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Saturday Links: Broad City Nation Edition

This week, we’re paying our respects to L’Wren Scott, thinking about representation, and jamming to Sia.

Dylan

Broad City's Ilana Glazer, our new style (and life) guru. Television still via The Cut.

Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, our new style (and life) guru. Television still via The Cut.

Whenever I finish an episode of Broad City, my new favorite thing on TV, I struggle with this relentless urge to scramble up to the highest hilltop in my vicinity, armed with a bullhorn with which to proclaim my passion for the series. Instead, I just search the internet for stuff other people are saying about the show, which follows the slightly fictionalized lives of its main characters/creators, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, two best friends in their 20s who live in New York. I promise this premise isn’t as DONE TO DEATH as it might seem: Here, have this video of the two visiting an accountant to figure out Ilana’s taxes for proof. Wait, that sounds even worse!! Just watch it! You’ll see!

This week, I found an awesome write-up of Ilana’s singular wardrobe on Broad City. It describes how the show’s styling budget matches what her character’s would be in reality—they mix free-box finds with H&M—and Ilana’s badass and subversive way of embracing “inappropriate” clothing, like high-riding boys’ underwear and mesh crop tops. Also, HER SOCKS!

Chanel

The radiant L'Wren Scott. Photo by Evan Sung for the New York Times.

The radiant L’Wren Scott. Photo by Evan Sung for the New York Times.

The designer L’Wren Scott committed suicide last Monday. Throughout her lengthy careers styling celebrities and, eventually, creating clothing lines of her own, she was highly respected in her industry, and the news has come as a shock to both fans of her work and those who knew her. If you haven’t done so yet, you should definitely read Cathy Horyn’s piece dedicated to Scott, which beautifully embodies their friendship and Horyn’s respect for Scott as both a person and a businesswoman.

As I read the news about Scott’s death, I came across more than one headline that made me angry: Rather than crediting her as the individually successful woman she was, a few stories about her death were announced in a way that erased her name entirely and replaced it with her status as Mick Jagger’s girlfriend. Allison P. Davis wrote a great essay about the deeply sexist way in which Scott was portrayed in media reports after her passing. As she says, “Overall, the media failed her.” Davis goes on to highlight some statistics that deal with the unfortunate trend of women being misrepresented in their obituaries, and the fact that this happened to Scott makes me even sadder about her death. Rest in peace, L’Wren Scott.

Sia released a new track, “Chandelier,” this week. Although most people know her voice from the hooks she’s sung on David Guetta and Flo Rida songs, she’s also one of the most talented solo artists around, as you can hear for yourself on this track: During the chorus, she hits high notes that I didn’t even know existed before. I’ve listened to this song roughly 500 times since it came out, and I still get chills when I hear the elongated “chaaaandeliiiieeerr” bit!

Arabelle

I appreciated this look at how the history of the alphabet relates to gender dynamics, and, specifically, the patriarchy. It reinforces that words are hella powerful—sometimes to the point that they can enact violence, as they have done in different misogynist ways throughout history, which this essay also explores.

Amy Rose

Meredith Graves onstage during a Perfect Pussy show. Photo by  Andrew Parks for Wondering Sound.

Meredith Graves onstage during a Perfect Pussy show. Photo by Andrew Parks for Wondering Sound.

The drummer Tobi Vail interviewed Perfect Pussy’s frontwoman, Meredith Graves, and the resulting conversation finds Graves laying down a straightforwardly brilliant analysis of the French cultural theorist Roland Barthes’s ideas about personal style versus the wider, functional roles of clothing (!!!), meditating on feminism (naturally, if you’re familiar with the work of Vail or Graves), and shouting out our own Suzy X.’s band, Shady Hawkins. Get all of this inside your head.

Rose

After decades of trying, scientists have finally produced data that supports the concept of “cosmic inflation,” which is part of the Big Bang theory, aka the idea that, 14 billion years ago, the universe emerged from a dense, fiery center point and has been expanding outward from that point ever since. Astronomers at the South Pole looked into deep space and found ripples in the fabric of space-time, which is being hailed as confirmation of the irregular “engorgement” this theory relies on.

Professor Chao-Lin Kuo, one of the co-leaders of the team that made these discoveries, personally delivered the news to Professor Andrei Linde of Stanford, one of the original thinkers on inflation theory, and the resulting video made me teary and swoony at the same time. Linde and his wife, Renata Kallosh, who is also a physicist and professor at Stanford, react with such baffled joy and humility that I couldn’t help getting caught up in their happiness. God, it’s so lovely to see someone’s life’s work validated in real time.

Stephanie

Illustration by Christopher Myers for the New York Times.

Illustration by Christopher Myers for the New York Times.

I find it very upsetting that, according to a new study, only 93 out of the 3,200 children’s/YA last year were about black people. In a New York Times op-ed, the amazing YA writer Walter Dean Myers writes about his experience as a black reader and writer in a white world, and how he used books as a way to escape from and deal with his life, but often had a hard time finding characters to relate to. As he says, “[As a writer,] I didn’t want to become the ‘black’ representative, or some shining example of diversity. What I wanted, needed really, was to become an integral and valued part of the mosaic that I saw around me.”

In a companion Times piece, his son, Christopher Myers, an award-winning writer and illustrator in his own right, discusses how certain kinds of children’s literature are exclusionary to kids of color—books about talking animals, superheroes, and crazy magical futures rarely have children of color in them. The protagonists who look like them are frequently limited to historical books about their culture, and “never given a pass card to traverse the lands of adventure, curiosity, imagination or personal growth.” Both pieces are essential, thought-provoking reads that I hope the publishing world and children’s writers are paying close attention to.

Julianne

American Horror Story is one of the greatest television shows ever, and this week, it was announced that the next season of AHS will take place in a (SPOILER ALERT) carnival!! I AM ALREADY TERRIFIED.

Lux, the Portland 911 cat, looking significantly calmer than recent events suggest. Photo via Oregon Live.

Lux, the Portland 911 cat, looking significantly calmer than recent events suggest. Photo via Oregon Live.

About two weeks ago, Lux, a cat in Portland, Oregon, went bananas, becoming so agitated that its owners locked themselves in a room and dialed 911. In theory, this scenario is kind of funny hilarious—one pictures a wild housecat terrorizing his unsuspecting family as they dial for help on a cordless phone from inside a closet. But in actuality, the details were grim—Lux’s owner had actually KICKED the cat after he scratched the baby for pulling his tail. YO, NOT OK.

I immediately thought, This is a job for Jackson Galaxy, the celebrity cat whisperer. You don’t need to watch Galaxy’s show, My Cat From Hell, to know that Lux freaked out because he was being ABUSED by his owner, but if you have, it’s obvious if you have that Galaxy is definitely capable of teaching this family how to control the cat without hurting it. Thankfully, our prayers have been answered, and this week it was announced that the Portland 911 Cat (and family) will be getting a visit from none other than Jackson Galaxy himself for one of his signature cat interventions. I am really excited that he’s doing this, because no animal deserves to be treated, and subsequently made to look like a monster, the way this one was, and if anyone can fix the evil owner’s behavior (as you can see, I am clearly biased in the “cat versus people” wars here), Galaxy can. Bless Portland 911 Cat, and bless Jackson Galaxy.

Brittany S.

This piece provides a very real look at the sexism women in music journalism face in their field, especially from male readers. Although it’s far from the only occupation where women are harassed, discounted, or discriminated against because of their gender, it’s worth pointing out, and, of course, fighting against. Cheers to the slew of great women in music writing who get shouted out in the piece, as well as all the others out there being badasses and writing about what they love in a smart and critical way.

Jessica

For anyone whose nascent girl-band dreams were initially nurtured by the cartoon TV show Jem and the Holograms, which followed the truly outrageous adventures of Jem and her musical friends, the forthcoming live-action movie version is a long time coming. The bad news is that Jem and the Holograms’ creator, Christy Marx, was not only excluded from having any say in the movie, but also that it’s being written and directedexclusively by men, even though it’s ALL ABOUT a group of girls.

This is especially infuriating in conjunction with this Molly Lambert article about the overall male-centric culture of Hollywood decision-makers, and makes me highly doubt that the Jem project will be any better than the many, many other movies we see made by men about the experience of being female. Props to Christy Marx for speaking out. ♦

20 Comments

  • Julia March 22nd, 2014 12:16 PM

    Broad City is THE BEST. And not just the show, which is hilarious and diverse, but Ilana and Abbi’s story behind the show. They were in classes at Upright Citizen Brigade theatre and they auditioned for the improv troupe (among hundreds of other people) and didn’t get in, and though they were initially discouraged, they were like- hold up. We’re FUNNY. We can make our own stuff! So they made a webseries, which is also awesome and all on Youtube, which eventually got picked up by AMY EFFING POEHLER as a TV show. (Ijustlovethemalotok)

  • soviet_kitsch March 22nd, 2014 12:31 PM

    BROAD CITY IS THE BEST SHOW AND I WANT TO SCREAM “WHO TOOK A SHIT IN MY SHAPELY” FROM A ROOFTOP

    • lizzyheinie March 22nd, 2014 4:05 PM

      THAT WAS THE BEST EPISODE OF TV OF ALL TIME #SHITNINJA

      • soviet_kitsch March 22nd, 2014 4:34 PM

        THIS IS AN AHA MOMENT

  • Chloe22 March 22nd, 2014 1:02 PM

    Chanel, I really appreciated you acknowledging the horrible way the media handled L’Wren’s death. I only saw her as a talented designer, and didn’t even know she was dating Mick Jagger until her death! I am sure Mick was an important person in her life, but she shouldn’t be defined by that. If it was the other way around, would he be ”L’Wren Scott’s Boyfriend”? No, I reckon not.
    http://criticallycouture.blogspot.com/

  • Roxxxanne March 22nd, 2014 1:49 PM

    How do I watch broad city? Plz help!

    • Amy Rose March 22nd, 2014 3:24 PM

      It airs on Comedy Central and you can get it on iTunes! Get to it; it’s amazing.

  • thebrownette March 22nd, 2014 4:04 PM

    OKAY. CARNIVALS?
    I have this reoccurring nightmare that I’m in an abandoned amusement park at night (it’s much like the not-abandoned park near my house) and it’s t-e-r-r-i-f-y-i-n-g.
    There’s a carnival section.

    Also, when I heard about L’wren, I tweeted the following:

    “If I die and am remembered as someone’s girlfriend, I will come back to haunt you all.”

    Seriously. *feminist rage*

  • Electric Lady March 22nd, 2014 4:14 PM

    So glad that people are pointing out the awful way the media is treating L’Wren Scott! She said herself that she wanted to be defined by her own accomplishments rather than by the man she dated, and it makes me so angry that the media isn’t respecting that.

    Then again, the media can be pretty disrespectful about death in general. I’m already cringing at the paparazzi photos of her family and friends. Intrusive much? At least people here see that this is a tragedy, not entertainment.

  • Erin. March 22nd, 2014 4:49 PM

    Okay, so, I kinda have a question. I was once told by someone, in a creative writing class, that I, as a white female, shouldn’t try to write from the perspective of a character who is of both a different gender and different ethnic background form myself. But then I always think of that exact problem: that so few kids’/YA books are about black people (as well as people of other backgrounds, I assume). And as a writer, I think it’s important to write from different perspectives, and to write about characters that don’t get written about often enough. I know this is a complicated issue, but I was just wondering what people’s thoughts were, regarding this.

    • Amy Rose March 22nd, 2014 5:00 PM

      Here are some words by Junot Diaz about this very thing. I think they might help you! http://krazykiwi.booklikes.com/post/545374/junot-diaz-lays-it-out-why-most-men-can-t-write-women

      • Erin. March 22nd, 2014 6:24 PM

        I remember reading that a few months ago and being kinda conflicted about it. It’s like, how can you learn to write about a character who has a totally different experience of the world from you, without ever trying? I don’t know it that makes sense. But I do agree with his basic argument, which is to stop using stereotypes and cliches, and to be aware of how what you are writing may be the product of your privilege. So, I guess re-reading it did help me.

  • mangointhesky March 22nd, 2014 5:57 PM

    I never heard of Sia before this, but her song Chandelier sounds soooo good!

    http://theconfettireport.blogspot.com

  • marysilverbells March 22nd, 2014 7:06 PM

    ILANA!!!!!!(aspirations)

  • ameliamad March 23rd, 2014 12:04 AM

    Yes! I was sorta holding my breath about you guys mentioning Broad City because its such an amazing show that everyone needs to watch! Yes the clothes in this show are the bomb and I could probably write an essay on Ilanas outfits. They better not cancel this show because it is a blessing to comedy central. <3

    OMG that news about only around 90 books being published that are about black teens made me feel so sad! :( Growing up I noticed how they never had any black versions of divergent novels or even baby sitters club books. They were always uber urban novels that i could never relate too. (If anyone has any good recommendations of black fiction please do tell)

    Uhh so fucked up how the creator of Jem and the Holograms has no say in the live action version of her own freaking series. Ugh i hate how such evil money hungry businessmen men sucking on the success of a talented female creator.

    Thanks for sharing this info. I like to compare it to CNN or huffington post.

    styleriottt.blogspot.com

  • velvet March 23rd, 2014 11:34 AM

    I know that this doesn’t really relate to the article, but next week I want to perform at a women’s poetry event at my school. I wrote a poem based on patricia lockwood’s the rape joke and I’m wondering if i would be able to perform it. I’m afraid that some parts of the poem might be triggering and if i do perform, should I take any precautions to make sure I dont cause any triggers for anyone in the audience?

    thanks.

  • honorarygilmoregal March 23rd, 2014 3:03 PM

    Broad City is SO hilarious.

    Sia’s voice is amazing <3

    That Horyn piece about L'Wren Scott was a great read. Sadly, I'd never heard about Scott until she died, but that's great that she was an accomplished designer.

  • alex March 24th, 2014 10:38 PM

    yyyyyaaas
    http://anticyberpunk.wordpress.com/

  • emayhaha March 26th, 2014 2:49 PM

    I love broad city!!!

    http://theexcerptofebonni.blogspot.com

  • April 8th, 2014 11:56 AM

    I would love to see more diverse YA, especially in the fantasy realm! As an aspiring YA writer, who is also black, I would love to take on the challenge.

    http://deathnottoday.blogspot.com/