I just discovered Richard Wright’s Black Boy pretty recently. It’s not quite a direct memoir (many of the personal facts and anecdotes are fuzzy and were inserted for narrative effect) as it a vivid impression of what it was like to be a young black man in 1920-30ss America. It makes that time period from that perspective alive and present. Reading an evocative account of another person’s experience closes the distance between you. We can never fully know what’s it… Read more »

Amy Winehouse drank herself to death with vodka while watching videos of herself on Youtube. That fact, a fairly simple and sad demise labeled as a “misadventure” by the British coroner, came out two years after her death. Before the official report was released there was a lot of speculation about what transpired on Amy’s last night on Earth, and which drug, or drugs, was the one that took her away from us. Most of us, her parents included, didn’t want to believe that it was alcohol, the legal, highly marketed toxin most adults imbibe fairly regularly. We wanted it to be a “harder” drug, something more complicated and difficult to procure. Her parents seemed to want to deflect, to deny that it was anything at all, to say Amy had been doing well. Despite their will to believe otherwise, her public appearances shortly before her death seem to point to the fact that Amy was doing worse than ever. Her only drug at the time may have been alcohol via episodic binges, but that’s more than enough. If her parents couldn’t truly see her, how could she expect anyone to?

Bruce Jenner umaas shaken up our world and brought the question of gender to the forefront of popular consciousness. His two-hour interview with Diane Sawyer was a very well-planned introduction to the “real” Bruce Jenner, an introduction to a public figure we thought we somewhat knew, but actually haven’t met before.

It’s an insanely hard matter to exist. First, of course, we have to make sure our basic needs are met, which is a chore in itself. The problem with having them met is that it is only briefly satisfying for us. The hunger that’s hard to feed and the rumbling that seems impossible to quiet is the pull of the dread of death and a swallowing ache of loneliness.

This disorienting pain is where Don Hertzfeldt’s films live.

Ken Cosgrove has in his reach the perfect setup for an aspiring author: thanks to his marriage situation, he could take of advantage of all the money and time needed to hammer out his first novel. He only toys with this dream briefly, though, this glimmering life not lived, before going back to tracing the same old circles with his hours, this time fueled by revenge. Is that all there is?

The Internet and media didn’t break Monica Lewinsky, but it almost did. It’s been almost two decades since the former White House intern, in her words, became “patient zero” for internet shame and scandal. But now, after 17 years of being a punchline, she’s stepped out of the shadows to remind us all that she is, after all, a person. She asking that we consider the humanity of people with our stray comments, a practice that is just as important offline as online.