Today is Labor Day? A holiday? Technically?
I will confess that I wrote two paragraphs about how bleak everything is, but I deleted them because I assume you know all that. Don’t have Labor Day parties, et cetera! Let us all do our part to end this nightmare sooner rather than later! Enjoy some recommendations!
An under-appreciated part of a legacy
Much has been written over the past week about the monumental loss of Chadwick Boseman, and I’m sure you’ve already read about his grace, intentionality, and determination in all aspects of his life. His personal style was no exception. I was moved by Tom + Lorenzo’s piece on the enormous impact that Boseman’s red carpet fashion had on other male celebrities “by showing them that self-expression, high style and Blackness can all work together to produce moments of pure fashion beauty and envelope-pushing masculinity.” I also appreciated their roundup of his best looks.
If you’d like a more in-depth look at his style throughout the years, I recommend this GFY slideshow, which shows his fashion sense getting bolder and better across his painfully short time in the public eye. It feels important to celebrate the joy, creativity and beauty that he brought into the world in the way that he chose to present himself — thoughtfully and powerfully, the same way he did everything.
This is good (even if the subject matter infuriates me)
A phrase that I’ve seen often from disability activists is that if you’re someone who’s not disabled, you need to remember that you’re not disabled yet. Everyone’s bodies and brains will change over the course of a lifetime, and everyone will find themselves disabled in some way eventually. This is a good reason to pay attention to disability issues in politics, though basic empathy for currently disabled people is a better one!
On the subject, David M. Perry’s piece for GEN, “Trump’s Contempt for the Sick and Disabled Is Written All Over His Covid-19 Response,” is infuriating but important. Perry catalogues Trump’s many, many statements and actions insulting disabled people over the years and very correctly points out that this is literally eugenics. Literally! Eugenics! (I, too, wish that my recommendations newsletter was more fun and less ringing alarm bells about fascism but here we fucking are.)
This is good and not infuriating
This tweet BLEW MY MIND this week. How come no one ever told me Popeye was cool?! That literally looks computer animated! (You can see the scene in higher quality here.) I had to look up how this was done, and I found this short little video from Popular Science explaining how animator Max Fleisher accomplished this in the 19-dang-30s. They built actual sets! Little dioramas on a big rotating machine that the cartoon cells would be shot in front of! This is cool as hell!!!
Also cool as hell, actually
I rewatched Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story on Netflix this weekend, and then guess what I did. I watched it again the next day. This movie owns. I can see why you might assume that it’s dumb and not great, but I’m here to tell you that it is SO MUCH better than it has any right to be. As a parody of self-serious music biopics, it’s perfect. As a comedy, it is jam-packed with extremely good jokes, and remarkably, only a few are problematic. And every single actor is operating at their peaks. Every line delivery by Tim Meadows is gold, every choice made by Kristen Wiig is perfect, every choice made by Chris Parnell is unhinged, every second that Paul Rudd is onscreen is a gift, and the whole thing is cemented by the comedy and tragedy and musicality of John C. Reilly, who has more talent than every single person on set combined.
You should watch it and have a great time. You should also read this oral history that’s full of fascinating details, and maybe read this profile of John C. Reilly about how good he is at everything (extremely). You should watch that bizarre commercial I included above, which features the always-compelling John Mayer.
One more fun thing! Why not?
Ei Wada is a Japanese artist who makes music out of modified appliances with his group, Electronicos Fantasticos. Here he is with Akira Ataka playing techno with barcode scanners!
Okay, them’s the recs this week. I leave you with a video that I truly cannot stop thinking about.
This week last year…
“Friendmendations 9.9.19” — a really lovely novel, moody tunes to get you ready for autumn, a reflection on a book from the 80s about gay youths, two good recipes, and my all-time favorite YouTuber.
“Whose faces will Face Off in the new Face/Off??” — in which I pay tribute to the original (“a perfectly-made version of a film that never should have existed”) and once again reveal my admiration of Robert Pattinson.
(I also published my magnum opus, “The worst book I’ve ever read,” parts one and two, last Labor Day week, and you should read them if you haven’t while having a safe, indoor Labor Day. I love you all.)