1. “What Was Gay?” In an increasingly accepting world, homosexual men are all too eager to leave their campy, cruising past behind. But the price of equality shouldn’t be conformity.
“Of course, anyone who’s even eavesdropped on the long-running debate over ’gay identity’ among homosexuals will know that this position—that gayness might be located in sensibility or style as well as sex—is currently anathema. We live in the era dominated by a born-this-way, ’it’s-a-small-part-of-me’ ethos that minimizes gay difference to sexual attraction. The current dogma among mainstream LGBTQ advocacy organizations and the majority of gay writers and public figures sees gayness as little more than a hazy accident of biology that shouldn’t be legally or socially disadvantaging. Any notion of some inherent cultural affiliation (’gays love Gaga’) or unique sensibility (’fags get fashion’) has been pretty much disavowed within the community—imagine the uproar if some naive network executive tried rebooting a minstrelsy-driven show like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in 2015—and many straights have gotten the memo as well.”
2. “I Saw God And/Or Avengers: Age Of Ultron In IMAX 3D.” For his blog, Some Came Running, Glenn Kenny on the Josh Whedon film.
“Nabokov famously said that the first ’shiver of inspiration’ for Lolita was ’prompted by a newspaper story about an ape in the Jardin des Plantes, who, after months of coaxing by a scientist, produced the first drawing ever charcoaled by an animal: the sketch showed the bars of the poor creature’s cage.’ I revere an ostensibly highbrow film like Alexei German’s Hard To Be A God in part because it is the work of an artist in pursuit of genuine freedom. This observation will not make me a lot of friends, but I think if you spend a great deal of time in earnest rumination over, say, the ostensibly anti-feminist compromises applied to Black Widow’s ’character arc,’ ultimately you’re just grousing about the interior decoration of your cage. But hey, that’s your prerogative. But that is not a prerogative I feel I’m obliged to take seriously any longer, is all.”
3. “Patrick Fischler Interview.” The A.V. Club’s Joshua Alston speaks with the actor about Mad Men, Lost, and the secrets of Mulholland Drive.
“I will say this, David Lynch gave me the best direction I think anyone has ever given me. He just told me to be simple, and that was huge for me at the time. I was 30 at the time and that was mind-blowing. He was casually like, ’You know, you just had this dream, and you want to tell your friend about it.’ My impulse was to be in a panic, like, ’You won’t believe this dream I just had!’ But instead I just took his advice and took his direction and it was great. He’s a master. I never thought it would look like that or feel like that when we shot it. I think I was playing an agent, by the way.”
4. ”Do the Right Thing and the Moderate Disavowal of Rioting.” For Movie Mezzanine, Angelo Muredda on the prescience of the Spike Lee Film.
“While the tendency to reduce Do the Right Thing to a conversation starter about the value of the riot is glib, it’s arguably invited by the text. There is, of course, that title, inspired by the question Ossie Davis’s alternately pathetic and soothsaying self-appointed Mayor implicitly asks Mookie early on. There’s also the pair of consecutive closing tags from Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X on the question of whether violence is impractical or a necessary, even intelligent, response to racial injustice. What makes Lee’s film so prescient in light of the recent social movements against police brutality against black citizens in America, though, isn’t its much-praised ability to hold both of these positions in check but its comparatively unsung critique of moderates who advocate for keeping things on an even keel. [David] Simon’s edict, it bears mentioning, is articulated nearly verbatim in the film by the Mayor, who reads the escalating temperature in the crowd in front of Sal’s after Radio Raheem is hauled away and, like Simon, appoints himself a guardian. A peace-keeping figure who wants only to secure the safety of his community, the Mayor implores his neighbors to ’go home,’ prefiguring any violence that might come to the shop as having ’nothing to do with what the cops did.’”
5. “Why Kim Kardashian Can’t Write Good.” The Daily Beast’s John McWhorter on how essay-level writing as a basic skill is no longer the norm. Speaking is, however, and that style has influenced our writing. Get over it, grammarians.
“I have what I will title a modest proposal, although many will consider it less modest than insane coming from an academic and writer. Let’s stop pretending that the way Kim Kardashian tweets and the way so many people write is a problem that can be fixed. Who among us imagines that public schools will really go back to teaching sentence structure and prose style as strictly as in the old days? After all, today’s crop of teachers below a certain age never even knew the America where language arts were taught that way. The horse is out of the barn. Let’s consider that we are seeing a natural movement towards a society in which language is more oral—or in the case of texting, oral-style—where written prose occupies a much smaller space than it used to.”
Video of the Day: The trailer for Jem and the Holograms:
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.