1. “How to Answer the Paris Terror Attack.” The West must stand up for freedom—and acknowledge the link between Islamists’ political ideology and their religious beliefs.
“To answer the late Gen. Malik, our soul in the West lies in our belief in freedom of conscience and freedom of expression. The freedom to express our concerns, the freedom to worship who we want, or not to worship at all—such freedoms are the soul of our civilization. And that is precisely where the Islamists have attacked us. Again. How we respond to this attack is of great consequence. If we take the position that we are dealing with a handful of murderous thugs with no connection to what they so vocally claim, then we are not answering them. We have to acknowledge that today’s Islamists are driven by a political ideology, an ideology embedded in the foundational texts of Islam. We can no longer pretend that it is possible to divorce actions from the ideals that inspire them.”
2. “The Rise of the Black British Actor in America.” Due to a lack of opportunity in their home countries, black British actors are finding success—and meatier roles—telling Black American stories, sometimes even iconic ones. For David Oyelowo, who plays Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, this is one of those transformative moments.
“’I think there’s something about the stage, because they have that stage preparation,’ [Ava] DuVernay said. ’Their work is really steeped in theater. Our system of creating actors is a lot more commercial. ... there’s a depth in the character building that’s really wonderful.’ There also is a cultural disconnect that allows actors like [David] Oyelowo and [Carmen] Ejogo to strip down iconic figures like the Kings and play them with vulnerability and without falling into, say, the fear (and in some cases, the burden) that American actors steeped in historical traditions may have.”
3. “Alive with Disagreement and Dissent.” Over at The Millions, Jonathan Clarke on A.O. Scott, politics, and art.
“Ancient squabbles at a now-defunct literary magazine, involving a good deal of now dated Marxist cant, are not inherently very interesting. But the Partisan Review, both in its high editorial standards and in its struggles to resolve inherent tensions between the domains of politics and art, continues to be a point of reference in our literary culture. The founders of n + 1 have cited PR as an example, even as they have produced a journal with a hipper, more contemporary voice; several of the core PR critics, including Lionel Trilling, remain culture heroes; and New York Times critic A.O. Scott maintains what amounts almost to an obsession with PR, citing its writers in his work, contributing an admiring introduction to a collection of essays by another PR stalwart, Mary McCarthy, and undertaking a book project surveying the American novel since World War II that seems consciously to invoke Kazin’s landmark study of the preceding period, On Native Grounds. It is Scott’s fascination with PR and its fusion of ideology and culture that I wish to discuss here, along with the broader question of how the contemporary American novel ought to engage with politics.”
4. “Bruno Dumont Interview.” For BOMB, the Li’l Quinquin filmmaker speaks with Nicholas Elliott.
“It’s to lead the viewer to a fault line where we no longer know if an event is dramatic or not. That’s the point where the burlesque and the grotesque encounter drama. When the captain does his cop show duck and roll but something awful is happening in the background—the kid is about to die—we move very quickly from one extremity to the other. Even when I edited it, I was stunned by that moment’s impact. Because we’re not used to being flung from one side to the other. It’s a kind of instability vis-à-vis our academic and even moral canons. We’re used to going in one direction, that’s it. It really shakes you up to be tossed around between the grotesque, the comedic, and the absolutely serious, with deeply banal sociological and even historical elements thrown into the mix. That’s what I’m interested in: being jostled. I think we’re jostled in relation to our own ambiguity.”
5. “The Wanderer.” Pitchfork’s Philip Sherburne interviews Noah Lennox, a.k.a. Panda Bear.
“An important thing to know about Noah Lennox is that he is a private person—’intensely,’ as he tells me one afternoon. Six years ago, he made the decision to commit what he calls ’Internet suicide’: ’I killed the Facebook. I have a Twitter, but only to read other people’s tweets; management people do social media stuff for me. It’s not really my bag. I feel like the point is to reveal more of your life to other people, and my instinct is to go the opposite way.’ At one point, I ask him why he’s being forthcoming with me. ’I don’t like to talk about it, but if you ask me I’ll tell you,’ he says, looking me in the eye. ’I don’t want to bring it up in conversation, but I’m not going to lie to you.’ Another, and maybe more important, thing to know about Noah Lennox is that he is not a bummer dude.”
Video of the Day: Kevin B. Lee counts down the top 26 films of the decade so far, culled from nearly 300 responses via Twitter and Facebook:
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