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Spencer Kornhaber, a staff writer from The Atlantic who writes about music and popular culture, was the special guest on the culture edition. Spencer recently released his choice of the top ten albums of 2022 after visiting Reykjavk, Iceland, this past fall to profile Björk. He adores The Empire Strikes Back’s acting, is engrossed in the BeReal craze and claims that Lady Gaga is the only current celebrity artist who is as thrillingly meaningless as she is.
Spencer Kornhaber’s Culture Survey
What my pals are now chatting about the most is: I’ll make this disclosure without feeling embarrassed: We had passed a few frigid evenings watching my partner play God of War Ragnarök together with our buddies. A fantastical tale about fate, paternity, and forgiveness is given an HBO level of depth in the most recent episode of the slashy and stabbing video game series. Additionally, it has introduced me to some of the wonders of Norse mythology, including Ratatoskr, the sassy squirrel who scales the tree of life.
My favourite blockbuster and favourite art film are both Star Wars films, and The Empire Strikes Back is my favourite rewatch from that galaxy. Star Wars takes up at least a quarter of my head at any one time. The acting in recent viewings has somehow enthralled me despite the fact that it is usually the least favoured aspect of any Star Wars movie. The set design and twisting plot wouldn’t have any impact without Anthony Daniels’ comedic timing and Harrison Ford’s hulking magnetism. Sorry.
I Heart Huckabees, a bizarre 2004 comedy about “existential detectives,” has long been one of my favourites when it comes to art flicks. It has Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Isabelle Huppert, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Mark Wahlberg, and Naomi Watts as its main cast members (with cameo roles for Jean Smart and a young Jonah Hill!). The movie’s frantic pace, which keeps the audience’s intellect engaged the entire time, is perhaps its strongest point.
I’ll always dance to this tune: Since I first heard this eight-minute, flute-heavy remix of Janet Jackson’s “Go Deep” at a rooftop party with a gloriously ridiculous smoke machine pumping into the afternoon wind, it has been a mainstay in my playlist.
Favorite mellow song: “Tinu Ewe,” along with the rest of the artist BOJ’s most recent album, has a rippling smoothness that I can’t get enough of.
Favorite angry song: “Terrible Lie” from Nine Inch Nails’ live album And All That Could Have Been is one of my all-time favourites. Years ago, I gave myself a nosebleed while playing it.
I like the following online artists: Everyone should enrol in a class taught by Marnie T., the unconventional wellness teacher who has been raising consciousnesses throughout the pandemic. We recently met Timothy, a young man from a tiny village whose trip to West Hollywood led him down an exhilarating new road. The other characters Brian Jordan Alvarez, a comedian, has invented are as interesting and deserving of study.
My favourite album is Annie Lennox’s “Diva” I used to act out mythical stories to these songs as a small child in my living room. (Thank the stars for a childhood without social media.) I’m still fascinated by Lennox’s fusion of sterile synth pop and passionate gospel as an adult.
I love this painting: My couch’s print of Jasper Johns’ Map has been entertaining me for years now: Thanks to Johns’s mingling torrents of oranges, reds, and blues, the boundaries inside North America constantly disclose new shapes. My admiration for Johns was further strengthened by his Whitney Museum retrospective in 2021–2022. Over many years, this man painted numerous, outrageously numerous variations of the same motifs. Those pieces, both separately and collectively, liquefy reality and expose the cosmos’ harmonies. Moreover, lovely hues!
My favourite article from The Atlantic: James Parker’s 2010 evaluation of Lady Gaga stands out since it’s usually the last thing I read from him and I’ve spent more than a decade badly plagiarizing it. He perfectly encapsulates Gaga’s “paradoxical elegance” and the spirit of pop (“an ecstatic and superheated Nothing”). He also predicts that “nobody” will take her place. It’s true that early Gaga destroyed the foundations of what pop used to be. Since then, there hasn’t been a celebrity singer as thrillingly, commandingly pointless as her.
Put myself in the group of folks who are pleasantly engrossed in the BeReal craze; that’s my favourite way to waste time on my phone. Even on this purportedly non-bullshit photo app, authenticity is an impossible goal to achieve, but I still adore the way it inspires users to take a new interest in their regular surroundings.
The most recent cultural disagreement I had included whether or not to include Rosala’s Motomami on my list of the year’s top ten albums. Despite the fact that I admire her and have repeatedly listened to “Saoko,” something about the album’s order causes me to be “impressed but not obsessed” with it. I am the only critic who did not mention it. [Related: The rise of flamenco]
The last thing that made me snort with laughter was this: Terri Joe, a TikTok user who is a lovely Christian woman and a great interviewer/antagonist of celebs, hosts livestreams that resemble the Colbert Report of our current moment of queer panic. The last time she made a facial expression that reminded me of a Taylor Swift song, I snorted.
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