“Music festivals don’t have to involve thousands upon thousands of fans covered in mud and jacked up on whatever they could sneak onto the grounds.”—Sasha Frere-Jones, reviewing a “model of the the modest, focussed music festival,” Basilica SoundScape
“Stakeholders are backpedaling on previous estimates and are now saying that the backlash against ‘literally’ will occur before the end of 2014. We’ll need all hands on deck once everything becomes ‘figuratively the best’ and people ‘figuratively can’t even.’”—Cathy Lewpredicts trends that are poised for a comeback.
In the magazine this week, Jill Leporeinvestigates the female superhero’s feminist origins:
"It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman was inspired by Margaret Sanger, who, hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family."
“Fashion now pivots on a show of the personal and the sensitive, on feelings, values, an air of education, a sense of fine distinctions, and a great play of self-confidence and independence—on what is packaged commercially, in short, as the Quality Life. The increasingly estimable-looking camouflage that fashion is taking on makes the process of detecting its presence and influence infinitely more complex, and makes anyone seem churlish who takes issue with it once it is detected.”—Kennedy Fraser, whose piece "The Fashionable Mind" ran in the magazine in 1978.
“‘Some sexy stuff,’ says pseudonym, not his/her real name because he/she is the writer’s friend on Facebook, a vague professional from a major city. ‘Less sexy but necessary follow-up to make the above sexy quote make sense.’”—Rosemary Counterimagines the quintessential trend piece.
“There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that we act in the interest of other humans while at the same time protecting the interests of the United States. Perhaps it doesn’t matter why we care, as long as we do.”—Michael Specter on Ebola and the cost of fear.
The Borowitz Report: Queen Accepts Scotland’s Apology
“‘Although the matter of independence has been settled, one question remains very much open,’ she said in an address televised across Scotland. ‘And my answer to that question is this: yes, I forgive you.’”
“Scott and Zelda’s friends from the Jazz Age would doubtless have spit up into their morning coffee—or, more likely, into teacups filled with bathtub gin—to find the pair, almost a century after their meeting, not a poignant footnote to an ill-named time but an enduring legend of the West, a subject adaptable for movies and novels and probably paper dolls and ice shows.”—Adam Gopnikreviews two new books about the couple.
What’s hip-hop’s definition of authenticity? As artists of all backgrounds continue to claim they’re “the realest,” Andrew Marantznotes that “realness in hip-hop has a slippery definition, related to the everyday sense of the word but not synonymous with it.”
Photograph of Iggy Azalea by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
“What are you doing on this side of the dark?
You chose that side, and those you left
feel your image across their sleeping lids
as a blinding atomic blast…”—An excerpt from Mary Karr's poem "Face Down," in this week’s issue.
“While the album may represent a new independence, it sounds mostly like other good Ryan Adams albums. If you got dumped tomorrow, you’d find it to be especially fine company. Still, how many sad songs can an artist release in a lifetime before they begin to blend together, like a Pandora station for heartbreak?”
The translator of Alain Robbe-Grillet’s brutal “A Sentimental Novel” tellsElisabeth Zerofsky:
"As far as the book itself and the material, a few times I had to walk away and return in a steelier frame of mind to take up a particularly hair-raising passage. … At best, you might compare the book’s effect on me to its effect on any reader: certain images—many, in fact—remain in you, and surge forth unbidden, superimposing themselves in your mind’s eye on perfectly anodyne and serene scenes of everyday life."
“Even critics and fans who say that they know about U2’s Christianity often underestimate how important it is to the band’s music, and to the U2 phenomenon. The result has been a divide that’s unusual in pop culture. … To some people, Bono’s lyrics are treacly platitudes, verging on nonsense; to others, they’re thoughtful, searching, and profound meditations on faith.”
Photograph by Clemens Rikken/Hollandse-Hoogte/Redux
“We’ve grown so used to assuming that technology of this kind should make things crisper, cleaner, and more efficient that it’s a pleasure, a relief, even, to find an experience that is all but effortless in actual life instead slowed down and warped, complicated by the digital realm.”—Alexandra Schwartz on Google’s initiative to take us on virtual trips through museums.
“It takes true Accomplishment to know how to respond to the sequential text messages ‘Yeah shes ok I guess’ and ‘Sorry sent that to the wrong person whats up?’”—In this week’s issue, Cora Frazierupdates “Pride and Prejudice” ‘s ideals of feminine accomplishment for the twenty-first-century woman.