Tag Archives: Maura Johnston

Tea With Chris: Cloven Poetry

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Thursday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Margaux: Great one Jimmy Carter – I love this letter he wrote about religion and women’s rights. I love his description of “The Elders” that he is a member of. Sounds bad-ass.

Chris: Blog-friend Sholem Krishtalka has begun drawing his own tarot set, one symbolic omen at a time, which oddly reminded me of Bill Sienkiewicz’s old Friendly Dictators trading cards.

The ethical dilemma of Amazon links, not one faced by B2TW thus far, where we’ve probably raised enough money to cover one dinner at a middlingly expensive restaurant (wine not included).

“The reason why the Stuff White People Like humor genre has so many holes in it is because the vast majority of the things lampooned are not white-specific, they’re creature comforts of the middle class. But the lines between race and class are getting blurrier and blurrier by the day, and there are quite a few people of color being born into comfortable financial situations who will likely never know what it’s like to be poor. Thus, memes like White Person Bingo end up portraying a common theme in popular culture: class stereotyping poorly and tastelessly masquerading as race stereotyping.” Martin Douglas, killing it, and recalling another essay about indie rock, race, and class.

Carl: I used to dream about making a book of poems in the form of crossword puzzles, where the clues and the answers would each be a poem. I soon realized that I had nowhere near the skill set to pull this off, if it was even theoretically possible. Here’s the closest thing, though: A giant of the puzzle world has announced his mortal illness to his readers in cryptic-crossword form.

It’s great that the new season of Girls has started, but they only show once a week. To fill the empty days in between, I am watching the two independent web series (Delusional Downtown Divas and Tight Shots) that Lena Dunham made years ago, clearly teaching herself how to make TV series, rationing episodes like sips of water on a lifeboat. I also really enjoyed her conversation with Miranda July. (If you are annoyed by one or both of them, you won’t, though – it is a very Lena Dunham-and-Miranda July conversation.)

This spot on the Merv Griffin Show in 1965 is the best window into Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick’s relationship, and why everyone loved her so much. (Thanks, Mike McGonigal.)

Poetry grudge matches: Michael Robbins somewhat-lovingly trashes Dylan Thomas for lines that are “the kind of thing you’d expect unicorns to write.” However, he adds, at least he’s not as bad as e.e. cummings.

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson

Tea With Chris: Folksy Chap Schtick

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: My friend Maura Johnston started a new, much-needed Tumblr, though she may need an assistant to keep up with all of the potential posts: Gazing Males.

The headline is an example of botched search engine optimization inadvertently echoing somebody’s cranky granddad, and I’m not even sure why this slideshow appeared in Business Insider at all, but who cares? 25 photos from 1980s New York.

The levels of simultaneous wordplay here kind of resemble those cross-section diagrams I learned about medieval castles from.

Only a few days left to help support the next Best Music Writing anthology (reserving a future copy in the process) and fight the scourge of bad criticism everywhere!

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Tea With Chris: Mysteriously Enormous

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: I’m covering the Toronto International Film Festival for the first time right now, and it feels a little like this:

So brevity is better. Via batarde, the only television appearance Georges Bataille ever made:

A D.C. consulting firm is building an unpopulated “test city” in the New Mexico desert.

When he’s hosting the long-running Toronto lecture series Trampoline Hall, our friend Misha Glouberman begins every night with a perpetually witty spiel about how to ask good questions. The New York Times just published a written version of it: “Pay attention to your mental images as the question is occurring to you. When you picture yourself asking the question, are you mysteriously enormous? Are you made of gold? These are signs that you may possibly have a bad question.”

A Luc Sante essay devoted to his uncontrollable library is obviously going to be great, but his nuanced speculation on the physical medium’s future surprised me; he praises Google’s systematic digitization of literature and seems curious about the various e-readers, yet remains eloquently concerned for printed matter: “Many books are screwy, a great many are dull, some are irredeemable, and there are way too many of them, probably, in the world. I hate all the fetishistic twaddle about books promoted by the chain stores and the book clubs, which make books seem as cozy and unthreatening as teacups, instead of the often disputatious and sometimes frightening things they are…I realize that books are not the entire world, even if they sometimes seem to contain it. But I need the stupid things.”

Carl: This book seems screwy, dull, disputatious and the entire world all at once. Of the recent spate of “things” books, though, maybe the most intriguing: The idea that there was once a popular genre of “it narratives” related by inanimate objects, body parts and animals is so delightful; the prose in which it seems to be told looks much less so on quick perusal but I am willing to give it a more slow-paced chance: The Things Things Say is a cool title.

On a similar level this video is too long & not as funny as it wishes but I agree so much with its thesis that I can’t help but endorse it.

Best music journalism on the web of late: Geeta Dayal’s extensive piece on German performance/noise artist and synth-pop (Tangerine Dream, Cluster/Kluster) innovator Conrad Schnitzler; and two less-than-reverent considerations of the intersections of music with 9/11: Maura Johnston and Chris Weingarten’s list of the worst Sept. 11 response songs (which nervily includes both “Empire State of Mind” and a Xiu Xiu song – agreed, and I love Xiu Xiu – along with the usual suspects, – though I would stand up for Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You” despite the wince-worthy Iraq/Iran line, for turning to Christian love as opposed to biblical vengeance as the value it wants to defend); and Hua Hsu’s subtle memoir about how he had an overdue record review that day, which ends up being a sidelong meditation on several virtues that can bring you through trials more reliably than the recent American predilection for demonstrative emotion.

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson