books and reading · pop culture

What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

These are the articles that got me reading and thinking this week.  It’s a bit of a light week because I’m sort of emotionally wrung out.  But without further ado!

50 Shades of Sigh: The Disastrous 50 Shades of Grey Press Tour (Gawker)

I had a lot of fun with this on Twitter this week because it’s legitimately hilarious and oddly fascinating to watch this movie (which I believe has been completely ill-advised since the beginning) sort of collapse in on itself like a dying star before it’s even released.  Don’t get me wrong: I still think it is going to make money at the box office, but that doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying the hell out of watching the two leads squirm around in their embarrassment over the movie and how much they clearly hate one another.  This Gawker piece offers an excellent rundown:

Because Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson have appeared in photographs together and because the 50 Shades of Grey trailer includes (perhaps misguidedly) scenes from the actual movie, 50 Shades of Grey‘s enthusiastic fan base has recently become aware that the pair lack the chemistry necessary to portray two characters who want to be around each other. They and director Sam Taylor-Johnson have been aware of the severe chemistry deficiency for months. They reference it often.

The entire article is worth a read, and I even recommend watching the video of the stars answering questions from excited fans on an iPad.  I’m not a big internet-video person, but this entire thing is priceless.

All My Blogs are Dead (The Awl)

Mostly just a really interesting look at the life cycle of a website and what happens when a website dies and a contributor loses proof of their work:

Despite the pervasive assumption that everything online lasts forever, the internet is inherently unstable. Jill Lepore’s recent New Yorker story on’s Wayback Machine notes the average lifespan of a website is “about a hundred days.” Sites vanish with no explanation, or get overwritten without any traceable history. Media outlets, even those with salaried employees and editorial budgets can and do suffer the same fate.

Interesting to me because I tell my student that the Internet never forgets (and I still maintain that is true), but also that things can be ephemeral, especially online.

The Radical Christianity of Kendrick Lamar (Buzzfeed)

Probably not super interesting to anyone who isn’t interested or already enmeshed in the world of hip hop or spirituality, but this really well-written piece over at Buzzfeed examines Kendrick Lamar’s unique position as a mainstream artist with overtly Christian messages:

Save for the reliably blasphemous Kanye West, no rapper established in the upper echelons of popular music is more vocal about his personal religious beliefs than Lamar. Though he has never neatly fit the description of what would usually be termed “Christian hip-hop,” Lamar has often seasoned somber soliloquies of navigating the gang culture that birthed him with Christian themes of good and evil, as well as the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. Since the release of his platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated major-label debut Good Kid, m.A.A.d Cityin 2012, and a reported baptism while supporting West’s Yeezus tour in 2013, the centrality of Christianity to Lamar’s worldview has only grown more obvious.

There’s some interesting stuff here about walking the line between secular and religious and how that plays out commercially.  It’s definitely thought-provoking.

What got you reading and thinking this week?


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