Archive for April, 2013

Monday Medley

What we read while going undrafted yet again…

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Monday Medley

What we read while not being Mirandized…

  • How a meeting between Dickens and Dostoevsky that never happened became a part of scholarship.

A Response to Patton Oswalt

Patton OswaltOf the many heartfelt reactions to Monday’s tragedy in Boston, one written by comedian Patton Oswalt seemed to really resonate. You’ve probably already seen it: It was shared on Facebook over 200,000 times, “liked” over 300,000 times, and written about on websites from The Atlantic to US Weekly.

There’s a lot to like about Oswalt’s message, but there’s one aspect of it that really bothers me: When he refers to the unknown perpetrators of the crime, he refers to either “one human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.” It’s just a throwaway line—it doesn’t really affect the substance of what Oswalt is saying. But it’s a telling line that reveals a problem with the way we conceive of tragedies like this attack.

It’s easy and very tempting to dehumanize the people who plant bombs and attack children—to call them “insects” and “sociopaths”* or whatever term that paints them as some mythical bad guy. After all, how could anyone do something this horrible unless he was subhuman in some way? But it’s a dangerous logical trap to assume that anyone who does an evil thing is an Evil Man. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while disqualifying ourselves from the Masters…

Monday Medley

What we read while hiding from North Korea…

Spring Breakers: Not Girls, Not Yet Women

Spring Breakers

“A certain degree of debauchery was even seen as manly, rakish, the bold grasping of forbidden pleasure… In school, in short, they had still no knowledge of life, no sense of all the gradations from coarseness and lechery to sickness and absurdity that fill the adult with revulsion when he hears of such things.” —The Confusions of Young Törless

“This wasn’t just about spring break; it was about seeing something different.” —Spring Breakers

Like a Katy Perry song come to life, the opening minutes of Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers are an ode to 21st century hedonism. We see a montage of beer flowing, asses shaking, and bikini tops vanishing, all set against the sunshine and splendor of a Florida beach. Then we’re thrust back to some nameless university in some dreary college town, where a quartet of young girls is trapped away from all this decadence.

Brit, Candy, Cotty, and Faith (Ashley Benson/Vanessa Hudgens/Rachel Korine/Selena Gomez) are introduced as more or less typical college girls: They pass each other notes in class, get bored by authority figures, and dance to bad rap songs in the dorm hallways. Their biggest problem is that they don’t have enough money to go on spring break, which they see as their only escape from the surrounding monotony. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while never watching replays again…