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Wrapped in Plastic: Nostalgia, of Televised and Other Kinds

Wrapped in Plastic: Nostalgia, of Televised and Other Kinds

(Note: I was originally intending to write this piece for Jacob Clifton, while he was working for Screener. But a national reading competition, plus teaching three classes at two universities, plus tteaching in Dubai, plus putting my mother-in-law in one nursing home and then another, plus a depressive episode, destroyed me. If you’re an editor and you like this piece, hire Jacob! He helped talk me through the initial concept. In any case, I find it appropriate to return to…

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ROGUE ONE, hope, and the urban-rural divide

ROGUE ONE, hope, and the urban-rural divide

  “Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.” Like a lot of people, my husband and I saw Rogue One last night in an effort to stave off the Sarlacc pit of panic opening its devouring maw beneath our feet and ensnaring the totality of 2016 in its twisting tentacles. I went in expecting a story plagued by re-shoots, a film about defeating fascists that Disney executive Bob Iger…

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Promising the Stars: How Trump Could Win

Promising the Stars: How Trump Could Win

One of our favourite activities in this house — at least, one I can comfortably describe in greatest detail — is talking about how Trump could win the Presidency. This isn’t because I want Trump to win. I just see how he can. Papa Bear O’Reilly is right: Trump and Sanders are two sides of the same coin. Both are tapping into feelings of rage and despair in a populace experiencing the ever-widening wealth gap as precarity, hopelessness, and a…

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Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Having Never Done One

Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Having Never Done One

So there’s this piece going around, about what students need to do succeed as writers in literary MFA programs. A lot of it is pretty basic — show up, do the work, read good books, nurse your talent. And a lot of it is pretty bitchy — there’s a bit about how being abused as a child can’t make you a better writer, which is both unnecessary and sidesteps the central literary issue of abuse narratives, namely that coming forward…

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About that new Ghost in the Shell movie

About that new Ghost in the Shell movie

As you may have heard, actress Scarlett Johansson recently signed a deal to star in DreamWorks’ upcoming adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, a Japanese transmedia franchise that began as a cyberpunk manga by Masamune Shirow (the author’s pen name) in 1989. There’s a Ghost in the Shell poster hanging above my desk, in my office. (It hangs next to the Nine Inch Nails poster and the Hollow Ichigo mask from Bleach.) I’m a nerd, and I’m first and foremost…

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On the Sony hack, and the future of film

On the Sony hack, and the future of film

The Sony hack is interesting to me on a lot of levels. One, because mine was a Sony family. My dad kept our Betamax alive until I was in university. In fact, we still have two at home — my boyfriend at the time bought us another so dad could complete his editorial projects, like mashing together a perfect cut of Close Encounters of the Third Kind that included both the Gobi Desert sequence and both endings. Yeah. We were…

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Fun exercise: translating Lovecraft into Hemingway

Fun exercise: translating Lovecraft into Hemingway

One dreary afternoon last October, David and I started playing a game. (Not that kind of game.) He would read aloud a passage from H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu,” and I would try to communicate the exact same thing, in the style of Hemingway. For example: Lovecraft: The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst…

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The (f)Anthropology of True Detective

The (f)Anthropology of True Detective

Like seemingly everyone else watching True Detective, I had my theories about who the Yellow King was. But for me, that was of tertiary importance compared to learning the answer to another question: Why the Yellow King? (Spoilers ahead, for True Detective and Twin Peaks.)

How to watch “Love, Actually”

How to watch “Love, Actually”

There have been a lot of retrospectives written on Love, Actually this year. The Atlantic hates it. Mother Jones loves it. Jezebel makes fun of it. Having just watched it again last night as I do every year, I have my own issues with it: that “Colin goes to America” plotline is absolutely abysmal, a weird wank-fantasy in an otherwise tender movie. Also, it wouldn’t have killed Richard Curtis to replace that lacklustre storyline with a storyline about a queer…

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