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Home: The Toast

MALLORY AND I SAW CRIMSON PEAK YESTERDAY, but you CANNOT discuss it here, we are doing an installment of Movie Shouting about it later today, save your thoughts. Yes, this DOES mean that I am in California, but only for a few days, and I’m mostly sitting on her parents’ couch and blogging next to her and this is good and right.


The sex scandal at Stanford Business School! IT IS BANANAS:

Once, Phills says, he’d have happily settled the case: all he’d have wanted would be to stay in the house in which his two children were raised and teach at Stanford for a few more years before becoming emeritus, and for the university to pay his then modest legal fees. But as Stanford dug in, the costs, and the bitterness, and the indignities, have escalated. Phills assumes that Stanford has gone through all of his university e-mail for the past several years. (Stanford says it has reviewed only those e-mails produced in litigation.) Gruenfeld has seen an investigator for Stanford probe her love life, including whether she ever had affairs with her students. (She did not.) Gruenfeld has accused Phills of drinking excessively. Phills says that Gruenfeld confessed to him that she fudged research on the paper that launched her career, and charges that, in the two years since learning about it, Stanford has looked the other way. At a certain point, Gruenfeld, fearful that Phills would shoot her, had an armed guard stationed outside her classroom.


Is Hamilton good? Yes, yes it is, so let’s break this down with Talib Kweli:

“The Reynolds Pamphlet”
“The show definitely comes from the type of hip-hop that’s based on spoken word and poetry, the hip-hop that I grew up on — the hip-hop of the late ’80s and early ’90s. It has that rhythm, style, and tradition. That’s definitely what Lin-Manuel as an artist is inspired by. But I definitely think he’s a hip-hop liberal, meaning that he’s not stuffy or fogyish about his hip-hop. Even though he might like hip-hop from the early ’90s, he understands that hip-hop changed, and you see that growth in the songs. I’m guessing because Hamilton was born in the Caribbean, there was a lot of reggae and Caribbean rhythm, especially with Burr’s character. So it’s not just hip-hop, and that’s what’s great about it. There’s a lot of rapping, but there’s a lot of traditional Broadway music. Pop songs, reggae songs, ballads. There were newer styles of hip-hop, too. ‘The Reynolds Pamphlet,’ for example, is trap rap. They’re doing straight-ahead trap on Broadway; they were even doing the dances that people do when they listen to trap music in the club. They definitely made sure to incorporate different styles of hip-hop rather than keep it boom-bap.”


We still do not know how the comments got turned off on the link roundup yesterday, but you are welcome to CARRY OVER any discussions you wanted to have in that roundup to this one!


It’s only now sinking in for me that Justin Trudeau is going to be Prime Minister, so here is the big Maclean’s piece about him from 2002 (the eulogy in question was delivered by him at his dad’s funeral):

In the hours after the funeral, the CBC’s switchboards lit up with requests to replay the tribute — more than 1,000 callers by the end of the day. The newspapers overflowed with smoochy hyperbole. “Justin Trudeau hit the national consciousness like a thunderbolt,” wrote the Canadian Press. “A young man buried his dad, a star was born,” proclaimed the Globe and Mail. “He oozes charm and poise from every pore,” said the Red Deer Advocate.

There were a couple of dissenting opinions. A columnist for the National Post called it “a treacly overacted embarrassment.” Trudeau “gesticulated like a third-rate modern dancer” in a performance that “was far too calculated to be trustworthy.” Hate mail and death threats clogged the writer’s in-box for months.


Oh, and here is Michelle Dean with the most Canadian of takes (Harper bad, Harper gone, Trudeau here, Trudeau¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ):

As a public speaker Trudeau is mostly a campy disaster – a friend described his style as “drama teacher sanctimony” – and as a thinker, well … let’s say he will does not promise to be a match for President Obama in the intellectual curiosity department. Perhaps he is not a bad guy at heart, whatever that means, but it’s hard to tell who his real self is, because Trudeau has burnished himself to the kind of sheen that makes any “honest” moment impossible to trust.

Worse yet, Trudeau traded on his parentage to ascend to where he is today: he sold himself as a leader in large part because of his last name, and Canadians bought in. At the New Yorker, for instance, my fellow Canadian Jeremy Keehn wrote recently that, “Trudeau undoubtedly shares many of his father’s most deeply felt ideals, and his rhetoric has been marked by principled stands that have at times seemed strategically ill-advised.”


If you are trying to figure out the Amazon/New York Times kerfuffle, I recommend The Awl’s explainer:

Then again, I’m sympathetic to, or at least familiar with, her position. It’s a common one: You’re writing a story about a powerful company, which is giving you some degree of access; the company gets a sense that the piece won’t paint a purely positive picture of everything the company is doing; the PR person, whose job it is to manage the company’s representation in media, threatens to back out or actively work against you; you try to assure them, without lying, that you may be critical but that you’ll be fair. There’s a subtle but strong case against access journalism contained in these types of emails, particularly as publications lose the leverage they once had in their unique and captive audiences. They’re interactions between an individual intent on telling stories that a company wouldn’t tell about itself and a representative of that company charged with making sure that doesn’t happen. What’s difficult about theseparticular emails is embedded in sender and recipient. Amazon is clearly the more powerful party and is approached as such, with a sort of ends-justify-the-means utility. This might not square with most readers’ ideas of what should motivate a newspaper story about a company they see as vaguely large and problematic but immediately useful. It’s hard to ignore, however, that the man on the other side of the exchanges is a former White House press secretary.


My friend Carrie’s new puppy is soooooo sleepy:

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Grantland’s Mike Thomas on Jan “Perfect Human” Hooks:

Although she kept a small apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, most of Jan’s final years were spent in Bearsville, New York, a tiny hamlet within the town of Woodstock, where she bought a shabby 130-year-old farmhouse on 66 acres in the late ’90s, and which became her refuge. There, she watched and rewatched terrible old films (the worse, the better — she loved, for instance, The Oscar, featuring Frank Sinatra), drank untold gallons of Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc (nicknamed Bobby Mo), rode her albino horse (also named Bobby Mo), and puttered around the property as her dark green 1983 Jaguar sat rotting in the garage. Two German shepherds, Frank and Kitty, kept her company until they died. An unabashed smoker, she purchased boxes of her favorite brand, Merit, on the cheap in neighboring Pennsylvania. Friends say they never heard her talk of quitting or using a nicotine patch, both of which she considered laughable.


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