Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

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Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers each recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed the most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.

The World’s End (dir. Edgar Wright)

I never saw Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, so I didn’t really think I’d care about their new movie The World’s End. But when I discovered it was a science fiction comedy secretly about the evolution of adult friendships, I was like, “Shut up, I am so on board.” And seriously, I fell in love with this movie from the get-go — it is smart, funny, and admirably esoteric (jokes that revolve around Primal Scream and Sisters of Mercy? Why did this movie not exist when I was in high school?), but most importantly, as Jason Bailey points out in his recent review, it’s mature. It’s a bittersweet, incredibly fun, surprisingly heavy story that captures just how many things time can change and how so many of us are struggling to understand it. —Sarah Fonder, Editorial Apprentice

Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff

This week I started reading Douglas Rushkoff’s Present Shock, which is a fascinating examination of the world in which we live. Eschewing the tiresome “OMG TECHNOLOGY” arguments that people tend to trot out when discussing the 21st century, Rushkoff digs deeper and thinks harder than most of his contemporaries — instead of just decrying about how information overload has shortened attention spans and increased stress levels, he constructs a theory of “presentism,” looking at how technology that has fundamentally changed our lives for both better and worse. It’s fascinating stuff, and highly recommended. —Tom Hawking, Music Editor

Amy Poehler chats with Jeff Garlin

As I’ve mentioned, Jeff Garlin’s By the Way is one of my favorite podcasts, a free-wheeling, entertaining, and frequently uproarious chat between the Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star (and filmmaker) and people he, in his words, “digs.” But he may well have topped himself with Episode 15 (posted, yes, a month ago — shut up, I’m catching up), in which he is joined by the delightful Amy Poehler. Both are improv vets, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’re so spontaneously funny, but when they discuss public nudity, bar mitzvahs, Amy’s idea for a feature comedy (Gay for the Weekend), or mothers’ relationships with their sons (she admits, with some shame, that in some ways a son is always “your tiny husband”), you don’t want the conversation to end. —Jason Bailey, Film Editor

The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd

Amy Grace Loyd has had a pretty good week: not only was her essay about her time as Playboy’s literary editor an excellent read, but her debut novel, The Affairs of Others, hit bookstores. Following Celia Cassill, a Brooklyn landlord still grieving over the death of her husband, the novel is an intriguing and mysterious look at the relationships between those who live around us — particularly those who share the walls of our apartment buildings, and who we generally do our best to avoid. When a female tenant sublets a unit in her building, Celia becomes unexpectedly involved in her personal life in surprising and shocking ways. It’s a suspenseful take on intimacy and desire, and one that will leave an indelible mark on its readers. —Tyler Coates, Deputy Editor

Anika’s New Wave Turntable Lab

There’s usually pretty good stuff bumping out of the Flavorwire office speakers, but yesterday some kind soul decided to turn off the Spotify radio station, and tuned up this Turntable Lab podcast from 2011 that featured Anika throwing down a bunch of weird post punk and synth stuff by everybody from The Normal to a really great cover of Suicide’s “Ghost Rider” that I think is by Sisters of Mercy, but I’m still not 100% sure. —Jason Diamond, Literary Editor

“When Your (Brown) Body Is a (White) Wonderland”

I liked this post from Tressie McPhD on the Miley Cyrus floofaroo, which points out quite rightly that the use of black women’s bodies in the act points up a lot of issues about the way black women’s sexuality is understood in this culture:

I then explained to him my long, storied, documented history of being accosted by drunk white men and women in atmospheres just like these. Women asking to feel my breasts in the ladies’ restroom. Men asking me for a threesome as his drunk girlfriend or wife looks on smiling. Frat boys offering me cash to “motorboat” my cleavage. Country boys in cowboy hats attempting to impress his buddies by grinding on my ass to an Outkast music set. It’s almost legend among my friends who have witnessed it countless times.

—Michelle Dean, Editor-at-Large