A very nice UPS man just delivered this ARC to my door. Seems pretty solid to me.
Idris Elba and Michael B. Jordan attend the 45th NAACP Image Awards
I JUST WANT TO THANK GOD
Hello, I would like to once again propose a remake of The Philadelphia Story with Idris as reformed playboy CK Dexter Haven and Michael as earnest writer Macaulay Connor. COME ON, HOLLYWOOD.
The Philadelphia Story is my favorite movie of all time and I endorse this remake idea ONE HUNDRED MILLION PERCENT.
- Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, edited by Philip Pullman. This is a lovely translation—scary and violent and magical and weird, just as it should be. Best to read it slowly, as it can get a bit repetitive.
- Strong Poison and Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers. Strong Poison is a quick read, breezy and not really much of a mystery but enjoyable nonetheless. The real reason to read it is so that you understand more about the character of Harriet Vane before you pick up Gaudy Night, which is a book so wonderful, read at so exactly the right moment in my life, that I could actually feel my heart rearrange itself a little bit to make room for it. Also I very appropriately read the last chapter of GN on Valentine’s Day and wept like a child (“Placetne, magistra?”) Much thanks to Aoife, Rafe, and my dad for the recommendation.
- “Soundproof Your Life," Tara Altebrando. I know I have a lot of YA-reading and -loving followers so I just want to check in that you’ve all subscribed to One Teen Story? Which is the best?
- “All Ahead of Them,” Tobias Wolff and “The Late Novels of Gene Hackman,” Rivka Galchen, both pretty solid as these things go.
- My Education, Susan Choi. The things I liked about this novel were unfortunately dwarfed by the things I really didn’t, which included all of the characters and most of the choices they made. Also there’s this one part about a little boy that takes place on 9/11/01 in which he “[holds] open the absurd doorstop of the latest Harry Potter,” a wording that is not technically incorrect but to my mind misleading, seeing as the “latest” Harry Potter at that point in history would be Goblet of Fire, released in July of 2000, and thus already a year old? Surely that kid would have already read it. Right? Get your facts straight, literary novelists who make offhand references to Harry Potter in your books.
- Tales from Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan. Totally spooky and gorgeous. You should buy it for the weird antisocial 9-year-olds in your life; they will gain mega-respect for you.
I’m leaving social media for the next few weeks to get my book done, so while I’m gone I thought I’d leave you with some nice things to read:
You don’t need to read Dear Prudence anymore; she thinks you drink too much, you slut, and your husband probably has a brain tumor. If you’re looking for advice, you should Ask Polly or check Thatz Not Okay. These are the only two people whose opinions matter ON EARTH.
The Tonight on GIRLS twitter is perfect for you both if you love Girls and if you hate it. It is even perfect for you if you don’t really have an opinion.
Manjula Martin: she is so much smarter than us! We should subscribe to her (brilliant) journal Scratch Mag, one wonderful piece from which you can read here. She also wrote this great thing about a fabulous older woman.
Scandals of Classic Hollywood hasn’t updated in a while, maybe because Anne Helen Petersen is turning it into a wonderful book we can gift to all our friends. The archives are still pretty fucking solid, though.
I have a weird obsession with open threads on female-focused websites. I read Jezebel’s Groupthink page for a while, until every post seemed to either vaguely reference some earlier dramatic blowout that I’d missed or reveal an amount of information about the seemingly anonymous poster with which I was not comfortable, and I liked The Hairpin’s but it seems like no one goes there anymore. On Fridays the commenters at The Toast will tell you all about the books they’re reading and the cakes they’re making that weekend; I find it weirdly calming.
Also THIS interview with the great Sarah McCarry, THIS 1996 Jennifer Egan profile about Jamie King that Lena Dunham recommended on Bill Simmons’s podcast, and THIS great/depressing/great Emily Gould piece on writing and money and stuff.
If none of these things work for you, try books.
Add to that, I’m no longer watching television in which middle-aged men figure out how to be men. I’d rather watch shows about teenaged girls figuring out what it means to be a monster.from this interview with Kelly Link (via rollingsreliable)
Anonymous asked: Men are portrayed pretty poorly in True Detective as well. Apparently we are sociopaths, trailer trash, incapable of telling the truth to anyone (including ourselves), alcoholics, torturers, and people that treat women in the terrible ways you describe in your post. No one comes off particularly well.
Oof I sort of really want to stop talking about True Detective on this blog because I actually don’t care about it as much as my internet activity might make it seem, but I wanted to address this one because I’ve noticed a fundamental misunderstanding of my point in a lot of the pushback I’ve received over my thoughts on its female characters—
My concern is not that women are portrayed “poorly” in the way you describe the men to be portrayed here. It is true that the men on True Detective are not super-great guys. Neither, for that matter, are Tony Soprano, Don Draper, Walter White, [insert endless list of television’s male antiheroes here]. However, all these men (including the protagonists of True Detective) are believable in their complexity. They have careers, goals, philosophies, interests, fears, anxieties, and relationships. They are maybe bad people, but they are recognizably people. The women in True Detective do not fit this bill for me. Helen McClory just hit the nail on the head over on Twitter: “The women are like trampolines for the men. Just something to bounce off of, either as corpse or angry wife or sex object.” They function solely to develop the male characters further, and it is not clear what they think about when the male characters are not interacting with them, if they think at all.
There’s been a refrain, too, of “That’s not what the show is about,” which is true. But truly great writing can find a way to make you believe that even the things the show isn’t “about” exist in the universe of the show. I do not currently believe that women are fully sentient in the universe of True Detective.
Another defense that’s been tossed out is that the show takes place in rural Louisiana in the 1990s (as though the 1990s were some particularly bleak pre-suffrage time), and so it is naive to expect women to be shown as “equal” to men. This, again, is not what I’m asking for. Mad Men is aggressive in its understanding that women are not the legal and social equals of men; it also contains a number of believable female characters; “believable” here again meaning: these women clearly have brains that function as typical human brains function, i.e., they have thoughts.
Anyway, all this is to say: please don’t send me any more anonymous messages about how much you love True Detective. I understand why you love True Detective; I’m into it, too. But you are all very unconvincing in your defense of its writing of female characters and it’s bumming me out.
Is there a word to describe the singular agony of falling in love with a show well after it’s been cancelled? Bunheads only aired eighteen episodes total and will never air another; I have watched eleven of them on Amazon Prime over the last month and am at peak obsession levels right now. Here are some of the things you can see on Bunheads: fast-talking ladies, driven adolescent ballerinas, sunshine, fried food, Alan Ruck sometimes, one teen boy love interest who gives off palpable Newsie vibes, an extended and surprisingly hilarious sequence in which children get maced, at least one really good throwaway allusion to The Craft, believable female friendship dynamics, and multiple stunning dance numbers, crescendoing in this performance of “Maybe This Time” by the show’s star, Sutton Foster, which made me rewind and rewind and rewind and rewind, and cry and cry and cry and cry.
I will really miss this show when it’s over (for me).
Anonymous asked: i myself i'm feminist but i think you should get your shit together bashing on true detective really? is just a fucking tvshow. it's not supposed to show equality like if it were a real life situation so get over it and stop playing cool
Valid perspective. I am for sure playing too cool over here.
We’re three episodes into True Detective, which we’re watching because ZEITGEIST but also because we’re fans of unreliable narrators and a well-told story. The internet is smitten with this show right now. Every day, from men and women alike, I see fan art on Tumblr or tweets heralding the show’s dense philosophy, its unmistakable literariness. That’s fine. You’ll get no argument from me that it is not a well-made show: the acting is strong, the mystery is engaging, the music is supervised by T. Bone Burnett. But every time I see it being praised, I find myself biting my tongue a little, because in order for us to understand True Detective to be a truly excellent show (an understanding upon which we all seem to have agreed), we have to ignore the fact that no one involved in the making of it felt the need to include any female characters that resemble real human beings in any way.
So far, on True Detective, women have served no purpose other than to nag (wives), get naked & give blow jobs (mistresses), get our heroes coffee (that one receptionist), or get murdered (prostitutes). It’s not like True Detective invented these tropes; on the contrary, the tropes are so embedded in pop culture that half the time I see them, I barely blink. It’s the fact that this supposed work of art, this groundbreaking new crime drama, which is innovative in so many other ways, could not muster the energy to subvert a single one of them. Maybe a subversion is coming? But I don’t feel it yet, where I stand at the end of three episodes. At the end of three episodes, I understand only that True Detective is another show in which women’s bodies are entirely disposable. The disposing of them is not a cause for celebration—Matthew McConaughey looks at a veritable collage of dead female bodies with a sad, haunted look in his eye—but they are still the easiest things, on earth and in fiction, to get rid of for the sake of the narrative.
Here is the thing: if I could remove the chip in me that picks up on underwritten, or just plainly badly written female characters (for me, TD’s fall into this second category—Woody Harrelson’s wife is barely coherent from one scene to the next; in the third episode she asks him, “Why is there this distance between us?” and I shouted out, “Because you’re not a real person!;” I am a really fun person with whom to watch television), I would! I would do so in a heartbeat! All I want in life is to be told a good story, to let myself be swept away in it, to never feel the way I do whenever these cardboard ladies appear (that this story wasn’t meant for me. That the writer doesn’t care whether or not I hear it). But until that technology is possible, I expect I’ll keep feeling that itch of dissatisfaction as I watch the rest of True Detective and find out the reasons these female bodies were destroyed. Not the plot’s apparent reasons—because we know that women are raped and killed every day, by people they know and people they don’t, and we don’t really need a clever new twist to understand that it’s so—but the show’s reasons. Are the dead female bodies simply the key to our male protagonists’ inscrutable psychology? This is what I’m scared of. Hopefully they turn out to be more than that. Hopefully they turn out also to be actual people, who died, who were destroyed.
Watching True Detective, I’m reminded a lot of Cara Hoffman’s excellent, truly subversive crime novel So Much Pretty. I think all the time about a particular passage in that book, in which a teenage girl considers the inherent horror of the central crime of the book—the gang rape and murder of a young woman she does not know—and her scrutiny of a few of the possible suspects:
I felt bad when Wendy was found. I knew that I would not feel the same again about my school or friends or the place I lived. The whole world. And I felt sad about her body. Which was like my body. Being able to devote myself to the study of Bruce and his friends made me feel better because I was doing something. Because it was a rational thing to do, to consider my ethical obligations.
It would hardly be rational to accept that I live inside a thing made of flesh that people capture, hide, and then wait in line to rape.