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’ve got an interview with science writer Mary Roach, a profile of comedy’s most successful weirdos, Tim and Eric, a look at the underrated women of grime, and an essay that explores the all-importance of dressing age-appropriate.
The fact that Bloomberg Businessweek profiled Tim and Eric, perhaps the weirdest comedy duo to achieve mainstream success in the past decade, at first seems like an odd match. But when you expose yourself to the bizarre design aesthetic the mag has adopted since it was helmed by Richard Turley, it becomes clear where the two meet in the middle: both of them embrace the odd while making things that, somehow, manage to be commercially successful. It helps, too, that they’ve started a production company, Abso Lutely, and broadened their scope beyond Adult Swim.
Before graduating, they drove a van to Los Angeles and got Hollywood internships. Things didn’t go well. They lived in a Burbank building filled with child actors who’d moved out West to make it big. “It was us and these kids … ,” Wareheim says, sounding spooked. They moved back East. While Heidecker lived in New York, Wareheim shot wedding and bar mitzvah videos in Philadelphia. The bad part was bumping into people he knew from school while wearing a silky tuxedo shirt; the good part was being allowed behind the scenes with high-strung families feeling pressured to look their best while seething behind tight smiles. On days off, the two tapped that deep discomfort for the videos they made together. This was before anyone with a phone and laptop could shoot and edit, so Wareheim’s videographer equipment and software came in handy. They also borrowed the gaudy fades and shabby wipes from family videos, infomercials, and corporate promotions for their loopy gags about mayors, mimes, and murder.
Reporter and science writer Mary Roach made a name for herself by anticipating society’s newfound thirst for scientific oddities, writing books about cadaver oddities, weird sex stuff, and now, Grunt: The Weird Science of Humans at War. This interview over at Wired touches on a lot of stuff, including why Roach didn’t start the book with penises and whether or not she thinks her military subjects treated her differently for being a woman.
The first chapter of your new book, Grunt, is about the high tech fashion of war. I love that, for such a stereotypically masculine topic, you start with clothes. Originally I led with urotrauma, but my editor was like, “No, we are not leading with penises.” The clothing chapter is like getting dressed for war. I get it: You need to bring the reader in gradually and not hit them in the face with blown-up crotches right out of the gate. Every book I do, my editor is like, “This is not going to be the first chapter.” I’m always thinking, “But it’s so grabby!” Well, “grabby” is probably, uh, the wrong word here. Do you think your subjects treated you differently as a female reporter? The reporting challenge for me wasn’t that I was a woman but that I was a “pogue,” an outsider—I don’t come from a military background, I don’t know the lingo. It’s such a distinct culture. No one treated me like an outsider, but I didn’t have a sense, for example, of what different acronyms meant. That said, I’m always starting from zero when I’m reporting on my books, so I’m used to that.
Over at Pitchfork, a look at the start of grime, and the pioneering women who are often forgotten in the telling of the genre’s origin. My knowledge of the genre is slim, so I’ll let Vanessa Okoth-Obbo tell it:
Yet for all the hype surrounding grime’s current wave, not enough of it is devoted to the scene’s women, who are every bit as impressive in their skills. Lady Leshurr is the most visible of grime’s women at the moment—for good reason—but her melodic shit-talking is nowhere near as known as it deserves to be. Croydon MC Nadia Rose recently put her own spin on the “Eskimo” instrumental and made it sound as fresh in 2016 as it did in 2002. Ms Banks sets booths on fire, packing mentions of politics, financial aspirations, and female empowerment into one slick verse and wondering if anyone who might question her talent is “feeling alright.”
Part of growing up is learning how to look grown-up, as is written over at New York Magazine‘s new Beta Male vertical. The writer struggles with coming to terms with his own aging, as well as what that means for how he needs to present himself, and, further, how that plays into how he, himself, feels. That is to say, it’s tough not to dress like a 20-something if you still feel, in your head, that you’re 20-something. Here he is with a bit from a conversation he and his friends had while vacationing on Fire Island:
In the Pines, nobody is ever wearing very much, regardless of whether that is a particularly good idea. And to tell the truth, I’m often not either, and I was hoping that was okay. On a recent Saturday morning I was sitting on a pool deck among other men in their 30s and early 40s in similar states of abbreviated dress (one, truth be told, was just in a pair of briefs). Meanwhile, on the balcony of the house behind us, visible through the scrubby trees, a for-some-reason-naked man was scampering on the furniture with a Mylar cape around his shoulders to the tune of Rihanna’s “Work.” So at least we weren’t him.