Fame, Fans and Forever

No Complaints #150

There’s spring in the air and in the grass; I’m writing this today with the window open and birds swooping past. It’s been yet another week on the internet, so enjoy the good stuff I filtered out along the way.

Things to read

“There’s nothing original in this tale and there’s ample evidence, beyond West, that humans were not built to withstand the weight of celebrity. But for black artists who rise to the heights of Jackson and West, the weight is more, because they come from communities in desperate need of champions. Kurt Cobain’s death was a great tragedy for his legions of fans. Tupac’s was a tragedy for an entire people. When brilliant black artists fall down on the stage, they don’t fall down alone. The story of West ‘drugged out,’ as he put it, reduced by the media glare to liposuction, is not merely about how he feels about his body. It was that drugged-out West who appeared in that gaudy lobby, dead-eyed and blonde-haired, and by his very presence endorsed the agenda of Donald Trump.”

Ta-Nahisi Coates on fame and blackness and Kanye West has had me pondering all week. Email to Pocket.

“Cardi practiced her pose, which was: hands at sides. As the automobile crawled slowly forward, she was able, by a series of very meticulous adjustments, to position herself so that she was kneeling on the first row of back seats, facing out the rear window. Through careful manipulation of her embellished gloves and dagger sharp acrylic nails bearing more jewels than the earth’s crust, she entered her iPhone’s passcode. She began refreshing the hashtag #CardiB on Instagram, anxious to see how her dress had looked on the seconds-long walk from the hotel to the van, and to glean people’s reactions to it.”

This behind the scenes look at Met Gala preparation makes me think of what it would have been like to be a 17th century French aristocrat but also have instagram. Email to Pocket.

“Okay so if I’m interpreting your latest post correctly, the sticking point seems to be that you don’t believe I’ve actually been sincere in anything I’ve said thus far about what happened FIFTEEN F***ING YEARS AGO back in Ottawa. And that I’ve ‘glossed over’ what you call my ‘actual wrongdoing’. Oh my god. This is amazing to me. As thoughtful, careful and abject as I’ve been in the absurd amount of emails I sent to you — emails you haven’t even dignified with a response — and for all my self-flagellation and prostration at the altar of your fathomless feminine rage, nothing I’ve said has been good enough. Cool, cool. Good to know. Guess I can get up off my knees now.”

How Many Emails Does It Take To Not Apologise? Email to Pocket.

“What has become truly necessary is stating the obvious: no work of art, no matter how incisive, beautiful, uncomfortable or representative, needs to exist. Yet the internet — the same force that has increased awareness of social-justice movements — has hyperbolised all entreaties to our fragmented attention spans. It’s now as easy to see all the incredible and twisted ways the world causes suffering as it is to waste a couple hours scrolling through Twitter. The concerned citizen’s natural response is to prioritise. It’s why so many outlets seem to invoke moral outrage as a growth strategy — and why being told what you need to read or watch starts to be appealing.”

This piece articulates a lot of my discomfort at the phrase “must read”. Email to Pocket.

“Why do I love it when this happens? First, because it’s silly. (Dramas don’t usually have this problem, though I get a kick out of imagining a version of Mystic River that replaced Tim Robbins with Matthew McConaughey.) And second, because it seems incredibly easy to avoid — just say that the characters met at work, or at a bar, or while playing D&D, or at one of the many other places where you can meet and befriend people who are a different age from you. But no. Hollywood keeps on insisting that these actors grew up together, even while their hairlines tell a different story.”

One man and his obsession with Hollywood’s weird age difference friendships. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

The Forever35 podcast has been a recent, joyous discovery. I was already familiar with Doree Shafrir from Matt & Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure, a show about her IVF journey. This newer show is all about ageing and self care and self respect, and I’m really into it. I particularly like this episode about taking baths.

+Reminder: I do another weekly newsletter all about podcasts, and for its paying members, I make custom playlists of new podcasts. Sign up.

Things to watch

Because my favourite TV show just got cancelled, we shall have all B99 clips this week.

Eating a marshmallow for a first time.

Impromptu line up boy band.

“The secret is eating the evidence.”

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

It’s important to coordinate your accessories.

The guest gif


PS This is the 150th time I’ve done this newsletter. Crazy, right? If you’ve been here since the early days of the medieval thingamabob, thank you very much, and if you’re a recent recruit: welcome.