Michael Musto’s Oscar Gossip, Stan Lee’s Legacy, 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 gossip piece from Michael Musto, a long, long piece on the legacy of Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee, the struggle of DIY-stalwart K Records, and a really stupid story about why millennials don’t eat cereal.

Michael Musto, one of the few still-writing legendary personalities from the heyday of the The Village Voice, scored the paper’s cover this week with a quippy look at the gossip surrounding the upcoming Oscars. It’s a thing that Musto does better than anyone else out there.

Other leading performances were bizarrely reduced to supporting categories, simply because the studios wanted that to happen and the Academy spinelessly went along with it. It makes for a tidier dispersal of honors in their weird eyes, and everyone conspires to lie about who did what. So Rooney Mara — who’s even more the focus of Carol than Cate Blanchett — is up for Best Supporting Actress, and so is Alicia Vikander, who’s the female star of The Danish Girl; I guess they wanted Eddie Redmayne to be the only woman up for lead.

It begrudges us to include this piece, but we must, because its absurdity is a plain sign of the ludicrous state of journalism: the Washington Post has published a very important look at why millennials do not eat cereal. Spoiler: cereal is too much work and isn’t portable, because all millennial food should be able to be consumed while riding a hoverboard and sending a snapchat.

The industry, the piece explained, is struggling — sales have tumbled by almost 30 percent over the past 15 years, and the future remains uncertain. And the reasons are largely those one would expect: Many people are eating breakfast away from the home, choosing breakfast sandwiches and yogurt instead of more traditional morning staples. Many others, meanwhile, too busy to pay attention to their stomachs, are eating breakfast not at all.

Olympia-based label K Records is a DIY classic, but, as most DIY things tend to go, sadly, K Records seems to have mismanaged their funds. The Stranger has a piece that begins with ex-Moldy Peaches singer Kimya Dawson and ends with some very real doomsaying.

It’s worth pausing to consider what K Records represents in terms of Northwest music. Much like Calvin Johnson himself, K has long been regarded as a paragon of indie culture and a working model of how truly independent music can thrive free from the constraints associated with major labels. The label’s slogan, “Exploding the teenage underground into passionate revolt against the corporate ogre world-wide since 1982,” may have a tongue-in-cheek tone, but its commitment to the underlying principle has inspired generations of music lovers. The records and singles it has released—from Johnson’s band Beat Happening, Beck, KARP, Tiger Trap, Some Velvet Sidewalk, the Make-Up, Girl Trouble, Modest Mouse, among many, many others—helped to frame the evolutionary possibilities of punk and indie music, in contrast to both the mainstream and, perhaps more crucially, to the increasingly palatable strain of commercial alternative music.

Lastly, Vulture has an enormous story on Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, who seems to be having trouble securing his legacy, even though move theaters are filled with properties he had some hand in creating. He also seems to have found some enemies along the way, which I guess is to be expected of perhaps the biggest name in comic book history.

To understand the nature of Lee’s bitter blood feuds, you have to take a step back and understand who Lee was before the Marvel phenomenon: a dispirited, middle-aged company stooge working in a dying industry, with no reason to believe anything could change. To understand Stan Lee, you must understand that his is one of the more remarkable second acts in American culture. He was born Stanley Martin Lieber in Manhattan’s Upper West Side on December 28, 1922, the first child of middle-class Jewish parents. Stanley’s father, Jack, had been a dressmaker but suffered from chronic unemployment during the Depression. “Seeing the demoralizing effect that his unemployment had on his spirit, making him feel that he just wasn’t needed, gave me a feeling I’ve never been able to shake,” Lee wrote in his first memoir, Excelsior!, published in 2002. “It’s a feeling that the most important thing for a man is to have work to do, to be busy, to be needed.”