In his article “How Roland Barthes Gave Us the TV Recap,” Sam Anderson writes that “a cultural critic is betwixt and between: not a regular consumer of culture and yet someone immersed deeply enough in it to appreciate its inner mechanisms.” I feel strange saying that my recaps of a show like Bachelor in Paradise are a significant piece of cultural criticism or that they make me a cultural critic. (Though, certainly, some gorgeous writing came out of recaps of the final episode of Mad Men that wove together the end of the show for its viewers.) But I believe that the position I occupied, the sort of liminal space that an anthropologist would call a key informant, enabled me to situate Bachelor in Paradise within a context where individuals would actually enjoy it.
If one doesn’t like an article enough to finish it, fine, but why not move on?
Italo Calvino never visited China, though Invisible Cities does. Franz Kafka and Saul Bellow never visited locations that featured prominently in their novels. Even Shakespeare is guilty: his biographers have found no evidence of him ever leaving England, and so his myriad works set in Italy must have been based on speculation and research. While there is a concern that not researching a place can lead to a writer fetishizing or misrepresenting it, the facts stand that often writers are more than able to get away with it.
* Lillian Li *
Here are the things about me that you could glean from a quick glimpse at my search history:
I hurt my calf kickboxing and I want to do something about it. I have a crush on my kickboxing instructor and I maybe want to do something about it. I am learning how to cook quinoa. I have finished only a fraction of my taxes. I don’t know if I have health insurance. I am still learning how to cook quinoa.
by A.L. Major
“The crazy thing is I’ve never been called a nigger to my face” begins Issa Rae’s blogpost. Issa Rae, for all those who do not know, is the creator, writer and star of the hit web series, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” In her recent article,“People on The Internet Can Be Hella Racist” Rae describes how after winning the 2012 Shorty Awards, her twitter and Facebook pages were inundated with racist comments, that ranged from horrific to downright deplorable: “I nominate @awkwardblackgirl for @shortyawards in #cottonpicking.” And then “#ThingsBetterThanAwkwardBlackGirl The smell coming from Trayvon Martin.” Most times, I’m not even sure these people are fully aware of what those words truly evoke in a historical context. These are people, who I imagine, outside of the internet are perfectly respectful to people of color, might even have friends of a darker complexion, might even have voted for Obama (Yes We CAN!), but somehow they traded in their civil decorum and decency for the internet’s anonymity.