Links We Loved This Week — 6/16/17

Do you know about the creepy surrealist Youtube star Poppy? This article about her is fascinating, but what really fascinated me was just watching her “I’m Poppy” video. (via Wired)

After some anxious sponsors backed away from the notorious Trumpian production of Julius Caesar, Alexandra Petri for the Washington Post cheekily identified reasons why pretty much no plays should be acceptable to sponsors. For example, in As You Like It, “Woman wandering in the woods to get away from the current regime is portrayed as some sort of hero.” VERY inappropriate.

Rebecca Solnit argues in Harper’s that the mythical Cassandra is the feminine inverse of The Boy Who Cried Wolf: from Anita Hill to Cosby’s victims to Trump’s accusers and in countless other examples, men can lie over and over again and be believed, while women can tell the truth time and time again and be dismissed.

A poet who wasn’t getting any traction on Instagram conducted a social experiment in which he posted the most banal, non-sensical lines he could think of–and he immediately got thousands and likes and followers, many of whom were not in on the joke.

The New Yorker‘s Doreen St. Felix walks us through Bill Maher’s awkward, graceless apology–and why we probably shouldn’t accept it.

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Links We Loved This Week — 4/7/17

Netflix has been so busy tugging at my damn heartstrings… first it resurrects Gilmore Girls and now there’s this absolutely lovely trailer for their new Anne of Green Gables adaptation!!! (Yes, the three exclamation points are absolutely deserved. If I were Emily of New Moon there would be italics, too.)

I recently read George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo, and woke up the very next day to find The Millions had published an amazing parody: Trump in the Bardo. (For those not familiar with the concept, Saunders’ novel consists mostly of dialogues among the ghosts living in the graveyard where Lincoln is visiting his dead son.)

The New York Times reports that bookstores are instrumental in galvanizing people to direct political action.

At a bookshop in Massachusetts, a manager privately asked his senior staff members how the store should respond to the Trump presidency.

“Go hard,” they told him.

The Good Fight Review: 1×05 “Stoppable: Requiem for an Airdate”

Well, it was probably inevitable that, at some point, The Good Fight, which opened its pilot with a closeup of a second-wave feminist watching Trump’s inauguration in absolute horror, would eventually take a bigger swing at the president. In this episode, they really go for it, portraying a case whose entire outcome is swayed by one ill-thought-out tweet from the President himself.

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Links We Loved This Week — 2/17/17

NYMag published what I can only call a surrealist work of art: Night-Time Voicemails From The White House.

The Good Fight is on its way! There is a generally positive review in the New York Times. We will be watching and covering it here! To answer the inevitable questions: yes, you do have to have CBS: All Access to watch it, and yes, we have it, and yes, that’s ENTIRELY because we forgot to cancel it after The Good Wife ended. Don’t judge.

Dude who directed The Arrival (which some of us may have hated) is now announced to be directing Dune (via bleedingcool.com).

We’ve been writing a little bit about a new anti-Islamophobia attitude on Homeland‘s latest season. The intrepid Bitch Magazine has a piece where they conclude that progress may not be permanent–but that they remain hopeful. Read it here.

Links We Loved This Week — 1/27/17

Let’s be real. There’s only one thing we’re reading about this week, and it has nothing to do with books or movies or TV. In fact, this creature we are obsessively reading about doesn’t even READ books. A fascinating specimen, isn’t he? (Just ask him!)

Here, inspired by the magic of Google’s auto-complete search box, is a giant collection of listicles: books that the world WISHES Trump would read. Taken together, it is a grand list of books about social justice, science, history, civics, logic, and morality. You know, all those niche topics that he hasn’t really had time to grasp the basics of yet.

Elle has some great, surprising choices, including one about Japanese internment camps. And who knew Ta-Nehisi Coates had written a graphic novel? Not me!

Book Riot has a list of seven, including several great books on racism and, oddly, How to Win Friends and Influence People, like, I think he’s got more influence than he deserves already, mk?

Washington Post went basic (but all strong choices), with Washington, King, and Roosevelt. And the Constitution, though we all know Trump’s not interested in THAT.

NPR went scientific, wishing that Mr. “Let’s just Build Up Our Arsenal” would educate himself on the history and science of nuclear weaponry.

The Washington Independent Review of Books has really good stuff on its list, with War and Peace alongside The Once and Future King, though it’s noticeably short on the “educate Trump about how racism is bad” thing.

Inc.com, somewhat surprisingly, put together a totally legit reading list for our fearless illiterate, including The New Jim Crow, which is amazing and was also on Book Riot’s list.

 

 

Westworld Recap: 1×06 “The Adversary”

In the wake of the US elections, I almost didn’t bother writing this recap. TV, art, and criticism seem too frivolous and ephemeral to be interesting when you’re living in a country that is in the throes of a spectacular crisis. But Westworld is a perfect example of why art still exerts a claim on our attention, even in the midst of catastrophe. It’s a show about people indulging their darkest impulses towards women, knowing there will be no consequences for doing so. What could be more relevant to confronting the reality of the new American president-elect?

With that—to the races.

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Rereading Watership Down In the Age of Terrorism and Trump

Someone once asked me, if I could force everyone on earth to read one book in order to make the world a better place, what book it would be. The answer was easy, and it’s only gotten easier with time: Watership Down, Richard Adams’ epic novel about bunny rabbits (seriously), the extravagantly tattered paperback I’ve read over and over since I was nine, following a group of rabbits as they travel to a new home and found a new society. It’s purportedly for children, though Adams makes no perceptible effort to simplify his prose for younger readers; and anyway, lately it seems like Americans could use a grade-school-level lesson in civic values. Suddenly so many of us seem willing to trade away long-standing principles of democracy in exchange for a false sense of security from terrorism, or from the imaginary Mexican rapists supposedly pouring over the border. Those principles are so interwoven in the fabric of our daily life that it’s easy to take them for granted; rereading Watership Down always reminds me what a struggle it is to shape a healthy society out of chaos.

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