Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

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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Boomer Audit: Trying to Make Sense of ‘The Flying Nun’

From 1967 to 1970, ABC aired a strange little sitcom called The Flying Nun. The very existence of this show, which I discovered in passing just a few years ago, doesn’t make much sense at first. The title reads like a throwaway joke from an episode of 30 Rock, which routinely took clever potshots at NBC (and television in general) by expertly creating fake, empty programs that revolved around a hilariously straightforward title. The Flying Nun would surely fit right in with the fictional shows Tank It or, more appropriately, God Cop. The Flying Nun isn’t a punchline, though. It was a very real show, and even a somewhat successful one, that spent three seasons detailing the adventures of, well, a flying nun. … Read More

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Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and the Cult of Awkward White Girls

Taylor Swift’s announcement of her new album, 1989, doubled as a proclamation of her pop-star status. “I woke up not wanting, but needing, to make a new style of music,” she said Monday during the 1989 live-stream “event,” adding that this would be “her first documented pop album.” It’s cute that Taylor Swift wants us to think she doesn’t know she’s been a pop star since, essentially, 2010’s Speak Now, but I don’t believe the act for a second. This is one of the most sensitive, self-obsessed celebrities on the planet, the type who’s a pro at transforming public perception into hits (see: “Mean”). But boy does it feel like she’s fresh meat all over again, striving towards even higher-stakes pop perfection in her own, Liz Lemon way. … Read More

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Longform You Have to Read: Wells Tower on Burning Man, Elephants, and Porn Star James Deen

In a world where you have more options for satisfying longform reading than ever, your friends here at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism and longform has to offer. Whether they’re unified by topic, publication, writer, being classic pieces of work, or by just a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. … Read More

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An Exclusive Sneak Peek at Wayne Coyne’s Next Wacky Side Project!

The devolution of Wayne Coyne from fearless freak into fearful fuckwit has been one of the saddest spectacles in the music industry over the last few years. He was responsible for at least two of the truly great albums of the 1990s, and now he’s doing drugs with Kesha and filming Miley Cyrus in bed. This week sees the release of the first single from the upcoming record With a Little Help from My Fwends, in which Wayne and his sycophants wacky pals cover Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety! How wild and crazy! … Read More

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‘The One I Love’s’ Big, Secret Plot Twist Is About the Marketing, Not the Movie

When the screening invite for Charlie McDowell’s new film The One I Love landed in my inbox, an odd disclaimer caught my eye. “Please note that no one will be admitted to screenings of The One I Love once the film has begun,” it went. “We kindly request that you abstain from plot spoilers in your coverage and on social media.” This has been the movie’s big bullet point since it premiered at Sundance, spotlighted in the pull quotes of its trailer — there is a big twist, so overarching that when co-star Elisabeth Moss appeared on The Daily Show to promote it, she told Jon Stewart that said twist “basically means that I can’t tell you anything about the movie.” But once you see the movie, all of the coy pre-release hand-wringing doesn’t make a helluva lot of sense. It’s not a film that somehow hinges on explosive surprises; the fact that it’s being marketed as such is less a protective measure for the picture’s delicate fabric, and more an uninspired marketing hook. … Read More

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Say Goodbye to Summer With Bethany Marie Olson’s Hazy Photos of Youth in the Wilderness

Who knows when the bulk of these photos by Bethany Marie Olson were taken, but there’s something about their hazy, fading light that feels like August to the core. The Seattle-based photographer (first spotted on BOOOOOOOM!) has an eye for the moment when the day is fading and night begins its descent, and her portraits of lost youth in the wilderness evoke mystery and beauty. Click through for some selections from Olson’s portfolio, all of which highlight her particular talent for finding the perfect slant of light. … Read More

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Boomer Audit: Jim Morrison Was a Moment in Time, Not an All-Time Legend

The Doors’ 1967 self-titled debut warrants a one-line B- review in Robert Christgau’s long-running Consumer Guide to music, and it ends as follows: “Jim Morrison sounds like an asshole.” Sounds like is a bit generous, don’t you think, Bob? There have been many arguments over Morrison’s high-on-his-own-arty-machismo legacy, and nearly all of them have been between Boomer white men who wrote about rock ‘n’ roll when it was much more of an outsider profession, reserved almost exclusively for semi-scummy dudes. Beyond the potential sexual partners who actually wanted to see the Lizard King’s dick emerge from his leather pants that fateful Florida night in 1969, these critics are the types most inclined to take Morrison’s art seriously. … Read More

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Wake Up, Sheeple! Is William Deresiewicz’s ‘Excellent Sheep’ an Anti-Ivy League Manifesto or a Book-Length TED Talk?

Must a manifesto always be a rant? The process of reading William Deresiewicz’s Excellent Sheep, the book-length expansion of his 2008 viral article “The Disadvantages of an Elite Education,” originally published in The American Scholar, was frustrating for this reason: he’s absolutely correct about the ennui that seeps into the hoop-jumping lives of the Ivy League’s privileged students, an obstacle course that results in an adult life of not being able to understand the world one iota. But by making his argument in a manner that’s sloppy and slapdash, not even sourced, filled with vague anecdotal evidence culled from his teaching experiences, Deresiewicz leaves himself open to being discredited rather quickly. … Read More

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How Does ‘Y Tu Mamá También’ Fit Into Alfonso Cuarón’s Idiosyncratic Career?

You’re not exactly dancing out on a limb these days if you suggest Alfonso Cuarón all but saved the Harry Potter film franchise when he took over for Chris Columbus with The Prisoner of Azkaban. But there was a bit of an uproar among concerned parents and cultural watchdogs when he was first attached to the project, for one reason and one reason only: his previous film, and biggest success to date, was the road movie Y Tu Mamá También, rated NC-17 for its drug use and “strong sexual content.” Fears of Cuarón crafting scenes of Harry, Hermione, and Ron toking up and having a three-way were ultimately for naught, and Azkaban’s success would propel Cuarón to the upper ranks of the mainstream. But Y Tu Mamá También (out today in a lovely new DVD/Blu-ray special edition from the Criterion Collection) remains his most fascinating work — and, increasingly, an outlier in his idiosyncratic filmography. … Read More

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