We've been talking about Lady Gaga's third studio album, Artpop, for what feels like years by now, and for a while it seemed pretty touch and go — would it break out of its egg fully formed, or be weighed down by its own pretense, a beautiful but flightless bird? Well, we finally sat down and gave Artpop a spin and realized … we all love it. We spend some time figuring out how much of its imperfection is part of its charm, and also appreciate Lady Gaga's embrace of her inner weird old lady.
Next we travel to Equestria and discuss Bronies, the documentary about adult fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic that aired on Logo recently. This quickly becomes a conversation about the joys of fandom in general and what draws certain people to vibrant online lives revolving around a shared love of pop culture (or hamsters).
This is what happens when you look a gift horse in the mouth: You find two savvy Internetters, one from BuzzFeed and the other formerly from Howcast, inside. @Horse_ebooks was an immensely popular Twitter account that, taken at horsey face value, posted what appeared to be random snippets of e-books in an effort to hawk them while slipping under the spam police's radar. It amassed over 200,000 followers who were charmed by its oddly poetic fragments, like "Grueling, pre-dawn jogs? Lettuce-leaf"; its appeal defied explanation, but the more of it you read, the more you felt like you understood its special house blend of humor and existentialism ("make a beautiful lime," "You constantly misplace your house"). The New Yorker's Susan Orlean (also the author of The Orchid Thief, on which Adaptation was based) broke the news that the most prime real estate in all of weird Twitterland was not an SEO bot but the brainchild of Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender. The account was part of a duo of conceptual art pieces, the other half being YouTube channel Pronunciation Book; Bender and Bakkila have timed this revelation in accordance with the launch of their new interactive video project, Bear Stearns Bravo. Pronunciation Book has been counting down for the past 77 days to Bear Stearns Bravo's debut, but if you were already feeling let down by the fact that Horse_ebooks's brilliance wasn't an accidental Internet event, being asked to pay $7 to contribute to someone else's art project didn't make you feel any better. We should have anticipated this and prepared for it, but we didn't. We were dumb. We were in love.
Yesterday, we began our links by chastising the Internet for all it's done to impair our enjoyment of all other sacred media, so today let's kiss and make nice. Go ahead and adjust your VCR tracking so as best to enjoy this guide to the Internet for kids, a nice 1997 vintage with a fizzy body and notes of apple and those deliciously long '90s mom-skirts. Your trusty guides, the Jamison family, have just discovered the Web and its "whole world of exciting new possibilities," like e-mailing President Clinton and futzing around with Netscape Navigator. Check out those sick "chat lines"! A/S/L? Actually, '97 kids, maybe just go back to watching Kenan & Kel for the next few years and check back when you're not so abductable.
With the summer TV pickings so terribly slim this year, Hollywood Prospectus editor Emily Yoshida has had to get creative in the search for some scripted romantic intrigue until her CW shows come back. Here's your week in ’ships on HBO's The Newsroom.
Editor's note: I'm somewhat pressed for time this week, so we're express ’shipping this episode. Also, despite all appearances, I don't necessarily hate this television program, and there were a lot of things to like about last night's show! Terry Crews and David Krumholtz are there now!
1. The Newsroom & the Internet
"I'm going to single-handedly fix the Internet!" Will proclaims after a couple of on-air comments plucked from the ACN BBS were not the kind of reasoned, intelligent arguments he had expected from an anonymous online commenting system. The Information Superhighway has reared its ineffable head a few times before now, but it's really starting to emerge as the MPDG of The Newsroom — the quirky, impossible-to-tie-down nymph who will confound and delight our fictional staffers (LOLs, asterisks) and our IRL showrunner alike (at least have your erstwhile writing room brainstorm like 50 commenter screen names for you to choose from before settling on "LollipopLollipop.") So many bullets could have been dodged this week if they had just switched to Facebook commenting; at least then users would have to set up a fake account and populate it with pictures of other people's cats before firing off their death threats.
I spent six hours at the emergency pet clinic yesterday. Besides being the horrible experience that it always is — the boxes of tissues, crates of miserably crying cats, howls from the back room, people sobbing openly to the always-chilly-mannered receptionists and then being handed a giant bill for euthanasia — being in the waiting room felt sort of old-fashioned. Everybody was talking to each other: Oh, what’s that, a foxtail in the ear? Is he Siamese? I hope she’ll be okay, she’s a good dog, look at her sit in your lap like that. Nobody really reached for their phones, unless it was to check to see how many hours they’d been waiting there. They were busy talking to each other or being miserable while absentmindedly patting their labradoodles’ heads.
I don't think I get Pinterest. The Internet tries to explain the point of the Most Important Website in the World, sometimes resorting to video and slideshows, but more often it just suggests, as USA Today did, that you "find the nearest twenty- or thirtysomething woman. She'll likely know what's up and can tell you about it. IF SHE CAN STOP PINNING" — emphasis mine, because I look forward to seeing Jeff van Vonderen handle that intervention. I see what Pinterest does. I just pinned, like five minutes ago. I know that I am supposed to feel something, but I don't, and am left suspended in the moment when the world cruelly proved that there was no such creature as the gangster Nancy Sinatra.