Author: Bobbie Johnson

Full of passionate intensity

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Media / Quotes

Joan Didion, for all her complexities, continues to have… a moment? No, it’s too extended for that. And she was too anxious, too awkward for it. Still, it’s happening: even though she died last year, her words keep coming. Even her stuff keeps coming. I loved this explanation of hers, from a talk (via Lithub) that’s in her book released earlier this year. It’s those obsessions that shape what we are, really. Underneath we’re the […]

A foul buffet

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Smells are brilliant and infuriating for writers because they are just so hard to express. Here’s an Atlas Obscura piece, an excerpt from Jessica Leigh Hester’s Sewer, describing the waft of fatbergs that clog the pipes beneath London. These moments that overwhelm the senses are fascinating.

Things I liked this week (45)

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Media / Recommendations / Things my friends have made

• Weird, the Al Yankovic Story was brilliantly stupid. This is a group of people living their best life: Weird Al just having a ton of fun, Daniel Radcliffe continuing to go off. (Asked recently by a Guardian reader “Do you just tell your agent: “As long as it’s weird, I’m in?””, he replied that his approach to scripts was: “If you sit down and lecture somebody on how shame keeps us from love, that’s […]

Keep your ears up, rabbit

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audio / Media

You can call it on the Golden Age of Podcasting™: it’s over, it’s done. What started, sort of, with Serial has come to an end—and not just because Adnan finally got out. After a blossoming of studios and projects over the last decade, things hit a plateau when the services all rolled up into a handful of dominant players, and we are now going through an inevitable and depressing dip as the dominance turns into […]

Bad pants and the flow of happiness

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Quotes / Recommendations / Work

Being somebody of strange proportions—tall and wide, but not quite tall enough or wide enough to warrant special treatment—I have never been able to find clothes that feel right. How do people who fit their clothes feel, I wonder. What is it like to just put on a pair of trousers, or a shirt, and be comfortable? So this quote from David Lynch in GQ hit home. My current uniform, established over the course of […]

Riding the bike

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audio / Media / Quotes / Work

I loved hearing Annie-B Parson talk about choreography on the Time Sensitive podcast—particularly her work over many years with David Byrne. Parson has worked on a large number of projects in the past two or three decades, culminating in American Utopia (I saw the show when it was on its original tour, totally fascinating.) But the most interesting part was that she now came to see all of those works as, ultimately, the same piece. […]

Attention economics

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• Jonathan Katz has the best piece I’ve seen about the current attempts to rewrite the history of the New York Times op-ed controversy in 2020. (You remember, the one that engulfed the paper when it published Tom Cotton’s call for federal troops to end Black Lives Matter protests? The one currently undergoing a revisionist reconstruction project which is being laundered by Semafor as a way to get attention?) • Some people dredged up a […]

You can’t get it back

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Despite working in Hollywood, an industry that loves to create culture via the medium of checking boxes—screenwriter Charlie Kaufman has made a career out of avoiding those boxes completely. Being John Malkovich; Adaptation; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Synecdoche, New York. After reading a Twitter thread from Casey Johnston, I went down a Kaufman rabbit hole and found this 2011 speech in which he talks about screenwriting. But really it’s just about creating, full […]

Radar, week 24: Hustlers and homes

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Link / Things my friends have made / weeknotes / Workbook

• Loved this Mia Sato report from Gary Vaynerchuck’s VeeCon. Internet-driven fandoms are such fertile (and often terrifying) territory. • The rise of the internet’s creative middle class. • Robots building offshore wind turbines. • How Houston moved 25,000 people from the streets into homes of their own. • Megan Tatum on queer campaigners using the net to organize in a conservative Muslim country.