1. “Beverly Chills.” For Grantland, Molly Lambert on the ongoing saga of The Jinx.
“Everything about The Jinx is Shakespearean: the empire divided among children, the moneyed power of the throne, the human inadequacies that can undo even the most well-planned and (relatively) well-executed revenge—even the reenactments, like the play within the play in Hamlet. The Jinx’s finale aired on March 15, the Ides of March. In the sequence in which Jarecki shows Durst the damning block-lettered ’BEVERLEY’ handwriting comparisons and Durst realizes he may be screwed, I thought of Julius Caesar. Et tu, Jarecki? A friend tweeted me a quote from Macbeth: ’When you durst do it, then you were a man,’ Lady Macbeth tells her husband, admonishing him to keep his promise of regicide. Durst, in this context, is an archaic conjugation of dared. Throughout The Jinx, we marveled at Robert Durst’s daring, his audacity, the fucking balls on this guy.”
2. “Harper Lee’s Abandoned True-Crime Novel.” Casey N. Cep of The New Yorker has read a chapter of what could have been the author’s In Cold Blod.
“The Radney family shared a copy of the manuscript with me, on the condition that I not quote from it. The chapter begins dramatically with that early-morning telephone call, when the Reverend Maxwell asks the Lawyer Larkin for his help. There are only six paragraphs, just over eleven hundred words, but they form a sweeping chapter that traces the Larkin family history from the shores of Ireland to the sandy soil of Alabama. Lee only sent Radney these four pages, but she told him many times that she had written more. ’I have accumulated enough rumor, fantasy, dreams, conjecture, and outright lies for a volume the length of the Old Testament,’ Lee told another writer, Madison Jones, who was researching the case. In a 1987 letter now housed at Emory University, Lee wrote to Jones: ’I do believe that the Reverend Maxwell murdered at least five people, that his motive was greed, that he had an accomplice for two of the murders and an accessory for one. The person I believe to have been his accomplice/accessory is alive, well, and living not 150 miles from you.’ But, she wrote, ’I do not have enough hard facts about the actual crimes for a book-length account.’ Still, she and Radney stayed in touch for years after this, and he was convinced that she was still working on the project. “
3. “Ultimate Breaks & Beats: An Oral History.” One essential vinyl collection transformed the sound of music and helped funky beats conquer the world.
“What do David Bowie, Skrillex and Hanson have in common with Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy and Kanye West? All of them have sampled music that was spotlighted on the Ultimate Breaks & Beats series, a collection of 25 vinyl albums featuring songs with unforgettable funky rhythms. The series launched in 1986 and became the foundation of hip-hop, dance and pop music for the next three decades and beyond. ’Breaks’ or ’breakbeats’ first emerged in the formative days of the early 1970s, when a DJ in the Bronx, New York named Kool Herc popularized a sound based around the hard funk drums of James Brown. Herc kept the dancefloor jumping by isolating parts of the records with the ’breakdown’—typically in the form of a percussion solo. Since these sections would always generate the most excitement from the dancers, why not continue the energy using two copies of the record? Herc’s cutting-edge practice of extending the break led to the emergence of ’break boys’ (aka b-boys), who would take the opportunity to showcase their best dance moves during these passages, hence the term ’break dancing.’”
4. ”Community Still Feels, Moves, and Thinks Like the One You Know.” Matt Zoller Seitz on the sixth season of the show.
“The Yahoo version of Community seems rather scaled-down, budget-wise, and looser and less urgent than NBC seasons (running times vary). But it still feels, moves, and thinks like the Community you know. It has changed, yet it hasn’t. Its essence remains. The show is a glass-backed clock that lets you see its gears whirring, yet it somehow turns the act of watching the gears into part of the experience rather than a distraction from it, and it isn’t shy about teasing laughs and tears from the very clichés it mocks. (Season five, which I was ho-hum on until I re-watched it this week, has many fine examples, including the episode-long reading of Pierce’s will in ’Cooperative Polygraphy’ and the absurd-magnificent sight of Donald Glover’s Troy Barnes ’sailing’ out of the parking lot on Pierce’s yacht with LeVar Burton.)”
5. ”Playboy Interview: Dick Cheney.” James Rosen, for Playboy, sits down with the monstrous former vice president.
“We have had a massive spread in the number of Al Qaeda–type organizations. The RAND study that came out last summer said that between 2010 and 2013 there had been a 58 percent increase worldwide in the number of Al Qaeda–type organizations. We used to worry, at 9/11, just about Afghanistan; now it stretches from Mali and Nigeria in West Africa, across North Africa, through the Middle East, all around into Indonesia, where you’ll find potential sanctuaries and safe harbors for Salafi Islamists, the terrorists, the Al Qaeda types. It’s a very dangerous situation. I think the threat is growing steadily, and I think our capacity to deal with it is rapidly diminishing. I look at Barack Obama and I see the worst president in my lifetime, without question—and that’s saying something. I used to have significant criticism of Jimmy Carter, but compared to Barack Obama and the damage he is doing to the nation—it’s a tragedy, a real tragedy, and we are going to pay a hell of a price just trying to dig out from under his presidency.”
Video of the Day: James Murphy’s “We Used to Dance” from the While We’re Young soundtrack:
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