Posted by Esther

I turned 13 in 1997, which, among other things, marked my passage into adulthood as a member of the Jewish people. My bat mitzvah was also the first time I met most of my older cousins for the first time I could remember, and holy moly, suddenly I had a bunch of cool music and culture recommendations to break me out of my Celine Dion/movie soundtracks/exclusively the Beatles bubbles. I joined both the Columbia House and BMG mail-away music clubs, ripping out thick folded sheets of CD-cover stamps from my issues of Seventeen and YM. Suddenly my world was Beck’s Odelay, Fiona Apple’s Tidal, Radiohead’s OK Computer and of course, as much Björk as I could get my hands on.

Now my formative years are turning 20, which I’m both glad to see celebrated and also totally not ready to admit. It’s all worth it, though, to see the Atlantic extol the glories of one of my unironic favorite movies of all timeFace/Off.

  • Speaking of youth culture, my favorite Beatle, Paul McCartney, turned 75 this past weekend. Esquire has a nice little read from 2014 about how the Fab Four wrested pop culture away from the hands of ad-men and grown-ups.
  • This weekend was also Father’s Day, and I’ll be real, I am a sucker for simple features like the AP’s side-by-side comparisons of famous fathers and their uncanny sons through the years.
  • In less fun features, this week Amazon bought Whole Foods, and everyone is freaking out. I’ve written before about why Amazon is bad news for all of us, but let FastCompany make the case for breaking up the megacorp as an antitrust violation.
  • Speaking of large tech companies who don’t get it, Wired has an excellent bit of architectural criticism — yes, I know — on Apple’s new doughnut-shape headquarters and why it’s not forward-thinking at all.
  • The face of America’s veterans is changing drastically, but the systems and attitudes toward all the groups and genders that serve have not. Angry Staff Officer has proposed an eminently sensible way to make these veterans visible: a new universal veteran symbol, like one we employed after World War II.

Stay brave, friends.

Posted by Esther

I’m working on deadline today, so this is going to be quick — but in a short and sweet kind of way, rest easy. They’re all good stories, Brent.

  • What does it mean to be a good cucumber these days? Food writer Bee Wilson believes it’s become so watered-down, we don’t even know what that means anymore. (Link goes to the Financial Times; heads up on the paywall.)
  • Small Town Noir: I’m fascinatedNiemanStoryboard asks a Scottish fellow why he’s so obsessively collecting and investigating mid-century mugshots from a small town in western Pennsylvania.
  • You swooned and screamed over the first Black Panther trailer this week, right? (Ohmygod, go do so if you haven’t.) Seems like that kind of momentum would be a great time for Marvel to showcase its Wakanda-based comics, with their excellent writers and illustrators! Or… not, apparently? In the process, they’ve revealed a fatal flaw about how the industry insists it will get new readers into comics.
  • Last night in my corner of the internet, Twitter user Rave Sashayed bravely livetweeted her experience reading the godawful and rightfully canned 2006 Joss Whedon script for Wonder Woman. It’s worth considering where the famous-for-being-feminist Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator went so, so wrong in his approach to women. A Tumblr user named Laurel Jupiter took a thoughtful look at Whedon’s work back in 2015, when we were all still angry about the mess that is The Avengers: Age of Ultron. As she writes:

I wish he hadn’t turned, in twenty years, from the man who wanted to see the blonde girl in the horror movie survive and thrive into the rich bastard who thought it was funny to call Natasha Romanoff a cunt on IMAX and who called her a monster for being the victim of medical abuse. I’m still laughing angrily at Joss being driven off twitter by a mob of angry, betrayed female fans, because wow does he ever deserve it, but man, Joss. It didn’t have to be that way.

  • Samantha Bee is everything, and Full Frontal this week was a glorious poke in the eye to Jeff Sessions. Let’s end it on that:

Stay brave, friends.

Posted by Esther

Today is one of those days where I want to opt out of the news cycle entirely. Any partisan take on shooting up a congressional GOP baseball team’s early morning practice is awful by default, yet I can’t help feeling it will be become a bludgeon by the end of the day, not least from the president, despite his hopes and prayers. Meanwhile, in high Triangle Shirtwaist fashion, a massive fire at a London housing complex has horrifyingly illuminated the low esteem in which society (including landlord MPs) holds working-class life. Remember last night, when we were all simply angry about AG Jeff Sessions’ non-testimony on Russian interference with our election?

  • I clicked on Molly Ball’s profile of a freshman GOP congressman because of a tweet from Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg: “Embedded in this elegant @mollyesque profile of an Indiana congressman is a non-benign Trump dis of Mike Pence.” Yikes, non-benign is right.
  • Writing for Slate, Donna Minkowitz has scared me where I didn’t need to be scared with “How the Alt-Right Is Using Sex and Camp to Attract Gay Men to Fascism.”
  • You should follow Ironed Curtains, a blog collective featuring essays from Americans with Soviet roots. Their most impressive work to date is “Brilliant Blue Sky: Eyewitness Stories From Chernobyl,” sharing accounts from more than 100 people on the disaster’s 31st anniversary.
  • June 12 marked the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre. In honor of the 49 murdered and those who rushed to help, Dear World assembled portraits and interviews with survivors, first responders and loved ones. I wept reading through these, in large part because of the genuine love for the victims that restores their individuality.
  • We’ve talked a lot about how important Wonder Woman is for its representation of women, including Jewish women. One area where the film fell down, however, is representation of disability. Erin, the blogger behind The Geeky Gimp, presents the clearest argument yet for why the entertainment industry needs to change the conversation on disability, and facial difference in particular, as a signifier of evil.

Grim as the news has been, there have still been some light (or at least darkly humorous) takes to be had. It’s okay to enjoy them.

Stay brave, friends.

Image credit: King Lear, Great Lakes Theater, Cleveland, 2015