Can you ever really be sure of what you’re interested in? Of what parts of the zeitgeist or the cultural conversation actually trigger you? In that framework, does Tyler, The Creator really represent anything other than the extent to which self-promotion can lift lift lift you up like a house tied to a thousand balloons with a portly asian boy scout hidden, and make you into something bigger than yourself?
I wonder this out loud because Tyler is that sort of self-styled, self-created and self-inflicted cultural totem that tends to arrive every few years and make a ruckus, represent something on the level of cultural symbolics and then, like, maybe fade away so that we can’t see them unless we squint?"
Tig Notaro Live at the Largo is rougher around the edges than the hype would have you believe, but my god if it doesn’t cut to the core of what makes stand up comedy a tragic art form in its own right. The way the set builds on the vulnerability already so intrinsic to stand-up is magnificent. If only “Raw” wasn’t already taken.
Revisiting the Queen of Pop’s thirty-plus year career, and just what Madonna means in today’s culture.
Also, she’s over 300 years old. Did you guys know that? Is this something you knew?
The title makes it sound like this post is going to be a critical theory of culture essay, when in reality it’s just a space for me to make mention of the fact that Robyn has taken on a more emotionally significant role in my playlists that she never has before.
The essay would probably propose a thesis as to why this is; this post, sadly, will not, ending instead with nothing more than a request to re-listen to “With Every Heartbeat” in a dark room, with a candle flickering, like your older sibling may have suggested you do with Zeppelin.
Today marks the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, which is slightly less significant than than the tenth anniversary, but still significant in a “holy-shit-it’s-been-thismany-years” kind of way—which is often the only way I really grapple with 9/11 as an event. It’s so clear to me just how much of my youth, my life, my political consciousness, has been shaped by September 11: it often seems that every shade of culture I choose to color my life with has either been radically reformed by or is a direct response to that singular event.
As a longform junkie, it should come as no surprise that I think it’s narrative non-ficiton that has best captured the meaning and weight of that day. And although so much of the current political landscape has been largely defined by 9/11, the most haunting, all-consuming bits exist on a far smaller scale. Crumbled pieces of paper; emotionally distant husbands; the nameless star of a photograph. Those stories are the ones worth telling; the ethics worth questioning. Those stories are the ones worth grappling with.
One of the most recent pieces circulating involves a note dropped from the 84th floor of the second tower, and the way it alters a family’s entire narrative when it finally reaches them ten years later. Another highlights the intersection of 9/11 and money, and who exactly is profiting most from the disaster.
Scott Raab has been chronicling the rebuilding process of the World Trade Center since plans went underway in 2005, all of which are worth reading. But it’s his seventh piece, published on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, that really captures the tangible metaphor of the noise, the second-starts and the grief that comes with the opening of the memorial.
Possibly my favorite of the bunch is the New York Times Sunday Magazine feature that untangles the complex affairs of two 9/11 widows: one whose husband was lost in the towers, and the other whose husband might as well have been.
And perhaps the most famous and fascinating of any 9/11 piece published anywhere: Tom Junod’s feature for Esquire, “The Falling Man,” which dissects and discusses the subjective and contextual limitiations of what’s been called “perhaps the most powerful image of despair at the beginning of the twenty-first century.”
Also: for more of Jason E. Powell’s briliant 9/11 remembrance photography (above), click here.
My week is largely/entirely/solely defined by whether my MacBook charger is plugged in by my desk or by my bed.
I don’t know who it is I’m supposed to be or what it is I’m supposed to do, but I do know that when I figure it out it’s going to matter to a lot of people.
because I often catch myself feeling a melancholy and angst that movies say are reserved for High School.
Stephanie + I are livetexting “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” on TCM. Commercial-free, y’all! I don’t regret a damn thing!
Such a hilariously ambivalent day. I woke up at 8:30am for no reason other than to have done just that, and found myself comically proud for having slept early and woken up earlier by myself. I took a shower, and then sent some emails while sitting around in my towel for longer than I had actually been in the shower.
I had no urge to write today, because I had written for the last two days, and really, really written all day yesterday, yet I still felt and urge to fake productivity. I went to the Marin County Superior Court offices (Room C10; the ‘C’ is for the Criminal floor, which seems so much more daunting than it need be), and was so uncomfortable. Such a heinous ambiance there, standing in line and over hearing the minor and major troubles of strangers. I gave them a check for $529.00 and made a date for a hearing to contest the ticket I was paying, which, if ruled in my favor, would result in my check being refunded. They do not wait to see if it is ruled in my favor; they cash the check first.
For the last few days, I’d worked in the Mill Valley Library, partly because I adore the high ceilings, the natural light, the large widows and the bevy of redwoods, but also because Moonrise Kingdom was playing at the Sequoia and I liked the idea of treating myself to a movie after a day of writing. Over the course of the last two days, I kept writing through showtimes, saying I’d go to the next one, and then resolving that I’ll do it another day. Yesterday, I was aimless for a portion of the morning and a majority of the late evening, but I was not at the Mill Valley Library, and thus not walking distance to the Sequoia, and though the film was playing elsewhere, was playing closer-by, the form of the viewing—the idea of the reward—was paramount.
To the point where today, after leaving room C10, I went to the Mill Valley Library with a tote bag packed with my laptop, charger, headphones and a book, with everything I needed except for an actual intention to write. It became obvious rather quickly when I arrived (it had become obvious that morning in the shower but was true now) that I had only come here to fulfill the image of walking from the Mill Valley Public Library to the Sequoia to see Moonrise Kingdom and for no reason other than that.
I’m sitting in the theatre, having not written, but having woken up early, having not had my check refunded, but having showered. I am rewarding myself for nothing, but I have fulfilled the plan, the reward itself, and that should strangely maybe somehow count for something.
“The major industry around here seems to be valet parking” may be the funniest line ever written about Los Angeles.
Second place goes to when Fran Lebowitz referred to an LA resident as “audibly tan.”