Howdy, all. This week had been alright, yeah? A fine week. My girlfriend and found an apartment down in North Carolina, where we’re moving in a month. It has a porch. I caved and got a twitter, which so far has taught me that I am just not funny, or at least not in the way 140-characters demands I be. But I am having a good time. I started and finished Roxane Gay’s Hunger in about 48 hours, and I’m still reeling from how good it was.
I also read quite a few great pieces of short- and longform journalism online, which I’ve been saving up for this installment of Read This! This one is quite a mosaic of interests, as you’ll see but I contain multitudes etc. etc. I’m thrilled because I feel as though we’ve started to break free from underdeveloped political think pieces in the wake of the election and now we’re seeing some really good culture writing again.
So let’s get started –
The Alanis Morissette From The 90’s America Needs Now Hanif Abdurraqib for The New York Times
Too often, “Jagged Little Pill” is discussed only in terms of its bitterness and aggression – something that, I imagine, wouldn’t be so common if the album had been recorded by a man. The album was acclaimed upon its release — and remains so today — but even the most glowing praise still reduced Ms. Morissette’s work to its harshest emotions, and labeled them surprising. This flattening out of the album’s story does something that is still all too common: It reduces a woman’s emotions to the ones that are easiest for men to dismiss.
This is an article about how Jagged Little Pill is being adapted as a musical to eventually appear on Broadway, but it’s also an excellent defense of how incredibly real and textured that album really is.
2017’s Most Avant-Garde Documentary Was Filmed Inside A 90’s Superstore, Katie Rife, for The A.V. Club
One Paul Giamatti-esque character stands in the background flipping through a stack of records for almost the entire 26-minute duration of the video, and a bearded lumberjack type blocks our view of the store with his purple-and-tan striped shirt when he briefly stands in front of the camera, ignoring it the entire time. (Shoutout to the guy in the pink and black jacket who pirouettes around at 8:33.) You can also hear chatter from store patrons passing by the camera, and Tracy Chapman playing over the store intercom.
I’ve been obsessed with this since I watched the entire thing a week ago.
The De-Butching of Alison Bechdel, by sinisterwoman
alison’s costume was perhaps the most important costume in the entire show, as it represented her full realization of herself and acceptance of her butchness. now, she is being portrayed as a woman who grew up, accepted she wanted short hair, but maintained all other aspects of enforced femininity.
Remembering The Murder You Didn’t Commit, Rachel Aviv for The New Yorker
Taylor confessed to the woman’s murder in 1989 and for two decades believed that she was guilty. She served more than nineteen years for the crime before she was pardoned. She was one of six people accused of the murder, five of whom took pleas; two had internalized their guilt so deeply that, even after being freed, they still had vivid memories of committing the crime. In no other case in the United States have false memories of guilt endured so long.
This is fascinating.
When Lore Bores, Oliver Lee Bateman for The Paris Review
I spend mine in the time-killing fields with, say, the boring bro-tastic imbecile heroes of Final Fantasy XV, a part of my mind always wandering from the flashing screen, wondering why there won’t be another The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or Majora’s Mask or Secret of Mana—something on a cartridge and thus not burdened with lengthy load times, something rendered in splashes of vivid primary colors, something that was almost but not quite the perfect fusion of gameplay and story. That golden ratio eludes us, but we may still find it.
This is an article I’ve been meaning to write for years and I’m mad that someone beat me to it. As someone who still periodically fulfills the urge to play through Ocarina of Time, I feel this same irritated, earnest nostalgic for the video game world building of yore.
Which is why I’ve had my eye on Evoland for a while now.
The Cult of Heath Ledger, Trey Taylor for Dazed
Heath Ledger was famous for being gay. Even though he wasn’t.
This essay is so much more than the title suggests. Read it.
Friends to Strangers: Greek Immigrants and Alabama Food, Jennifer Kornegay for The Bitter Southerner
“You want something to drink? No? OK, some food then. Yes? You do. Let me get you something. You have to.”
John Krontiras won’t take no for an answer when you’re in his restaurant, Nabeel’s. John’s assertive yet affable welcome personifies a trait most often attributed to Southerners, hospitality, but one obviously shared by Alabama’s Greek restaurateurs.
This is near and dear to my heart because I grew up in Alabama, eating a lot of Greek food. Nabeel’s, the restaurant mentioned in the excerpt above, was my go-to dinner spot with friends when we were in college. As the granddaughter of Syrian immigrants, I was also very pleased to find out, when I moved to northern Alabama, that there was also a wave of Syrian and Lebanese immigration to Alabama. The South is so much more culturally rich than most people expect. Also, this article is beautifully put together.
What are you reading?