Sometimes a story comes along that’s just as valuable for the reaction it engenders as it is for the words themselves. You should read the buzzy New Yorker story “Cat Person,” and you should definitely read the short-lived but hilarious Twitter account, “Men React to Cat Person.” They have thoughts.
Vulture published a list of 10 great holiday-adjacent movies that aren’t Die Hard. We humbly submit that While You Were Sleeping, which takes place almost entirely between Christmas Eve and New Year’s, is an obvious hole in this list, but at least they got You’ve Got Mail!
YAY! Colin Meloy and Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a song!
The New Yorker published a thoughtful analysis of the controversial art created by Guantanamo detainees.
Kinda looks like literature may be on the verge of its very own #Gamergate. Here’s hoping the sad young literary men are a little bit more woke than the sad young gaming men. In short, the acclaimed novelist Emma Cline is fighting accusations from an ex-boyfriend that she plagiarized her novel from his emails, because y’all know women don’t come up with stuff on their own: read about it in The Guardian.
The inspiring story of how a novice 30-year-old screenwriter writing on her kitchen table got her script for The Post made in under a year, via Vulture.
Louise Erdrich just wrote a book about dystopian enslavement of women based on their ability to produce healthy babies, so she was interviewed by the woman who wrote the book on fertility-based oppression: Margaret Atwood. Via Elle.
After a Never Let Me Go-style art exhibit by Guantanamo prisoners to demonstrate their humanity, the US government has declared that they own all of the art, and may start destroying it.
Nabokov’s dream diary, in which he details over 50 strange, violent, and erotic dreams, is about to be published for the first time. According to the editor, Gennady Barabtarlo, Nabokov completely failed to notice the similarity between his dreams and some of his writings.
The allegations against Mad Men showrunner Matt Weiner have gotten slightly lost in the ever-growing conga line of terrible men, but Buffy and UnREAL‘s Marti Noxon, who also wrote for Mad Men, believes them. She went so far as to call Weiner an “emotional terrorist.”
Amber Heard wans young actresses trying to find complex female parts not to play characters who are described as “enigmatic.” “The word ‘enigmatic’ means ‘Her backstory doesn’t matter.’ I fell for that so many times.” Via Women in the World.
During our epic Dawson’s Creek rewatch (oh yes, that’s coming), I stumbled on this oldie-but-goodie article from The Awl about Dawson’s, that fake artist “Jarvis” (who is actually sort of real), and the treatment of art on television.
OMG, OMG, OMG, Julianna Margulies is not only coming back to television, she’s playing a Miranda Priestly-type boss bitch on a show by Marti Noxon (Buffy, UnREAL) about radical feminist terrorists. Amazing.
You know how sometimes people get in trouble for saying sexist things and you start thinking to yourself, oh, are we being too judgmental, maybe he just made a mistake? Well, sometimes, people just happen to be unable to think of women writers who inspire them and it turns out later that they also think rape victims should just “suck it up” and not ruin Kevin Spacey’s career. Thanks for sharing, Gay Talese. (via Vulture)
The New York Times has an oral history of the making of the original Jumanji, focusing on Robin Williams. I don’t even want to see the new one. You can’t beat Bonnie Hunt, Robin Williams, the young Kirsten Dunst, and this immortal comeback, spoken from an angry cop to an aggressively acquisitive vine from a magical forest:
“FINE! TAKE IT!
Meanwhile, in the category of slightly more surprising oral histories, GQ did an oral history of… Jeff Goldblum. This is a new idea, but who better to start with than the man who is his own mythologization? Highlight: The woman who spent a plane ride listening to Jeff Goldblum read her the last ninety pages of the book she was reading.
This week under the heading of “blog post ideas I really wish I’d had first,” Lit Hub has a hilarious post called “Take a Literary World Tour Alongside Paul Manafort’s Dirty Money,” subtitled “An essential book from every country where Paul Manafort allegedly laundered his money.” Ha! I’ve been thinking of reading The Big Green Tent; maybe it’s finally time.
Did you know Lydia Davis and Siri Hustvedt have both been married to Paul Auster? We didn’t. Anyway, here’s an amazing interview with Hustvedt (who is still married to Auster) about the sexist assumption of confessional writing that dogs her but not her husband.
The reviews for Netflix’s competing Margaret Atwood adaptation, Alias Grace, have emerged, and they’re raves.
If you haven’t read it, Carmen Maria Machado’s “The Husband Stitch,” published in Granta a few years ago and based on the story of the girl with the green ribbon around her neck, makes for great Halloween reading.
LitHub has a fascinating article on James Baldwin’s giant FBI file. Turns out one way to make the bureau lose its shit was to be an influential black writer who was planning a book on the FBI.
I remember how amused I was when I went to Planet Fitness last year and realized TNT was STILL rerunning Charmed every morning. I was trying to think of something that was more undeserving of such longevity and the best I could come up with is “It’s like if a radio station was still playing S Club 7 every day.” Anyway, Vulture published a hilarious piece called “The Best Thing to Watch at the Gym Is Silent Reruns of Charmed,” where the author tries to figure out the plot just from staring at Charmed playing every morning at the gym. Money quote: “I tried dating Charmed episodes by fashion, but the series takes place in a world where crop tops are always in style.”
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”).
The New Inquiry has a fascinating piece on the “American monomyth” of good outsiders saving the American community from “bad” outsiders, and how Wonder Woman critiques it even though it eventually upholds it.
Joss must be so happy. Harvey Weinstein made him look like a feminist hero again (but only comparatively).
- The New Yorker‘s article, after the explosive New York Times one started the whole thing, included stories of actual rape.
- Word to the wise: If you’re a mid-level, garden-variety creeper, it’s probably best to just stay quiet when the really big, dramatic creepers (that you probably DID already know about) get caught. Here’s video of Ben Affleck assaulting Hilarie Burton, and Salon’s write-up of how the internet called him on his many hypocrisies after he got sanctimonious about Harvey Weinstein.
- Twitter keeps digging its own grave: after letting our president, an admitted sexual predator, harass and threaten people on Twitter with impunity, they’ve suspended Rose McGowan’s account after McGowan bravely spoke out against her rapist.
- Just as a fun bonus, here’s an interview with Tom Hanks that delves into Weinstein a little. Isn’t it crazy that Tom Hanks has a book coming out? TOM HANKS, you guys! (via the NYTimes)
Hallie’s plotline on Nashville kind of annoyed us (until we just stopped covering it altogether), but we are super psyched that the talented Rhiannon Giddens won a MacArthur. (article on Billboard)