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JONES | Four Great Shows and One Nasty Joke

What do you do when your favorite genre becomes a meme? I grew up with indie rock, but I’ve been feeling pretty disinterested with what it has to offer lately. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to the justified criticism of self-indulgent, guitar-strumming sadboys by former Arts editor Jael Goldfine ‘17. I’m experiencing general indifference for the most popular indie acts of the moment (Car Seat Headrest: fine. Parquet Courts: whatever.

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ALUR | The Better Features of Drake’s More Life

I’m really not a Drake fan. Despite my qualms, I listened to More Life last week. Drake’s choices to feature a variety of artists, ranging from Hiatus Kaiyote and Sampha to Kanye West, makes him an intriguing figure for someone like me, who isn’t a huge fan of his music.

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STANTON | Pass Me the Aux

Monopolies will ruin all that is good in America. Apple Inc. – once that hallowed American ideal of what two dudes can accomplish with some ingenuity and a two-car garage – will repackage all your hopes and dreams, then sell them back to you. Of course you’ll buy it, because opening a Mac at a coffee shop suggests to others that you’re a creative mastermind one breakthrough away from writing the century’s next great novel, while a PC labels you a corporate hack. I write this, obviously, as a fellow drone caught in Apple’s matrix, knowing all too well that I’ll someday purchase one of those face-sized phones and continue to wallow in self-aware, consumerist guilt.

This is all old news, and dorm-room philosophy at that. It is also old news that Apple – either as a flex of monopolistic power, or an attempt at gauging just how much they can bully their customer base without losing business – has decided to phase out the traditional headphone jack.

COURTESY OF A24

GUEST ROOM | Girl on the Road: Female Sexuality as Power in American Honey

In Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, a teenage girl named Star leaves behind a troubled home life to join a group of kids who travel across the Midwest selling magazines. This film sets out to tell the story of adolescent camaraderie on the road; it ends up an important contribution to road narratives that does justice to female sexuality in a way rarely seen before. In the beginning of the film, Star and two children stand on the side of the road sticking out their thumbs for passing cars. When no one will pick them up, Star yells in exasperation, “Are we invisible?” If women and children are seen as in need of help at any locus of society, that perceived helplessness is amplified when one is a woman or a child (both, in Star’s case) on the road. The vulnerability of women on the road is a reality that renders people like Star invisible to passersby.

COURTESY OF NPR

ALUR | Tiny Desks and Tank and the Bangas

The Tiny Desk concert series is a favorite of mine. I routinely turn to NPR Music’s YouTube channel when I’m in need of something new to listen to. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the series, the host of NPR Music’s “All Songs Considered,” Bob Boilen, created Tiny Desk Concerts as a way to host and record live performances. They take place at NPR Music’s office in D.C., and over the past 9 years, the series has featured musicians from a wide range of genres and levels of fame. I’ve been watching Tiny Desks for several years now, and I’ve seen some of my long time favorites (Death Cab for Cutie, Lianne La Havas) perform from behind Bob Boilen’s desk, as well as discovered some incredible new artists through the series.

COURTESY OF HBO

STANTON | Try Different Jokes

Comedians love to talk about themselves. So much so, in fact, that one imagines them going out of their way to have noteworthy experiences in life just for the sake of writing new material. This real-time autobiography is an essential part of the craft, as the rules of modern stand-up dictate that comics have to reveal an embarrassing experience in every set, or at least throw a few self-deprecating pokes at their own neuroses. Whether he intended to birth an undying format or not, Jerry Seinfeld transplanted these autobiographical elements of comedy culture into his TV show, resulting in one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. For apparent lack of inspiration, every comedian in the game seems determined to do the exact same thing.

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JONES | A Love Letter to SPIN Magazine

In junior high school my uncle bought me a subscription to Rolling Stone for my birthday, and I read its bimonthly pages like they were the gospel of popular music. Rolling Stone was the end-all authority on music, the paper of record for music journalism: it didn’t seem to decide so much as know what was good. There’s a reason I felt this way at the time. Rolling Stone has lost most of its cultural significance, but it somehow remains a powerful brand. Even Pitchfork, which is much more influential among millennials, doesn’t hold the kind of brand-cache that Rolling Stone does.

COURTESY OF DREAMWORKS TELEVISION

SWAN | On Freaks and Geeks and Music

I would like to initiate this piece by making the rather bold assertion that Freaks and Geeks is a most profound creative portrayal of white, suburban and American high school life. Although it was tragically cancelled after its first season, it has surely attained cult-classic status. Yet, for those of you who do not know about this masterpiece of American television culture, Freaks and Geeks takes place in 1980 Michigan, and follows student Lindsay Weir in her attempt to abandon her confining, “mathlete” persona and hang around the burned-out group of “freaks” in her high school. This is not some desperate call for attention, or a problem that needs resolving, but rather an act of personal expression on the part of Lindsay. This is perhaps the thesis of the entire show; that youthful expression is both liberating and emotionally healthy, and it is crucial that young people surround themselves with accepting peers in the process.

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ALUR | Exercise, HGTV and Emo Melodies

Let me preface this piece by saying that my recent columns have been very politically driven, and I’m ready for a break. Every news story I read makes me cringe, so today I’m going to attempt to deliver some lighter writing. Here’s to hoping I succeed. I’ve been going to the gym more often lately. It’s a nice break from my academic life and it gives me something to do in those awkward hours in the middle of the day.