He killed the bad guy. He recovered the priceless artifact. He saved the girl. Now what? In this short film, writer and director Dylan Allen skewers the generic “happy” ending of typical big-budget blockbusters with satirical humor and a dash of ennui.
The French have an expression called jolie laide—directly translated, it means “beautiful ugly,” but as a concept it embodies the intersection between attractiveness and unconventionality that makes us relish imperfection. Jolie laide is Sarah Jessica Parker and Benicio del Toro and Jessica Paré. It’s why Solange is visually more intriguing than Beyoncé, and why Meat Loaf, however improbably, was a sex symbol for much of the 1980s.
Sofia Coppola is often cited as the female embodiment of jolie laide, but as it relates to men, there’s no more obvious example in contemporary culture than Benedict Cumberbatch. In bleached-blonde, Botox-browed Hollywood, he’s the antithesis of everything we’re supposed to find attractive.
Read more. [Image: AP]
Coming soon: “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
From Cats Dressed as People, 100 Years Ago, one of 15 photos. The Aviator. (Harry Whittier Frees/Library of Congress)
Every atom in our bodies was fused in the body of an ancient star. NASA astronomer Dr. Michelle Thaller explains how the iron in our blood connects us to one of the most violent acts in the universe—a supernova explosion—and what the universe might look like when all the stars die out.
This video is a collaboration between The Atlantic and SoundVision Productions’ The Really Big Questions. Listen to TRBQ’s one-hour radio special “What is a Good Death?” distributed by Public Radio International.
There has been much debate over which generation, exactly, is the “Me” generation. Is it Millennials? Is it Baby Boomers? People have been taking selfies for pretty much as long as there have been cameras, after all. And painting them before that. There have always been and will always be narcissists, and, seemingly, we will always be horrified by their entitlement. But if there are generational differences in narcissism, a new study published in Psychological Science suggests that they might be attributable to the economy.
John Oliver shows a fairer representation of both sides: 97 scientists versus three climate change deniers.
Last week, Africa Is a Country, a blog that documents and skewers Western misconceptions of Africa, ran a fascinating story about book design. It posted a collage of 36 covers of books that were either set in Africa or written by African writers. The texts of the books were as diverse as the geography they covered: Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique. They were written in wildly divergent styles, by writers that included several Nobel Prize winners. Yet all of books’ covers featured an acacia tree, an orange sunset over the veld, or both.
"In short," the post said, "the covers of most novels ‘about Africa’ seem to have been designed by someone whose principal idea of the continent comes from The Lion King.”
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]