1. “For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story.” The singer-songwriter says artists and fans will still form deep bonds, but they will do it in new ways.
“In the YouTube generation we live in, I walked out onstage every night of my stadium tour last year knowing almost every fan had already seen the show online. To continue to show them something they had never seen before, I brought out dozens of special guest performers to sing their hits with me. My generation was raised being able to flip channels if we got bored, and we read the last page of the book when we got impatient. We want to be caught off guard, delighted, left in awe. I hope the next generation’s artists will continue to think of inventive ways of keeping their audiences on their toes, as challenging as that might be.”
2. “The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits.” Michael Koresky on Richard Linklater’s Boyhood.
“It’s fair to say that an entire separate film could be made from the point of view of Olivia, whose own twelve years are a study in weary resilience; by journey’s end she’s become indomitable, a point that Linklater refuses to underline, allowing Arquette’s beautifully lined face to do the talking. Hawke’s Mason Sr., on the other hand, grows less steely as the film progresses, softening from bounding, hipster dad terrified of obligations to an acquiescent family man with his own separate clan. Hawke, ever the garrulous thinker in Linklater’s films, refuses to play the stereotype of the absentee father, as does his character, who at one point in the film says to Mason and Samatha that he will not be ’that guy…the biological father cliché,’ who blows into town once a year, gets perfunctory time with the kids, and then disappears. Yet this divorced dad is constantly in his own form of denial about the clichés he inevitably inhabits (he also tells his aging rocker roommate while cleaning up his mess, ’I’m not your fucking Tony Randall’). Hawke exquisitely enacts the slow realization of this; as his character comes to accept his obligations toward his family, the actor ever so gradually lets down his guard, his youthful dad jocularity and bravado transitioning to sensitive, gray-templed fatherhood.”
3. ”’Human props’ stay in luxury homes but live like ghosts.” For the Tampa Bay Times, Drew Harwell on the human element of human staging.
“When the Mueller family sits for dinner, the leftover broccoli and crepes are already wrapped in plastic, the kitchen is beyond spotless, and the rest of the home is so tucked-away tidy it looks like they just moved in. In a way, they have: Every inch of furnishing, every little trinket and votive candle, sits precisely as designers placed it five months ago. That would make them the most perfect suburban ideal, except for one catch: This isn’t actually their home. Bob and Dareda Mueller and their three grown sons are, instead, part of an “elite group” of middle-class nomads who have agreed to an outlandish deal. They can live cheaply in this for-sale luxury home if it looks as if they never lived here at all. The home must remain meticulously cleaned and preserved: the temperature precisely pleasant, the mirrors crystalline clear. If a prospective buyer wants to see the home, they must quickly disappear. And when the home sells, they must be gone for good, off to the next perfect place.”
4. “Bombast: Poliziotteschi and Screening History.” Nick Pinkerton on historically contextualizing movies.
“While roughly analogous to the American/Anglo/French police procedural tradition, the defining attributes of the poliziotteschi may be boiled down to two words: disorientation and rage. These also happened to be prevalent emotions, at least among a certain segment of the populace, in the years during which the poliziotteschi were at peak popularity. These were, perhaps not coincidentally, also the years when the prolonged postwar reign of the Christian Democracy party was at the height of its venality and flagrant corruption, and when the activity of the Brigado Rosso and other left-wing terrorist/freedom-fighter organizations was at its most fearless and ruthless.”
5. “You Are Triggering Me.” The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger and Trauma.
“Much of the recent discourse of offense and harm has focused on language, slang and naming. For example, controversies erupted in the last few months over the name of a longstanding nightclub in San Francisco: ’Trannyshack,’ and arguments ensued about whether the word ’tranny’ should ever be used. These debates led some people to distraction, and legendary queer performer, Justin Vivian Bond, posted an open letter on her Facebook page telling readers and fans in no uncertain terms that she is ’angered by this trifling bullshit.’ Bond reminded readers that many people are ’delighted to be trannies’ and not delighted to be shamed into silence by the ’word police.’ Bond and others have also referred to the queer custom of re-appropriating terms of abuse and turning them into affectionate terms of endearment. When we obliterate terms like ’tranny’ in the quest for respectability and assimilation, we actually feed back into the very ideologies that produce the homo and trans phobia in the first place! In The Life of Brian, Brian finally refuses to participate in the anti-Semitism that causes his mother to call him a ’roman.’ In a brave ’coming out’ speech, he says: ’I’m not a roman mum, I’m a kike, a yid, a heebie, a hook-nose, I’m kosher mum, I’m a Red Sea pedestrian, and proud of it!”
Video of the Day: David Fincher’s Gone Girl gets a second trailer:
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.