Chance the Rapper, Ramsay Bolton, the Britney Spears Game, 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 the Atlantic weighing in on how Game of Thrones should kill Ramsay, a look at the gospel influences that run through Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, a strange quirk embedded in the Britney Spears game, and more.

Writing for the Atlantic, Lenika Cruz examines how Game of Thrones can possibly kill its most evil character — Ramsay Bolton — in a way that’ll make it seem at all worth the fact that he’s overstayed his welcome on the show. It wonders how TV audiences — who love seeing villains meet ends that somehow equal the evils of their crimes — could possibly have their twisted fantasies fulfilled by a death that can only presumably happen once:

Thanks to its high unnatural death rate and expansive catalog of characters, Game of Thrones may boast the highest concentration of great villain deaths on TV: The series offered satisfying (and often demented) farewells for Viserys Targaryen, Joffrey Baratheon, Lysa Arryn, Tywin Lannister, Roose Bolton, Craster, etc. Most shows, including Thrones, cycle through one or two main story arcs with antagonists before getting rid of them—and yet Ramsay has stuck around long enough as a presence so cartoonishly evil that a simple stabbing or poisoning won’t leave most fans feeling vindicated after all they had to suffer through. He confounds many of the rules that would usually apply to small-screen villains, so it’s unusually difficult to imagine a departure that would hit all the right storytelling notes.

Over at A.V. Club, Ashley Ray-Harris has put together a “power hour” of the musical influences on Chance the Rapper’s acclaimed album, Coloring Book. Of the album’s particular focus on gospel in its musical depiction of Chicago, she writes:

Coloring Book is clearly Chance’s love letter to Chicago, but the infusion of gospel makes it perhaps the most thoroughly “Chicago” album ever made. According to Robert Marovich’s book A City Called Heaven: Chicago And The Birth Of Gospel Music, Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood was the birthplace of gospel—a mere 14-minute drive north of Chance’s Chatham neighborhood. Coloring Book pays respect to this history in intricate ways. It combines staples of gospel music like sermon, testimony, and rising choral voices in a way that mainstream artists have not been able to achieve. Labels fear their artists being relegated to the “gospel” category—a concern Chance doesn’t have to address, as he’s a free agent.

Isabella Biedenharn (who, full disclosure, was a former fellow Editorial Apprentice at Flavorwire) spent some time playing — and then wrote about playing — the Britney Spears: American Dream game, as Isa, a CD wrote employee. (“Because,” she writes in Entertainment Weekly, “in Britney Spears: American Dream, record stores are still profitable.”) In the EW piece, she chronologically (and hilariously) describes how the game changed for her — and for Isa — after an interaction with game-Britney herself in a little coffee shop called “Starbeans”:

Having met Britney, I closed the app for a couple hours. But when I reopened it, I was met with unexpected horror. My clothes, my hair, and even my skin pigment had evaporated, leaving me a nipple-less mannequin, perched at my table in Starbeans and completely unaware of my plight. Fortunately, no one else seemed to be aware of it either. (Side note: Pretty sure this happened because my phone has no available space, so the app decided not to download my skin and clothes. But still: HORROR.)

In The Guardian, timed to the release of UK’s Channel 4’s documentary Secret Life of the Human Pups, Nell Frizzell interviews a selection of “pups” — the subculture whose participants, she writes, “tend to be male, gay, have an interest in dressing in leather, wear dog-like hoods, enjoy tactile interactions like stomach rubbing or ear tickling, play with toys, eat out of bowls and are often in a relationship with their human ‘handlers.'” After a discussion with a man, Tom, who gradually worked his way from a propensity for rubber to purchasing a dalmatian suit to embracing pup-dom, she speaks with another man, David:

For David, a writer who works in academia, puppy play is an escape from the analytical world. “It’s so totally non-verbal,” he tells me. “It’s pre-rational, pre-conscious. It’s an instinctive, emotional space. But within every puppy is a person. This is part of my identity, but it’s only part. I’m also a vegetarian, play the piano; I have a parrot. I was planting tomatoes on my allotment this morning. I can go months without going into pup space.” The psychiatrist Carl Jung argued that our conscious minds contain intuitive, emotional, sensation and thinking archetypes. Are the sort of men drawn to puppy play simply exploring their intuitive self? “Absolutely,” says David. “Puppy play is exactly that – play…”