The internet was chill this week. Highlights: Singing across an ocean, Anne Midgette left the Washington Post, Mister Rogers, the new feminism, the creation of slang, love terms, Gritty’s popularity, Naomi Campbell visits Jackie Aina, Rihanna killed Victoria’s Secret, and the 2020 Grammy nominations. 

 

1. Oxford American: Sing Across the Ocean

The prose of this piece is absolutely stunning. Zandria F. Robinson writes in a way that is constantly weaving time together. She writes of the history of the US, of “the West African coast, from Senegambia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, to Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria” and of “blood beats” when reviewing Ranky Tanky, a band that “celebrates the middle” of time.  

 

2. Washington Post: It’s my last review as The Post’s classical music critic. Here are my parting thoughts on the NSO.

It is the end of an era. Anne Midgette is leaving the Washington Post as its classical music critic, a position she held for 11 years. Her replacement has not been named yet—let’s hope the position is not cut altogether. For her last review, Midgette covered the National Symphony Orchestra, focusing on “The Brightness of Light,” a new opera about Georgia O’Keeffe by Kevin Puts. The program and Midgette’s review are framed by the notion of intermezzi, or the “in-between spaces: the pauses between acts of an opera, scenes of Puts’s multipart work or… the distance between forming thoughts in your head and writing words on the page.” 

To my knowledge, Midgette has yet to announce any new projects, but I’ll be sure to look out for them. 

 

3. New York Times Magazine: The Mister Rogers No One Saw

I think I really needed to read this story this week. My conception of Mister Rogers intensified. Mister Rogers was “a curious, lanky man, six feet tall and 143 pounds (exactly, he said, every day; he liked that each digit corresponded to the number of letters in the words ‘I love you’) and utterly devoid of pretense” and, when it came to his work he was “disciplined, focused, a perfectionist — an artist.” 

During a conversation he had with the author, Jeanne Marie Laskas, who met him shortly after she finished graduate school, Mister Rogers said “I think the greatest thing about things is they remind you of people.” I’m in my first year of an MFA program, and I’ve been having more and more conversations about things—two of my friends make work, on the most rudimentary level, that tries to make its own definition of things. Walking through their studios, I begin to see their understanding of the word. 

Later in the conversation, Mister Rogers also observed that “It’s so very hard, receiving… When you give something, you’re in much greater control. But when you receive something, you’re so vulnerable… I think the greatest gift you can ever give is an honest receiving of what a person has to offer.” I don’t think Mister Rogers was talking about critiques when he said that. But as my life has become consumed by critiques, that is the context in which I am understanding it at the moment, and the context in which I needed to hear it. 

 

4. BuzzFeed: The New Trend In Feminism Is Feeling Nothing

I’m getting my MFA, which means everyone I’m around is performing their politics ad nauseam in an attempt to portray the most morally just versions of themselves. It is exhausting. But, because of this, feminism usually comes up. Emmeline Clein argues that “a lot of brilliant women [are] giving up on shouting and complaining, and instead taking on a darkly comic, deadpan tone when writing about their feminism” and partaking in something she calls “dissociation feminism.” Feminists “now seem to be interiorizing our existential aches and angst, smirking knowingly at them, and numbing ourselves to maintain our nonchalance.”

I’m still not totally sure what to do with this argument, but I am intrigued. And while the article addresses race—briefly—I find it to be mostly from a white feminist perspective, although that is very helpful for dealing with/understanding all of this performative morality. 

 

5. The Walrus: Don’t Blame the Internet for New Slang

Every generation has its own slang. Slang was not invented with the internet or social media, although they may have furthered the reach of regional terms, and expedited the rate at which they are created. People have been mapping languages for centuries, and “the systematic study of dialect began in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as part of the same scientific movements that gave us the Linnaean catalogue of the living world and the periodic table of the elements.”

The internet, particularly twitter, has become a very effective tool for mapping language because “researchers look at countless examples of public, informal, unselfconscious language, from videos to blog posts,” and in most sites are searchable. But we learn slang through our social networks, just as we learned a language from our parents, and “you’re more likely to start using a new word from Friendy McNetwork, who shares a lot of mutual friends with you, and less likely to pick it up from Rando McRandomFace, who doesn’t share any of your friends.”

 

6. Lit Hub: Let’s Talk About Love: A Lost Vocabulary of Amorous Terms

This is such a lovely, unadulterated list. As the previous article states, words and slang are always changing, and with that, some vocabulary gets lost. Paul Anthony Jones collects forgotten words and pulls them back to the forefront in The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities: A Yearbook of Forgotten Words. Here, he focuses on lost amorous terms.

 

7. Vice: Gritty’s Reign Has Just Begun

I’m not a sports fan, or I don’t spend a lot of time on sports Twitter, but somehow I managed to learn about Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, within a few months of his debut last year. He is wildly popular. As described by a writer for the Guardian, Gritty looks like “a horrifying bearded man-Muppet hybrid whose eyes are permanently rolling in their sockets, presumably from years of drug use… toxic masculinity incarnate.” So why is he so successful, and why does everyone love him? In today’s cancel culture and the divisive political moment, “the mascot is a safe figure to love. Gritty, an otherworldly apparition who doesn’t even have the baggage of looking like a real animal, is the perfect idol. He is ugly and chaotic, and thus relatable, but only exists for the purpose of having fun, of celebrating the strange joy that comes along with existing in a society.”

Gritty lowkey still scares me, but I get the appeal. 

 

8. YouTube: NAOMI CAMPBELL GETS GLAM WITH ME!!! GUYS I’M –

I do not own any makeup and know nothing about it. I do not follow makeup YouTube, but this video is absolutely everywhere. Naomi Campbell did a makeup tutorial with Jackie Aina, and it is lowkey kinda great. Naomi casually talks about going to “Jay and Bey’s” for Halloween, and praises BTS’s makeup. There are hilarious micro-edits. I don’t know if I learned that much about makeup, but I did learn a lot about Naomi. 

 

9. Refinery29: Rihanna Was The Nail In Victoria’s Secrets’ Coffin

Wow. Victoria’s Secret announced that it is canceling its fashion show, SavageXFenty is still selling out AND announced Normani as its first brand ambassador all on the same day. It was first announced that Victoria’s Secret would stop televising their show last year, but this week confirmed that the runway show was canceled altogether. Rihanna’s fashion line, SavageXFenty, has been praised for being inclusive from the beginning, debuting with a large size range and “nude” color palette. Rihanna’s second annual SavageXFenty runway show, which took place in August, was extremely successful, with performances from Migos, Fat Joe, Big Sean, DJ Khaled, Halsey, Tierra Whack, and Fabolous,” and supermodel appearances. “If you think this sounds like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, except cooler, more inclusive, and through a woman’s gaze, you’d be correct.” 

Rihanna is changing hella industries. 

 

10. Grammy: 2020 GRAMMY Awards: Complete Nominees List
I feel like each time any academy announces its nominees for the year’s awards I become less and less interested in the academy. This year really isn’t an exception for the Grammy’s. Lizzo has the most nominations, which is interesting, but I probably won’t watch the show in January. 

 

 


*All images taken from reference articles*

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