead of recapping a show that has become too ridiculous even for our teen-soap-loving sensibilities, we’re going down the list of the best (or, more accurately, worst) jumping-the-shark moments that we’ve seen on television.

There are only three (loose) rules for something to qualify as jumping-the-shark: 1) It has to be f*cking ridiculous, in direct proportion to how ridiculous the show was to begin with; 2) it should preferably be a ratings ploy; and 3) it has to mark the point-of-no-return that begins a downward spiral, an evolution into a significantly stupider and/or offensive show that we never would have watched if we weren’t already attached to the characters. Enjoy.

SPOILERS ABOUND! Continue reading →

Ranking the All-Time Personal Growth of the ‘Girls’

After six seasons of controversies, hot takes, empowering female nudity, depressing racial politics, and a few near-perfect bottle episodesGirls has finally taken its final bow. Girls grew immensely over the years, transforming from a tragically self-conscious drama about privileged brats into a slightly more self-aware and compassionate story about (still privileged) young women adulting for the first time. But while the show itself became vastly more mature, the same cannot be said for all of its protagonists. Here are our final personal growth rankings for all of the Girls characters, based on their respective farewells in the last three episodes. Continue reading →

Personal Growth Rankings: Girls 6×05 “Gummies”

I have to say, I was definitely a naysayer about Adam and Jessa’s movie, but now I’m a believer. Not in the sense that I think the movie itself will be good; it still looks like a corny and even more twee version of 500 Days of Summer. It checks all the boxes of the worst kinds of indie movies: a manic pixie dream girl (because OF COURSE that’s how Hannah looks from Adam’s perspective), stereotypes about mental illness (“My head feels so noisy, I just want it to stop!!”), a dysfunctional relationship, and a cute yellow sundress.

But I’m on board with the movie as a plot device, if only because it gives us a hilariously meta spoof of Girls‘ early seasons. Hannah clumsily dancing half-naked to an ironically cheerful song, Hannah and Adam being ridiculously melodramatic about their relationship (“I don’t care if you ruin my life, at least you’ll have been in my life”), and Hannah wanting to be treated like shit by a guy, because that’s just so painfully edgy.

But anyway, let’s get to the personal growth rankings: Continue reading →