Nice, Mike Pence’s Homophobia, Charlie Kaufman’s Career, and More: This Week’s Recommended Reading

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 Internet are doing, too. This week, we’ve rounded up writing on everything from the state of film (as declared by Charlie Kaufman) to writing that helps people contend with, or at least be versed in, the frightening state of the world.

Some of the most important writing you can find in the wake of a mass murder is, simply, information on the lives of the victims; attention — often for understandable reasons and the practical need for answers, but just as often out the exploitation on the part of the press of the publics’ fascination with cruelty — can of course tend to go to perpetrators more than victims. The Atlantic and The Guardian currently has an updating page devoted to the victims of the Nice killings, and what’s known about them. 

In the Washington Post, Cleve R. Wootson, Jr. follows the story of a black Canadian named Louizandre Dauphin, who recently had the cops called on him while he was parked in his car reading a C.S. Lewis book. The story demonstrates how underlying racist perception, even in a place that can seem more tolerant than America, has the capacity to alienate and endanger nonwhite people:

Dauphin, 33, a former high school English teacher, had decided to relax last week with a few books at Stonehaven Wharf, a parking lot for fishing boats that’s frequented by tourists to the Canadian province of New Brunswick. He sat inside his Volkswagen Golf hatchback watching the waves and poring over “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis and another book by theologian Timothy Keller… As he drove home afterward, Dauphin recounted on Instagram, an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police pulled him over, saying someone nearby had called authorities “because … a suspicious black man in a white car was parked at the Wharf for a couple hours. My response, Really? I was just reading a book.”

Netflix’s Stranger Things — a throwback sci-fi horror show with a heart and a cast of exceedingly talented child actors (and a Winona Ryder!) — is seeming like the definite thing to binge watch this weekend. Vulture has an interview with the twin brothers who created it (they also wrote the Fox series Wayward Pines). Jen Chaney asks the Duffer Brothers about the casting, and particularly Ryder, given that her own fame is so entrenched in the same 80s nostalgia that resonates through the series:

Winona came up very early on and was on one of our first casting lists that our casting director came up with, and we all fell instantly in love with that idea. Certainly there’s nostalgia there, but this is someone we were huge fans of growing up, and it’s someone we just wanted to see more of. And it’s particularly someone we loved seeing in the supernatural genre. Not that she’s not great in other things, like Girl Interrupted or Little Women. But Tim Burton was such a huge inspiration to us growing up and those movies were such a part of our rotation. It was also assigning us the idea of putting a movie star in this role because we always saw this as a big eight-hour summer movie. So to have someone like Winona, who has that movie-star presence where you just point a camera at her and she pops off the screen, it’s not something most people have.

And while TV (and surprising, creative TV) may be thriving, interviews with innovative film directors can be more and more disheartening when you hear how hard it is for them to get their projects made. Charlie Kaufman, one of the sharpest and most exciting minds the film world can boast, spoke to Indiewire about why he feels he “fucking blew it,” and even mentions that the critically adored Anomalisa didn’t even earn more than its tiny budget at the box office:

In the wake of Anomalisa, Kaufman’s choices are growing limited. He’s recently been forced to confront the idea that he may no longer be able to direct his own screenplays. “I feel like the stuff that I write is personal, and I would like to be in charge of it,” he said, before sincerely reiterating how much he loved working with filmmakers Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry, who shepherded Kaufman’s scripts to the screen before the writer finally achieved the juice necessary to step behind the camera. “There aren’t people champing at the bit to hire me as a director, and I’ve really held out with things, for years now, because that’s what I want.”

Vice LGBTQ Editor Tyler Trykowski writes about Trump’s just-selected running mate, hopefully-never-future-Vice-President Mike Pence. Pence lands on the extreme right on just about every issue (and has said, as the Times notes, that he’s “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order”), but Trykowski focuses specifically about his history of anti-LGBTQ voting: 

More than many Republicans, Trump has seemed tolerant of gay people, perhaps because of his cosmopolitan New York roots. Pence, whose career as an elected official began when he won a House seat in 2000, is his opposite in that respect—a middle-of-the-country conservative who Trump likely hopes will appeal to the Christian right.