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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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.