’13th,’ Lynch’s Soundtracks, a Disgusting Recording of Trump, and More: This Week’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. This week, we recommend a piece questioning the worrisome dismissal and absence of climate change questions in the debates thus far, an in depth look into David Lynch’s use of music from Pitchfork, an interview with Ava DuVernay on her new documentary about the history of American racism and the carceral state’s disproportionate toll on black Americans, a talk with the costume designer of Taylor Mac’s towering 24-Decade History of Popular Music, and a very, very bad Trump video.

The Washington Post has just shared a truly vile (okay, that applies to a vast majority of Trumpisms, but this is a specimen of superlative vileness) video recording of Donald Trump, presidential candidate, talking on a bus with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush in 2005 about how “when you’re a star…you can do anything” to women — an example of which, as Trump lists, is “Grab them by the p—y…You can do anything.” So here’s that. And here’s what the Post — and Trump himself — have to say about the recording, in which Trump likewise discusses an unsuccessful attempt at wooing an undisclosed woman (while seemingly married to Melania Trump):

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close,” Trump said in a statement. “I apologize if anyone was offended.” The tape appears at a time when Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has sought to make a campaign issue out of his opponent’s marriage. Trump has criticized former President Bill Clinton for his past infidelity, and criticized opponent Hillary Clinton as her husband’s “enabler.”

Vice writer Mike Pearl has published an article asking a question…about a question that’s been too seldom asked: when the hell are the current political candidates — even the ones who believe climate change is real — going to start making it a more central issue in their campaigns? And when are the moderators of debates actually going to question them about it? Thus far, two debates (the first Presidential Debate, and the Vice Presidential debate this week) have gone by with hardly a mention of one of the biggest issues facing the entire world — and one that’ll see storms like Hurricane Matthew, which took over 800 lives in Haiti, only continuing to intensify over the years. Pearl quotes a few experts in the course of the piece, searching for and elaborating on the reasons for the destructive downplaying of the issue:

“Politicians don’t know how to talk about [climate change] effectively,” Renee Lertzman, a consultant who performs market research around climate change, told me. Lertzman assembles focus groups and works with climate educators to figure out what messages resonate, and she has observed people “hungering for an authentic way of talking about this issue.” But Americans also view greenhouse-gas-producing activities and industries as a “big part of who we are and our identity,” which makes the general population defensive. “This leads to a taboo around speaking out about it,” she said.

Ava DuVernay did an interview with The Atlantic surrounding today’s release of her documentary, 13th — which, as Flavorwire’s own Jason Bailey put it, “refocuses the entire American story through the prism of institutionalized white supremacy, tracing its reconfiguration and rebranding through the decades, from slavery to Jim Crow to ‘the war on drugs’ to ‘tough on crime.'” The latter part of the film focuses on today, and the Black Lives Matter movement. DuVernay says in the interview:

The final act of our picture is all about Black Lives Matter, not as some kind of dutiful, “Oh it’s the present moment, we should do something.” Every line, every frame of this film leads you to that place. Leads you to the now, leads you to the movement. The whole film is a virtual tour through racism. We’re giving you 150 years of oppression in 100 minutes. The film was 150 years in the making. Really, it’s to give context to the current moment. The current moment of mass criminalization, of incarceration as an industry, prison as profit, punishment as profit. And the current moment of the declaration that the lives of black people, our very breath, our very dignity, our very humanity, are valuable and matter to the world.

Plenty has been written about David Lynch’s iconically unsettling use of music in his films (and television series) — but Pitchfork has, following the sharing of a new teaser for the upcoming season of Twin Peaks (featuring composer Angelo Badalamenti playing the theme song), published an analysis that invites commentary from many of Lynch’s musical collaborators — from Badalamenti to Trent Reznor to Julee Cruise. Pitchfork contributor Daniel Dylan Wray writes:

Lynch’s fixation with individual pieces of music has exploded to life on screen repeatedly over the years. The Bobby Vinton version of the song “Blue Velvet,” for instance, provided an initial spark for that movie; when Lynch heard the 1963 hit, it triggered his imagination, and he suddenly envisioned a twilit, shadowy neighborhood with a girl with red lips in a car surrounded by the rich hue of the neighborhood’s black-green lawns. The track painted a picture and set the scene for the whole film.

This weekend sees the closing of Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music — a 24 hour “radical fairy realness ritual” in which Taylor Mac devotes one hour to each of the last 24 decades of music, through 246 songs in — at St. Anne’s Warehouse. New York Magazine profiled Machine Dazzle, the costume designer behind the gorgeous, elaborately strange outfits worn across the day-long show. Catie L’Heureux writes:

For the 1830s, he made a hoop skirt fashioned from gay-male erotica and potato-chip bags (inspired by Walt Whitman). For the 1990s, he created light-up labia wings (inspired by lesbians). The entire range will be on display at St. Ann’s Warehouse tomorrow night, when Mac closes his run with a 24-hour performance. “I prefer to queer the history or the ideas instead of accept the status quo,” he said, explaining that politics, music, and inventions inspired the subversive silhouettes more than the styles of each era. “There’s no queer history. It’s been written out of history. Forgotten.” Mac, who goes by the pronoun “judy,” spent five years rewriting those forgotten American identities into a 24-hour show, with one hour of songs and one outfit dedicated to each decade.