I remembered Geoffrey Owens not from “The Cosby Show,” on which he played Elvin Tibideaux for five seasons, but from my sophomore year at Yale, where he was teaching undergraduate acting.
In other words, Owens is what we think of as a successful working actor: known but not a “Celebrity,” with an IMDb page that rarely skips a year.
Apparently, that’s why a woman shopping at Trader Joe’s last week, in Clifton, New Jersey, was so jarred to see Owens bagging groceries that she snapped his photo and sent it to the Daily Mail, which ran the headline, “From learning lines to serving the long line!” Fox News picked up the story, and on Saturday a Twitter storm erupted-most of it shaming Fox News for shaming Owens for working for a living.
The editor Max Weiss wrote, “RT if you think Geoffrey Owens took a much more honorable path in his life than Bill Cosby.” Even Dana Loesch, the N.R.A. spokeswoman, weighed in: “I hate stories like this. He’s a man working hard, there’s shame in publishing this story but not in this man’s job.”
We don’t tend to think of actors as laborers, despite the robust unions that represent them-Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA. The most visible actors serve as aspirational figures, celebrated for their glamour and luxury.
As plenty of people pointed out on social media, conservative outlets like Fox paint Hollywood actors as coastal élites, out of touch with working Americans, only to turn around and “Expose” one of them for earning a paycheck.
There was, of course, a racial element as well, which the writer Mark Harris described as a subtext that begins “See? Even when you give them every opportunity, they still end up….” One wonders if Owens would have drawn any attention if he’d been spotted working as a coal miner or some other “Salt of the earth” job thought of as honorable and manly, rather than in a “Softer” form of labor that is itself suffering from what The Atlantic called “The Silent Crisis of Retail Employment.”
Geoffrey Owens and Cynthia Nixon both became famous after starring on beloved sitcoms, which means that their work had value for millions of people.
The orginal article.
The Village Voice, closed down yesterday after 63 years in business, was where I learned to write.
The Voice, of course, was full of “I,” but I’d spent two years as a fact-checker at Newsweek where it was a no-no, and the habit was hard for me to break.
My good friend Jack Newfield was at the Voice by then.
I pulled all-nighters and staggered into the Voice the following morning with my not-so-neatly typed copy.
As Newfield used to say, Dan’s job was to orchestrate his writers’ obsessions; he didn’t like ‘professional’ writers.
I have to admit that my first pieces for the Voice were awfully stilted, but eventually I improved – and I got comfortable with the “I” word, like everyone else at The Village Voice.
Even though I could be an aggressive reporter, I was shy when it came to socializing, and anyway the Voice was never one big happy family.
Dan’s opinion was that the Voice was the best showcase in town for emerging writers, and of course he was right about that.
The orginal article.
I’m not sure Williams is exactly trying to answer the question Why are we here? the same way her characters are in “The Country.” I do think of her as being a very theologically engaged writer, one whose work is focused on diving into those most central and recurring questions of the fact of our existence.
In my mind, this story demonstrates how wrestling with that question of why we are here is really an impossible pursuit.
“We are here to prepare for not being here,” he says.
“Then you’re in the other here, where the funny thing is no one realizes you’ve arrived.”
I love the koan-like, contradictory logic of that phrase: We are here to prepare for not being here.
The beautiful thing about “The Country,” though it’s a story reckoning with the anxiety of mortality, is that Williams doesn’t really let us know if we’re here or there, whether the characters are alive, or in a place beyond life, or somehow straddling the line.
That’s so much more Williams’s project than drawing any sort of clear conclusion about why we’re here, or where we go when we die.
What do you do with that, the fact we can be here, and then not here? At one point, she remembers a line from Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich that sums this feeling up so neatly: “I was here, and now I’m going there! Where?”.
The orginal article.
100 Best Horror Novels And Stories In honor of Frankenstein’s 200th birthday, this year’s summer reader poll is all about horror – from classics like Mary Shelley’s monster to new favorites, we’ve got something to scare everyone.
Who doesn’t love a good scary story, something to send a chill across your skin in the middle of summer’s heat? And this year, we’re celebrating the 200th birthday of one of the most famous scary stories of all time: Frankenstein – so a few months ago, we asked you to nominate your favorite horror novels and stories, and then we assembled an expert panel of judges to take your 7000 nominations and turn them into a final, curated list of 100 spine-tingling favorites for all kinds of readers.
Want to dig into the dark, slimy roots of horror? We’ve got you covered.
As with our other reader polls, this isn’t meant to be a ranked or comprehensive list – there are a few books you won’t see on it despite their popularity – some didn’t stand the test of time, some just didn’t catch our readers’ interest, and in some cases our judges would prefer you see the movie instead. And there are a few titles that aren’t strictly horror, but at least have a toe in the dark water, or are commenting about horrific things, so our judges felt they deserved a place on the list.
One thing you won’t see on the list is any work from this year’s judges, Stephen Graham Jones, Ruthanna Emrys, Tananarive Due and Grady Hendrix.
Readers did nominate them, but the judges felt uncomfortable debating the inclusion of their own work – so it’s up to me to tell you to find and read their excellent books! I personally, as a gigantic horror wuss, owe a debt of gratitude to this year’s judges, particularly Hendrix, for their help writing summaries for all the list entries.
A word about Stephen King: Out of almost 7000 nominations you sent in, 1023 of them were for the modern master of horror.
That’s a lot of Stephen King! In past years, we’ve resisted giving authors more than one slot on the list In the end, we decided that since so much classic horror is in short story format, we would allow authors one novel and one short story if necessary.
The orginal article.
As the film world prepares to leave the childish things of summer behind and welcome the more serious, artistically ambitious movies of festival and awards season, it’s an opportune moment to consider the Canon: that list of revered films that helped form cinematic language, broke it open, captured not only their own zeitgeist but proved wisely prescient, and have stood the test of history to remain mini-master classes in aesthetics, technique, grammar and taste.
For the most part, the Canon has remained an unchanged list of cinema’s most revered titles; the last time it was even slightly upset was in 2012, when the respected film journal Sight & Sound announced that its Greatest Films of All Time poll of programmers, film professionals and academics had put Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 fever dream “Vertigo” at the top of the list, upending longtime pride-of-place holder “Citizen Kane.”.
If the bias toward older films is understandable – it’s only in the fullness of time that we understand what possesses enduring artistic value and meaning that transcends its precise cultural moment – it gives short shrift to movies that, despite their youth, could take their place among their forebears with confidence.
Although Lee never commented on the tragedy directly in the film, it suffused the film’s mood of numbed resignation.
The coming-of-age tale is a reliable genre precisely because of its reassuring linearity; the idea of discovering it anew is ludicrous, which is probably why Richard Linklater attempted to do it, filming the same boy over 12 years – along with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as his parents – and then working with longtime editor Sandra Adair to sew the resulting assortment of moments together into a seamlessly flowing depiction of time at its most inexorable, corrosive and liberating.
Even at their best-intentioned and highest execution, films aspiring to dramatize the Holocaust evoke queasiness almost by definition, with the act of bearing witness and preserving memory almost always at odds with questions of aestheticizing sadism and suffering, or reducing them to spectacle.
Filmed in a squared-off aspect ratio that accentuated the protagonist’s entrapment, Nemes called upon viewers to fill in the blanks of the unspeakable acts around them, making us collaborators in his own moral imagination.
In the 1990s, Errol Morris revolutionized documentary filmmaking with his use of narrative film technique, including reenactments and stylized speculative scene-making.
The orginal article.
Instagram Stories launched two years ago as an effort to attract young users who had opted for the spontaneous and ephemeral platform Snapchat instead. At the time, Instagram was plateauing in terms of engagement as people painstakingly curated their feeds.
Using Instagram Stories wasn’t entirely free of anxiety.
After two years of Instagram Stories, holidays, which could once offer a reprieve from using social media, have become a documentary that opens with the 4am taxi to the airport, moves onto the first ice cold beer held in front of the deep blue sea and then charts every moment – exciting or bland – until you land back home.
“It’s always been the case with Instagram but Stories make it so much worse because you’re basically encouraged to share as much as possible.”
Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, says that wanting to present our best selves on Instagram Stories is a mixture of aspiration and the human need to be validated and accepted by others, but rarely involves acting “Authentically and without self-consciousness.”
Whatever the exact truth, the fact we’re so keen to buy into the idea that the top of the list is people who are most interested in us demonstrates the fantasy game we all play with Instagram Stories.
Dr Rutledge doesn’t believe recording in this way is necessarily harmful, arguing: “If capturing an event allows people to revisit positive emotions and memories, then it is serving an important purpose.” Like all social media, Stories are another way for us to reach into the crowd of the internet and say, here I am.
In a darker sense, Instagram Stories represents our biggest step yet through the looking glass into a world where our real life behaviour is constantly tailored to make ourselves look better on the internet, a world where the lines between on and offline are forever blurred, where we sit smiling and clinking glasses outside a pub while knowing the real memory of that evening was us privately calculating how long until we could leave.
The orginal article.
The difference between highbrow and lowbrow in the new true crime is often purely aesthetic.
Highbrow true crime is often explicitly about the piece’s creator, a meta-commentary about the process of researching and reporting such consequential stories.
When I wrote earlier that there are viewers who consume all true crime, and those who only consume “Smart” true crime, I thought, “And there must be some people who only like dumb true crime.” Then I realized that I am sort of one of them.
It’s always talked around in discussions of why people like true crime: It is funny? The comedy in horror movies seems like a given, but it is hardly permitted to say that you are amused by true disturbing stories, out of respect for victims.
To be blunt, what makes a crime story less satisfying are often the ethical guidelines that help reporters avoid ruining people’s lives.
In 1897, amid a frenzied rivalry between newspaper barons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, true crime coverage was so popular that Hearst formed a group of reporters to investigate criminal cases called the “Murder Squad.” They wore badges and carried guns, forming essentially an extralegal police force who both assisted and muddled official investigations.
It’s tempting to say that we’ve come full circle, with a new true-crime boom that is victim to some of the same ethical pitfalls of the first one: Is crime journalism another industry deregulated by the anarchy of the internet? But as Michelle Dean wrote of Serial, “This is exactly the problem with doing journalism at all You might think you are doing a simple crime podcast and then you become a sensation, as Serial has, and the story falls to the mercy of the thousands, even millions, of bored and curious people on the internet.”
There is also the trend in the post-true-crime era of dramatizing famous crime stories, like in The Bling Ring; I, Tonya; and Ryan Murphy’s anthology series American Crime Story, all of which dwell not only on the stories of infamous crimes but also why they captured the public imagination.
The orginal article.
There is no reason in the world why you can’t write a novel and the only thing stopping you from doing so is yourself.
Writing is about claiming ownership of yourself in order to become the person you know you can be.
No matter how well you plan a novel beforehand, it is in the act of writing itself that the best ideas usually present themselves.
You must protect yourself and your space, because writing your first novel is a very precious process.
The first person you are writing for has to be yourself.
When you are in the middle of writing your first draft, it’s like standing in a stream.
In my experience, finishing a first draft is the hardest part of writing a novel, so that moment is a huge achievement for anyone who manages it.
Best of all, in finishing a first draft, you will have given yourself permission to call yourself a writer.
The orginal article.
All week long, Vulture is exploring the many ways true crime has become one of the most dominant genres in popular culture.
What if, I thought, as crime novelists often do, what if someone showed up now and claimed to be one of the sisters? What would happen? If she’s telling the truth, then where is the other sister and why has she waited so long to resurface? If she’s lying, what’s the endgame?
There was a problem with my personal ethics policy: It was steeped in the hubris of a crime writer who had little firsthand experience with crime.
Can I literally imagine what his wife, Maria, and his three grown children are going through now? Or his brother, the celebrated comic crime novelist Carl Hiaasen? Before June 28, I would have insisted that I could use my imagination and empathy to do just that.
What is it about the genre, why are so many readers drawn to it, why do you write it? It’s old hat to argue that today’s crime novels function much like the social novels of the early-to-mid 20th century.
A violent crime lays bare things that a community is trying to hide: Race, class, sexism, income inequality, the horrible things that families do to their own.
A lot of crime novelists working now are very clever about sneaking issues into their work.
Crime fiction has long been a conservative genre, made up of stories in which a dogged investigator – usually a cisgender white male – makes the world safe again.
The orginal article.
The New York Times has done admirable work on global warming over the last year, launching a new climate desk and devoting tremendous resources to high-production-value special climate “Features.” But even their original story on the wildfires in Greece made no mention of climate change – after some criticism on Twitter, they added a reference.
Over the last few days, there has been a flurry of chatter among climate writers and climate scientists, and the climate-curious who follow them, about this failure.
In perhaps the most widely parsed and debated Twitter exchange, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes – whose show, All In, has distinguished itself with the seriousness of its climate coverage – described the dilemma facing every well-intentioned person in his spot: the transformation of the planet and the degradation may be the biggest and most important story of our time, indeed of all time, but on television, at least, it has nevertheless proven, so far, a “Palpable ratings killer.” All of which raises a very dispiriting possibility, considering the scale of the climate crisis: Has the end of the world as we know it become, already, old news?
The news about what more to expect, coming out of new research, only darkens our picture of what to expect: Just over the past few weeks, new studies have suggested heat in many major Indian cities would be literally lethal by century’s end, if current warming trends continue, and that, by that time, global economic output could fall, thanks to climate effects, by 30 percent or more.
When you think about it, this would be a very strange choice for a producer or an editor concerned about boring or losing his or her audience – it would mean leaving aside the far more dramatic story of the total transformation of the planet’s climate system, and the immediate and all-encompassing threat posed by climate change to the way we live on Earth, to tell the pretty mundane story of some really hot days in the region.
As NPR’s science editor Geoff Brumfiel told Atkin, “You don’t just want to be throwing around, ‘This is due to climate change, that is due to climate change.'”.
Wildfires are “Not caused by climate change” only in the same way that hurricanes are not caused by climate change – which is to say they are made more likely by it, which is to say the distinction is semantic.
They won’t be, and the longer-view story is much more harrowing: not just more months like July, but an unfolding century when a month like this July has become a happy memory of a placid climate.
The orginal article.