1. “I’m sorry for coining the phrase ’Manic Pixie Dream Girl.’” In 2007, Nathan Rabin invented the term in a review. Then he watched in queasy disbelief as it seemed to take over pop culture.
“In the years since I wrote about the MPDG, I’ve been floored by how pervasive the trope has become. At first it was just a few scattered mentions in other critics’ reviews. Then Zooey Deschanel strummed a ukulele and became a Hollywood It girl and suddenly the MPDG was everywhere. During one particularly strange day in 2011, I read that Cameron Crowe (the man behind Elizabethtown, as well as Almost Famous and much else) was asked about the phrase and replied, ’I dig it…I keep thinking I’ll run into Nathan Rabin and we’ll have a great conversation about it.’ This blew my mind. I have been writing about pop culture for a long time but I could honestly not believe that Cameron Crowe knew my name and thought about meeting me someday. But the more the cultural myth of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl expanded, the more my ambivalence about it grew.”
2. “Pop Art By Robert Christgau: In It For The Art” The dean of American rock critics now had a column over at Billboard.
“As I troll through dozens of albums a week, the best of them many times, I almost always find a few more that change the way I perceive the world a little and tickle my pleasure receptors in a fresh way. I hear voices I’ve never encountered before. I reassess old ones. In short, I find new art. Sometimes I find it in the most calculated, apparently shallow studio concoctions. Sometimes I even find it in what my arrogant younger self would have dismissed as folk music.”
3. “HULK VS. JAMES BOND - DAY 2.” Part two of Film Crit Hulk’s look at the entire James Bond franchise.
“QUICK, YOU KNOW WHAT’S FUNNY? A COUPLE OF MINCING GAY STEREOTYPES POSING AS KILLERS WHO EMPLOY DOWNRIGHT INSANE METHODS OF ASSASSINATION! SO WHAT IF THE DECISION TO GO THIS WAY WITH THE CHARACTERS WAS TAKEN FROM A LINE FROM FELIX IN THE BOOK WHERE HE SAID THAT THIS TEAM OF KILLERS WAS PROBABLY HOMOSEXUAL (AND REMEMBER THAT IAN FLEMING HATED HOMOSEXUALS). SO HAMILTON DID THE ONLY NON-REASONABLE THING AND TURNED THEIR DASTARDLY KILLING WAYS INTO AN OVER-THE-TOP-CARTOONY-OFFENSIVE-BIT-OF-AWFULNESS. LOOK, SOMEWHERE OUT THERE HULK IS SURE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ENJOY THESE TWO HORRIBLE “CHARACTERS,” BUT THOSE PEOPLE ARE WEIRDOS. AND YEAH, THERE ARE PROBABLY SOME OF YOU WHO PREFER THIS BRAND OF “HONEST” RIDICULOUSNESS TO SOMETHING MORE INSIDIOUS. BUT AGAIN, HULK’S PROBLEM WITH THIS KIND OF STUFF IS THE WHOLE POPULAR MOVIE-GOING, INDULGENT ANGLE OF THIS SERIES. THE TONE OF THIS FILM IS OBVIOUS, DIRECT AND MEAN-SPIRITED. THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY THE TARGETS OF THE JOKE. AND AGAIN, THIS ISN’T JUST AN ANACHRONISTIC PRESENTATION OF OLD MOVIE VALUES. EVEN AT THAT TIME, IT DIDN’T GET CRAPPIER THAN HAVING TO SUFFER THROUGH THESE TWO.”
4. “Complacent Cowboys?” Sara Maria Vizcarrondo on how Phil Mulloy’s cowboy series refuses to “print the legend.”
“From Slim Pickin’s to Outrage!, Mulloy’s cowboy shorts repurpose the western hero for a more modern (arguably cynical) skew. While we expect big ideals from cowboys, like integrity and justice, Mulloy knows these expectations come independent of the cowboy’s loaded circumstances—as such they’re rather unfair expectations. The archetype lives in a fledgling civilization, and civilization is the thing Mulloy likes puncturing most. If the Wild West is in constant transformation—what philosophers call ’becoming’—what can complacency-craving nomads do? Comfort is their favorite reward, and the first thing they’ll disrespect, but still they thirst for it; they are in the desert after all.”
5. “Mourning the National Phallus.” For The Huffington Post, Slant contributor Diego Semerene ponders what is left of Brazilian identity without soccer.
“The first time I saw my father cry was on June 21, 1986, the day France eliminated Brazil from the World Cup in a dramatic penalty shootout. At that moment my father granted himself the right to weep before his children, as if to teach us the absolute enormity of the loss: In a catastrophe such as this, even a grown man is allowed to cry. His weeping, filled with both embarrassment and relief, was also a kind of retching. The crying of the Brazilian father, allowed, even if discretely, every four years in case of a World Cup loss, can be quite the temporal marker, as well as a chance for certain men to excrete whatever else was stuck in their throats while they’re at it. In this performance of paternal failure (a father putting his soccer jersey to rest), it became obvious to me that Brazil’s dependence on the belief that its soccer team is an invincible enterprise, despite all signs to the contrary, is nothing short of pathological.”
Video of the Day: Hillary Clinton stops by The Daily Show: