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Saturday Links: Tina and Rachel Back When Edition

Plus thoughts on Gaza, a room-size kaleidoscope, and Joan Didion.

Laia

I love the internet every day, especially when it does something like unearth a homemade video of the legendary comedy show made by Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch, which they put on before their days of fame and fortune, when they were just two women doing the sketch comedy circuit in Chicago. If you’ve watched (and maybe memorized) their performances on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, you’ll recognize many of their comedic tics, plus characters that they developed later on (for example: on 30 Rock, Liz and Jenna often reference their improv days, and the flashbacks were very much inspired by the real Rachel and Tina). It’s funny, inspiring, and worth watching, even though the video quality is less than stellar. This only cements my love for Tina’s and Rachel’s talent for making people laugh.

This photo of Dan Mintz, the comedian who voices Tina on Bob’s Burgers, dressed as his character is very important.

Julianne

Palestinian boys in a bombed mosque in Gaza. Photo by Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times.

Palestinian boys in a bombed mosque in Gaza. Photo by Sergey Ponomarev for the New York Times.

Like many people around the world, I’ve spent the last few weeks watching the violence in and around the Gaza Strip with horror, deep sorrow, and prayers for peace. The conflict between Israel and Palestine, who are warring for control over Gaza, dates back to World War II (here is a really good primer on that history and why they’re fighting now). It’s unfathomable to me that so many civilians have been killed: As of Friday evening, over 840 people in Palestine have died, and more than 5,200 people have been injured. Three Israeli civilians and 35 soldiers have been killed as well.

Most devastating is the number of children who have died. On Wednesday, four Palestinian boys were killed on a Gaza beach while they were playing a game of soccer; the next day, explosions killed 16 people, mostly women and children, who were seeking refuge in a Gaza school. It’s hard to make any sense of this.

My friend Sarah Seltzer wrote a devastating piece for the Jewish Daily Forward called “Those Boys on Gaza Beach Remind Me of My Brother.” Here’s one part of it:

I have a twin brother who, as a kid, frequently ran around outside with a ball and his friends—usually in New York’s parks. Woe to the teachers at our Jewish day school who denied them gym or recess: They acted up extra-rambunctiously when they were cooped up. One of the cardinal lessons of my childhood was this: If you don’t let kids run around, everyone suffers. So that, in part, explains why the boys on the beach in Gaza proved my breaking point—boys who had been shut in for over a week and just wanted to kick a ball around, for a blessed few hours, and feel the air.

Those four little boys just wanted to be kids, and they were murdered for it.

Another perspective comes from Claire Hajaj, who wrote this essay, “My Jewish Mother, My Palestinian Father, and a Family Torn Apart:

I find myself standing between bunkers, exposed to fire from both sides. I recently launched a novel, inspired by my parents and their brave attempt to rewrite tribal hatred. As the book hit the shelves, the bombs began to rain on Gaza. And as the blitz transformed into a ground offensive, every social media site began to run the kind of vitriolic, hate-filled attacks that dogged my childhood and eventually tore my parent’s marriage apart after 25 years of raising us in hope.

Hope is something I’m struggling to find, too. To help the children of Gaza, you can donate to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund or to ANERA.

Photo of Angela Carter via Vulture.

Photo of Angela Carter via Vulture.

Have you ever heard of Angela Carter? I hadn’t until I read this profile of the feminist horror writer by Brian McGreevy, a fan and fellow horror author who says that her work greatly inspired his novel-turnt-Netflix series, Hemlock Grove. He writes that Carter’s “favored motifs” include:

virgins, snow, mirrors, blood (especially menstruation), white negligees (especially blood-stained), girls raised by wolves, female nudity, comparisons of female nudity to immolation, exposed genitals (male, female, and animal), exotic smells, less-than-exotic smells (a fish market is compared to “a brothel after a busy night”), necrotic aristocrats with unspeakable appetites, and roses (“their huge congregations of plush petals somehow obscene in their excess, their whorled, tightly budded cores outrageous in their implications”). Capturing “real life” held no interest for Carter; in fact she believed the intentional artifice of fiction was not a slave to reality but had the power to change it.

Excuse me while I check out every Angela Carter book at the library now!


Nova

Our collective favorite part of Beyoncé’s “Flawless” has been made into an ebook! Yes, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” speech, which explains the need for us all to support gender equality, will be published next Tuesday!

Dylan

Photo of "Wink Space" via Demilked.

Photo of Wink Space via Demilked.

Hi, I’m Dylan, I like shiny, welcome to my DREAM ART. The Japanese designers Masakazu Shirane and Saya Miyazaki have created Wink Space, a room-size kaleidoscope built inside a shipping container. I can only imagine how happy interacting with this piece would make me! I bet it would feel like walking right into a diamond. The coolest part is that these mirrored panels are connected by ZIPPERS, so this installation can be re-created in new shapes. Brilliant!

Photo via the Believer. Original source unknown.

Photo via The Believer. Original source unknown.

This week, I had the chance to enjoy some of my favorite topics—Joan Didion, Los Angeles, and pop stars—in Alice Bolin’s piece “The Place Makes Everyone a Gambler” in The Believer. A favorite bit was a beautifully simple question about the endless but limiting freeways of Los Angeles: “If ‘the open road’ is an American totem of independence and escape, what does it mean when the road is actually a closed circuit?” Damn. L.A. is deep, man.

From left to right: Tina Fey, Hannah Arendt, and Zadie Smith in photos by Monica Schipper/Getty Images, Fred Stein Archive/Getty Images, Robin Marchant/Getty Images via The Cut.

Left to right: Tina Fey, Hannah Arendt, and Zadie Smith in photos by Monica Schipper/Getty Images, Fred Stein Archive/Getty Images, Robin Marchant/Getty Images, via The Cut.

Oh, the high fives I want to give to archive-sifters everywhere for searching the depths of catalogs for the stuff I REALLY want to be hearing, watching, and reading. The Cut went ahead and did the noble deed of highlighting the best pieces by women in the New Yorker in honor of the magazine’s website relaunch and the corresponding public release of its entire archives, which were previously behind a paywall but will be free for the rest of the summer. Learning that Joan Didion profiled Martha Stewart just made me weak in the knees. What a gift to the world!

A music festival in British Columbia is banning the wearing of Native American–“inspired” headdresses. This blithe expression of cultural appropriation has become ubiquitous at music festivals, and it gives me a flash of hope to see organizers finally calling it out. Bravo.

Brodie

Kanye West photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for GQ.

Kanye West photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for GQ.

What’s the best analogy in Kanye West’s new interview with GQ? Was it when ’Ye, talking about his tendency to defend himself and those he loves from attack, compared himself to a blowfish? Or was it his recognition of the seating arrangements at his and Kim’s wedding as a microcosm of the class divisions among the super-wealthy in general? Those were both great moments, but the best one was obviously when he compared his love and amazement for Kim to the part in Step Brothers when John C. Reilly’s dad tells him not to lose his dream of being a dinosaur. Duh.

Kanye also admits, in this incredible interview, that some of the creative ideas he puts into the world are a little too ahead of their time (“history’s gonna be harder to make than I thought”) and talks about how his dream that some day, young designers might aspire to work at his company, DONDA, instead of at one of the elite Paris fashion houses that haven’t exactly welcomed ’Ye in with open arms. Grab some tissues if you haven’t read this yet, because when you get to the final line of this interview, you’re gonna need ‘em.

Dear Chris Pratt,
Hi! How are you? I’m well. Congratulations on your new movie. I’ll quit the small talk now: Would you like to come to my sleepover? My friends are bringing the popcorn and candy and DVDs and Ouija board, but we really need someone with deft fingers to french-braid our hair so we wake up with beach waves, as you have in this video where you, Chris Pratt, braid the hair of an Entertainment Tonight intern. I respect you for knowing what a french braid is and not doing that thing that boys do where they think every single hairstyle is a ponytail. You get us, Chris. And we love you for that.

Meagan

Like many people who don’t actually live in NYC, I have a very romantic idea of the city, so HTRK’s new music video for “Chinatown Style” (from their gorgeous new makeout album Psychic 9-5 Club) immediately grabbed hold of me and didn’t let go. It’s a stunning 11-minute foray into the city—the beautiful, the grimy, the sexy, the sad. The director said he wanted the video to have a voyeuristic quality, and indeed, I felt like I was witnessing moments that maybe I shouldn’t.

Photo of David Lynch by David Crotty via Paper Magazine.

Photo of David Lynch by David Crotty via Paper Magazine.

David Lynch has designed…workout wear? Um, completely random and weird, but OK! Everyone’s favorite surrealist dad collaborated with Live the Process to create sports bras and leggings, with a portion of the sales going towards abuse victims. I’m almost surprised that he didn’t incorporate a Twin Peaks–y wood-paneling print! In any case, next time you’re going for a jog, you can pretend that you’re running along Mulholland Drive in Lynch’s fabulous bike shorts.

Caitlin D.

Photo by Sam Van Aken via Science Alert.

Photo by Sam Van Aken, via Science Alert.

When an art professor heard that an orchard that was home to tons of trees bearing rare heirloom stone fruits was closing down, he did what he could to save the orchard’s bounty. The result is stunning: The guy, Sam Van Aken, managed to graft 40 kinds of fruit branches onto a single tree.

Chanel

Illustration by Hannah K. Lee for Medium.

Illustration by Hannah K. Lee for Medium.

The reporter Irin Carmon formed a very cool book club to discuss Susan Faludi’s Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women, which came out in 1991 in response to that era’s attacks on that era’s feminism. The reading group is full of rad women like Rookie pal Lena Dunham, staff contributor Roxane Gay, the incredible writer Tressie McMillan Cottom, who will each dissecting a different chapter of Faludi’s book. Carmon hopes they will discuss how relevant the text is to what women’s lives and feminism today. If you want to be a part of the conversation, read the conversation about chapter two of Backlash here and tweet your response with the hashtag #BacklashBookClub!

Britney

Photo of Billy Corgan by Getty Images via SPIN.

Photo of Billy Corgan by Getty Images, via SPIN.

Smashing Pumpkins have completed Monuments to an Elegy, the first of two Pumpkins albums to be released next year!

If you need something to watch, look no further: here is a compilation of high school subculture documentaries, including my favorite, Dirty Girls. If you are interested in teenage feminists in the mid-1990s, skates, witches, and/or rap music, you’ll enjoy these. ♦

21 Comments

  • alexithymia July 26th, 2014 12:22 PM

    So many wonderful links <3

    Just wanted to point that the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie link isn't correct (even though everyone can figure it out).

  • mangointhesky July 26th, 2014 12:46 PM

    I don’t know what I would do without Tina Fey! Also, I think what Julianne wrote about the deaths and the analogy she (you?) wrote, comparing her brother to the boys playing on the beach, was both beautiful and incredibly heart-wrenching.

    http://lescarousels.blogspot.com

  • Hannah May July 26th, 2014 4:52 PM

    Oh goodness, do I love Tina Fey! I grew up watching 30 Rock, and I still re-watch episodes probably a little too often…

    http://themuseumofmiddleschool.blogspot.com/

  • Jane-Eyre July 26th, 2014 7:12 PM

    Rachel Drach is so funny on 30 Rock. I am always in hysterics!
    Check out my ‘Blerg’-
    http://shineongolddustwoman.blogspot.com.au/

  • Bex_cygnet July 26th, 2014 8:29 PM

    I adore Carter!

  • Bex_cygnet July 26th, 2014 8:30 PM

    I love Carter with a passion!

  • Bex_cygnet July 26th, 2014 8:32 PM

    Oh awkward. Damn phone.

  • Cerise July 26th, 2014 10:23 PM

    Oh, man. The Tree of 40 Fruit story makes me so happy/sad. I’m really, really interested in agriculture and preserving the various heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, so it thrills me that someone cared enough to create such a beautiful tree, but it also saddens me that some of the fruit trees he incorporated are so close to extinction.

  • Violet July 26th, 2014 11:13 PM

    Thank you thank you Julianne, for speaking about the horrible situation in Gaza. Every day it’s heart wrenching to hear about this massacre.

    If anyone is interested, Democracy Now! (www.democracynow.org) has excellent reporting on the issue.

    Also, personally I got out of my total ignorance about the Israel Palestine conflict thanks to the film American Radical (a documentary about Jewish scholar Norman Finkelstein, it’s available on youtube). His explanations are so clear – it was the first time I understood that it wasn’t a conflict “too complicated on both sides for you to grasp”. I really recommend it.

    Love,
    V

  • evangelinemay July 27th, 2014 5:18 AM

    i think this is my favorite saturday links everrrr tina fey, rachel dratch, tina belcher my fav people and chris pratt
    thank you rookie

  • kitsune13 July 27th, 2014 5:54 AM

    Angela Carter was and still is brilliant! A couple of her novels used to be part of the A Level syllabus, but I’ve no idea if that’s still the case. I’m not sure I would call her a ‘horror writer’ though, since she was more into magical realism – it’s the thread that runs through the bulk of her writing. ‘The Bloody Chamber’ is undeniably macabre, though.

  • obeykid July 27th, 2014 7:59 AM

    Wow.

    Dear Chris Pratt, also consider my invitation to my upcoming sleepover party.

  • SarahCC July 27th, 2014 3:41 PM

    Joan Didion covered Martha Stewart??? Say what?! Thank you Rookie for always keeping me in the know.

    http://sarahcatherinececilia.blogspot.com

  • Margar3t77 July 27th, 2014 7:19 PM

    Britney, I loved watching the videos about high school subcultures– so cool! Do you known of any other places I can find videos / pictures/ writing about different high school subculture and counterculture movements through time?

  • GlitterKitty July 27th, 2014 8:00 PM

    Chris Pratt is my new favourite person

  • irismonster July 27th, 2014 10:23 PM

    Nonono. No no. The best analogy/moment in the Kanye interview was when he compared Kim to a dinosaur. That was actually the best.

    • irismonster July 27th, 2014 10:25 PM

      Not the John C Reilly bit, though, I mean when he said that a woman like Kim is “just as cool as a f******g fighter jet or dinosaur! And just as rarely seen.”

  • whateveryazmine July 28th, 2014 3:49 AM

    CHRIS PRATT I LOVE YOU
    http://www.whateveryazmine.blogspot.com.au

  • Nikilodeon July 28th, 2014 9:15 PM

    AAHHHHHH ANGELA CARTER!!!!! I LOVE ANGELA CARTER! you guys should read the bloody chamber – my english teacher introduced me to her works when i was a high school senior and doing a paper on feminism and fairy tales and i’ve been hooked ever since!

  • Kiana July 31st, 2014 5:57 AM

    Thank you, Julianne, for sharing the links about news from Gaza. The one about its history is what I’ve been searching for days now and thank heavens I found it. Thank you!

    Also, I need some help with a short story submission that’s a requirement for my literature subject…
    http://itskianaflores.tumblr.com/post/93393423827/help-me-with-this-dahlins :) xx