Summer 2018 saw no shortage of consumable content. But while some plebs may have been watching Netflix rom-com To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before on repeat, or blasting Drake’s Scorpion, the A&E team had their ears to the ground. Here’s some stuff for your ears and eyes that we found especially cool.
TV: The Great British Bake Off (Season 9)
Katia Innes, A&E Editor
Twelve amateur bakers. Two B-list British comedians. One sweaty, candy-striped outdoor tent in the south of England. Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off returned two weeks ago, saving my sorry soul from my pathetic, pastry-free existence. As this mild-mannered transatlantic import nears double digits, it has still managed to keep its charm with low-stakes, friendly competition between casual bakers, and some calculated snark from judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. If those two names alone don’t entice you, go take your cynicism and watch Survivor, or whatever.
Podcast: Slow Burn
Emma Carr, Student Living Editor
This August, listeners were captivated by Slate’s popular podcast Slow Burn, which gained a steady following with its comprehensive retelling of the Watergate Scandal in its first iteration. In the second season of the series, host Leon Neyfakh takes listeners back to the nineties as he chronicles the events leading up to the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton. History remembers the characters involved in Clinton’s trial in one dimensional terms – the adulterer, the scornful wife, and the seductress. However, in Neyfakh’s retelling of history, these key players are at last complex beings. Well-researched and even-handed, this political drama is a must for history buffs.
Album: Mitski, Be the Cowboy
Sophie Brzozowski, A&E Editor
Japanese-American songstress Mitski Miyawaki’s fifth studio album Be the Cowboy could very well be the soundtrack to one of the great rock operas of the twenty first century. 2016’s Puberty 2 established Mitski as a songwriter to be reckoned with, and Be the Cowboy pushes her abilities as a storyteller. Each of the 14 tracks layer her achingly honest lyrics overtop moody and deftly mixed instrumentals, painting a theatrical and maudlin portrait of heartbreak and redemption. Be the Cowboy is a bold addition to Mitski’s already daring body of work.
Book: Manifesto: The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts and Reason
Dylan Adamson, Features Editor
For those unindoctrinated to the Chapo cult, this book—released on Aug. 21, just in time to sit unfinished on college students’ nightstands for the rest of the year—is a mind-boggling tour through the genius-brains behind the most successful podcast of the affectionately-titled ‘dirtbag left.’ And also of American history. Much like this review, the Chapo Trap House ‘manifesto’ is replete with confusing sentences with too many clauses, and alternates between self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating sentiments. As the Chapo boys (and one girl) clarify on the second page, “We invented leftism in America and are the only real socialists.” The Chapo Guide is funny throughout, but a lot of the jokes rely on a baseline of American history knowledge, which some readers may not meet. Still, if Brian Silva quotes attributed to FDR are your cup of tea, buy the book.
Movie: Eighth Grade
Ariella Garmaise, Managing Editor
YouTube comedian-turned-filmmaker Bo Burnham’s directorial debut is perhaps the exact opposite of the work you might expect from him. Whereas his signature musical comedy is cheeky and verbose, packed with pop-culture references and clever wordplay, Eighth Grade, relies on a series of awkward silences and garbled interactions. Elsie Fisher’s Kayla, the film’s protagonist and eighth-grade heroine, is the antithesis to the strong-female-lead-archetype popularized by coming of age classics like Lady Bird or Juno. While Kayla is less brazen than Ronan and Page, she is no less brave, and her courage comes in small moments—she makes it to a pool party after having a panic attack in the bathroom, she fumbles over her words but still tells an older boy “no.” Kayla is a new type of hero, someone who shows that you can feel terribly anxious all the time, and everything will still be okay.