‘Pokémon’ Music Encourages Depression, Straight Croissants Mean Death, 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 very serious piece that equates the rise of straight croissants to the fall of civilization, an essay that uses Walt Whitman as a jumping-off point for exploring the inevitability of death, a survey of New York City’s MTA as portrayed on film, and Pokémon‘s Lavender Town Syndrome.

At KillScreen, Mark Hill investigates the terrifying history of the fictional Lavender Town Syndrome, which is a thing that has, according to myth, led to depression and suicide among many kids who played the original Gameboy release of Pokémon.

It was eventually determined that Lavender Town’s music was to blame. Something about its high pitch binaural beats messed with the brains of children in a way adults were immune to. Nintendo released an updated, less prone-to-inducing-insanity version of the game and, with help from the Japanese government, covered up the entire ugly incident. We wouldn’t be speaking about it today if a single distraught employee hadn’t leaked Nintendo’s report on what they dubbed Lavender Town Syndrome, complete with a chilling line by line recap of the names, ages, and varied symptoms of its many victims.

LitHub has an essay by writer J. Aaron Sanders that begins at Walt Whitman and ventures into the realm of the writer’s own life, including his children, and the loss of love, and how everything one holds dear must come to an end, though we all live on in one way or another.

Another way of thinking about Walt Whitman’s view of death in Leaves of Grass is through the first two laws of thermodynamics. The first states that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but can be converted from one form to another. In other words, we didn’t just appear out of nothing; indeed we came from the matter around us, something Whitman notes in the third line of “Song of Myself”: “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” But the first law of thermodynamics also means that when we die, our own matter and energy are converted into yet something else where we will grow from the grass we love.

Bilge Ebiri, writing at Vulture, takes a look at the top 20 instances of the MTA in modern film. The subway is a major part of the lives of New Yorkers, so it makes sense that the iconic cars — whether they be dirty or clean, blue or orange, lit or darkened — are one of the few things consistently represented in fictional film.

About supernatural romance, Ghost:

This romance, about Patrick Swayze’s ghost trying to commune with his wife Demi Moore while also trying to catch the scheming business partner who wronged him, features a surprisingly powerful subway sequence. In it, our spectral hero jumps into and through subway cars, looking for another ghost (played by the great Vincent Schiavelli) who can knock things out of people’s hands. Swayze wants to learn how he too can connect with the material world — how he can actually touch things.

Adam Gopnik at The New Yorker takes the announcement from British supermarket chain Tesco, which declared that they would no longer be selling curved croissants because they were not as easily spread with butter or jam, and uses it as an analogue for the death of civilization.

Why is a croissant shaped that way, anyway? The first truth is that they are not, necessarily. As veteran visitors to Parisian bakeries know, the superior, all-butter croissants are already commonly articulated as straight pastries—or, at least, as gently sloping ones—while the inferior oil or margarine ones must, by law, be neatly turned in.