Everything else

Saturday Links: Year’s Best Edition

We got lists.

Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel… is one of my favorite albums of 2012 (and maybe ever), and I absolutely loved our own Sady Doyle’s recent essay about one of the best songs on the album, “Werewolf.” Insightful, heartbreaking, and beautifully written, the piece compares the song with another track, “Regret,” and talks about each captures a woman in a different stage of a damaged, and damaging, relationship. If you’ve ever been involved with someone who brings out the worst in you, and vice versa, this essay might make you wince with recognition, which can also happen when facing the sometimes uncomfortable beauty of Fiona’s own work.

Like Emma D., I’m a big fan of online mag Booooooom. Right now I’m getting a ton of art inspiration thanks to their top 15 posts of 2012. My favorite on this list is “Sandwich Artist,” wherein Brittany Powell crafted edible homages to famous artists. Here, for example, is her tribute to Mondrian:

Booooooom also put together a post of 64 photos by 64 photographers, which is great to scroll through if you want motivation to pick up your camera or just want to be cheered up by a load of well-curated photographs of many different styles and themes!

This post at Peta Pixel introduced me to the photographer Jill Peters’s absolutely stunning series “Sworn Virgins of Albania.” The title refers to women in rural northern Albania who take a vow of celibacy in return for the right to live their lives as men, with all the rights and privileges that come with manhood in a patriarchal culture. The practice goes back some 500 years, but is, thanks in part to more rights and better opportunities for people living as women in Albania, dying out. Jill Peters sought out the handful of sworn virgins still alive today, and her portraits of them are just beautiful. She’s now at work on a documentary film about the same subject.

The Design Observatory has a weekly column called “Accidental Mysteries,” where they post a series of visual images focused on a theme. This week’s offering is the “Top Ten Most Popular Accidental Mysteries.” Great eye candy and a great source for inspiration!

It’s that time of year when everyone and their mother writes up a top-ten list, and we all fill up our Netflix queues and Amazon wishlists with all the stuff that passed us by. By the end of December, I’m starting to feel maxed out on “must-see” lists, yet I still search out the stuff that helps me understand what the hell got done last year. New Scientist compiled a mind-blowing list of their favorite stories from this year’s life science news, including the fascinating report that biologists may have discovered the “grandfather biological clock,” an enzyme present in most life-forms on earth that appears to keep us running on an internal 24-hour metabolic cycle, regardless of whether we ever see the sun.

The New Yorker just owned, and ended, the whole best-of list game with this list, by Gary Belsky, of the 100 best lists of all time.

I am a childless, heartless human being, so this adorable video of parents torturing their small children by giving them super-sour Warheads candies and recording their reactions made me laugh almost as hard as that time when Jimmy Kimmel got parents to tell their kids that they’d eaten all their Halloween candy.

Last month CNN ran a piece called “Where are all the millennial feminists?” that bemoaned the lack of interest in feminist activism among young people today: “even young women who know what the word means and are aware of inequality among the sexes don’t challenge the system,” wrote Hannah Weinberger, a young person herself. It was accompanied by a slideshow of portraits of important second-wave feminists like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, entitled “Famous feminists from generations past.” In response, my buddies Shelby Knox and Steph Herold created Feminists of Generation Now, a Pinterest board featuring young people around the globe who are working hard on behalf of women’s rights and equality (full disclosure: one of ’em’s me!). Shelby and Steph just gave me pinning privileges on the board, and I feel like I’ve won the lottery. I can’t wait to add more unsung heroes to that list—young people who are somehow overlooked every time some mainstream media organization decides to write feminism’s obituary.

Amy Rose
This interview with my all-time favorite director, Paul Thomas Anderson, got me really psyched for his next movie, an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel Inherent Vice. This will be the first time Pynchon, who is such a private dude that not only does he never give interviews or allow his picture to be taken, but in this interview Anderson won’t even say Pynchon’s NAME, has authorized an adaptation of any of his books, which makes the whole thing extra bonkers exciting.

I loved the Lord of the Rings movies, on account being a giant nerd and all. However, here is a list of 250 reasons not to see The Hobbit. It’s convincing!

Oh, Quentin Tarantino! I never know how to feel about your movies! And it looks like Django Unchained–a fun, violent action movie about slavery–is going to be harder to figure out than anything else. Is it callous exploitation? Politically provocative art? Some intensely conceptual thing that makes you want to pretend to like it so that all your friends don’t think you’re stupid? I haven’t seen it yet, but here, Cord Jefferson unpacks his own experience of watching it, and identifies what he calls the Django Moment–exactly when it feels really, really ominous for white people to laugh at this movie.

Lately, I’ve been finding myself obsessively comparing my writing to that of other writers, feeling jealous and resentful of other people’s successes, and so sorry for myself that I’m hardly able to write. And that feels rotten. Jeffrey Eugenides’s speech from the 2012 Whiting Award ceremony, posted this week on The New Yorker’s site, is the beautiful kick in the ass I desperately needed. It’s full of REAL TALK for young writers, such as: write like you’re dead; write like you’re a teenager (most of you Rooks have a leg up in this department); write to understand the world rather than for fame or respect. I think his advice can extend to all forms of creative life, and it’s an absolutely breathtaking read if you, like me, need an articulate and elaborate reminder to stay true to yourself.

This NPR article about a group of female computer programmers in Kenya who founded a ladies-only club to encourage girls to get involved in geek and computer culture makes me so happy! I love that they named their club Akirachix after the Japanese cyberpunk film Akira, but more than that, I love that these women are taking the future of their country into their own hands. Instead of allowing technology to increase disparities between rich and poor, male and female, and first and third world, they’re are using technology to narrow those gaps.

On her blog Native Appropriations, Adrienne K. went after the Atlanta Braves’ decision to use a batting-practice hat that features a caricature of a “screaming Indian,” and called out the sports fans who have emerged online to defend the Braves’ use of an “Indian” mascot. Adrienne’s dismantling of the usual arguments excusing racist depictions of Native Americans is effing brilliant.

The literary website The Rumpus just previewed a bunch of songs from an upcoming companion album to T Cooper’s new book Real Man Adventures, and one of them is by Kathleen Hanna’s band the Julie Ruin! The catchy, clever song, called “Girls Like Us,” is, in Cooper’s words, “about buying boxer briefs at Century 21 in New York City, and Marky Mark in his Calvin Kleins, before he was Mark Wahlberg and nominated for an Oscar.” It features vocals by homocore artist Vaginal Davis and lyrics like “Girls like us might flock to scandals / But girls like us don’t give a shite / Girls like us pick up the hot handles / And burn our hands and get over it.” Awesome. ♦


  • sunspottedgirl December 29th, 2012 12:23 PM

    Rose’s link to the list roundup of the most awesome scientific discoveries was awesome!! As someone who thinks bacteria are the coolest, I can’t believe I missed out on the new discovery of their parasitic capabilities in early humans! Also prions are just wicked cool.

  • bugaleeto December 29th, 2012 12:26 PM

    I cried when i had my first war-head at the age of 9. my brother still relishes that moment..

  • Lascelles December 29th, 2012 1:57 PM

    Went to click more articles by Jamia but did not see a link. And Jamia, there are no modern feminists because women have no more problems :D Kidding :D Nice list!


  • Mary the freak December 29th, 2012 2:45 PM

    oh so amazing! thank you for sharing this awesome stuff with us!


  • coralgirl December 29th, 2012 3:06 PM

    I got be honest, I’m annoyed by Sady’s piece. Please just enjoy the movies and don’t over-analyze. You don’t know how to feel about Tarantino’s movies? Tarantino wanted to make revenge films about the things he hates most nazi’s and slavery. He re-wrote history in a bad-ass way. I’m sorry, that’s fucking awesome. To me, Django is a fantastic camp-western with great actors, great scores, and fantastic costuming … THE BLUE SUIT ANYONE??
    You can’t control bigots. Just enjoy what your tastes tell you to enjoy. Not just damning things blindly. Please tell me you watched the Hobbit rather than be stopped by that article. Enjoy things for yourself!

    • Teez December 30th, 2012 7:27 AM

      while i respect your opinion, i am so sick of people essentially saying ‘get over it’ whenever someone has a comment about race dynamics in the media, especially when it comes to black representation.

      people don’t these make criticisms just to ruin everyone else’s cinema experience, they do it because what they are seeing and hearing is damaging. can’t you respect that to some people this film is highly offensive and that opinion is as valid as your own; and just because you are fine with watching it doesn’t mean everyone is.

      i don’t want to presume but perhaps you don’t have an emotional connection with slavery and the expendable nature in which the media treats bodies of colour, maybe you do. but let me say that empathy is key, it is truly painful to be exposed to it constantly let alone in something as blatant as django unchained. i can tell you seeing the trailer alone triggered my anxiety and made me genuinely uncomfortable and the mere thought of catching even a wry smile on a white person’s face at a time i consider inappropriate in the cinema would be enough to make me want to leave.

      you may say, ‘what’s the problem? tarantino hates slavery’ but i would say that that is not enough. he, like any other director has to be responsible with his images and stories, and i do not think he has been wholly responsible with django, and this is coming from someone who enjoyed some of his other films. he may think he’s being a Good Guy by making a feature length film of ‘hey didn’t slavery suck’ but as far as i’m concerned i don’t need his priveleged voice in the dialogue

      • Moxx December 30th, 2012 12:19 PM

        If you don’t like Tarantino’s movies, then you don’t have to go see them…

        • Tyknos93 December 30th, 2012 7:28 PM

          She wasn’t condemning the Tarantino oeuvre. It’s just slavery is a VERY sensitive subject and while I enjoyed the movie even as a person of color MANY things left me uneasy.

          On a website where tolerance and discourse is commonly promoted, it disheartens me to read comments with an “Aw shucks, that sucks” or “Get over it” attitude. It’s frustrating when many people of color only have a handful of positive images to aspire to.

          I would love to see us get to be flawed, desired, vengeful, confused, heralded just like our white counterparts. I’m not going to sit here and say things like this don’t exist, but they are so few and far between they may as well not. The point is MOST people care about representation and when you haven’t had a voice in how the public perceives you, it can be a problem.

          I’m thankful for shows like Awkward Black Girl, Ugly Betty and Skins ( mostly the UK version) that are trying something different.

          This comment has gone on too long and I hope at least some of this makes sense. Idk things can be alot better.

        • Moxx December 30th, 2012 11:31 PM

          I’m sorry, but I found it just callous. I’m glad we can have this conversation, though.

  • sternenfall December 29th, 2012 3:08 PM

    Don’t want to sound like a total idiot, but how does a person become a feminist? How can I take action on women’s rights? What is the difference between believing in feminism and being an activist for it? Sorry I have so many questions.

    • Pashupati December 29th, 2012 4:04 PM

      I’d say you become one by identifying as one?

  • Jamia December 29th, 2012 4:58 PM

    Hi Sternenfall, IMHO The very fact that you want to take action to advance women’s rights and make the world a more equal place makes you a feminist (if you feel comfortable identifying as one). There are many ways to take action–from speaking up when you hear people say sexist things and educating them about the impact of their words and actions, to blogging about your thoughts, to supporting and promoting other women and girls’ work and thoughts, to starting and signing petitions, organizing and supporting campaigns and rallies, and more.

    I recommend checking out some ways to connect with other feminists and reading about feminism to discover how you want to engage and participate. Here are some organizations and publications I think you’ll find interesting:


    I also recommend reading some of my favorite books: http://sparkamovement.tumblr.com/post/11213267953/shelby-knox-jamia-wilsons-must-read-feminist

    Enjoy! xoxoxoxox

    • sternenfall December 30th, 2012 3:32 PM

      Thank you very much, Jamia. Hope all is well with you.

  • Jamia December 29th, 2012 5:11 PM

    Anaheed–I could watch those babies eat Warheads all day! I love their little faces.

  • mayaautumn December 29th, 2012 7:24 PM

    omg thank you for all these LINKS!
    just what i need right now to stop me from falling asleep x_x heh


  • victoria December 29th, 2012 8:16 PM

    I love Lord of the Rings, but I agree that The Hobbit was lackluster.

    However, that list of 250 reasons was exhausting to read and barely even got to what I think are the real problems with the franchise (I might be wrong about this: I didn’t read the whole thing), which are its sexist and racist discrimination (Granted, Éowyn might make up for a little bit of the sexist part. She is AWESOME.)

    Can someone talk about how Middle Earth is basically entirely inhabited by white dudes and how the men in Sauron’s armies are all pierced, tattooed and outfitted in what are basically generalized/homogenized (for lack of a better word) “tribal” outfits/accessories?

    • Moxx December 30th, 2012 10:01 AM

      Well, have you read the books at all? The Eurocentric thing is made clear in the movies (casting and such, the choices of the people who made the movie) and not nearly as much in the book. Tolkien is not ultra descriptive in these sorts of things. He usually talks about their hair a lot? I don’t remember him talking a lot about skin tones.
      I do agree that The Hobbit movie was somewhat lackluster compared to the LotR trilogy, but mostly only because they are dragging it out so much (3 movies is not necessary! The Hobbit is a short book!), making a big deal out of characters and events mentioned in a sentence in the book, and adding unnecessary things.
      Also why did they make Radagast so ridiculous??? There’s enough silly stuff in the book, AWESOME SONGS of my childhood, which they sometimes skimmed over.
      Otherwise it is a very good movie, I think. I disagree with almost all of that guy’s 250 opinions, seriously he hates on everything about it, boooo >:(

      So yes, I agree with you on the eurocentirc part of the movie especially. However, I don’t see it as sexist. For example in the Silmarillion there are quite a few awesome female characters. Varda, queen of the stars. Also, Galadriel! The oldest being in middle earth, also, a badass, described as strong and proud many times and in many ways, also helped lead the Noldor rebellion. 

  • MichelleCarneece December 29th, 2012 10:29 PM

    I’m not here to say that The Lord Of The Rings is completely without fault (e.g., pitting races against one another is, at best, unintentional casual racism, which is still incredibly problematic), or to put fandom before intersectional feminism, but I do think that a lot of the arguments about objectionable material in LOTR are better directed towards the movies vs. the books. There are definitely issues at play in Tolkien’s work, but having Peter Jackson and crew step up to bat and make responsible casting/costume decisions was a big missed opportunity.
    As far as The Hobbit goes, I get miffed when people make a game out of how many “imperfections” they can pick out of a film/song/book, as if any piece of art is without flaw. I didn’t enjoy TH half as much as LOTR, but constant nitpicking and snob backlash happens with everything now, and it’s really tiresome. Love what you love!
    Sorry if I come across as some LOTR apologist/raging jerk, especially since there are so many positive and encouraging articles listed today and I don’t want to be a downer. I’ve just fielded these arguments a lot recently, and it’s making it very exhausting to continue to love stuff like LOTR. Also, I don’t mean to imply that these are all Sady’s opinions; I just related what she said to some of the broader arguments I’ve encountered recently. Sady, I love you and your site. Please don’t hate me!

    • MichelleCarneece December 29th, 2012 10:30 PM

      Dang it! Part of this comment was meant as a reply to Victoria. Sorry!

  • llamalina December 29th, 2012 11:19 PM

    Jeffrey Eugenide’s speech was perfect, and it was just everything I needed. I just know that I am going to go back and read it again and again. Honestly, I always fall in love with whatever Jenny posts, whether it be a link or a story or article or whatever. I also loved the link to the 64 photos, and the one about the sworn virgins of Albania; awesome and interesting. And I haven’t listened to The Idler Wheel yet, but after hearing Werewolf, I’m already in love with it and I’m probably going to fall asleep to it tonight. I always love these Saturday posts.


  • Celiabow December 30th, 2012 2:01 AM

    Anaheed, you should look up babies trying lemons for the first time on youtube it’s SO FUNNY!!!!

  • cloudinthesky December 30th, 2012 2:39 PM

    Thank you for all these interesting / funny links! Booooooom is a really cool internet magazine, thank you for showing it. :)

  • Hayley G. December 31st, 2012 12:31 AM

    That Django Moment is real. It happened a few times while I viewed this film in Mississippi. The majority of the audience was not white though, and I’m glad it worked out that way considering Spike Lee’s recent outcry. I think Jamie Foxx did a fantastic job playing this role. He commented on the emotional aspects of it on CBS Sunday Morning, and I don’t know how he got through it. Especially, with Tarantino calling the shots.

    If you want a closer look at the references in the film, Vulture posted a great article: http://www.vulture.com/2012/12/a-guide-to-all-the-movie-and-tv-references-in-django-unchained.html

  • Frosted cupcake December 31st, 2012 6:17 PM

    Probably the best Internet magazine

  • jeffh January 1st, 2013 4:28 PM

    thanks for mentioning Booooooom Caitlin! you rule! happpppy new year! -jeff

  • Teez January 6th, 2013 9:34 AM

    Only on something like the subject of race, could someone genuinely articulating their genuine pain be misconstrued as ‘callous’. I’m going to assume that because you’re on Rookie you have feminist leanings/sensibilities; if you are having trouble relating to what I am saying, think about the times you may have felt something was unjust and someone reacts like you are simply a CALLOUS ‘man hater’ who is making a criticism just for the hell of it instead of simply a human being voicing their opinion. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?!

    I find the suggestion of ‘well just don’t watch it’ also a little irritating. Trust me I understand the basic concept of it you don’t like something you don’t have to watch it. But this isn’t as simple as ‘I’m not a fan of Jennifer Aniston romcoms, so I won’t see it’ because those films are covering an often underplayed painful historical subject like Django is. When Hollywood actually *deigns* to cover something other than white experience in an attempted comprehensive manner, do you honestly expect the people whose experiences they are encroaching on simply to say nothing and ‘just not watch it’? Do you expect us to let Hollywood tell our stories in a manner some of us may consider wrong and just say nothing? Because if we do, how can we possibly hope for change? This film may set the tone for what is okay and what is not when it comes to movies on the slave trade, as it is a subject that has not been extensively covered like say the Holocaust; and as an initial reference point, whether I go see it or not, Django is worrying.

    • Teez January 6th, 2013 9:34 AM

      this was meant to be reply to Moox above btw