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.


Nashville Recap: 4×21 “Maybe You’ll Appreciate Me Someday”


Previously on Nashville: EVERYTHING. Gunnar made out with Autumn and Autumn tried to convince Gunnar that Scarlett was holding him back, but Scarlett was in love; Juliette was nominated for an Oscar; Juliette told Layla that Jeff died saving her life—but Colt already had; Cynthia “Fake Ann Coulter” Davis told Will to disappear, so Will decided to speak up for gay rights (finally); Rayna met a girl who sang a couple songs and disappeared, then decided to throw a charity benefit for troubled youth or something, and then didn’t mention it for like five episodes; Maddie got emancipated and signed with a label in New York.

In Hollywood, Juliette’s schmoozing at some sort of Oscar event in a turtleneck-dress-and-giant-gold-jewelry getup that would look perfectly at home on, say, Lucille Bluth; but as soon as Glenn rescues her from her conversation she complains, “Why can’t they just give out the damn award already, why do they have to have so many parties?” She’s tired of pretending to be friends with people and wishes Cadence were here. Glenn suggests, “You do have a jet.” Juliette is thrilled by the idea, but seems nervous it’s too much to ask.

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Links We Loved This Week — 5/27/16

At We Minored in Film, Kelly Konda writes about the women involved in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising who made it surprisingly feminist — including Chloe Grace Moretz herself.

Mario Vargas Llosa published an excellent essay on the value of literature at the New Republic. Yes, a million essays have been published on this topic. But few of them were by Nobel prize winners who have written so generously and expansively about the human condition as Vargas Llosa, who writes:

Literature says nothing to those human beings who are satisfied with their lot, who are content with life as they now live it. Literature is the food of the rebellious spirit, the promulgator of non-conformities, the refuge for those who have too much or too little in life.

Vulture writes about how The Mindy Project responded to critiques of its representation with the “Coconut” episode — and how Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt didn’t quite respond as well.

Nashville ended this week, presumably, though the #bringbackNashville campaign is still going strong on Twitter. (It also ended on a cliffhanger, with an alternate happy ending filmed just in case, and Lionsgate sounds very confident it will come back on another platform.) The Internet bid it a contingent goodbye with some fun thought pieces:

Nashville Recap: 4×20 “It’s Sure Gonna Hurt”

 Previously on Nashville: Maddie emancipated from her parents; Deacon accused Frankie of its being Cash’s fault, and they got in a giant fight; Rayna was mad; Scarlett got a commercial without Gunnar and Gunnar got onstage on Autumn’s tour without Scarlett; Juliette hooked up with a former costar whose name I’ve forgotten, so I’m just going to call him Eyebrows; Will’s mom died; Luke fired Kenneth (yay!).

I’m very sad this show has been cancelled. It’s had moments of sheer brilliance recently, and the return of Juliette brought life back into an originally shaky season. Too bad this may be the second-to-last episode we recap!

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Nashville Recap: 4×19 “After You’ve Gone”

Previously on Nashville: Scarlett and Gunnar gave an awkward interview to Rolling Stone about how they’re exes; Juliette got nominated for an Oscar, but was sad that Avery chose Layla; Maddie got emancipated; and Deacon punched Frankie in his obnoxious face and got himself hit with a restraining order.

Rayna’s on tour in Atlanta, according to the title cards, singing a song about being strong. What do you think that’s about? I hate when they make you work to figure out the song’s relevance!

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Nashville 4×18: “The Trouble with the Truth”

­­­­­­Previously on Nashville: People didn’t want to play Will on the radio because he was gay; Maddie filed for emancipation; Rayna threatened Cash; Scarlett and Gunnar got stuck in an elevator and then made out; Juliette asked for another chance with Avery, but he made out with Layla instead.

Rayna is getting ready for court. It’s an intense process, involving brow pencil and everything. “You are a good mother,” Deacon tells her as he puts on his suit. He says that Cash is pulling the wool over Maddie’s eyes, but that “no judge is going to rule in favor of a sixteen-year-old runaway.” For the sake of sixteen-year-olds who have actual abusive parents, I hope that dismissive statement is not true. Both parents look sad and worried.

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Nashville Recap: 4×17 “Baby Come Home”


This was an amazing episode. There were no filler scenes, which is usually a big problem; every scene was meaty and moved the plot line forward; many storylines came to well-deserved climaxes that have been coming for a long time; every major character had sympathetic motivations, even when they were at odds; and it was genuinely heartbreaking in several spots. Solid work, Nashville.

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Nashville Recap: 4×15 “When There’s a Fire In Your Heart”

Previously on Nashville: Star Autumn Chase almost took Layla on tour with her, then went with Scarlett and Gunnar instead; Maddie thought something might be wrong with Colt; some girl named Vita stole from Deacon and disappeared, which somehow made Rayna really passionate about helping troubled girls; Luke asked Will to come back to his label; and Juliette quit a movie to be with her daughter.

Scarlett and Gunnar are in Dallas to join Autumn Chase’s tour. Scarlett is freaking out about “remeeting” Autumn—even her hair, which has a sort of “twelve-year-old boy who just woke up” vibe to it right now, looks freaked out. Gunnar light-heartedly teasing her for her fangirlishness, so she teases him back about his love for James Taylor.

They arrive at Autumn’s tour meeting, and Autumn gives them big hugs and a glowing introduction to her crew. Scarlett gushes under her breath to Gunnar about how amazing Autumn is, only to watch Autumn wrap up the meeting by coolly firing a guy in front of everyone. She strolls away, and Scarlett and Gunnar make “oh fuck” faces.

Nashville 415 ohfuck

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