All You Zombies
Elmo Keep | The Awl
“These fictional visions of End Times—zombies, an irradiated techno-dystopia, encroaching frozen wastes—are all spaces in which to achieve catharsis by safely exploring the anxieties of a post-social world without having to meaningfully engage with any of our current behaviors which are contributing to bringing it about in the real world—our rapidly dwindling resources and rising seas. Instead we are placated.”

Ermahgerddon: The Untold Story of the Ermahgerd Girl
Darryn King | Vanity Fair
“Another factor of the picture’s appeal, even ignoring the caption, is its nostalgic resonance. Ermahgerd was a cognitive flashback for Millennials—the most active demographic on the Internet—and their recollection of the ’90s. It was the same time-capsule effect that, in 2005, contributed to the virality of a YouTube video of two siblings unwrapping a Nintendo 64 on Christmas Day—a home video that, Goldenberger thinks, was probably recorded within 12 months of the Ermahgerd picture being taken.”

Taylor Swift on “Bad Blood,” Kanye West, and How People Interpret Her Lyrics
Chuck Klosterman | GQ
“There’s simply no antecedent for this kind of career: a cross-genre, youth-oriented, critically acclaimed colossus based entirely on the intuitive songwriting merits of a single female artist. It’s as if mid-period Garth Brooks was also early Liz Phair, minus the hat and the swearing. As a phenomenon, it’s absolutely new.”

Sunday Night Football Is the Best Show on TV
Jody Rosen | Slate
“Our pro-TV zealotry is curiously narrowly cast. The television commentariat focuses almost exclusively on dramas, hip comedies, and those warhorses that date back to TV’s first golden age, late-night talk/variety shows. This leaves out much of television’s bread and butter: news, most reality TV, game shows, daytime soaps and syndicated chat shows, children’s programs. And sports.”

The Making of John Wayne
Anne Helen Petersen | Buzzfeed
“The image of John Wayne on offer at the museum is a tapestry of half-truths and tall tales, a myth meant to assuage a nation’s anxieties and assure its citizens that a certain type of man, with a sort of principle, was still central to American identity.”

A-List Directors, Interviewed by Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes | Empire
Spielberg: I could never have been an accountant. I got a D in math.
Fincher: I’m not good enough with ‘people’ to do that kind of work.
Joe Wright: If I could have done anything other than become a director I probably would have, but I couldn’t see any other options. It was all I could do and all I ever wanted to do.”

Game Met Match: Pick-up Artist Godhead Neil Strauss’s Subtle, Surprising New Book
Lux Alptraum | Grantland
“It is easy to see The Truth as the comfortable tale of a prodigal son who abandons monogamy for hedonism, only to return to the comforts of a two-person relationship. It’s easy to gloss over the lines here and there that expressly dismantle that interpretation.”

Superheroes: Born in New York City
Michael Powell | The New York Times
“My friends and I roamed the city in search of dusty shops with piles of old comics filled with such mysteries. We found a favorite haunt on Amsterdam Avenue, an unnamed, often-padlocked storefront known as ‘the old lady’s place.’ To get there we had to walk by the teenage boys at Joan of Arc Middle School, who shook us down for quarters. Where was Batman when you needed him?”

The Knick Is Just as Concerned With the Policing of Bodies as It Is With Fixing Them
Moze Halperin | Flavorwire
“More and more, The Knick’s depiction of the 1900s seems to survey the coalescence of systems of American oppression that still persist, a map of a power structure that spells out collective misery—even for the privileged. What it shows, with brutal repetition, is the havoc these systems wreak on the human body.”

The Last Love Song by Tracy Daugherty Review: Joan Didion’s Resurgence
Laura Miller | The Guardian
“She is as remote as the moon, too, because Daugherty was unable to secure her cooperation in researching his book. No matter, Didion has written copiously about herself, and Daugherty also believes that she is a mirror of sorts for American society in the 20th century (and a little beyond).”

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