Notre Dame burned, and so did Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Black churches in the US, as well as churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. Time Magazine released its list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2019, and the Pulitzer Prizes were announced. BBM will die on May 31st. A lot of stuff happened.
The internet was dope as hell this week. Highlights: vampires are v queer, Kristen Arnett is an internet gem, Rihanna is just so BEAUTIFUL!, Lizzo loves us, Beyonce really wanted to go to Howard, Abdu Ali released his debut album, emotions cannot be optimized, we should get rid of prisons, and HGTV is gentrifying Waco.
1. Electric Lit: A Perfectly Normal Interview with Carmen Maria Machado Where Everything Is Fine
This is may be the most interesting interview I have read all year. I mean apart from inspiring a general interest in vampires or gothic literature, Carmen Maria Machado—who edited and introduced the latest reprint of the 1871-72 vampire tale Carmilla—is so smart and so funny! For example:
Thedore McCombs: The last time we spoke, you mentioned how queer readings of classic texts, even Gothic texts like Carmilla, meet resistance in part because they destabilize not just conventions of sex and sexuality in eras like the Victorian, but even conventions of reading. Do you want to elaborate?
Carmen Maria Machado: That’s not what I said. I didn’t say that.
TM: You did say that, though. I remember it clearly.
CMM: I did not, but I did have a dream last night: I was outside this very door, listening at the gap in the lock to voices from inside this room, including mine. I could see our shadows beneath the crack in the door, puddles of darkness in the flickering firelight. And then I looked at my hands, and they were not my hands; they were someone else’s hands. And then I looked up and saw you. But you were not you. You were a middle-aged Irishman with mutton chops and eyes like the northern lights. And I was myself and a nameless woman both.
Please read this!
2. Bon Appetit: Why I Take All My First Dates to Olive Garden
I follow Kristen Arnett on Twitter, and she is the only person that has ever made me question why I don’t go to 7-11 every day.
I have never wanted to eat at Olive Garden more than after reading this. For all of her first dates, Arnett goes to Olive Garden. “As a local who’s obsessed with talking and writing about Florida” it makes sense that Arnett would go to Olive Garden, seeing as she lives in Orlando, and the chain was founded in the area in 1982. While she doesn’t go to the original, they all have the “same menu, same ’90s-style carpets, same matching uniforms on the waitstaff.” For Arnet, Olive Garden is “a never-changing place that isn’t ever going to foist anything new upon me.” Dating is full of maybes, but Olive Garden isn’t. “If I ask nicely enough, the restaurant will give me a packet of my very own warm breadsticks to take home. On the house,” writes Arnett. “And if that’s not intimacy, I don’t know what is.”
3. Vogue Australia: Why Rihanna is the unstoppable, fearless phenomenon making us feel good about ourselves
At this point, I’m really not interested in Rihanna profiles. I’m just here for the music (can we PLEASE get a date for the new album!?!?!) and absolutely beautiful photographs. I just want to experience her eyes in person. Rihanna, please be my friend!
4. Harpers Bizzar: The Art of Being Rihanna
LOOK. AT. HER. EYES. These photos are sooo luscious! I’m p sure that at this point in time Rihanna would be a valid theme for the Met Gala. Anna Wintour needs to make it happen.
This album is too good! Everyone I know has been listening to it all weekend. I’m honestly not really into the whole visual album movement, but I want one for this! Like I’m very glad we got #ASSCHELLA this year. V excited to read the Pitchfork review of this, whenever that happens.
6. Pitchfork: Homecoming: The Live Album
I sometimes beef with Beyonce, at least conceptually, but there is no way to deny that she is one of the greatest performers of all time. Like she knows how to put on a concert.
Homecoming: The Live Album was released as the “40-track companion to her headlining sets from last year’s Coachella released as a documentary film with Netflix,” which champions HBCU’s and “defiant celebration of complex, diasporic blackness.” The album offers insight to Beyonce working “during her peak—in voice, physicality, and confidence—reimagining and remixing her own catalog, decentering herself to shine a light on her influences and foundations.” But while “Homecoming doesn’t stand on its own as an album experience separate from the film. It probably doesn’t need to.”
7. Bandcamp: Abdu Ali’s FIYAH!!
Abdu Ali’s debut album came out this week!!!! It is hard to think of Baltimore’s current music scene without Ali, and their name is ubiquitous with the city’s young creative energy. I haven’t been out in Baltimore in a while, or even listening to Baltimore-based artists, but as soon as I started playing this I thought to myself, this sounds like Baltimore.
8. Art Practical: The Metrics of Backpacks
I’m not sure that I have ever been to a place that lacks as much general self-awareness as Silicon Valley or the SF Bay Area. My sister lives there and every time I visit I’m in awe of how tech-driven everything is. People always seem to be talking about optimization, and as Victoria Gannon writes “what dismays me about technology is this: not the machine itself but the way its architecture echoes outward, imposing a grid of quantification on everything it touches… What becomes of the ambiguity of feeling? That which can’t be immediately identified is derided, denied, and eventually erased.”
9. New York Times Magazine: Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind
The prison industrial complex is FUCKED! We have known this for a while, and most people agree that they need to change. But to close all prisons? That is a more difficult idea for most to reckon with.
Being a prison abolitionist is becoming more common, still “if you just say ‘prison abolition’ on CNN, you’re going to have a lot of people shaking their heads” said Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow. “But Ruthie has always been very clear that prison abolition is not just about closing prisons. It’s a theory of change.” For Ruth Wilson Gilmore, it is not a question of “whether anyone should be locked up or go free” but asking “why don’t we think about why we solve problems by repeating the kind of behavior that brought us the problem in the first place?”
10. BuzzFeed: “Fixer Upper” Is Over, But Waco’s Transformation Is Just Beginning
I don’t watch Fixer Upper, nor do I intend to. But I know a lot of people that love home improvement shows. My mom watches them for home improvement tips. But people my age don’t have houses and often watch them for escapism.
Chip and Jo Gaines and Magnolia, their home decor and design brand, are probably the most recognizable starts of HGTV. Based in Waco, Texas, “as the two-person engine of an entire small industry and economic boom, the Gaineses have cleaved history in two: Before Chip and Jo, and After” rebranding the town that was once infamous for “the deadly 1993 standoff between federal agents and Branch Davidian cult leader David Koresh.” While most residents are happy with the economic influx, not everyone agrees on what it means.
*All images taken from reference articles*
Have a suggestion for next week? Email [email protected] with the subject line “The Internet is Exploding.”