Two things: There is a song on Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid Maad City (“Maad city” I believe) that captures a certain recognizable anxiety in such a way that I’ve really never heard in song.I can remember the first time I heard Kendrick Lamar, I was driving down route 22 from New York to Massachusetts, and “Swimming Pools” came on the radio and I thought it was a party song and thought it was the most depressing song that I’d heard. It sounded wrong. It took months to listen to all of Good Kid, Maad City and it took even longer to have it click.

Two things: There is a song on Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid Maad City (“Maad city” I believe) that captures a certain recognizable anxiety in such a way that I’ve really never heard in song.

I can remember the first time I heard Kendrick Lamar, I was driving down route 22 from New York to Massachusetts, and “Swimming Pools” came on the radio and I thought it was a party song and thought it was the most depressing song that I’d heard. It sounded wrong. It took months to listen to all of Good Kid, Maad City and it took even longer to have it click.

Pinter called The Misshapes “a funny action adventure story,” adding, “It’s like superhero comics—the Incredibles in novel form. It punched all my buttons.” The Misshapes is a middle-grade novel about a girl who lives in a town where some people have superpowers, though some, like the heroine, have “third-rate, lame powers.” Adding to her misery, Pinter said, is the fact that the heroine’s mother is a supervillain.

When asked about the addition of print titles to the digital-first house’s list, he responded, “Why limit distribution? Some people read exclusively digital and some only buy print. And some—like me—buy both. We felt that many of the books we were acquiring, for various reasons, would benefit from both print and digital distribution.” The Misshapes was intended to be a digital original, but “middle-grade fiction works better in print first, and kids tend to want a favorite book as a keepsake—I know I did.”

— !!! A very cool article about Polis Books founder Jason Pinter and Polis’ expansion into print, starting with The Misshapes: The Coming Storm (which you can have a beautiful copy of in October)! It’s enough to make a girl that may be 1/2 of Alex Flynn feel great about working on Book 2 all weekend long. (Also, book 2’s influences? Love and Rockets, Basquiat, and the east LA punk scene of the early 80s. Get excited!)
Excited to re-watch Gilmore Girls again.

Excited to re-watch Gilmore Girls again.

“Dear Mr. Deresiewicz, The reason why sports and weather exist is so we can talk about sports and weather with strangers, no matter their background. It’s a unifier. Isn’t a large part of male socialization, in particular, shrugging along to sports talk?”
Excellent Sheep is a book that will give William Deresiewicz a nice career as a speaker, which is too bad.
fuckyeahfeminists:


Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Female Voices: Who Is Listening?

I love this woman

Truth. We have to start tearing down the structures. fuckyeahfeminists:


Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Female Voices: Who Is Listening?

I love this woman

Truth. We have to start tearing down the structures. fuckyeahfeminists:


Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Female Voices: Who Is Listening?

I love this woman

Truth. We have to start tearing down the structures. fuckyeahfeminists:


Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Female Voices: Who Is Listening?

I love this woman

Truth. We have to start tearing down the structures. fuckyeahfeminists:


Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Female Voices: Who Is Listening?

I love this woman

Truth. We have to start tearing down the structures. fuckyeahfeminists:


Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Female Voices: Who Is Listening?

I love this woman

Truth. We have to start tearing down the structures. fuckyeahfeminists:


Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Female Voices: Who Is Listening?

I love this woman

Truth. We have to start tearing down the structures. fuckyeahfeminists:


Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Female Voices: Who Is Listening?

I love this woman

Truth. We have to start tearing down the structures.
“It’s less about technique than about persistence. There’s just all kinds of bullshit you have to go through first. You’re getting through your own bullshit. Their bullshit. The inherent bullshit of the scenario. In most cases, it takes time for them to say things they mean. You’ve got to be willing to make time for that.”
— John Jeremiah Sullivan on reporting.

Despite going into questionable areas, this video is still pretty much just as brilliant as the song. I await the Lana Del disserations! Please tell me what the sample title would be.

Off to Montreal on a mission next week.

The Sex and the City props people did an awesome job for Berger’s book cover.

The glow

I don’t have a smart phone, I have a flip phone that’s circa 2007 at the latest. I don’t quite remember how it worked out like that, but when it comes to the creep of technology, the one object that did always weird me out, to a degree, was a smart phone.

A television! A computer! Fitting right in your pocket! Who’d want that? (They had always seemed prohibitively expensive, too.) But the thing is, I’m probably going to have to suck it up and get one soon, as my iPod is seemingly on the fritz and Instagram is a siren call of the delicious possibility of actually taking A Photo A Day and seeing what that entails — remember that resolution that you made in 2002, and how it’s so easy these days? — and in these waning days of ignoring my flip phone, I’m feeling something on the verge of sentimentality about it. And yet, I sort of enjoy being a smartphone holdout, even if it puts me alongside Jonathan Safran Foer, of course. (Oh, noted: the guy who wrote that NYT article definitely has a smartphone now. Hmmm.) 

But since it’s on my mind, I will admit that I’ve been more observant of the way that people use smart phones, particularly in my corner of Brooklyn, as of late, and it feels like the future, and I think the future may suck. To whit: everyone is a creepy zombie, looking down on their phone, in so many situations. I have huffed “look up!” to people who crash into me on the street. The subway, formerly a moving library, has quickly turned into a Black Mirror-style hellhole where nobody’s reading books anymore and the bulk of people are playing Candy Crush, with the sounds on, blissfully unaware of the intrusion on other people’s lives. Yes, there are people reading “longform” on their phones, but they are far more likely to be playing dumb games, to be honest. What gets me is the complete displacement, the way that you can just be someplace else and not even paying any attention to where you are — which is the subway, and you should pay a modicum of attention to it.

I have been early for a concert where nearly everyone is killing time with their phone, staring at their phones together with their friends, as opposed to conversing. Saw a couple on a date at Calexico where they literally showed photo after photo of each person doing stuff with their “friends” to each other. It felt like a next level of conversation that I couldn’t even ponder. I was like, how is this going to lead to sex, good-looking young couple that could be some edgy urban ad? It seems like an elaborate way to not have a conversation. I usually don’t check my phone when I’m with my friends, but conversely, my friends are attached to them all the time. When they’re freelance writers and small business owners, I get it, they are on call like a doctor (an editor writes jump you write back and say how high? They expect you to be on all the time now), needing to know what’s going on so that they can make money and survive. That’s fine. I don’t take it personally and I’m sure they don’t mean it personally. But I don’t like having to navigate that sort of interaction.

There’s a certain kind of dead-eyed glaze that happens when you’re talking to a peer the exact moment that they’re like, oh, I’ll check my cellphone. You know it. It’s the exact point that somebody’s not listening to you, that your conversation in an instant becomes regulated to silly chatter, like it’s the end of Revolutionary Road or something.

But I don’t want that kind of communication to be default. It’s why movies, despite the fact that they’ve gotten worse over the past ten years, are probably my favorite form of art. No phones. Nobody saying hey, I need to prove that I’m here, seeing this thing, keeping track on my phone for some audience. (Except for the awful feelings of the phone’s ambient light at the beginning — terrible. And I noticed more phones when I lived upstate and was going to a lot of Nic Cage movies.) Concerts, on the other hand, have gotten worse. You see it: people drop out of hearing the music, of being there, of feeling it in their body, all for a shitty recorded moment or a bad looking photo just to prove that they were in the same room as a band, their hands stretched out over their head so the people behind them are looking through a glass screen. I mean, there are also professional photographers at lots of concerts. You could have a better photo.

I’ve read a bunch of What The Internet World Is Doing To Us books, and lots of them feature people (men, men, men) being like Hey, I’m going to Stunt Journalism my way away from the internet for a month: what will happen! The results are a boring diary of addiction, of people feeling convinced that if they get one hit, one moment, of knowing what is going on, they’ll feel better. I don’t know. I’m happy to drop off the grid when I get the chance (happier now because I have a full-time job — freelancing is different), and the grid, on the regular, makes me feel a lot of anxiety and makes my brain far more all over the place. I don’t know how you have a holistic time with the internet, but it would be a nice thing to figure out. I think it’s why meditation is starting to become a Silicon Valley 2.0 “way to be” but they’re mainstreaming it and monetizing it in a way that’s totally gross, and beyond the point of paying attention, which is what you want a lot of life to be about. Paying attention. Staying curious.

Thank god I’m not dating in this modern era of 2014. The behaviors that annoy me are frustrating enough with friends and strangers — with people I was looking for a romantic connection with, they’d be liable to be heartbreaking. I know myself that I’m a squishy marshmallow under a hard candy shell. I think a lot of people are. But there’s so many more options for building up walls these days.