August 3, 2020
Buster Keaton’s Last Stand
Production for The General involved guns, bombs, fires, and the blowing up of a bridge in a tiny Oregon town. When the filming was over, the comedic legend’s career was in tatters. Forty years later, the movie was hailed as a masterpiece.[more inside]
259 years ago, a girl captured somewhere between present-day Gambia and Ghana stepped off the Phillis, a slave ship, and onto the docks of Boston Harbor. She was thought to be “about seven years old, at this time, from the circumstance of shedding her front teeth.” In centuries to come, she would be recognized as the mother of the African-American literary tradition. A new collection of poetry by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers reimagines Phillis Wheatley’s life and the age in which she lived, combining fiction and scholarship to fill in the gaps in the archive, especially as they pertain to the lives of enslaved women in America, setting forth the life of the first documented African-American poet in verse by a Black poet of the 21st century. Elizabeth Winkler on how Phillis Wheatley was recovered through history for The New Yorker.
'Indian Matchmaking' Exposes the Easy Acceptance of Caste: "Netflix’s popular reality series is a tacit defense of arranged marriages and the role they play in upholding a system of discrimination." [more inside]
At a time when women's artistic gymnastics is undergoing significant upheaval as gymnasts break their silence worldwide to discuss abusive training environments, causing fans and participants alike to question what the future of the sport can possibly look like, Chellsie Memmel, a 32-year-old mother of two from Wisconsin, has emerged from retirement and announced her intent to return to elite competition. [more inside]
There is no single continuous “blip” of a monitored heartbeat threatening to end in the stereotypical screaming flat line. It is more a continual fidgeting of sound, a representation of the chaotic systems of a body responding to clinical adjustments in a recursive, non-linear dance toward wellness or death. After a week of sitting beside an intubated loved one, it becomes like birdsong, a fact of nature in this strange, still, pale glade.
Mississippi is changing their flag! The old flag is gone. The submission period for new flag designs ended August 1. All the (more than 2000) flag designs that met the legislative criteria are in this gallery. [more inside]
Beautiful and intricate queue areas from theme parks around the world.
Scholastique Mukasonga (The New Yorker, 11/12/2018), "Cattle Praise Song": "'Karekezi,' my father said, 'look after Intamati.' I went to her immediately: she was one of those cows we call isine, with a shiny black hide. My father had likely assigned her to me because she was a heifer known for her strength, who might one day lead the herd." Mukasonga explains her story in "On Tutsi Life and the Rwandan Genocide." More recently, she explains her story "Grief" in "On Writing and Mourning from Exile." Excerpts from Cockroaches, The Barefoot Woman, and Our Lady of the Nile are available online.
Studio Ghibli, the beloved animation film studio, is opening a theme park near Nagoya, Japan in Fall 2022. Not to be confused with the existing Ghibli Museum, the park will feature five lands including Springtime of Life Hill (Howl's Moving Castle), Dondoko Forest Area (My Neighbor Totoro), Ghibli Large Warehouse Area (with a dining area inspired by Spirited Away), Mononok's Village Area, and Witches' Valley Area (Kiki's Delivery Service).
The first two episodes of a new podcast from the Serial team (now a NYT company) are out: Nice White Parents (rss) ep 1. The Book of Statuses (TAL/Spotify/Apple/Google/Art19) and ep 2. "I Still Believe In It" (Spotify/Apple/Google/Art19). Reactions have been quite varied and... colorful. [more inside]