Beauty is in the eye of the writer. Adelle Waldman discusses why many novelists fail to address female beauty in a meaningful and nuanced way. “Women are not only subject to a constant and exhausting and sometimes humiliating scrutiny—they are also belittled for caring about their beauty, mocked for seeking to enhance or to hold onto their good looks, while men are just, well, being men.”
For those among us who have missed the eighties, from now until November 8th, Esquire magazine is hosting a special pop-up edition of SPY, that late-millennial stalwart of satirical journalism. Co-founder (and novelist) Kurt Andersen said he was moved to bring the magazine back because “lots more people, pretty much every day, said to me, ‘SPY really needs to be rebooted, if only just for the election.'”
If it’s election satire you want, we highly recommend our own Jacob Lambert‘s literary cagematch: Hemingway vs. Faulkner vs. Trump.
“Kindness cuts through the rest. And it’s a reminder for us all to reach out. Write that sweet note. Make that loving phone call. Because you never know what will stick.” Here is the follow-up to Julienne Grey’s fantastic New York Times piece “My Mother is Not a Bird,” courtesy of Electric Literature.
It’s turning into Speedboat Week here, so why not spend the weekend with some of Renata Adler‘s most renowned nonfiction? Her controversial reassessment of Pauline Kael (featuring “A Limitless Capacity to Inquire,” one of the best found poems you’ll ever read) is at the NYRB, and her deep dive into l’affaire Lewinski can be found at the L.A. Times. Interestingly, as Sarah Weinman points out, Adler’s 2001 book about the Bilderberg Conferences still hasn’t seen the light of day. (“Who suppresses manuscripts? We do!”)
As we noted here recently about the rise and fall of Motown, the real issue was money — who earned it, who kept it, who never saw it. Now Barrett Strong, who co-wrote and sang the Detroit label’s first hit in 1959, “Money (That’s What I Want),” tells The New York Times that he never saw a penny of royalties for a song that became a classic and generated millions of dollars for the label. Strong’s story is the story of Motown boiled down to its bitter, ironic essence.