Remembering Vanity, Dating a Video Game Sim, and More: Today’s Recommended Reading


Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘Net are doing, too. Today we have a remembrance of singer Vanity, née Denise Katrina Matthews; a deep dive into the world of Japanese dating games; a report on human kind’s destruction of the animal kingdom; and a profile of musician Sky Ferreira.

Dazed has a profile of Sky Ferreira, in which she details her difficulties around her debut LP, Night Time, My Time. She also talks about the origins of the title of her follow-up, Masochism, which is slated for a summer 2016 release.

“I started writing the lyrics two years ago when I was touring, and that’s when the name (Masochism) came to me,” she reveals. “The way I look at it, it’s about going from one thing to another. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my own self-value. Before, in order to feel good about anything there had to be some kind of struggle, a painful way to get to it, otherwise I felt I didn’t really deserve it. Which is a really fucked up way of thinking.” “I became a bit of a masochist in every single way – for a while it was like, ‘If it doesn’t hurt then it’s not real.’ That is honestly how I felt. I’m still in the thick of everything changing, but change, like, sucks! It’s good in the long run, but it’s fucking weird and uncomfortable. When I feel like I’ve reached the point where I’m somewhat comfortable with it, that’s when the album ends.”

Today saw the passing of 57-year-old musician Denise Katrina Matthews, also known as Vanity, who was a protégé of Prince. She headed trio Vanity 6 before going out on her own and later, after a brush with death, became an evangelical Christian miles away from her Prince-fostered persona. Jes Skolnik remembers Vanity at Pitchfork’s The Pitch.

The “6” in Vanity 6 referred to the number of breasts in the group, a positively demure reference considering that, according to a People interview Vanity did shortly after her split from Prince, he had apparently wanted to name her “Vagina,” to which she had put her foot down: “He said people would know me nationwide. I said, ‘No kidding.’”

Fusion’s Isha Aran took a deep dive into the world of Japanese dating games, eventually receiving a proposal from sadistic novelist Ryoichi. Come for the baseline absurdity of the story and stay for the eeriness that is Isha experiencing a real-world injury in near-perfect harmony with her virtual avatar.

The game made it clear: Ryoichi needed Isha. He loved her, and she him. But where did I fit into this picture? As much as I enjoyed living vicariously through Isha A., I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was playing a role. I was a version of myself, to be sure—a submissive, gooey-eyed version—but not quite myself myself. Which makes sense, given that a Japanese developer I’d never met wrote my character before I even downloaded the game. Despite the free will I had to “choose my adventure,” I was only dictating a fraction of the narrative.

Lastly, at Motherboard, William H. Funk documents with such scary reality the devastation of the animal kingdom that I at first mistook the pieces as one of VICE‘s fiction features. But, sadly, it is not.

The largesse of wildlife available in Africa is largely limited to that continent, but what if it wasn’t? Imagine a Europe where mammoths and woolly rhinos roam northern Scandinavia, Iberian wolf packs hunt aurochs and brown bears swagger through the Dolomites. If it weren’t for the ascent of mankind, the entire world would still look like the Serengeti, a galloping, roaring, thunderous paradise of bloodshed and birth, terror and triumph, as a recent study spells out in living color.