1. “It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males.” Arthur Chu says that blaming “mental illness” is a cop-out—and one that lets us avoid talking about race, guns, hatred and terrorism
“I get really really tired of hearing the phrase ’mental illness’ thrown around as a way to avoid saying other terms like ’toxic masculinity,’ ’white supremacy,’ ’misogyny’ or ’racism.’ We barely know anything about the suspect in the Charleston, South Carolina, atrocity. We certainly don’t have testimony from a mental health professional responsible for his care that he suffered from any specific mental illness, or that he suffered from a mental illness at all. We do have statistics showing that the vast majority of people who commit acts of violence do not have a diagnosis of mental illness and, conversely, people who have mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. We know that the stigma of people who suffer from mental illness as scary, dangerous potential murderers hurts people every single day—it costs people relationships and jobs, it scares people away from seeking help who need it, it brings shame and fear down on the heads of people who already have it bad enough.”
2. “Take Down the Confederate Flag—Now.” The flag that Dylann Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, endorses the violence he committed.
“By 1865, the Civil War had morphed into a war against slavery—the ’cornerstone’ of Confederate society. [John Wilkes] Booth absorbed his lesson too well. He did not violate some implicit rule of Confederate chivalry or politesse. He accurately interpreted the cause of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, men who were too weak to truthfully address that cause’s natural end. Moral cowardice requires choice and action. It demands that its adherents repeatedly look away, that they favor the fanciful over the plain, myth over history, the dream over the real. Here is another choice. Take down the flag. Take it down now. Put it in a museum. Inscribe beneath it the years 1861-2015. Move forward. Abandon this charlatanism. Drive out this cult of death and chains. Save your lovely souls. Move forward. Do it now.”
3. “Like Sundance in Brooklyn, Except Better.” For The New Yorker, Richard Brody on some of the selections at this year’s BAMcinemaFest.
“Just as Queen of Earth transfigures its narrative conflicts into an exalted cinematic music, it retrospectively emphasizes the tonal values of Perry’s earlier films. In Listen Up Philip, he turned the uproariously callous literary caprices of a frustrated rising novelist—and the pain that’s left in his grinding pathway—into another kind of music. He did the same thing in The Color Wheel, with another couple—a brother and sister—on a forced march through unbearable intimacy. His sense of tone has always been supreme—a sort of cinematic voice that transforms its subjects into living experiences felt from behind the camera and delivered whole to a viewer, a fast stream of moods rising from deep below the dramatic current. What has changed, in Queen of Earth, is the conspicuousness of Perry’s virtuosity: the images are of a difficulty level, an intricacy, and a precision in visual composition and performance alike, that link his ambitions and talents to the refractive opacities and cinematic atonalities of such classic modernists as Michelangelo Antonioni and Alain Resnais.”
4. “Jessica Lange on Lady Gaga, Freak Show, and Saying Goodbye to American Horror Story.” After four years, Jessica Lange bids farewell to American Horror Story. She tells us why this last season was her favorite, and how she thinks Lady Gaga will do in her place.
“We moved it up from when I had proposed and I think it worked much better. You had these two worlds kind of colliding, the end of a popular entertainment and the beginning of another. Any time you see something at the final note, the end moment, there’s something inherently tragic about it already. I did a lot of research, and knowing that these people who were referred to as freaks and were exhibited at freak shows, when they came to an end they weren’t necessarily better off. There was the whole moral thing of exhibiting freaks for public entertainment. But when that ended, a lot of these people were institutionalized. And within the carnival community, obviously there are many viewpoints on this. But they had communities, they had income, and some of the early ones I started reading about, they were world famous. So there are two sides to the coin, obviously. By putting it at the tail end of this era, there was so much poetry in the way the steps were done and the costumes, it was just all in a state of decay.”
5. “The Boy Racer.” For Reverse Shot, Adam Nayman on Mia Hansen-Løve’s Eden.
“To return to the question of stakes: some might say the film is uninvolving because they believe the politicized American folk revival of the late sixties is more ’important’ or influential than the rise of EDM. It’s irrelevant, because Eden isn’t pushing that sort of agenda. Like Olivier Assayas in Something in the Air, Hansen-Løve is smart enough to show that adolescent collectives are at least as much about the rush of experiencing something—be it a rave or a protest rally—in close physical proximity to one’s peers as the thing itself. Rather than trying to illustrate the music as a site of widespread aesthetic upheaval, she emphasizes its more insular qualities—which includes the appeal of having a lot of strangers congregate in approval of something you arrived at first. (A scene where Paul’s pal forces his friends to watch a DVD of Showgirls offers a hint about how the filmmaker feels about tastemaking). If there’s a crucial difference between Eden and Inside Llewyn Davis’ depiction of musical movements, it’s this: the Coens stranded their protagonist at the precipice of a cultural sea change, while implying that he was not wanted on the voyage, whereas Hansen-Løve has conceived Paul as someone who is swept along by the current, en route to being washed-up—he’s something less than a has-been, yet more than a never-was.”
Video of the Day: The official trailer for Sicario:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.