Louis C.K.

STANTON | Wanting More From Louis C.K. In 2017

“So you know, I think abortion…” begins Louis C.K.’s new stand-up special, 2017. It’s an uncomfortable start to a resoundingly uncomfortable bit, and one that tellingly earns more laughs for sheer audacity than actual content. “I think you should not get an abortion,” he continues, after pausing to let the audience squirm for a few moments, “Unless you need one. In which case, you better get one.”

The bit drones on mercilessly for about five minutes, in which the 49 year-old alternately trivializes the subject matter and — more effectively — mocks the debate surrounding it. Of anti-abortion activists, he insists, “They think babies are being murdered!” Normally, C.K. thrives in these moments, jumping squarely over the line before convincing his audience to question why it was there in the first place. It’s an extraordinary talent, which the comedian has used in the past to generate empathy in unexpected places (a 2015 SNL monologue on pedophiles comes to mind) or to upend the parameters of social discourse.


MEISEL | Hotlanta

“Hotlanta” is a groovy Allman Brothers track. It also nicknames a humid sprawl with an area of about 8,300 square miles which has generated its fair share of Confederate battle-flag toting libertarians and trap superstars. For the past 20 years, the city has risen in notoriety, mostly for its music culture. Outkast’s Southernplayalistikcadillacmuzik includes a tongue-in-cheek sketch announcing that despite its states’ racist flag, Atlanta is “the new Motown of the South.” I doubt Andre and Big Boi knew how true those words would 20 years later, when Lil Yachty and Migos top the charts with no signs of fatigue in sight. Donald Glover cemented a vision of Atlanta as a haze of concrete.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.