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.
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!
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. ♦