Glam Rock’s Legacy, Barry Jenkins, a Broken Internet, 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. This week, we recommend a piece for Pitchfork about the abstract endurance of the itself short-lived glam rock era, interviews with Moonlight‘s Naomie Harris and Barry Jenkins, and more.

Former Flavorwire Editor in Chief Judy Berman writes for Pitchfork about Simon Reynolds’ new book, Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-First Century, and how aspects of glam rock, while declared dead by the mid-’70s, have pervaded pop culture ever since:

By 1976, punk would arrive to purge rock of both its proggy and glittery excesses, just as glam had kicked off the decade with an artifice-worshiping backlash to the Woodstock generation’s authenticity fetish. But the glam aesthetic has endured a much longer life than the movement’s teenage scene and cartoonishly simplified rock sound. Its self-conscious embrace of fame and ego continues to reverberate through pop music decades after the death of its prototypical superstar, Marc Bolan of T. Rex, in 1977. As an elastic concept rather than a fixed stratosphere of ’70s personalities, it is even equipped to survive the loss of its most enduring artist, David Bowie.

I was fortunate enough to get to speak to playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney recently for having provided the foundation for Moonlight for his piece In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. Other people who contributed to the creation of this profoundly exquisite film — from writer/director Barry Jenkins to actress Naomie Harris — were making the rounds this week in advance of the film’s release today. Harris (who shot all of her scenes — which take place over the course of three drastically different periods of her character’s life — over the course of three days) spoke with Kate Erbland for Indiewire about her role as the protagonist’s mother, Paula, whose relationship to her son is vastly compromised by her addiction to crack. Harris said she’d formerly made a pact with herself never to “play a crack addict” because she “set out my career thinking that there were enough stereotypes about black women, so I wanted to make a difference in this arena.” But Jenkins, to whom the story of Moonlight is quite personal, convinced her for all the right reasons. She tells the publication:

“He said to me, ‘Look, Naomie, I don’t want to ask you to play yet another crack addict.’ But the reality is that this is my mom’s story. This is Tarell’s mom’s story. Do we just pretend that this didn’t happen? Do we ignore huge swathes of society that are suffering from addiction? We have to tell their story and to tell it compassionately and truthfully.’…I think what happens too often when stories of addiction come up is that they are dismissed as the addiction and that’s all that you see is the addiction and that’s all that they are…But we’re much more complex than that as human beings. I was excited by the opportunity to show the layers and complexity of someone with addiction.

Meanwhile, Barry Jenkins spoke with Kyle Buchanan at Vulture about one of the film’s most strikingly intimate scenes — and of the very surprising way in which it was shot:

There’s this phone-call scene where André [Holland’s character is] at the diner, he’s got the towel on his shoulder, and he calls Trevante [Rhodes’ character], who’s in his room on his bed. We shot that the week before they physically met, and it was great, because they had this very long conversation for half a day, basically just talking on the phone. I could feel the two of them getting … well, not familiar, because the characters aren’t familiar at that point, but it was almost like they were enticing one another. And that’s what needed to happen in order for that relationship to work.

You may have noticed the Internet seems to have broken today; the Atlantic spells out, in relatively understandable terms (which they make sure to define!), the nature of the attack that led so many major websites — from Twitter to Tumblr to Spotify to the NYT — to malfunction this morning:

How was it possible to take down all those sites at once? Someone attacked the architecture that held them together—the domain-name system, or DNS, the technical network that redirects users from easy-to-remember addresses like to a company’s actual web servers. The assault took the form of a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) on one of the major companies that provides other companies access to DNS. A DDoS attack is one in which an attacker floods sites “with so much junk traffic that it can no longer serve legitimate visitors,” as the security researcher Brian Krebs put it in a blog post Friday morning.

Speaking of Internet infiltrations, Thomas Rid has written a huge and historically detailed piece for Esquire on the recent hacks that’ve provided information to Wikileaks, very strongly emphasizing the possibility that Russia is behind them:

The attacks against political organizations and individuals absorbed much of the media’s attention this year. But in many ways, the DNC hack was merely a prelude to what many security researchers see as a still more audacious feat: the hacking of America’s most secretive intelligence agency, the NSA.

And as a bonus, this may not be reading, but in case you missed it, Leonard Cohen spoke with NPR earlier this week about his bleak and fantastic new album, You Want it Darker.