“Every country has, along with its core civilities and traditions, some kind of inner madness, a belief so irrational that even death and destruction cannot alter it. In Europe not long ago it was the belief that “honor” of the nation was so important that any insult to it had to be avenged by millions of lives. In America, it has been, for so long now, the belief that guns designed to kill people indifferently and in great numbers can be widely available and not have it end with people being killed, indifferently and in great numbers. The argument has gotten dully repetitive: How does one argue with someone convinced that the routine massacre of our children is the price we must pay for our freedom to have guns, or rather to have guns that make us feel free?”—The Aurora Movie Theatre Shooting and American Gun Culture | The New Yorker (via ratsoff)
“That is my problem with life, I rush through it, like I’m being chased. Even things whose whole point is slowness, like drinking relaxing tea. When I drink relaxing tea I suck it down as if I’m in a contest for who can drink relaxing tea the quickest.”— Miranda July (via karanablue)
“I’ve always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.”—City Of Thieves, David Benioff (via oast)
…And besides, there’s a principle at stake here. I AM AN ARTIST. I should be able to say whatever shitty thing I want, and people should be able to suppress their authentic response to it! And if they DON’T suppress their authentic response to it, well, that’s censorship or something!
I think we see what I’m getting at here.
Your job as a comedian is to take us through pain, transcend pain, transform pain. And if you don’t get that, you are a fucking bully, and I’ve got zero time for bullies.
Take the quiz and find how out just how many terrible things our politicians have said!
The saddest part about this is that I guessed almost all of these correctly. Although to be completely fair to the republican party (something I never thought I’d say, believe me), I doubt many republican politicians actually view Fred Phelps as a legitimate representative of their party.
The greatest tragedy of 21st century America, according to The Wire, is that people are becoming less essential each day and the value of human life seems to be poignantly decreasing.3 Corner boys who expect to die before their 20th birthday, Eastern European girls who enter the Land of Promise dead in metal containers, unionized longshoremen whose jobs are now done by computers, prostitutes being beaten up by johns in hotel rooms, inner-city kids whose education nobody really cares about – they have all become forlorn and forgotten. “The American economy doesn’t need them,” explained David Simon in an interview with Bill Moyers. “So, as long as they stay in their ghettos, and they only kill each other, we’re willing to pay a police presence to keep them out of our America. And to let them fight over scraps, which is what the drug war, effectively, is.”4 The direct connection between the American economic agenda and the expendability of its citizens is perhaps clearest in Season Two, which focuses specifically on the post-industrial transformation of the Baltimorean labor force. With the mechanization of port labor, the longshoremen who dedicated their entire lives to working on the docks are not only obsolete, but are also unable to fashion a new identity for themselves in the absence of this defining employment. [Read more]
When it comes to science, writers tend to have more in common with Jesse Pinkman than Walter White. Sure, we all profit from it — just how do they make these words go onto the computer anyway? — but generally speaking, the only chemistry that interests the people running your favorite television shows is the kind that sometimes sparks between actors. In true English major fashion, the lion’s share of Golden Age shows concern themselves with interiority and ephemera: Think of the gauzy dream sequences of The Sopranos, or the cockeyed, continuity-free “reality” of Louie . Mad Men is the best-written show on television but it’s also the most written, using formalist flourishes to document the tormented psyches of its protagonists. There are plenty of consequences in the world of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, but they tend to be slow-burning and literary; months pass between episodes, a dramatic payoff arrives in the form of a knowing look. Last season, when Don strangled a former fling, it was a figment of a fevered imagination, a shocking act that was quickly and neatly stashed underneath the bed; a bad memory that didn’t leave a bruise. Just like it was for most professional scribes back in gym class, the emotional always trumps the physical.
By contrast, when Gustavo Fring kicked off the fourth season of Breaking Bad by butchering an associate like a kosher steer, it was both very real and a very big problem. Walt didn’t have time to agonize over the horror of what he’d just seen and its implications for his own long-term structural integrity; he was too busy scrounging up enough acid to melt the poor dead bastard down to primal sludge. That sort of moment-to-moment, cause-and-effect plotting is central to the DNA of Breaking Bad — which at times seems less like a TV drama and more like a terrifying chain reaction. From the instant Walter White set foot in that Winnebago, every single thing that’s happened — every rock cooked, every plane crashed, every breakfast eaten by the insatiable Walt Jr. — has been directly connected to that first fateful choice, an entire universe caught up in the whirring centrifuge where Walter’s morality used to be. There are no digressive montages, no cute walk-backs, authorial indulgences, or loose threads. Everything is connected and nothing is left behind. The stakes get higher and higher as the noose around the audience’s neck gets tighter and tighter. Unlike his more celebrated, cerebral peers, showrunner Vince Gilligan is a dedicated chemist, hell-bent on seeing his highly flammable, extremely risky experiment through to the bitter end. As it returns for the first half of its final season on Sunday, it’s worth celebrating Breaking Bad for what it is: a proudly left-brained show for our indulgently right-brained times. [Read more]
The word needy has been transformed into a slur, an insult we use to delegitimize women’s needs and concerns, making them think twice before asking for what they need — if they ask at all.
But why isn’t the word “needy” ever really used against men? In my mind, it goes back to the start of this column: Men are conditioned to expect their needs to be met. So when a guy is demanding any sort of clarity about a relationship, we never see his demands as desperate or needy, because we think it’s perfectly acceptable for a guy to expect his needs to be fulfilled. [Read more]
“This fetishization of not censoring yourself, of being an ‘equal-opportunity offender,’ is bizarre and bad for comedy. When did ‘not censoring yourself’ become a good thing? We censor ourselves all the time, because we are not entitled, sociopathic fucks. Your girlfriend is censoring herself when she says she’s okay with you playing Xbox all day. In a way, comedy is censoring yourself—comedy is picking the right words to say to make people laugh. A comic who doesn’t censor himself is just a dude yelling. And being an ‘equal opportunity offender’—as in, ‘It’s okay, because Daniel Tosh makes fun of ALL people: women, men, AIDS victims, dead babies, gay guys, blah blah blah’—falls apart when you remember (as so many of us are forced to all the time) that all people are not in equal positions of power. ‘Oh, don’t worry—I punch everyone in the face! People, baby ducks, a lion, this Easter Island statue, the ocean…’ Okay, well that baby duck is dead now. And you’re a duck-murderer. It’s really easy to believe that ‘nothing is sacred’ when the sanctity of your body and your freedom are never legitimately threatened.”—Lindy West, How to Make a Rape Joke
I recently found out that there is a 2005 made-for-cable remake (or “prequel”) to Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion starring Katherine Heigl and Alex Breckenridge. It is literally the worst thing that there is.