by Josie Kafka
The Veronica Mars movie has a premiere date: March 14, 2014. It will start off in a limited run (which likely means LA and New York), but hopefully expand nationwide once everyone realizes how awesome this show is.
The Dark Side of Selfies
Darth Vader has posted his first selfie on the Star Wars Instagram account.
Riot Grrrl Resurrected
Reviews of the new documentary about riot-grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna are pouring in, and the consensus is that the film is excellent—if rather hagiographic. The Punk Singer details Hanna’s emergence as a 90s feminist icon and music-industry troublemaker, and explains why she dropped out of the spotlight.
For those of you who don’t know who Kathleen Hanna is, this isn’t exciting news, and I’m not even sure I’d recommend that you check out any albums by her old band, Bikini Kill, or her new one (Julia Ruin, the Julia Ruin Project). From a musical perspective, Bikini Kill is underwhelming. But for those of us who felt like Kathleen Hanna, riot grrrl, and all that mid-90s mayhem was the only thing that kept us sane during our teenage years—well, this movie is for us. Here’s a great review of the documentary, and here’s a list of where to find it in a theater near you.
This Week in Casts
• Victor Garber, everyone’s favorite SpyDad, will guest star on at least one episode of Sleepy Hollow.
• Lance Reddick will guest star on American Horror Story: Coven for numerous episodes as an important figure in the life of Marie Laveau.
• Rebecca Mader will guest star on Once Upon a Time.
Television is Still Dying
Earlier this year, ChrisB posted a thoughtful article about “cutting the cord” and switching from cable TV to a variety of internet streaming services. She’s not alone, and two new articles address the so-called “Death of TV” this week. On Slate, Jim Edwards breaks down the numbers to show just how far TV viewership has fallen. And over at the New Republic, Tim Wu argues that Netflix’s entry into the original-content market is beginning to “rewire our entire culture.” That might be a bit of an exaggeration (TV is not an entire culture, my dear), but it is interesting to consider the relationship of (ahem) media and message.
Speaking of media and message: this week I read Dave Egger’s newest book, The Circle. I’ve never been a big Eggers fan, and this book has a few flaws. But they’re small, and nitpicky, and absolutely should not stop you from reading it: I got the book at 11pm Tuesday night and finished it by 11pm Wednesday night, despite having to do such things as work and sleep.
The Circle is about a media company that’s part Google, part Facebook, and part Big Brother. Newbie employee Mae is grateful to work there (free healthcare!), and quickly becomes immersed in the corporate culture of multi-screen “semi-mandatory” participation through “zings” (aka tweets or blasts). Mae’s journey towards her own multiplatform apotheosis is fascinating, as is Egger’s engagement with the idea that “knowledge wants to be free.”
If you disagree with that last idea—if you believe that knowledge and data exist without desire—and if you worry that “transparency” is just code for “let us monetize your inner life,” this is the book for you. Its dystopian polemics are a bit self-affirming and obviously simplified from the more academic critiques of the “Googlization of everything,” (more here and here and here and here) but it’s a troubling book that troubles all the right things, and a fun read to boot.
New from Dan Harmon
The first episode of Community creator Dan Harmon’s animated show Rick and Morty is now available on YouTube and right here:
Letters to Santa
The US Postal Service has resumed the annual tradition of “Letters to Santa.” A post office in your area will have a collection of letters written to Santa that are selected by postal employees for demonstrating “real need.” You can go to the post office, choose a letter, and buy the gift (or, sadly, groceries) that some of these letters request. Return the package to the post office and they’ll mail it for you. (The originating address will be blacked out to protect privacy.) More info on this delightful idea here.
This Week in Cats