Taylor Swift Is Not Your Mom, But She May Be Your “Aunt Becky”: Links You Need to See

If you’ve been jonesing for worldwide fame and recognition, right now is your chance: Game of Thrones is looking to cast some unknowns for season six. If you fit the bill of “Priestess,” “Pirate,” or “one of the greatest soldiers in Westeros,” drop out of medical school or whatever else you’re doing this instant and go to the casting call. Or, you can just forever keep being an Ordinary Person (OP), only remembered in old family photos or in unflattering, hyperreal sculptures by Duane Hanson like these other OPs. Look, when you’re famous (like Lena Dunham), you can post photos of yourself in your lingerie on Instagram and get almost 100,000 likes. Just like that. So what are you waiting for? … Read More

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Staff Picks: ‘Guilty By Suspicion,’ ‘Lunch With a Bigot’ and ‘Unheard Songs by Karen Dalton’

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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Clever Artwork Depicts Pop Culture’s Favorite ‘Fictional Food’

Gallery 1988, our favorite showcase for pop culture-inspired art, has struck again. Fictional Food is a new exhibit from G1988 regular Joshua Budich, showcasing some of the most iconic food products in film and television — both wholly invented (Krusty Burgers, Los Pollos Hermanos chicken, Lone Star Beer) and given new cultural immortality (who can hear the word “Chianti” without doing an Anthony Hopkins impression, or ask for a Baby Ruth bar without hearing good ol’ Sloth?). Here are a few of our favorites from the show. … Read More

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Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose Novels: The Fragile Redemption of a Mercilessly Examined Life

“I was thinking that life is just the history of what we give our attention to,” says the title character of Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose Novels, just a few pages into the series’ fifth and final volume, 2012’s At Last. “The rest is packaging.” He is speaking to one of his recently deceased mother Eleanor’s silly (if sincere) friends from the New Age movement, but like most of the dialogue in these books, Patrick’s observation works on multiple levels. In this case, he’s also articulating a vital way of looking at St. Aubyn’s 20-year autobiographical fiction project, mercilessly examining his own personal history through the eyes of an equally exacting alter ego. … Read More

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The Internet’s Best Film Podcast Goes True Crime — and Takes on Charles Manson

Movie podcasts are not hard to come by these days. Just about every film-centric website has its own weekly get-together, where the writers and guests hash out new releases and noteworthy anniversaries and the like; most of my favorite film writers have shows of their own, with a similar, discussion-and-review format. But from its inception just over a year ago, Karina Longworth’s You Must Remember This has separated itself from the pack not only in terms of quality (though many of those shows are very good), but in terms of style. … Read More

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‘Inside Amy Schumer’ Season 3 Episode 6: The Sketch You Need to See

Every episode of Inside Amy Schumer deserves to be talked about, but there’s always one segment that rises above the rest and necessitates a little extra conversation. In lieu of recapping full episodes, we’re here to help you with water-cooler conversation by letting you know which sketch was an absolute must-watch. … Read More

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$90,000 Instagram Photos and 2,703 Obama Paintings: Links You Need to See

Before delving into matters with any form of subtlety or nuance, perhaps it’s best to start with a shocking extreme — a logical conclusion, really — of the contemporary American condition. Why yes, that IS a burger whose bun is a golden tapestry of french fries. Then, expanding our reach to extremes of a more international order, we have yet another, er, project that’ll leave you wholly unsettled: Richard Prince had an exhibit at Frieze Art Fair for which he took screen caps of other people’s Instagrams (and made alterations only to the captions) — most of which sold for $90,000. The whole thing seems a massive, cruel (but fascinating?) joke on those who try to benefit socially through the modern art of oversharing: the artist appropriates these staged moments of these people’s lives and reaps more than the subjects could ever dream of from them.   … Read More

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Michael B. Jordan’s Human Torch, Furiosa’s Feminism, and the New Identity Politics of Super-Mainstream Cinema

Arguments over identity politics are familiar on the Internet and in classrooms, but now they’ve made inroads from message boards to the previews and actions sequences of major blockbuster films. Today, different ideological groups are duking it out over individual characters in super-mainstream pop culture, either using them as avatars of their points of view or rejecting them as avatars of an insidious progressive agenda. Whether it’s MRAs freaking out about the feminism of “Mad Max” or racists reading a black Human Torch as a symbol of the ultimate affront of the Obama era, inclusive strains in new films have outraged social conservatives. Yet simultaneously, progressives are pushing hard for directors and studios to continue making their big-budget films even more accurately reflective of their devoted fandoms, in all their diverse glory. … Read More

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CBS’ ‘The Briefcase’ Spins Itself as Uplifting Television While Exploiting Families in Need

By now, it’s no secret that the vast majority of reality programs have moved on from depicting “reality” to focus, instead, on manipulating and exploiting their participants. It’s why we so often claim that reality shows are a guilty pleasure — we’re not talking about the guilt of watching a bad television program (we do plenty of that when it comes to scripted series) so much as the guilt of watching television overpower and control people, and of willfully supporting loathsome, and sometimes even damaging, television franchises solely because they’re mindlessly entertaining. The newest example of this kind of program is CBS’ The Briefcase, a somewhat cruel series that exploits lower-middle-class families by essentially teasing them with riches — $100,000 — and then forcing them to choose between keeping all of the money or giving some of it to another family in need. … Read More

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Taking Wigstock: Michael James O’Brien’s ’90s Drag Portraits Capture an Explosive Moment in Queer Visibility

In the 1990s, drag shimmied into the American mainstream in films like The Birdcage and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. If you grew up in this era, it was likely through these imaginary portraits of the drag world that you came to have a vague understanding of drag’s traditions and manifold sensibilities. Meanwhile, documentaries like Paris Is Burning and Wigstock: the Movie gave those who were interested in drag beyond its potential for moving straight audiences with introductory comedy narratives a closer, anthropological look at the celebratory scene — one that provided room for ecstatic transgression and self-exploration towards the end of a devastating era for the queer community. … Read More

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