• via Guardian

    via Guardian

    The lovely Oliver Sacks has died. I am trying to write at least one thing about him or how much he meant to me (even if I hate personal essays), but it will never hold up to the man himself. If you ant to cry, read his New York Times piece where he told the world he was dying. Better yet, read all his books. I am very glad to have interacted with him, if only through a letter. I am also very glad to have not gotten through all of his books yet. Alas, I have more of a “I will cry” aversion now to reading his last, a memoir.

  • He sometimes responded to 13-year-olds, too. This-one-that-was, at least.
  • Robert Anton Wilson maybe had the right idea on voting (if you go to the booth). These Reason surveys are weirdly entrancing, partially because some people are disappointing one year, sensible the next. Also my dad talked about neocons going back to their caves. (On a side note, if they don’t ask me to participate next year, I will cry. No pressure.)
  • Speaking of Robert Anton Wilson, this is in its way as moving as Sacks’ final essay on mortality in February. I gotta read his work.
  • Man, these great writers are kind of putting on the pressure to write something beautiful, moving, and unafraid when facing death. Honestly, guys. Hitchens did the same thing, with the additionally impressive fearlessness of the staunch atheist.
  • I will not admit to you how much of this angry recap blog of every single episode of Full House I have read.
  • I understand many things with which I don’t agree. I don’t agree with the many cries of cultural appropriation, but I do think actress Amandla Steinberg’s line about “What would America be like if it loved black people as much as it loves black culture?” has some truth to it. A thing that I truly do not understand (still) is accusations of racism in respect to Miley Cyrus’ black backup dancers. Now she’s worn dreadlock hair extensions and a few people are annoyed, and that I get (I understand, I do not agree). Not to be stuck in 2013, but I still do not understand why having all black backup dancers during a dance (not, like, in your life, Gwen Stefani and those Japanese women-style) is supposed to be bad. Are we supposed to hire more white dancers? This is such a mess.
  • Speaking of which: Cathy Young has a fine, nuanced piece on cultural appropriation. Don’t cringe, I swear it’s good.
  • Oh, and Taylor Swift is just a COLONIAL MONSTER because she has a video set in Africa, which seems to have a vague storyline of Taylor Swift and Hot Man are old timey film stars. Okay, internet. Okay. I am much more indignant that her new single is the song where she sounds exactly like Lana Del Rey, instead of something superior like “I Know Places” or even “How You Get The Girl.” (1989 is underwhelming, but has enough ear worms that I have opinions about it.)
  • Azulia Zebleaux

    Yeah, I can’t get the Miley hate. Not only are her antics largely well intentioned, she is all of 22 and was raised by crazypants Billy Ray Cyrus to be a teen pop idol. Like, even if one thinks she’s fake or a try hard or even unrepentantly racist, geez, she had a lot against her at the outset.

    • Azulia Zebleaux

      Iggy Azalea sucks for much broader (and more explicitly racist!) reasons though.

    • Azulia Zebleaux

      This is a good piece on Miley, but I think this is where the author nails the appropriation: “By the time Miley was shouting ‘yeah, I smoke pot’ in her finale number as dozens of drag queens gyrated around her (another year, another minority group to glom onto and fill out your shell of a personal identity with!)”. As I said with Miley, its age and her weird upbringing more than malice, but that’s where her using black dancers becomes appropriation: because she doesn’t have an identity of her own, and she’s trying to steal theirs, and responds to criticism in bewilderment because the dancers are just another prop in her life. In Miley’s case, it makes me sad for her, but I get where the criticism comes for more now.