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Saturday Links: Ask Amy Edition

Advice for when you’re feeling bombarded by pictures, a new movie about why you exist, and more.

Amy Rose

I know a lot of us are exhausted and sad and heartbroken over the Boston Marathon bombing. At Smart Girls at the Party, Amy Poehler had this advice on looking—or not looking—at some of the violent and/or exploitative images of the horrible tragedy. If you’ve been trying to navigate the complications of staying informed without taking in some of the really gruesome pictures that have been all but wallpapering the internet, her words may help: “It’s OK to not be looking at what everyone else is looking at all of the time, to know what you’re ready to see and not see, and to be OK with letting some things rest in peace.” Thanks, Amy. And Rookie readers: I hope all of you and your people are safe and taking care of yourselves. Give yourself space from the news cycle if you need it. Love your friends and family and let them love you. I love you, too, very much.

I’m not sure why two of the most human and eloquent responses to the Boston bombing came from comedians—maybe because their job is to think about whatever’s going on in the world and then to reveal it to us in a way we’ve never seen it before. There’s Poehler’s video (above) and there’s this message posted to Facebook on Monday by Patton Oswalt:

Boston. Fucking horrible.

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks, FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski, for pointing this out to me.) This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in a while, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stand against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evildoers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred, or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, The good outnumber you, and we always will.

And then just to make you love him more, he was great and funny and adorable on Parks and Recreation on Thursday, playing a history buff who’s protesting a proposed change to the town charter. In an early scene he blocks the city council from voting on the proposal by filibustering (where you just talk and talk until there’s no time left to vote—this is a real thing that people are allowed to do in actual government proceedings run by adults). If you watched the show you saw about one minute of said filibuster, but—because apparently this man’s need for your undying love is INSATIABLE—right before the episode aired, Oswalt posted this outtake to YouTube. It turns out that he had actually talked for EIGHT FULL MINUTES, and, even more remarkable, his speech wasn’t in the script—the show’s producers asked him to just ramble for a while about anything he wanted. He opened his mouth and this is what came out, in one long, totally improvised take:


On Wednesday, New Zealand became the 13th nation in the world to legalize gay marriage. Yaaaaay! In the country’s parliament, there was cheering and clapping and hugging like you’d expect, because IT’S A MAJOR VICTORY. But then the lawmakers suddenly started singing. Together. The members of freakin’ PARLIAMENT started singing a Maori love song to celebrate this historic event. I started bawling when I saw the video. LOVE!


I know little about Daft Punk, but the single they released this week has me DANCING ALL OVER THE PLACE. Perfect, chill, vaguely disco vibes for spring. And that, my friends, is the extent of my music journalism vocabulary. ENJOY.


Today indie record stores and music geeks around the world are celebrating Record Store Day. In honor of the occasion, bands big and small put out singles, rarities, and reissued, remastered albums on CD and vinyl for compulsive record collectors. You can find a list of some of the special releases here; the one I’m most excited about is “The Lonely Night,” a collaboration between Moby and my favorite living male vocalist, Mark Lanegan. The video for the song, above, premiered this week and pretty much made my life—I could watch its relaxing time-lapse imagery of the California desert a dozen times in a row.


A still from the movie Teenage.

A still from the movie Teenage.

Once upon a time, teen culture didn’t really exist. Yeah, I know, that sounds totally crazy, but it’s true! The beautiful new documentary Teenage, which premieres today at the Tribeca Film Festival, chronicles the birth—not that long ago—of the word teenager and what it means to be a teen. (Before then, people were just kids or adults.) The movie, directed by Matt Wolf and based on a book by Jon Savage, is a collage of archival footage and retro re-enactments that are paired with confessional, diary-esque voiceovers from actors including Jena Malone and Jessie Usher. Teenage touches on small but important movements across the world through the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s that helped young people—like flappers, subdebs, and swing kids, to name a few—band together. These teens were creating the latest dance crazes and fashions, aiding political efforts, rebelling against society, and partying until the sun went down. It’s amazing to see how adolescents of the past really weren’t all that different from us today, and the movie is a sort of testament to just how awesome teenagers are and always have been. We really are the coolest, aren’t we?


The Olympic swimmer and soon-to-be reality star Ryan Lochte’s painfully vapid interview this week with morning news anchors in Philadelphia was so absurdly hilarious that after the cameras stopped rolling, one newscaster almost lost a fake eyelash from the ferocity of her laughter. LASH DOWN!


An illustration from a 1949 Esquire questionnaire.

An illustration from a 1949 Esquire questionnaire.

I love vintage Esquire magazine (articles like this one in the 1960s made me want to be a writer). But in its early years, the magazine was also guilty of circulating some of “the era’s most flagrantly preposterous gender stereotypes,” as Maria Popova at Brain Pickings put it earlier this week. Case in point, these questionnaires, published in 1949 in an Esquire party handbook, designed to help women and men determine their attractiveness to the “opposite” sex. Some of the tips are kind of sassy in retrospect, but most of them are so ridiculously sexist that they’re laughable (not unlike the illustration above).

GalleyCat posted about an ebook lending program that Simon & Schuster is test-driving with public libraries in New York. Starting in late April, patrons will be able to check out any of the publisher’s ebooks OR buy them, in which case the library gets a cut of the profits. If the program works, hopefully it will mean more support for libraries not only in New York, but other towns, too. ♦


  • shinmachine April 20th, 2013 12:51 PM

    i hate all responses to the Bostom bombings thing. i just feel bad because countries like Syria get bombed almost everyday and we never get to do a #PrayForSyria thing.

    • alisatimi April 20th, 2013 2:13 PM

      This. Boston is, of course, a terrible thing and SHOULD be talked about, but responses like the one above make me angry. Why are the only attacks that ever seem to be mentioned ones that people perceive evil Muslims killing innocent people in the USA? The US, among other countries, has killed many, many civilians abroad. The fact that it’s in the name of freedom and democracy doesn’t mean it can just be glossed over, and that the USA shouldn’t be held accountable for these deaths. And if we are to react to Boston, it seems only decent to pay some sort of tribute to the victims who do not receive condolences from all over the world, the victims who are only ever presented in the form of statistics, if they are mentioned at all. I think this kind of awareness and perspective is the only realistic way to deal with the racial and religious hatred that surfaces whenever tragedies like this take place.

    • roselikesclothes April 20th, 2013 2:18 PM

      What responses do you mean? because I totally agree with you that places like Syria should be getting more attention, but that doesn’t mean what happened in Boston is any less serious/horrifying. As someone from the Boston area, I have to say I am a little upset that you hate that people are responding to the bombings, but I might not be understanding what you are saying

    • farawayfaerie April 20th, 2013 5:25 PM

      I understand the frustration that comes with weeks of media coverage over the death of 3 people, and yet there is hardly any media coverage of the bombings that go on all around the world – in this case, Syria. However, Syria is at war, bombings are expected, and that doesn’t make it okay, or not worthy of media coverage, but when two bombs go off in a place like Boston, which is supposed to be at peace, there will be an outcry, and rightly so. Start a #PrayForSyria, spread awareness about bombing overseas by sharing and retweeting. The number of posts I’ve seen on facebook of people saying, “3 die in Boston, thousands die in the middle east” and it’s so annoying, because these people never once posted a single link before then showing any concern over the middle east. It’s sad that it took a bombing in america for people to start caring about overseas.

    • Maddy April 20th, 2013 9:54 PM

      Overseas bombing coverage is reported, just not as in depth. These countries are at war and so bombings have become routine. The Boston bombings were covered heavily by media in our country in real time. The criminals escaped and were at large for FOUR DAYS! Do you know how scary that is? Something like 84 sq mi. were on complete lockdown on Friday/Thursday until the shootout and capture was over. All of these are reasons that the Boston events were and are covered more in the US than Syrian or other bombings.

    • alisatimi April 21st, 2013 6:51 AM

      Of course it’s only expected that there will be more coverage of events that happen in the US. There is nothing wrong with that. But the fact is that in other countries, innocent people aren’t just dying because of “war”, they are dying because of attacks that the US is directly responsible for, e.g drone strikes. It’s natural that people in the US care about the attacks their country suffers – I just wish they would show similar concern over those that their country perpetrates.

    • Deb Hartstein April 21st, 2013 11:23 PM

      please please please, tragedies are NOT A COMPETITION

    • Uz April 23rd, 2013 10:20 AM

      The Boston bombings were a terrible tragedy. No one should point fingers and try to weigh one tragedy against another. For the sake of humanity, a life should never to cut short, because of senseless violence, whether it is from bombings in Boston, drone strikes in Pakistan or gunfire in Syria. I am confused about one thing though, if we live in a more progressive society than generations past, why are we still at one another’s throats? Why is it that we are moving forward when it comes to technology, but backwards when it comes to humanity and the environment? What is the point of all our freedoms when we ignore the invisible chains of fear and materialism that bind us? I am so frightened of where we are heading and what future generations will have to face. We are a society that cashes in on human tragedy across the planet and brings terror to our own shores. I just pray for all the souls who have lost their lives in a struggle that they didn’t even know they were involved in. May they rest in Peace and may we all have Peace…

  • flocha April 20th, 2013 12:58 PM

    ‘Most women would prefer having flowers and less to eat’
    ‘Almost no women like bathroom jokes or jokes with dirty words’
    Who the hell wrote this?

  • jenaimarley April 20th, 2013 1:25 PM

    I love Patton Oswalt! He is so lovable in the United States of Tara (such a good show)!


  • Miss Pink April 20th, 2013 1:34 PM

    We are SOOO lucky to have these comedic voices who have so eloquently put this tragedy into perspective. And this compilation on how to deal with and escape from the hype is everything I stand for. LOVE!!!


  • umi April 20th, 2013 2:18 PM

    daft punk + pharrell = so so so great it gives me chills every single time i listen to it i dont why it just does.

  • stellariver April 20th, 2013 3:05 PM


  • HaverchuckForPresident April 20th, 2013 3:08 PM

    The video about New Zealand’s marriage amendment bill made my tear up with joy and emotion. The video about the news anchor made me tear up with laughter :)

  • MaryFairy April 20th, 2013 3:57 PM


    Hearing this song is way more important than my Irish homework. THANK GOD I FOUND SOMETHING WAY MORE IMPORTANT TO DO.

  • lacecat April 20th, 2013 5:21 PM

    but the Ryan Lochte interview made me laugh so much. Have you seen his tweets?

  • HollinsCollins April 20th, 2013 6:22 PM

    AUUHGKLg AMY POEHLER! I love her so much!
    And this is random but do you guys like Seamus Gallagher’s tumblr/art?

  • elinoir April 20th, 2013 8:53 PM

    YES! Comedians have surprisingly had some of the most uplifting responses to the bombings in Boston. Especially Stephen Colbert. Google his reaction if you haven’t seen it yet, that man is eloquent and perfect.

  • Maddy April 20th, 2013 9:36 PM

    The New Zealand song sounded familiar to me until I realized it was called “Pokarekare Ana” and I knew it from Endless Ocean

  • Graciexx April 21st, 2013 5:57 AM

    The daft punk song made me dance… In an airport… People stared… Oh well :)

  • Caden April 21st, 2013 8:02 AM

    New Zealand is my dream place to visit :)

    • Nadya April 27th, 2013 9:38 PM

      Please do! I’ve just moved to Auckland a couple of months ago and I’m in love.

  • AClementine April 21st, 2013 8:08 AM

    Just to add a little something. There’s this new British TV series called My Mad Fat Diary. You’ve probably all heard of it already but for those who might not have, go check it out! It’s great!

  • kathryn-s April 21st, 2013 11:05 AM

    Teenage looks AMAZING, and their flickr linked on the website is beautiful.

  • KatGirl April 21st, 2013 11:08 AM

    Nice video. Amy Poehler is awesome <3.
    One of my best friends' dads was actually running the marathon. He finished before the bombs went off. He and his family were very, very lucky.

  • Roxana Becerra April 21st, 2013 5:31 PM

    Ryan Lochte is so unintentionally funny it’s almost a bit sad to watch!
    My favorite tweet of his:

    “Always reach for the moon cuz if u slip up u will still be a star!! #Jeah”

  • kendallkh April 21st, 2013 6:13 PM

    brain pickings is a very cool website, i’ve gotten lost in a loop of article after article

  • Emma S. April 21st, 2013 9:00 PM

    Dylan, that Ryan Lochte video is my favorite. He is such a beautiful block of wood. It’s hilarious.

  • Chloe22 April 22nd, 2013 9:22 AM

    Parks and Recreation is amazing…
    ”And then Chewbacca’s severed head falls from the sky!” I wish I could improvise like that. I also love Amy Poehler’s view of all of the horrible things that have been happening. We do need to understand why things happen and not shy away from it, but our society has a weird fascination with violence. I was going through Netflix a few days ago and there were all these movies about Columbine and other shootings. The case has already been figured out, and even if you live under a rock, you know what happened. Personally, I followed the chase for the two suspects and read the heroic stories from people, but I just didn’t want to know every gory detail. It distracts from the real goal: Making these evil acts stop.

  • Hayley G. April 22nd, 2013 10:31 PM

    Best Saturday Links edition EVERRRR!

    Also, the fact that Daft Punk, Pharrell and Nile Rodgers from Chic are making funky music together makes life so much more enjoyable.

  • glitter riot April 22nd, 2013 11:19 PM

    Am I the only one who feels annoyed when the media over sensationalizes any tragic event? The positive things are never given that much attention, and I sometimes feel like people sort of feed off the drama, despite it being heartbreaking. Also the Sweden video was beautiful to watch! This post was all kinds of awesome!

  • HollyMargaret May 1st, 2013 5:13 PM

    I’ve just discovered this. Krista’s link was so beautiful that I cried! Thank you so much for that – it gives me hope that maybe in my country our govt. will do the same (perhaps without the singing!).