Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘Net are doing, too. Today, we highlight a great piece about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creator Rachel Bloom, an essay that evaluates the necessity of pop culture in literature, a breakdown of social media stars’ advertising deals, and a deep look at the Koch brothers’ ties to Nazis.
Fred wasn’t only a Nazi business partner or profiteer. He was also an admirer of the Axis powers. His biographer David Schulman notes that he “saw something laudable in the rise of fascism.” His private letters indicate that he was impressed with Hitler’s Germany.
But Fred’s experience in Nazi Germany did not result in a corresponding devotion to anti-fascist activism on the home front. Instead, after building an oil refinery for Hitler, Fred hired a dogmatic Third Reich sympathizer to nanny his sons at home. Which means the Koch brothers were toilet trained by a Nazi.
It’s an entirely new model, and it thrives off of a gray area. When you see Kerry Washington in a Neutrogena commercial, you mostly know what’s up. For a campaign of that magnitude, there are press releases, and then there areexclusives stories based on those press releases. Vanity titles like “brand ambassador” or “creative consultant” get thrown around. In these early days of the new Instagram-Twitter publicity paradigm, we’re still learning the signals. If you see a prominently displayed coconut water in a Kardashian post in 2016, you might reasonably expect, at this point, to see a product name in her hashtags. But what exactly is she getting for such an agreement?
Kevin Pickard over at Electric Literature dives deep into the tradition of referencing pop culture in literature in order to establish a connection with the reader, and looks at whether or not that prevents a work from achieving status as a classic.
Here’s the takeaway: what both Wallace and his instructor don’t quite explain (though Wallace definitely understood this) is that allusions are intentional and malleable features of building a fictional world. The debate has typically been framed around whether it isever appropriate for a writer to reference Seinfeld, Bright Eyes, or Facebook. What makes more sense is to talk about whether or not doing so is helpful for the specific project at hand.
“My standards are based on shows I like, like ‘Girls’ or ‘Arrested Development,’ ” Bloom said. “And they’re all shows that are groundbreaking. I guess in the back of my head, I think, If you’re not being groundbreaking, then what are you doing? If you’re not being ballsy and honest and vulgar” — to her, the last two are impossible to separate — “then what are you doing?”