Three years ago I came to this blog to fret about the Grammys. It was late January in 2020 and I did not know that there would soon be more pressing matters than puzzling performance choices to worry about. By March 14th 2021, the date of the next Grammy Awards Ceremony, we had spent a full year wandering through the murky anxious haze of a global pandemic, and the partial solution of vaccines were only in their infant stages of being rolled out. But in a plot twist that seemed even less likely to my pre-pandemic self than an entire NBA playoffs taking place inside a Walt Disney World bubble— the Grammys had somehow fixed themselves?Continue reading “My 2023 Grammy Wishlist”
I Can’t Wait To See You Again: Eight Things From 2008 That Are Due For a Comeback
When it comes to nostalgia, there doesn’t seem to be a true consensus about what schedule it operates on exactly. The New Yorker has argued for a “40 year Golden Rule”, while Entertainment Weekly takes the more immediate view that the itch to look backwards sets in somewhere around the 12 or 15 year mark. The entire internet is proliferated with retrospectives celebrating pop cultural anniversaries of almost every numeration— even years with no rounded numbers. If a natural law of nostalgia exists, it seems we have not yet found it.Continue reading “I Can’t Wait To See You Again: Eight Things From 2008 That Are Due For a Comeback”
The GOAT Farm Class of 2018
The thing about inventing an imaginary honor society that doles out imaginary annual awards is that you can’t just in media res things and hope that the imaginary audience is following along. There’s got to be a preamble. A clarification of the rules. An explication of the acronyms. An attempt to impose some sense upon all of the nonsense.
So in case you haven’t read The GOAT Farm’s Inaugural Post/Ceremony— and also in case you did read it, two years ago, and somehow didn’t memorize its vagaries— The GOAT Farm is a pop culture hall of fame with a pastoral aesthetic. Inductees must patiently endure a five year waiting period between when they were first experienced and when they are GOAT-eligible, which is why all of today’s honorees are from 2018. The only judge is me.Continue reading “The GOAT Farm Class of 2018”
Allow Me To Re-Introduce Myself (Vogue 73 Questions)
Something that quickly becomes apparent to anyone who peruses this supposedly personal blog— it’s not all that personal. For reasons that might be better explained by a qualified therapist, I have geared my writing towards subjects that I can hold at more of a remove: books and sports and music and what kind of mean stuff the youths are saying. Of course, I would argue that all of these subjects are in fact the very threads that make up the lovingly if clumsily stitched-up quilt that is my heart. But then that same hypothetical therapist might ask— just what is that quilt covering?Continue reading “Allow Me To Re-Introduce Myself (Vogue 73 Questions)”
My 2023 Anticipation Guide
I’ve always conceived of January as the summit of a metaphorical ski hill— the place from which you can survey all that lies before you, the majesty and the moguls, before your momentum starts carrying you inexorably down, towards, and through it. You can’t know the details of what you’re about to encounter, but the broader shapes are clear enough to get excited about.Continue reading “My 2023 Anticipation Guide”
True Patriot Love: My 2022 Team Canada Winter Olympics Anticipation Index
I am searching for the literary device that might be big enough to convey exactly how much I love the Winter Olympics.
Some similes: My love for the Winter Olympics is as fervent as a hand over a heart during the opening notes of O Canada. As devoted as the athletes themselves are to their training regimens. As eternal as the final minutes of a hockey game can seem when your team is clinging to a one goal lead and the other team’s net is empty.
Some analogies: The Winter Olympics are like Christmas to me, except better, no offence intended to Jesus Christ, because they only come around once every four years. The Winter Olympics are like the Super Bowl to me, except better, no offence intended to Tom Brady, because the excitement lasts for two entire weeks.
I would make an attempt at a sonnet or a haiku, but poetry has never been a natural gift of mine, and also not enough words rhyme with “podium”. Anyway, my point has probably been made. The Winter Olympics are my favorite thing.Continue reading “True Patriot Love: My 2022 Team Canada Winter Olympics Anticipation Index”
2022 Anticipation Index
January is traditionally the time for high hopes and grand plans and lofty ambitions. The time to be briefly convinced that all of the empty days unfurled before you hold nothing but promise, to most fully perceive the potential in this latest quirk of the Earth’s axial tilt. But the concept of anticipation hovers a little awkwardly around the edges of this particular New Year. It is, after all, somewhat complicated to feel true excitement for things that are question marks.Continue reading “2022 Anticipation Index”
Books I Loved In 2021
I am an enthusiastic practitioner of the art of looking backwards, of cataloguing all of the things I have experienced for an archive nobody ever asked me for and making conscientious notes for a test I’ll never actually have to take. These habits only really serve me well one time of year, and thankfully that time is now, because it is Best Of season. All across the internet, and probably also between the pages of plenty unseen diaries, lists assessing the sundry offerings of 2021 are being compiled: the best memes, and the best tweets, and the best of everything else.
I come to you, predictably, with my list of Best Books. Except I feel uncomfortable with the word “best”, for fear of offending all of the many other deserving books I read this year, so instead I am going with the more explicitly subjective qualifier of “Books I Loved.” Love, of course, is always complicated, and so it means different things for different titles. Some of these books made me laugh and some of them made me cry and one of them made me cry because of all the laughing. I was educated, entertained, and enraged at various points during my reading year, which is I think all I can really ask from a bunch of words on a page.Continue reading “Books I Loved In 2021”
Dear Santa: My 2021 Pop Culture Christmas Wish List
I’ve always been split on the concept of composing a wish list for Christmas.
On the one hand there’s no arguing against the ruthless efficiency of the practice; the guarantee against Christmas morning hopes being dashed through the snow. For the gift-giver, having a list to adhere to eliminates all kinds of stressful second guessing and streamlines the shopping process— in that sense, writing out a list of presents one yearns to receive could almost be viewed as an act of Christmas charity.
But something about the exercise has always struck me as vaguely mercenary, something that too starkly reveals the commercialized and capitalist bones of what is supposed to be a warmhearted exchange of goodwill. Sure, your expectations are met, but there is something lost in having set expectations at all, in reducing your loved ones to the role of glorified Amazon delivery worker.
As a child, I negotiated this paradox by rarely asking my parents for anything specific— trusting instead that my strong personal branding would guide them in the right direction, namely towards books and Barbies— but always helpfully itemizing things for Santa, who, I reasoned, had the added burden of a billion or so extra children to keep track of. I did always add the incredibly Canadian caveat that I would be happy with whatever Santa chose to bring me if, for any reason, he was unable to fulfill my wishes, which I hope my mother appreciated while committing her recidivist acts of mail fraud.Continue reading “Dear Santa: My 2021 Pop Culture Christmas Wish List”
Dust Off Your Highest Hopes: Revisiting RED (Taylor’s Version)
When Red was originally released in 2012, it represented a tale of two Taylors. A crossroads moment in her career in which there seemed to be two clearly divergent routes her music might take. There was the one that wound through Laurel Canyon, blazed by the likes of Joni Mitchell and Carole King, that would have seen her become the Poet Laureate of hyper-articulate girls who feel too much (glimpsed in songs like Treacherous, Holy Ground, or State of Grace); or the more straightforward path which ended in uncontested global domination (foreshadowed by all tracks produced by Max Martin).
If you’ve paid attention to music at all over the past decade, you know which option she chose, and though it was not the one endorsed by Robert Frost, eventually Taylor’s three album journey through pop megastardom looped all the way back around, and she was able to wander down the alternative songwriter path after all with last year’s releases of folklore and evermore. Perhaps a singular career like Taylor’s was never going to be plotted out in neat lines, perhaps it would always need to involve detours and scenic routes and doubling back from dead ends. That might be exactly why retracing every step with her now as she endeavors to reclaim control over her old music is so much fun.Continue reading “Dust Off Your Highest Hopes: Revisiting RED (Taylor’s Version)”