@voyou Why do films these days have so much plot? The big Marvel films are one damn thing after another, and "Rise of Skyw… https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1214984848705826822 8 Jan 20 Reply Retweet Favorite

The fascism of Baby Yoda’s face

Obviously, The Rise of Skywalker is not a good film. A ton of stuff happens, none of it’s developed, and much of it is stupid. One of the stupidest things is the return of Emperor Palpatine, which undercuts the ending of The Return of the Jedi in order to avoid developing a new antagonist for the sequel trilogy. Stupid, and yet….

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If We Could Feel Beale Street

In his review of If Beale Street Could Talk, Mark Kermode praises the film for finding universality in its presentation of a story of a very specific time and place. Kermode suggests that it is this very specificity which allows the film to be universal, or, rather, a particular sort of specificity, the detailed drawing […]

Capitalist use and communist use

Sometimes people take the distinction between use value and exchange value as a moral distinction: use value is natural and good, and then capitalism came along and ruined things by inventing exchange value. This is wrong – use value and exchange value are a dialectical pair, and they both only came into existence with the […]

The power of garlic sausage and the limits of social reproduction theory

In 1852, Marx wrote that Napoleon III had managed to become Emperor of France because he knew the power of “cigars and champagne, cold poultry and garlic sausage.” Many attempts have been made to interpret the significance of these sausages (including Andrew Parker’s suggestion that they are a phallic symbol), but few have drawn attention […]

The Official Charts of 2017

You can also experience this post in the form of a Spotify playlist. Top tracks Rae Morris – ‘Do It’. One of my favourite songwriting tropes is intentional lyrical inarticulacy as a representation of overwhelming passion. Dagny – ‘Wearing Nothing’. Another thing I really like is airy, summery disco-inflected tracks (I especially like them when […]

Against the homophobia of innocence

In a post on the NYRB’s web site about Carol, Francine Prose writes: Ramping up the drama is the fact that we are never permitted to forget the social pressures and restrictive mores of the mid-twentieth century. In one scene, the bewildered Therese asks her even more clueless boyfriend Richard (Jake Lacy) if he’s ever heard […]


Emily Witt | The Unpredictable Cactus · LRB 22 December 2019

In her memoirs Simone de Beauvoir described Sartre being haunted by visions of scuttling crabs for days after his experiment, but Jay writes that Sartre admitted to having first seen the crabs years before trying mescaline….  Benjamin did not have a great time on mescaline. It made him irritable. He kept expressing anxiety about the damage [...]

Tom Shippey | Throw your testicles · LRB 09 December 2019

Tales filtered back from Crusaders and distant travellers of a giant herbivore with a nose so long and pliable that it could pick up men and seat them on its back, and of an armour-plated carnivore that lurked in water and could be mistaken by the unwary for a log of wood. These were as [...]