issue 029 • 2020-07-13
Greetings, Dear Friends!
The Summer season is in full effect, y’all. The temperatures are high, and I am counting my blessings every single day that we got our HVAC system replaced literally weeks before the infamous Maryland heat came in.
That said, it’s a season of snowballs and excitement, even if its one without movies (more on that later), and I’m enjoying its presence, as at least the heat lets me know we’ve entered a different part of this ongoing pandemic.
That reminds me: was at Target the other day — does anyone else still, as an adult, get the existential crisis once they see the school supplies out at the local department stores? It’s like the Sunday Scaries multiplied exponentially. (And I can only imagine what it’s like for my teacher friends reading this.)
Now, onto the things…
Thing #1: The Story of a Linkin Park T-Shirt and the Chinese Culture Who Love It
Like most people of my age range, there is definitely a regrettable period of my life where Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory spoke directly to me. Suffice to say, I haven’t really stuck with them — besides reading about their singer’s tragic death a few years back — but you know where they’re popular? Or at least their logo is? China!
Noelle Mateer at Wired gives us a glimpse at how a specific shirt from a specific period in Linkin Park’s career has taken a life of its own:
A March 2017 post on r/Shanghai, a subreddit for Shanghai residents, is tagged HELP. “I’ve been in Shanghai for about a month,” it reads, “And I’ve seen at least like ten guys wearing the same Linkin Park shirt. Minutes to Midnight. Can you help me solve this mystery?”
Other commenters had been wondering the same thing. “Oh man, I totally noticed them too. I’d see maybe one a day,” wrote one. “Funnily enough I’ve seen some fakes recently where they don’t even spell Linkin correctly,” writes another. A third confirms the misspellings: “The bootleg ones that say KNKIN PARK are the best.”
A year later, on a different subreddit, another user asked: “Why are so many people wearing Linkin Park shirts? Last weekend I saw dozens of Minutes to Midnight shirts, with huge Linkin Park letters underneath it, in the city.” And then again, on a different subreddit, two years later: “I have been dying for an explanation. Linkin Park hasn’t been a big deal in 15 years and Minutes to Midnight is their third most popular album (faaaaaaaar behind the top 2). Why the fuck have I seen so many of these t shirts in China over the last two years?”
I have had these thoughts myself. In 2014, I moved to Beijing for an internship that turned into a job that turned into six formative years of my twenties, working as a magazine editor and then a freelance journalist. I remember when I saw my first Linkin Park T-shirt. It was summer 2015, and I was walking to my job on a wide boulevard flanked by crowded seafood restaurants. I passed a man wearing one, and then another just two minutes later. It made an impression and not just because I saw the same shirt in quick succession; Linkin Park hadn’t been cool for years.
Check it out here.
Thing 2: A Look at How Atlanta Made Killer Mike
In our current time, one of the most interesting people speaking and performing today is rapper and activist Killer Mike. Maybe you know him as one-half of Run the Jewels, whose fourth album I featured here a few weeks ago. Or maybe you remember his viral speech to the youth of Atlanta when rioting began last June. Or, maybe you just remember him blowing us all away in Outkast’s “The Whole World”.
Never the less, GQ’s Donovan X. Ramsey sits down with Mike over a few days in his hometown of Atlanta, to give us Mike’s unique perspective on life, politics and everything else.
People like their public figures to fit into neat boxes—conservative, liberal, capitalist, socialist, rapper, activist. Killer Mike is hard to put in any single one, and by his own design. He is as comfortable talking to Joe Rogan as he is to Charlamagne Tha God. He is as critical of centrist Democrats as he is of Republicans. He’s just as willing to debate the likes of Trump-supporting provocateur Candace Owens (at a televised summit in Atlanta, hosted by Diddy) as he is veteran reporter Joy Reid (live on her morning MSNBC show) and will go to war with anyone.
“I don’t give a shit about liking you or you liking me. What I give a shit about is if your policies are going to benefit me and my community in a way that will help us get a leg up in America.”
Mike has been that way his whole life—a mix of ideas, beliefs, and styles all competing in one large body. It’s this very eclectic nature that has made him one of hip-hop’s most nimble figures.
Check it out here.
Thing #3: The Ever-eroding Possibilities of the 2020 Summer Movie Season
We’ve been cooped up for over 100 days. We’ve watched everything that Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max have to show us.
But do we feel safe going to theaters? And will the studios and theaters have movies for us to see when we’re ready?
Rebecca Keegan and Pamela McClintock at The Hollywood Reporter take us into the ever changing landscape of releasing movies during a pandemic, if they’re going to be released at all.
Studios, theater owners and filmmakers now find themselves in an extraordinary dilemma, wanting to fight for the survival of a theatrical business that was already under siege pre-COVID, but also facing the frightening and unpredictable specter of the pandemic. As COVID cases continue to climb and states that had lifted lockdown rules roll back their openings, even an August release is shaky. If studios are forced to push release dates again, the summer of 2020 would be the first since 1975, when Steven Spielberg’s Jaws introduced the concept of the summer megahit, that moviegoing’s high season unfolds without a blockbuster. That will bring severe financial consequences: Last year, the season, which runs from the first of May through Labor Day, counted for $4.35 billion, or 38 percent, of the full year’s $11.4 billion in ticket sales.
Check it out here.
Until next time…
Wear a mask, friends. We all need you to do it. For us.