Hannah Giorgis’s Favorite Things in Culture
The Atlantic writer is savoring her top fall movie and poem, and is grateful she waited this long to watch Girls.
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Good morning, and welcome back to The Daily’s new Sunday culture edition, in which one Atlantic writer reveals what’s keeping them entertained.
Today, our special guest is Hannah Giorgis, a staff writer and co-author of Ida B. the Queen, Michelle Duster’s biography of her great-grandmother Ida B. Wells. Hannah has explored the role of post-Stonewall photography in queer life and reported on the history of Black representation behind the television camera. Read on for her conflicted feelings about pop-punk, what she does instead of doomscrolling, and a poem that perfectly captures fall.
But first, here are three Sunday reads from The Atlantic:
The Culture Survey
The upcoming event I’m most looking forward to: I’m seeing the original Hocus Pocus at a rooftop movie theater with my best friend, and I can’t wait. There are so many amazing cultural events in New York City all the time, and I certainly love attending immersive performances and edifying talks, but few things can top the comfort factor of revisiting a seasonal childhood favorite as an adult. Am I gonna try to swing by the farmers’ market that morning to grab some fresh apple-cider donuts? You bet! [Related: Don’t question the magic of Hocus Pocus.]
The television show I’m most enjoying right now: Minute for minute, there’s nothing on TV right now that brings me as much joy as Abbott Elementary. I absolutely cannot get enough, but don’t take my word for it. [Related: Abbott Elementary, Minx, and the end of the girlboss myth]
An actor I would watch in anything: My answer to this is actually a pairing: Julia Roberts and George Clooney. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved many of their separate productions over the past few decades. But together? That duo could get me to watch a shampoo commercial, an in-flight safety-instructional video, or a new romantic comedy that’s obviously relying far more heavily on the star power of its leads than a riveting screenplay.
Best novel I’ve recently read, and the best work of nonfiction: I’m lucky to have several friends and colleagues who have recently put out incredible books that have monopolized my leisure time, but I also really loved Libertie, by Kaitlyn Greenidge, and gained so much from a reread of the late Greg Tate’s Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America. [Related: Greg Tate on ‘The Godfather of Rap,’ Gil Scott Heron]
Authors I will read anything by: A very incomplete list of contemporary authors only: Namwali Serpell, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Jasmine Guillory, Kevin Wilson, Andrea Long Chu, Samantha Irby, Tayari Jones, Alexander Chee, Aracelis Girmay, Danzy Senna, Kristen Arnett, Nicole Dennis-Benn.
The last museum show I loved: I went to the Met for the first time in years last month, and I’m so glad I made the trek. I’ve been thinking about one of the exhibitions on view, “Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room,” so often since then. The small, nearly claustrophobic space is modeled after the homes that once populated Seneca Village, the first free Black settlement in New York City (which was displaced when the city seized the land by eminent domain to clear out what is now Central Park). “Before Yesterday We Could Fly” is packed with artifacts and newly commissioned works from across time and diaspora—a somewhat overwhelming but deeply contemplative experience. Lots of individual pieces have stuck with me since I first saw them in conversation with one another there, but I also really enjoyed reading Tiana Reid’s thoughtful criticism of the exhibition overall.
Something I loved as a teenager and still love, and something I loved but now dislike: All things pop-punk, the prospect of looking like I love all things pop-punk. [Related: The polarizing emo record that captured teenage angst]
My favorite way of wasting time on my phone: I’m hardly the first disillusioned Millennial to extol the virtues of leaving Twitter, but since I deactivated my account (again) back in January, even my doomscrolling hours feel lighter. The bulk of my idle time is spent on TikTok, the Gen Z–driven app with an algorithm so precisely tailored to my interests that it sometimes stresses me out. When that happens, I’m off to Duolingo, where I unlock the serotonin rush of acing elementary-school quizzes by correctly guessing remedial French clues from a passive-aggressive owl. If you ever need someone to ask whether there’s a cat in the train station eating a croissant with a student, I’m your girl. [Related: How to almost learn Italian]
A good recommendation I recently received: For years now, my friend djenneba has been telling me to watch two specific early-2010s shows, one of which I just finished last month. And I gotta say, the fact that it took me this long to watch the series really enhanced my viewing experience. I was able to take the show (almost) entirely on its own terms, without fielding a constant barrage of opinions about every episode, character, story line, quirk, or shortcoming. This many years out from the show’s original airing, having also escaped the morass of my 20s, I unironically (and yes, of course, somewhat critically) enjoyed a little show called Girls. [Related: What was missing from the Girls finale]
A poem I return to: It’s autumn again, which means it’s time for Nikki Giovanni’s “My House.” There’s so much I love about that poem. Right now, I’m thinking about how deliciously it conjures every sensory experience I associate with crisp air outside and the joy of retreating into the warmth of my home: “cause i run the kitchen / and i can stand the heat.”
The Week Ahead
- The House of the Dragon Season 1 finale (HBO, tonight at 9 p.m. ET)
- Jemele Hill’s memoir, Uphill (Tuesday)
- Call Jane, a film about the Jane Collective starring Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver (in theaters Friday)
“Getting Up,” by Oliver Munday
There is a pause.
The tiny voice is adamant, frustrated.
The man does not look up.
“Steve. Steve. Steve,” she chants.
It is early—always early.
Carter, his daughter, laughs. “You’re Steve.”
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Isabel Fattal contributed to this newsletter.