12 June 2020

“Imagination is a political process.”

This Week

I know I keep saying I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves, but I sincerely feel compelled to renew that hope each week. Not that I don’t hope that as a general rule, but the times would seem to require a regular reminder. So I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves.

Just a note that a couple weeks ago I posted the May essay for paid subscribers and it’s about going to the movies and not being able to go to the movies. You might like it.


“Supporting one kind of protest but not another may seem confusing at first, but the decision reflects what public-health experts have always tried to do: Maximize the health of the population across all aspects of life. And health is about more than simply remaining free of coronavirus infection.

Questions to ask yourself before sharing images of police brutality: How can we spread awareness while also minimizing harm?

How a right-wing movie studio enabled the “Harvey Weinstein” of indie film. Content warnings all over the place for this one.

A celebration of one of my favorite cartoons, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.

How the mansion in Parasite was made.

What the web was like in 2000—which, incidentally, was when I made my first website, although it is now long lost to the pixels of time.


  • Jackson fan hive, assemble. Shirley is now available on streaming (Hulu, rental elsewhere). It’s fictional and fanciful and while I can appreciate it as such, I’m not sure if it captured the depth of Shirley Jackson’s life and work. If you have not yet been inducted into the coven, might I suggest you first read the classics (The Haunting of Hill House seems like a good place to start, and then on to We Have Always Lived in the Castle and some short stories), then take on Hangsaman, which originates several elements included in the new film. To finish your preparation, read Ruth Franklin’s excellent biography, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. Then I give you leave to watch the film. Or you could just watch it. But reading is also good.

  • I watched The Vast of Night on Amazon Prime. A slow, dreamy love letter to midcentury sci-fi and historical futurism that centers not on plot machinations but what people feel about brushes with the unknown. If you are deeply sentimental about The Twilight Zone (I am), I suspect you will like this film. Also a great showcase for black-rimmed eyeglasses and teenage girls who know how to break into the town library in the middle of the night, two topics I of which I am always in favor.

  • It feels a bit of a vampire sort of summer. I was supposed to go see Bauhaus in concert next month, which is now obviously a no-go. So here’s to staying home and listening to music.

I’m not sure if this is helping, but I’m trying anyway. Take care of yourselves.




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Today’s quote is from Angela Davis.