I’ve been a Quentin Tarantino fan since seeing Pulp Fiction in high school, and his latest, Django Unchained, blew me away. I was surprised to find so much of the press around the movie focusing on its historical accuracy, or shocking use of racial language. I think Tarantino is underrated by critics because he trades in violence and low-brow culture – exploitation films, and the like. This turns many people off, but doesn’t mean he’s not one of the smartest, most talented directors working today. Even fans applaud his use of collage and homage, but rarely write about why he makes his movies in this way, or muse on what he might be trying to say. In an article for Salon, “Quentin Tarantino Talks to Himself,” I use the theories of Russian intellectual Mikhail Bakhtin to take a closer, more in-depth look at the provocateur.
With theory on the brain, I then turned to the subject of the hip-hop duo OutKast. Why is Andre Benjamin so often lauded as the artistic visionary of the group, when Big Boi’s dropped two fantastic solo albums largely without his partner’s help? I borrow from film critic Manny Farber’s essay “White Elephant Art vs Termite Art” to help shine some light on Big Boi’s genius, in “The Revenge of ‘Speakerboxxx’: How Big Boi Flipped the OutKast Script,” for The Atlantic.
I continue to review novels for The Rumpus – Ben Schrank’s Love Is A Canoe, and Lenore Zion’s Stupid Children are my latest. Of the two, Zion’s novel was a blast to read, and a lot of fun to write about. She rocks! I’m working on another review now.
On top of all of this, I’ve begun blogging for Babble’s Dad section. The essay “I Caught My Son French Kissing My Wife” bears special mention, as it got picked up by The Huffington Post and generated the most comments of anything I’ve ever posted online – over 800! Guess that’s what happens when you write about a toddler kissing with tongue.