Bonnie Raitt, the Decade of ‘The Simpsons,’ and More: Today’s Recommended Reading

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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 two interviews with two country greats, Bonnie Raitt and Loretta Lynn, as well as a profile of director Jeff Nichols and a great essay on the legacy of The Simpsons.

Over at Lenny, writer Brittany Spanos interviews country and blues legend Bonnie Raitt, who is releasing a new album, Dig in Deep. It’s her 20th, and Spanos’ intimate familiarity with Raitt’s life and catalog make for a really great read, especially when Raitt gets into politics, as she does below.

Too few people are controlling what’s going on, and it’s not trickling down, and the jobs are going overseas. What’s broken can be fixed, and it needs to be something new and fresh and a way of consciously deciding to not let things like Citizens United stay. We have to change the legislation. I’m glad you liked the song. We haven’t played it in front of people yet, but it’s just really fun to be able to express musically exactly what you’re feeling lyrically.

Rotten Tomatoes has started to produce editorial content. One of the first pieces is this great, meaty Simpsons essay from Nathan Rabin. Actually, it’s more about the era in which The Simpsons existed, and how/why Matt Groenig’s show came to so prominently lay the ground for the decade of comedy that would follow.

The Simpsons embodied the traits that would define the comedy of the 1990s: an obsession with pop culture and television embodied in an endless stream of pop culture references, inside jokes and parodies, dark humor, irony, a profound, principled cynicism about institutions and celebrities, and an innate awareness of itself as a fictional construct. It is therefore not an exaggeration to call the 1990s “The Simpsons Decade,” since the greatest show of all time towered over the era, and its distinct sensibility was reflected in just about all the transcendent comedies of the time.

Director Jeff Nichols is not yet a household name, but for movie geeks, he’s been a go-to for solid indies since 2011’s Take Shelter. That whole “for movie buffs only” title is probably gonna go the way of the dodo later this year, when his unique spin on the superhero genre, Midnight Special, hopefully overruns theaters across America. Wired has a great profile of him.

By the standards of the indie world, Mud was a hit, a career-maker—nominated for the 2012 Palme d’Or at Cannes, winner of the Robert Altman Award at the Independent Spirit Awards. But Nichols had different standards. He admires Jim Jarmusch but doesn’t want to be him. Because of the paltry distribution deal Mud got from Lionsgate (the studio invested just $1.5 million in marketing, Nichols said, which his financier matched), most people have never heard of it let alone seen it.

Nichols was done with that kind of success. He realized that if he wanted to get his movies in front of an audience, he needed the people who control the distribution channels and know how to sell. He needed a studio.

Lastly, we have a Noisey interview with Loretta Lynn, whose Full Circle has put her back in the spotlight. Writer Kim Kelly interviews Lynn deftly, wielding an impressive knowledge of the country legend, whose life has been more than just a little full. The whole thing is worth a read, but Lynn covers vital, funny territory not normally seen in her interviews when Kelly asks about how she’s been embraced by feminists.

You know how I got the idea for “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”? I was gettin’ ready backstage at one of these auditoriums, I think it was a high school auditorium. And this girl comes backstage and she was crying; I had my hair in curlers and headscarf on, but I went to her and asked her what was wrong. And she said, “My husband wouldn’t bring me to the show but he’s sitting out there in the second row with a girlfriend.” And we kinda peeked out the curtain, and she pointed him out to me. And his wife was a sweet little thing, she wasn’t all painted up. I looked out there and this girl was painted up like a street walker. And I looked at her and I said, “Honey, she ain’t woman enough to take your man.” I went backstage right then and wrote it – “You ain’t woman enough to take my man.” And it was a hit for me.