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Threefold this.

Thing about putting energy out into the world is, all this time we’ve been aching for Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism, we forgot we must also thereby conjure its dialectical shadow, Co-opted Slay-Witch Special Forces Gay Fascism.

Motherland!

Q. Have you ever been to Salem?

A. I have not. But I’ve done a lot of research around the city and I listened to a lot of, like, the local witch podcasts… I love that it’s a sacred place for many people for whom this stuff is very real. I’m kind of remiss in not having visited yet. Once the craziness dies down, I’m going to get myself out there.

Q. Are you going to reverse engineer this story at all? It feels like it could be a book.

A. Yes, ma’am. Because I’m a better writer now. I think I could tackle it. You know, I also tried to do it in a really tough way. I tried to do it as interlocking diary entries for the main three leads. I feel like if I had chosen sort of a more traditional third person, omniscient point of view, I might have been able to get it done. But now I really want to explore because it just seems like it’s a world where you can have so much fun. It’s a really, really good playground for the time we’re living in today.

If anyone would know...

“You can’t make the good old days come back just by painting pictures of them.” —Norman Rockwell

Folie à hirsute.

You have more likely than not seen this—

CDC beards.

—which some have likened to this—

The Barber Hairstyle Guide.

—or maybe you’re thinking of this—

The Man Who Wasn’t There.

—but me, I was suddenly, implacably flung back to this—

Sub-Genera.

—so. Anyway. —I’m not sure where I fall on the charts—Fantasy Garibaldi, I suppose, but more effusive; anyway. I’m not choosing to think about what I’d have to do to properly fit a respirator. Yet.

Myself.

No cape!

There are pictures of the new Batman suit, and all I can think of is how every new pickup truck has to look more like an Imperial Death Tank than the last. —Muscular Christianity may well have been just as queasily fascist as kit-bashed paramilitary operator, you get right down to it, but still: I prefer me some old-timey circus acrobats.

In much the same way bricks don't.

Let Charles Mudede walk you through a Reddit post about the shuttering of a cinephile palace and how it’s just like what happened at Boeing, and it’s a cliché, I know, to say we don’t make stuff anymore, just money, but nowadays we don’t even do that; we can’t even be bothered to make up the numbers that make the right-colored bar climb in the right direction on a PowerPoint slide. We just make the money stand still in a pool somewhere long enough for a grifter to nip in and slip off with it, and what do you call your act? —The Capitalists!

If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—

“The character’s constant preoccupation is action and the lack of it, and as Hamlet comes into his own, Negga shimmers with the thrill of finally doing what has long been talked about. Her enormous eyes, searchlights which seem to see around corners, are suspicious for four and a half acts. But by the end, she’s discovered action, and she beams the good news out to us like a lighthouse finding ships at sea.” —Helen Shaw

Fake news.

So I had this whole riff on how the controversy (?) over how it turns out James Corden’s Range Rover is being towed whenever they film those Carpool Karaokes (!), on how that’s what happens when the news is filled with Republicans pissing on your leg and telling you it’s raining people telling violently bald-faced lies without even caring whether they’re believed, and it’s overwhelming everything that you and everyone you know and love knows to be true, and there’s nothing you can do about it, you can’t call those people out, you can’t touch them, you can’t even spit in their coffee, and changing the channel does no good at all anymore, it’s in the air, it’s on your phone, it covers you now like some sort of film, in your hair, your face, like a glaze, a coating, a patina of shit, I mean, and voting doesn’t do any God damn good, and even if you are a Republican openly affect to agree with them this constant grinding degrading cognitive dissonance is going to take a toll, is going to build up pressure that has to be relieved somewhere, somehow (to get hydraulic for a moment), is going to squirt out at the oddest moment, lashing when it sees a chance to feel weirdly betrayed by a cheaply obvious bit of televisual trickery, I mean, who out there is really all that invested in the belief that actors must really be driving when they’re playing at driving a car? (James Garner as always excepted, of course.) —I had this whole riff, but it turns out it’s really just that James Corden’s actually kinda a dick, and people don’t like him. So.

Free as in just fuckin around.

“None of this free time just arises like water from an artesian well. Even though we all live in the stream of time, which flows toward us until we die, much of what is ironically called ‘our’ time is doled out in advance: working to live, to service debt, to keep our own houses in order. Any free hour rests in an intricate web of other people’s work: those who are keeping you fed, warm, sheltered, those who raised you or are raising your offspring, those who are picking up the garbage today or checking in on your aging parent or making sure the roads are patched and the subways are running. Free time is about as spontaneous and random as a cherry tree in Central Park. It is also just as gorgeous, and within it we can be as spontaneous and random as if we were just splashing through time’s current. It is both the homeland of individuality and the crowning collective achievement.” —Jedediah Britton-Purdy

Painstakingly æstheticized chisme.

“After a few days,” says Myriam Gurba, “an editor responded. She wrote that though my takedown of American Dirt was ‘spectacular,’ I lacked the fame to pen something so ‘negative’.” Let’s make sure she has fame enough to pen as negative as she wants in the future. —Some additional background on Oprah’s latest bookclub pick. Remember, kids: the fail condition of condemnation is reification!

American Dirt.

Having the right to play.

“But Rosie nevertheless holds on to her joy at being alive. That joy isn’t naïve, or rooted in a denial of reality. Rather, it is an act of defiance, which makes a more powerful anti-fascist statement than any of the film’s mockery of its Nazi characters—a refusal to be made cruel and dejected by a world that has turned into a nightmare. ‘Welcome home, boys! Go kiss your mothers!’ Rosie cheerfully calls out to a truck full of defeated, injured soldiers headed into town, and when asked what she’ll do when the war ends, she answers, ‘dance,’ even as she lessens her odds of reaching that day by hiding Elsa, and leaving messages of defiance around the town. It’s not the sort of story one tends to see about this period, and I couldn’t help but wish that it was the story Jojo Rabbit had chosen to tell.” —Abigail Nussbaum

The catfish kept them fresh.

I appreciate this appreciation of Catfish (and now I know the story behind the title behind the term), and where it goes with it, but mostly I’ve got to admit I’m here for the story of Whitney and Bre

Whitney and Bre are black queer women who have been in love for over four years without ever meeting face-to-face. Whitney lives in New York and works at Wendy’s six days a week to support her mom and four brothers. Bre lives in Los Angeles and is unemployed. In a truly genius plot, Whitney pretends to be a hopeful so that MTV will pay for them to finally meet. “I just get so freaked out when people can just sit across from you and lie like that,” says host Max, after uncovering hundreds of messages and video calls between Whitney and Bre. After much deliberation, the hosts decide to be chill because Catfish is a show about love and sometimes love makes people lie on reality TV. In the episode’s epilogue, we see Whitney and Bre strolling through a Los Angeles park. Their joy at finally being able to kiss and hold each other is palpable. I love Whitney and Bre. I hope they always love each other. I hope they never stop scamming corporations.

Your tongue is no one else's tongue.

When I said “flavor’s the very essence of a sylph,” this is something of what I was getting at: “The first time I ate at Carbone, the nostalgia-steeped temple to red-sauce Italian that opened in 2013 in New York’s Greenwich Village, I was two Gibsons in when my penne alla vodka arrived, and I took my first bite, a transcendent roundness of cream and tomato and heat, just as the Cavaliers’ ‘Last Kiss’ started playing on the sound system. My contentment in that moment was so comprehensive, so powerfully complete, that I was horrified to realize that I was crying—weeping literal, actual tears—as I ate my meal, one of the loveliest and most profound of my life. When I came back a few months later, repeating my order to the letter, it was just a nice plate of pasta.”