Editor’s note: If reading about Dylan Farrow’s account of Woody Allen’s abuse is overwhelming you this week, we encourage you to scroll down to the happy-looking video of Jimmy Fallon dancing with some Muppets.
What began as a wave of empowerment after the New York Times published Dylan Farrow’s open letter about being sexually abused by her father, Woody Allen, quickly turned into long week of outrage and feeling alienated from people I know who posted pieces and rants defending Woody Allen on Facebook and Twitter, most of them either prioritizing “art!” over morality or arguing that “Mia’s crazy!” Rather than engage with that rape-cultured thinking, I posted Molly Lambert’s excellent piece about what this is really about: power. Whom we choose to believe, and why. Who gets the benefit of the doubt, and who is denied that privilege. Lambert takes the major defenses of Allen and disassembles them point by point. It was just the piece I’d been wanting. I also just kept this spot-on New Inquiry piece open, and I must have reread it twice a day all week long, every time I needed a little floatation device. “‘He said, she said’ doesn’t resolve to ‘let’s start by assuming she’s lying,’ except in a rape culture,” Aaron Bady writes, “and if you are presuming his innocence by presuming her mendacity, you are rape-cultured.”
While many of the reactions to Dylan’s brave letter made me sick to my stomach, these articles did an excellent job of putting that feeling into words:
Zoe Zolbrod’s piece on how misconceptions about child abuse inform our reactions to this case, and vice versa.
Ann Friedman’s articulation of how our own experiences and privileges influence whether or not we believe Dylan. I have sent this one to a few guys I know who insist that being male has nothing to do with their sympathy for Woody, or nothing to do with Woody being believed over Dylan.
Jessica Winter’s dismantling of one of the more popular articles written in defense of Woody Allen.
Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza’s look at how fame and wealth are used by offenders like Woody and R. Kelly to manipulate a case.
Morgan Brayton’s history of the U.S. justice system’s treatment of child abuse cases (it’s a very difficult read).
Dylan had the final word yesterday in response to Woody’s op-ed in his own defense. It goes through his “evidence” piece by piece, showing how it is, in her words, “the latest rehash of the same legalese, distortions, and outright lies he has leveled at me for the past 20 years.” Thank you, Dylan, for refusing to be silenced.
Yesterday was Jimmy Fallon’s last episode of Late Night before he moves on to the Tonight Show. My heart holds oodles of gratefulness to ol’ JF for having had me on to promote the Rookie Yearbooks, and for asking me in real questions about what we do, even in a short spot on a late night show. For his final goodbye, he sang the Band’s “The Weight” with the Muppets.
Laverne Cox and filmmaker Jac Gares were interviewed about their upcoming documentary on CeCe McDonald, eliciting that feeling of both utter sadness at the world but hopefulness at these two people making something powerful. Says Laverne: “I think it’s so personal for me because I could very easily be CeCe. I could easily be a trans woman who was fighting for her life on the street.”
Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina, who were recently released after being jailed for their involvement with Pussy Riot, have had a busy week in America. On Wednesday, Nadya and Masha appeared at an Amnesty International benefit concert alongside Madonna, who called them “fellow freedom fighters,” and charmed Stephen Colbert the night before as guests on his show (you can watch the first part above). It is kinda nuts how a pair of political prisoners from Russia have turned into international celebrities.
Other members of Pussy Riot published an open letter this week claiming that Nadya and Masha are no longer members of the group, as the women’s focus has now spread from anti-capitalist feminist separatism to prison reform, which represents a huge shift away from to the original Pussy Riot ethos. BuzzFeed published a great breakdown of the situation, called “What Does Pussy Riot Mean Now?” The article, by Miriam Elder, chronicles how Nadya and Masha became Western-media darlings (though the piece opens with calling Yoko Ono “frail,” which is clearly bullshit).
I feel like most conversations about Pussy Riot are either about one of three totally different things: Pussy Riot as they were, Nadya and Masha as they currently are, and celebrities’ reaction to the whole thing. This has got me thinking a lot about activism and accessibility. Namely, which is more accessible: having shows that are free and public, but that need to be sought out by those in the know, or participating in events that have high ticket prices and a celebrity lineup, but that is covered by mainstream media outlets that will reach a much wider audience? It’s a question I ask with no proposed solution. It’s a lot to process, especially as someone who isn’t Russian and is reading everything through a cultural disconnect, but, regardless, what I know is definitely important is paying attention to the messages that Nadya and Masha are trying to spread.
This awesome photo set by Kristina Podobed shows how American culture, as portrayed by films like Clueless, The Parent Trap, and Home Alone, influenced the lives of her and her peers as they grew up in Odessa, Ukraine.
Maybe it’s because I’m a nosy younger sister who has always wanted to be up in everyone else’s business, but I cannot get enough “behind the scenes” information. Vulture does a really great job of satisfying my fix for this kind of thing—not only with their great “anatomy of a scene” feature, but sometimes they also post things like this: the director of Mean Girls on “10 Juicy Stories, 10 Years Later.” That headline is like catnip for me, and the stories themselves are pretty good, including that the studio wanted to give them an R rating for including a line about a girl having a wide-set vagina.
Until a few days ago, literally all I knew about cowboys was from Brokeback Mountain. This series of photographs by Peter Bryne shows modern-day cowboys doing actual cowboy stuff, like breaking in horses, putting down wounded calfs (don’t look if you know you can’t handle that stuff), and playing guitar while sitting on a bedroll. When you live in a city, like I do, it’s sometimes hard to imagine how varied and wild life can be. Looking at these photographs made me inexplicably happy: America is an enormous country, and I’m glad cowboys are still a part of its rich landscape. Try to look and not imagine yourself on horseback at dusk.
Our girl Brodie interviewed director John Waters this week about his writing process and the time Justin Bieber told him “Your ’stache is the jam” (!!!), among other things. I love hearing that one of my idols doesn’t feel like writing sometimes and has to remind himself that you gotta power through to make something great. Waters also says that One Direction can go to hell, which, as you can imagine, was stress-inducing for Brodie, but you could never tell, because she totally CRUSHED this interview.
This week, I was in my local bookstore’s art section and found myself disgusted by the lack of books on female artists, so I was very happy when, a few days later, I saw that some really awesome female artists of different cultures have been added to Wikipedia, all thanks to the huge number of volunteers trying to change the fact that less than 13% of Wikipedia’s contributors are female, and that women in history and art are comparatively underrepresented on the site. Now I just can’t wait to get reading about some truly cool women!
The 21-year-old Atlanta rapper Young Thug gets snaps this week for nonchalantly wearing a leopard-print dress in a photo shoot (and on Instagram). The Fader broke the image to the larger world, calling Thug the “populist version of Kanye” in honor of his gender-crossing style acumen. Our question: Does this mean we can call a 2014 moratorium on half-baked articles proclaiming the startling emergence of queer rappers? Regardless of Thug’s sexuality (and hold your guesses on the matter because who cares) he’s just following musical legacy. Hip-hop has been, is, and will be the most flamboyant musical genre out there, of course the gays have always been involved. That said, we must give props: Thug wore the peplum to Waffle House after the shoot. Respect.
I’m very into the profiles of up-and-coming female creatives that the San Francisco/Bay Area young-lady media kingpins Browntourage have been making. The latest in their Alternative Rolemodels series is a video profile of the women behind Floss Gloss, a nail polish company that is taking over the world with its gunmetal grays, nacho-cheese oranges, and spot-on shade names (Selena Corpus Crystalina being my current fave). In this video, the duo talks about transforming from hustling art school students into businesswomen who hawk their products nationwide.
This week brought two amazing new zines filled with doodles of things close to any Rookie’s heart: meticulously drawn snacks, cute animals, equally cute aliens, and Agent Scully from The X-Files. The first, New York (and San Francisco) Tour Diary, is a comic by Gemma Correll. I’m pretty sure that besides her adventures, the author also illustrated every single thing she’s eaten during her travels (and all of it looks cuter than anything I’ve eaten this year).
The second, We Are Not Who We Are: An X-Files Zine , is a project curated by an artist Caroline Tompkins. She invited 25 illustrators from all around the world to “celebrate all that is X-Files.” Starting from the cover designed by Ji Hyun Yu, the whole zine seems to be (slightly disturbing) eye candy—and a total Scully-fest!
If you’re part of the massive group of humans that live in California, as I am, you may already know that we’re on a very alarming track to be experiencing our worst drought ever on record. Don’t panic, though! The Bold Italic put together some (entertaining) tips on saving water, many of which are tiny adjustments that just require us to think a little bit before we let the tap run. I recommend them to anyone, anywhere, but especially where I live right now—it really is one of those times where the smallest efforts make a huge impact!
The Super Bowl might be over, and I may have been one of the only people in my orbit who actually gave a crap (let alone lost her voice after the game), but I’m still feeling the victory of my home team. There are plenty of issues about which we should be critical about involving the NFL and profesh sports across the board, but Lauren Hoffman’s article “The Super Bowl Isn’t Just a ‘Mass-Marketed Eyesore’” totally hit home about the whole feelings side of my own football interest. “Sports is one of the few shared narratives we have left,” Lauren says, and when it’s a story I can feel like I belong to even in the smallest way, there’s something special there. If, like me, you enjoy getting into Big Sports Things but have a critical brain and uninterested friends, well…this’ll back you up!
Many of us can probably claim that we’ve jumped on the bandwagon of BuzzFeed quiz-mania with varying levels of public display, or so says my Facebook feed. Seeing that Shirley Manson failed to get herself as a result on their “Which ’90s Alt-Rock Grrrl Are You?” quiz made me laffffff.
Romance Was Born have launched their Autumn/Winter 2014 Collection, titled “Dream On.” In collaboration with the artists Alia Penner and Jonathan Zawada, a menagerie of wild, collage-based prints cover every square inch of fabric, incorporating patterns of marbled paint, motifs such as an amazing “gender peace” sign, text that reads “LOOK!” and even a psychedelic playground for butterflies. As usual, Romance was Born has made me want to float away on a cloud of insanely colorful fantasies. DREAM ON, indeed!
Since Philip Seymour Hoffman’s way-too-soon and way-too-sad death on Sunday, there have been a number of touching eulogies posted online, but I think my favorite was what Marc Maron said on his podcast, WTF, about Hoffman on Monday:
Rambling, man. Rambling and avoiding the reality. The fact that Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose yesterday. The sadness of drug addiction taking lives, the struggle of the drug addict to stay off the shit, to not get locked back into the groove where choices diminish, where reason no longer applies, where the will is compromised and tethered to a malignant desire. Horrendous. It’s a horrendous loss. It’s a horrendous loss when anybody dies tragically, in almost any way. Why not just say “any way”? But when you know somebody who’s been fighting I guess what at one time was a—no, let’s say at all times—a good fight against that particular bug, having experienced that bug, having lived with that bug for all of my life, having somehow kept it at bay through various methods, I understand it. I understand that. Once you surrender your will to getting high, all bets are off. You don’t know what the fuck is gonna happen.
And this guy was a talented guy. He was one of the greatest actors who ever lived. And he had this horrible struggle. And there’s nothing more bothersome, more horrible, than people going, “Eh, he made a choice.” Yeah, he made a choice, but I don’t [think he had] much control, if any, over that choice. His heart and mind were being given instruction by a fucking demon…: active drug addiction. It’s nothing to be trivialized. It’s nothing to be dismissed as some sort of bad life choice. I really think that that kind of conversation about drugs needs to be eliminated from the culture.
It’s one thing to try to “stop drugs.” That seems futile. But try to raise awareness and get people treatment so they at least have a shot. And Philip Seymour Hoffman had had some periods of sobriety. But something switched off. Something didn’t stick. Something was not there when he needed it to be there in terms of the support necessary to stop him from re-entering the dragon. From opening his soul to the demon. And now he’s gone. We lost him. We lost him to that, we lost him to that fucked-up disease. Fucked-up drug.
You know, I’ve seen a lot of people go down because of this, people in my business, people I’ve known. Some people come back. Heroin’s a tough monkey to kick, man. Seems to be the hardest, really, to re-enter life after being strung out on dope. [...] Heroin’s a bitch. Drug addiction is horrible. It’s a mental illness. It’s a real disease, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead, and it’s sad. It’s sad.
Just know that [...] there’s always help available if you look for it. The hardest thing about it is once you get into that mind, once you are in demon mind, your decision-making capacity, or your will to say or know that you’re in trouble, becomes somewhat compromised. You know, “I’ll kick tomorrow.” Yeah.
R.I.P., Philip Seymour Hoffman. You were great.
Having lost a few people to drugs and alcohol, this was what I wanted someone to say, so thank you, Marc Maron, for saying it so well.
I’m about to do something I hate, which is where someone dies and then every single person in the world tells you how they themselves had a “connection” to that person. I had no connection to Philip Seymour Hoffman. My feelings about him are neither important nor unusual. But they are so strong. It is odd. I don’t understand it or even really like it. For someone whom I’ve never met, he felt so much like someone I did know that whenever I saw his face—in a movie or, this one time, in real life—I felt my heart jump with recognition and with love. Actual LOVE. I didn’t just have a “crush” on him like you do on a movie star; I felt like I was IN LOVE with him like you are with a real person.
That one real-life time was when I went to a screening of Capote in Chicago in 2005 just because there was gonna be a Q&A with him (and the director, Bennett Miller) afterward and even though I never, ever ask questions in public settings like that because of my intense fear of public speaking, I felt like some force way more powerful than me had compelled me to attend and then forced me to raise my hand, stand up, and ask Philip Seymour Hoffman a question. I don’t even remember what I asked, or what he said in response, because I didn’t really care about that, and also because I was made too dizzy by getting what I did go there for: to stare into Philip Seymour Hoffman’s eyes as he looked back into mine. As ridiculous as it sounds, I am telling you that the powerful force that made me do that was true love. I know this is irrational. I know this is not real. But feelings are never rational and always real.
The worst thing about when people like me force connections between themselves and famous people who have died is that it is so, so disrespectful of the people—his longtime partner, Mimi O’Donnell; their three young children; his parents; his siblings; his friends—who really did lose someone they knew and loved. The sadness that his many fans feel this week is nothing compared with the hole that has been torn in their lives. Our thoughts and our wishes for healing go to them right now.
I think the best way for the rest of us to remember him is how we actually experienced (and, in some cases, fell in love with) him—through his unparalleled performances in movies. So here are nine of my favorite PSH scenes. (I tried for 10 but can’t find any videos of him in The Talented Mr. Ripley online. You should just go watch that whole movie.)
From Hard Eight, 1996:
Boogie Nights, 1997:
The Big Lebowski, 1998:
Almost Famous, 2000:
Punch-Drunk Love, 2002:
The Master, 2012:
UPDATE: I also love this remembrance of working with PSH on Almost Famous, written by his costar Patrick Fugit, that Rookie reader saramarit just told us about in the comments! Thank you, saramarit! ♦