This week has been hard for many of us. We are scared and worried, and though those feelings are valuable and important, sometimes you just need to take a break. Great culture can be that: escapist, revitalizing, and reassuring. Even when things are bad, all of this stuff is good.
If we’re going to say bye to the Obamas (I’m about to burst into tears writing this sentence), then at least we still have the Johnsons. Black-ish never fails to make me smile and laugh, and watching two episodes yesterday felt a little therapeutic. Please Dianne, let’s hang girl!
My best friend bought me a coloring book called “Go Fuck Yourself I’m Coloring” last week because I was sick. But, these past two days it’s also been a form of therapy. Coloring takes your mind off of everything, it’s oddly soothing. Bring coloring back!
This essay by Toni Morrison
There’s really nothing to explain here.
Honestly just to see Rutina Wesley’s skin. Can Into The Gloss please Top Shelf her? But, also because I love the story of family and perseverance that Queen Sugar is telling and I really want Charly and Remy to just be together and stop playing already.
Puberty 2 by Mitski
Mitski Miyawaki’s fourth album Puberty 2 deals in longing. The 11 song album only takes 31 minutes to get through, and its upbeat, medium-paced songs are great for whatever kind of mood you’ve found yourself in this week. “I’m not happy or sad/ Just up or down/ And always bad,” she sings on the hazy ballad “Happy.” And the album explores just that, the spaces and sounds between happy and sad.
This quippy, ridiculous show contains almost as little nutrient value as the junk food its two main characters are constantly eating. With mile-a-minute pop culture references, Gilmore Girls is easy to consume, and easy to use as a distraction. The episodes are short and all of the seasons are on Netflix. Plus, it couldn’t hurt to catch up before the new episodes drop later this month.
Brit Bennett’s The Mothers
There’s nothing quite as good as getting completely consumed in a piece of art. Brit Bennett’s stunning debut novel about a girl, and her town, and a pretty big secret, is one of the most encapsulating narratives I’ve read this year. Bennett’s prose is gorgeous, and her story riveting. It’s truly transportive.
I can confidently say that this Emmy-nominated cartoon is one of the most important television shows right now. It follows the adventures of a boy and his surrogate mothers who are members of an ancient alien race known as the Crystal Gems. Feminist, queer as fuck, hilarious, sweet, and always poignant, it’s easy to forget that technically this is a show for kids.
This film from Thor director Taika Waititi is a really lovely coming-of-age story set in rural New Zealand in the ‘80s. It’s charming, touching, and hilarious. A great way to spend 88 minutes.
“Baseball Blues” (Samurai Champloo)
This is one of my favorite episodes of television, one that’s enjoyable whether or not you watch anime regularly. Set in Japan somewhere between the 1600s and the mid 1800s, Samurai Champloo is about a rag tag trio on a quest, and you should definitely watch it. “Baseball Blues” is about a baseball game between local Japanese villagers and American colonizers led by Alexander Joy Cartwright, the “father of baseball.” Come for Cartwright’s resemblance to the president-elect, stay for the reverse racism.
NO BUT SERIOUSLY, WHAT’S GOING ON.
MosoGourmet 妄想グルメCooking Tutorials
There’s a fine line between self-care and compulsion, and I tend to blur that line when I’m upset. Comfort food turns to stress eating, quiet reflection turns to all-out avoidance, keeping track of friends on social media turns to an endless, masochistic scroll and a slight loss of presence somewhere in back of my skull. It’s a similar feeling to what I imagine autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, must feel like: the tingly sensation and wave of relaxation triggered by whispering and other soft sounds you probably heard about in a podcast or something. I feel a similar kind of relaxation when I watch the cooking tutorials made by a Japanese YouTuber who goes by the name MosoGourmet 妄想グルメ. They make a lot of gelatin desserts, layering translucent gem tone Jell-Os with milkier opaque variants to the amplified sounds of clinking spoons, sifting powders, and dripping liquids. Did I say relaxation? I meant numbing.
Pokémon Sun and Moon
Twenty years ago, Nintendo introduced the world to the first 151 pocket monsters that would forever change the way that kids thought about mobile gaming. Now, The Pokémon Company is back with with Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, two games set in a Hawaii-like paradise where trainers of various races and ethnicities come together, trade, and battle to see which of them will be the next Pokémon master.
Chelsea Cain’s run on Mockingbird tells the story of Bobbi Morse, a genius biologist turned super spy who’s investigating the shady inner workings of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s medical facilities. From beginning to end, Marvel’s limited series doubles down on the ideas that women of all ages deserve a seat at the STEM table, feminism is good for everyone, and that being a badass super soldier comic book heroine doesn’t have a two-dimensional sex object. Ask her about her feminist agenda.
Pete Seeger and Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou had to fight to make their art. The songs and compositions themselves are beautiful, but the stories behind them are, too: struggle, struggle, struggle, and survive.