This Week We’re Sending You:
- bad(?) news about Netflix
- new horror
- classic horror
- world-saving(?) fiction
No postage due on scb0212‘s contributions this week. Send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods [at] gmail, post articles from the past week below for discussion, and Have a Happy Friday!
This week Netflix announced the end of their DVD-by-mail service. Another reason to mourn for physical media aficionados, though Peter Labuza pumps the brakes on getting too nostalgic over the video store disruptor in his Monetary Thoughts newsletter:
You can see the same model as Amazon workers here. In an article where Chicago Tribune reporter Christopher Borrelli visited a Netflix distribution center where he observed, “Forty-two people work here, nearly every one in a red Netflix T-shirt, nearly every one in constant motion. Indeed, I was asked not to disturb their groove and hit them up with questions.” The point of distribution workers is to work fast and hard, essentially destroying the dignity of work. Beyond devaluing the worker, Netflix also created a two tier system of workers. Computer programmers were treated like gods—without contracts, without rules, without any inhibition to innovate. But those who worked in the material infrastructure of the business were given scraps and left out of the more generous policies of the company such as extended maternity leave. This is core to the Silicon Valley mind set, future value is critical and must be respected; infrastructure is simply to be used.
ReverseShot‘s Michael Koresky interviews Ari Aster about converting new release Beau is Afraid into IMAX, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, and labels for modern horror films:
I heard somebody say that they resented me for starting this wave of, like, trauma porn, and to be honest, I’m so annoyed by that wave. A lot of people are annoyed by this idea of “elevated horror,” whatever the hell that means. I never coined that phrase, I never used that phrase. And even when it was thrown at me, I bristled. I consider myself a genre filmmaker. I love horror films. There’s no part of me that feels superior to the genre, and I feel that all the people I know who have been tagged as “elevated horror” filmmakers—nobody agrees with that term.
At Crooked Marquee, Sara Batkie looks back at David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers as the world prepares for its streaming series doppelganger:
While there’s a certain trendiness to the gender-swapping of the lead characters, it’s a fertile time to explore what Washington Post reviewer Rita Kempley called “every woman’s nightmare” – that the physician examining and evaluating the most private parts of your anatomy might be deceiving you – from a female perspective. Cronenberg, of course, has never shied away from the grotesque potentials of the human form, but Dead Ringers feels unique in his filmography for its thoughtful melding of body horror and character study. It is, in many ways, his most mature and intimate work. A lot of this can be attributed to Jeremy Irons, who plays Beverly and Elliot Mantle with a seamlessness that often feels like a magic trick happening before our eyes. Rather than cuing the audience with identifiable haircuts or clothing, Irons employs an array of subtle mannerisms and verbal tics to let us know which brother we’re looking at: the more socially adept and cynical Ellie or the shier, more sensitive Bev.
Writer Jeff VanderMeer (the Annihilation trilogy) goes to Esquire to warn that organizing novels under the heading “climate fiction” will not save the world:
Even without this unnecessary human melodrama, in the condensed form of “climate fiction,” “cli-fi,” there lies a problem of domain and dominion—both who gatekeeps the entrypoints and how we get to write about our current precarious position. “Cli-fi” is often interpreted to be a subset of “sci-fi,” and thus it’s expected to contain a speculative element. Yet, in this moment, cocooned uncomfortably within climate crisis, as if trapped within a porcupine turned inside out, the issue is not speculative. It permeates everything and everyone, even those who have not recognized it yet. Poetry, contemporary realist fiction, interdisciplinary art installations—any creative form, in any mode, can (and sometimes should) engage with the climate crisis, even if it’s just a persistent hum in the backdrop, like a misfiring bank of fluorescent lights.
And finally, for Die, Workwear! Derek Guy interviews legendary suit tailor Yukio Akamine:
When making a suit for someone, the most important measurement you’ll take is not of their body but of their heart. Of course, a suit needs to properly fit across the shoulders and chest. But before you create the actual suit, the design has to fit into the person’s character, lifestyle, and line of work. Many things can impact this: the wearer’s age, background, where they grew up, and hobbies. So when fitting someone for a suit, I start by chatting with them for at least an hour. What do they like to eat? What types of activities do they enjoy? What type of lifestyle do they live? People from all walks of life order a suit, so it’s important to get a holistic picture of the customer. Knowing more about a person also allows you to recommend the right shirt, tie, socks, and shoes. When done right, a person’s clothing will appear effortless and will reflect their individuality.