n. bouquet of reads, pods & writers to follow

Jennifer Wilson on Tolstoy and policing

One of my favorite-ever short reads.

“Tolstoy was drawn to seekers, to characters perpetually in the throes of spiritual crisis… With calls to defund the police, many are asking, for the first time in their lives, not just how our institutions function but whether they should exist at all.”


Brittany Allen on 90s TV and messy-girl stories

Essential cosmology of pop culture that’s both inspired and warped a generation of women.

“Reminding myself when and where I learned the unhelpful fictions—the unreliable classrooms of Hollywood—helps me see the toxicity in them. When I’m forced to admit that the structure I built myself on was so precarious, I am galvanized to reimagine, and rebuild.”


Jess Bergman on “denuded realism”

NB: Bergman is brilliant but misreads Ottessa Moshfegh.

“However individually stylish or inventive, taken together, the novels tend to replicate the sensations of apathy and tedium they seek to describe… For many young women laboring under the grindstone of American capitalism, the operative feeling of the last ten or fifteen years has not been numbness but suffering.”


Andrew Martin on politics and psychological suffering in new fiction

The author’s interview re: punk + Rod Stewart also pairs well with Hua Hsu, below.

“There is a genre of writing that my partner and I affectionately refer to as ‘Have you considered socialism?’”


Hua Hsu on Mark Fisher

Do it.

“Punk, for Fisher, was a way of being and seeing that involved a refusal of things as they were… K-Punk gave Fisher space to revisit past enthusiasms: the hyperactive dance singles, experimental filmmakers, and pulp novels that had rewired his outlook when he was growing up in Margaret Thatcher’s 1980s.”


Matt Taibbi on banks

Very technical but crucial, worth the slog.

“In the long run, the regulatory system ends up serving as a de facto partner for banks that all but admit they’re taking in money from Ponzi schemers, mobsters, drug lords, and rogue states.”


Chapo Trap House ft. Adam McKay (Anchorman, The Big Short, Succession)

Re: finance, criminality, corporate & Hollywood censorship, Iraq, American amnesia.

“We have a more slot-machine sense of history than a narrative sense of history.”


Chapo ft. Nithya Raman

Re: L.A. in crisis. Angelenos, vote for her!

“This pandemic and these uprisings have really focused people’s attention on local government and on the importance of making sure local government is acting in ways that address their needs and act out their values.”